2021 Roadmap: Sharing, Helping, and Living More

[ productivity life ] · 4 min read

I don’t usually make new year resolutions, and have done fine without them. Nonetheless, since I’m writing and sharing more now, I figured I would share these publicly—this also counts towards my writing goals 😝.

Sharing more via writing and talks

In 2020, my sole resolution was to write weekly and it was a blast. For 2021, I will continue this habit, giving myself a two-week pause for reflection in summer and winter. I would also like to write on more specific themes, with six informalmentor and teardown pieces each. Also, I haven’t been speaking as much as I would like and will get back to sharing at conferences, talks, or podcasts, with a goal of at least four.

What would you like me to write about? Poll here.

Other than the number of pieces or talks, my key success metric is “this has been helpful” feedback. This could be in the form of emails, comments, tweets, etc. My target is 100 of such feedback, distinct by person (i.e., feedback from 100 different people).

Helping more and giving my time

In 2020, I started mentoring a few folks remotely, and am proud that three have successfully entered/progressed in the field of data science—I feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction. In 2021, I hope to continue this trend and mentor 3-6 people to reach the next level in the field.

In addition, teams/organizations have reached out for advice on ML systems and building data teams. It’s been a joy to discuss and advise, as well as see the fruits of their efforts. In 2021, I hope to help more, either by angel investing or formally advising 1-3 start-ups.

Need advice on data science, ML, or career? Here’s how I can help.

Living more; life is not all about mission/work

During the December break, I tried meditating in 60-minute slots again (I’ve previously done 20-minute slots). This time, it helped me understand my lizard brain and more about myself. I believe the lack of a schedule gave me the space and time to meditate properly. I aim to continue meditating 60 minutes daily.

I also realized that I’ve not been living enough, and resolve to live more and not just focus on my mission/work. In 2021, I aim to pick up snowboarding, learn a new programming language (TypeScript), eat out more (≥ twice a month), read 6 fiction / pseudo-fiction books, and visit ≥ 3 US states. My biggest obstacle to these will be myself, where I’m like to prioritize these aims lower relative to the sharing/helping goals.

A poll on what programming language I should learn next

Before settling on TypeScript, I conducted a poll on what language I should learn next, given my specific aims (pragmatism and fun) and context (an applied scientist who knows python, scala, SQL). Here’s the results on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Poll of what programming language I should learn in 2021 on LinkedIn

I think the Twitter results are skewed as JuliaCon retweeted it, thus the high Julia count. Nonetheless, most comments by folks who know me suggested TypeScript, and that seems the most interesting to me too. I guess Julia will be in 2022.

Recommendation on fiction/pseudo-fiction

Putting it in numbers

Here are the numbers again (post & talk counts auto-updated with each publish):

  • 48 posts: 36 / 48
  • 4 talks: 9 / 4
  • 100 “this is awesome/helpful”: 100 / 100
  • 3-6 mentees achieving the next level: 4 / 3
  • 1-3 start-ups invested in/advising: 1 / 1
  • Meditate 60 minutes daily: 168 / 365
  • Learn to snowboard: 0 / 1
  • Learn TypeScript: 1 / 1 (GitHub repo)
  • Eat out twice a month: 11 / 12
  • Read 6 fiction/pseudo-fiction books: 0 / 6 (Suggestions)
  • Visit 3 US states: 2 / 3 (LA and Portland)

This list serves as stretch goals and I’m not going to kill myself for them (especially with COVID rampant). Nonetheless, they are something to reflect on each quarter, and at the end of the year, as well as find like-minded folk who are keen to join me on this journey.

If you found this useful, please cite this write-up as:

Yan, Ziyou. (Jan 2021). 2021 Roadmap: Sharing, Helping, and Living More. eugeneyan.com. https://eugeneyan.com/writing/2021-roadmap/.


  title   = {2021 Roadmap: Sharing, Helping, and Living More},
  author  = {Yan, Ziyou},
  journal = {eugeneyan.com},
  year    = {2021},
  month   = {Jan},
  url     = {https://eugeneyan.com/writing/2021-roadmap/}

Share on:

Browse related tags: [ productivity life ]

Join 6,500+ readers getting updates on machine learning, RecSys, LLMs, and engineering.