A Year in Review: 2010 – lessons in patience and process that you can apply

December 27, 2010 by Jared Goralnick

Nehle, tired after a big year.This was a year of change.  But that change wasn’t from some big events or actions, it was from patience and process.

Here’s a review of 2010—but feel free to skip to “slogging to speediness”—those changes are what got me through 2010 and may help you, too.

Sink or Swim…treading water on the critical path

I began the year with the goal of simply making it through the year—as my theme was to swim.  In 2009 I had set a lot of things in motion, and I suspected that 2010 would determine whether those things would prove fruitful or not—whether I’d sink or swim.

The first half of the year was swimming—treading water, actually.  I waited a long time for the big things to come through.  Claire, Yvonne, Tim, Paul…you all heard me go on and on about how things were going from a 20% likelihood to 50% likelihood to…FINALLY.  July ended up being the magic month—when I got a big check for selling SET and raised the first big bit of money for AwayFind.  Prior to that, it was a long, and at times cruel, waiting period.

Maria, goofing off in BarcelonaAnd then everything changed.  Sure, I was ready for the changes, but they couldn’t have come too soon.  I up and went to San Francisco.  Or, first I went to London and Barcelona (had some fun goofing off with my friend Maria, to the right), and then San Francisco. 

I’ve re-learned a lot this past year—the power of patience, what it means to focus on one thing and give it everything, where I have skills and where I don’t, the power of bringing people together, and that you can never give too much but you can give enough.  I hope to write more about those lessons in the coming year.

I don’t think there was another path to where I am today, and I couldn’t accelerate it.  There are also opportunities available to me now that weren’t a year ago, and I know in a year there will be more opportunities.

What that means to you—it takes forever to get to your dream, so you’d better be working toward it.  As 2011 approaches, I really hope you have an idea of your critical path, and that you’re ready to both work and wait it out.  I don’t mean to be cliché, but take it all starts with a first step.  Take it.

Some People and Places

When you look back at a day, it feels like nothing happens.  But when you look back at a week, a month, a year, there can be so much.  I know I checked some more boxes, grew a business,  danced with beautiful girls, and grew up a lot.

  • Paul Singh at Bootstrap MarylandPeople have given so much to me this year.  Nevermind our investors (thanks, guys!), people like Paul Singh (to the right), Lauren Jacob, Dave McClure, and Chris Gordon have made this year possible. Others, too—but you four above all.
  • I visited Buenos Aires twice.  I have several coworkers there, and while I really enjoyed the city, I fell in love with my work again.  My team has grown into such a great group.
  • Along with Paul, I put on the biggest event I’ve organized to date, Bootstrap Maryland’s second conference, which lit a fire under a lot of startups in the area
  • I organized my second panel at SXSW.  And like with last year, that experience led to some great relationships.  Jay Cuthrell became an advisor at AwayFind, and Daniel Raffel became a good friend out here in San Francisco.
  • Golden Gate rainbowFrom Snowmageddon to rainbows at Golden Gate Park to drives down the Coastal Highway I’ve seen so much beauty every day.  And I’ve begun to take out my camera again—I took this with my phone today after a dance at Golden Gate Park just today…


I could go on with these kinds of highlights, but I realize that that won’t help you a lot.  Sure, I had another good year, traveled, grew my business, yadayadayada…  but this blog isn’t about Jared’s adventures.  No, this blog is about how I can apply my experiences to help you and your business.  So…

What Really Happened in 2010 – slogging to speediness

What really happened in 2010 is not the exciting stuff, but a series of frameworks, processes, and routines.  So much has changed that I’m pretty much living a different life.

Take yesterday—I uploaded photos from March thru November (yes, I had gotten behind).  Though it was a ridiculous delay, the process yesterday was wonderful—it was smooth and fast.  Over several weekends I’d been architecting a process for editing and uploading.  So yesterday it was a joy.

That’s kind of like what this year has been.  I haven’t so much been iterating on the tangible, but on the intangible.  My biggest personal accomplishment for 2010 was probably the routine I built and managed to stick with. 

In other words, the real accomplishment for this year was all the processes that made it into my life and my company’s day-to-day.  It means that things have gotten a LOT easier, and will continue to.  It’s been a slog to make these changes, but the light at the end of the tunnel is bright and beautiful.

In the event that it might help you, here are some changes I’ve made to my day-to-day…

  • Daily SmoothieI’ve eaten well nearly every day
  • I’ve adjusted my diet so that I consume more protein and fiber, and very few carbs for breakfast and lunch, which has led to so much more predictable energy for me
  • I’ve run at least 4 miles over 95% of the days that I’ve woken up in San Francisco
  • I’ve woken up before 7am (and made it to work before 8:30) just about every weekday here in San Francisco
  • I’ve found an environment that really contributes to my daily productivity and happiness—working at Parisoma has been a huge boost to my quality of lifeeverything.
  • I achieve Inbox Zero every day, in no small part due to the tools below

These tools have changed my life:

  • Sunset in Half Moon Bay, Nick O'Neill shootingThanks to Flickfolio for Android and Lightroom 3 for my computer, I can sync my Facebook, Flickr, and mobile photos without doing anything twice, thrice, or even storing things in separate places.  This has literally made me want to reinvest in photography as it made a huge burden into a great experience.
  • I’ve switched my calendar over to Tungle, which has made scheduling so much easier.
  • I switched from Exchange to Google Apps early this year, which meant that my mobile integration, particularly with Android, was way better.  And that meant fewer mistakes and less time spent looking things up.
  • I switched to Google Tasks and installed some great sync apps for it on my Android and iPhone.  I feel so much more clarity in every day now.
  • I switched to a secure password manager that syncs across my machines and phones, and now I feel much safer.
  • Thanks to Pulse, I now read my RSS again.
  • Thanks to Tweetdeck and lists, I once again enjoy Twitter.
  • Upgrading to fancy noise cancelling headphones, and then to the best ones out there has helped my concentration a great deal.
  • I managed a week at my new office without a big monitor.  Talk about a way to kill your productivity, if you don’t use a monitor in addition to your laptop’s then you’re simply crazy.
  • And with my team, we’ve switched from Basecamp to Trac, which integrates with Subversion.  Nevermind the details, but this change means I now know and am able to manage the priorities of the whole company pretty quickly and clearly.

You know, for a few years I ran a newsletter about the tools I use, and I’d stopped that.  But this list makes me realize that I ought to go into depth about each of these in the near future..as I do believe they could help you, too.  Feel free to comment on that below if this was useful or I can provide more tips like these.

Wrapping Up

Lauren JacobThis has been a fantastic year.  I sold a company.  Moved across the country (roommate, Lauren, who is one the four people I mentioned above, is to the right).  Ran several large events.  Raised some money.  Acquired over 1,000 businesses and 10,000 individuals as customers for AwayFind.  And worked with some really awesome people along the way.

But in writing this post, I realize that these things are in no small part due to the changes to my workflow.  That’s crazy to me, because I’ve been writing about improving your workflow for years, and yet apparently there was a ton of room for growth for me.  And I already have a really big workflow change I’m excited about for next year…


This post came in at over 1500 words.  But it only took a couple hours.  I’m not going to edit this as much as I usually do—for instance, now that I know the highlights, I’m not going to just place them at the top.

I want to write more often in the new year.  Expect more content from me, and hopefully a willingness to just sit down and purge, without holding back.  I move too slowly sometimes but I want to just get some stuff out there—so I can help you and share more—I won’t ever waste your time, but I need to show up more, even if that means less reworking and more quick content.

I won’t be writing posts this long much, but I will be writing more often.  I hope you’re in for the ride.  And I hope you had an amazing 2010.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  If you’ve learned a lot this year, feel free to share those tips (or a link to them) below.

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5 Responses to “A Year in Review: 2010 – lessons in patience and process that you can apply”


  1. Victoria Pickering

    Jared -
    Love your phrase “slugging to speediness” – it captures so much of what we all need to remember to be more effective. Best wishes for the new year, and will look forward to seeing more of your useful posts. (One I’d especially like to see is details on how you use Google Tasks for the “clarity” you describe.)

  2. Frank Frazier

    Jared, I look forward to your year end posts and this one is a good one. Congratulations on a great 2010 and thank you for your inspiration for all of us for 2011.

    I very much enjoyed your previous posts on the productivity tools you use. I would very much like to see more details on the new tools and systems you outlined above.


  3. Jared Goralnick


    Thanks so much. There’s probably a tagline in their somewhere… I wish you the best in the new year, too. And I’ll be certain to write a lot about my new tasks workflow in the coming months.

    Thank you!

  4. Jared Goralnick


    Thanks so much. And happy new year to you, as well. I will do my best to describe a lot of the tools I mentioned above–great to see someone’s interested!


  5. Kevin Willingham

    Excellent post. I think I went through last year a little sluggish on my new career venture. This year I have really started to pick up a ton of steam, looking into some new ventures that incorporate this career move. So far this are going great. Little things though like switching email systems, how I track tasks, and so on have really pushed me forward quickly.

    thanks for sharing your story.

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