This post will cover my 2017 review.

Work

Honestly my work life has been a total mess this year.

In June, after working for an IT startup, Itandi, for a year, I switched to Brainpad, a data analytics company. I was doing both web development and data science at Itandi, and I could specialize in either one at next company. Data science was, and still is, all the rage, and I thought I could keep up with web development by myself. So I decided to build a career in data science. I chose Brainpad to horn my skill as a data scientist at more established company.

I learned two things.

First, I wasn't really good at data science and machine learning. I couldn't understand cutting edge research papers on AI like my colleagues. It turned out my math knowledge was joke. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't grasp high level math concepts. I always believed I was smart enough to learn anything, but I saw my limitation.

Second, I lost my passion for AI. When I was in college I read "On Intelligence" and it absolutely blew my mind. I dreamed about creating intelligent machines. I was also afraid of becoming irrelevant because of automation in the future. I knew machine learning engineers would not be irrelevant - they are the ones who create AI!

I still think that machine learning engineer is a great career, but now I care less about AI. AI is going to have a huge impact on a macro level. But is it making us happier? What is the point of all the technological advancements if it doesn't increase the happiness of individuals? It's crazy to me that we are not any happier than our ancestors.

I'm not talking about AI taking over the world. I'm just saying that technology rarely solves our deep desires as a human.
I want to make money not by creating something useful, but by making people happier on a fundamental level. This is a topic of a future post.

Party

I moved to a bigger apartment near the office soon after I got the job at Brainpad. Why a bigger apartment? To host house parties! I went to a lot of parties to meet girls, and I hated the high price and the terrible food. If I host my own party, I get paid to meet girls and no more cold french fries or soggy pasta! I'm reasonably good at cooking, so I practiced making finger food that are easy to eat at party and look gorgeous.

I invited my colleagues and friends at my party. First it was just a hobby, but the guests complimented on my food and seemed to really enjoy the party. I felt a deep satisfaction that I couldn't get from my job. On top of it, I was making money doing it.
One day I had 20 people showing up and I made about 40,000 yen(which is about $400).

I figured I could do this full time, so I quit my job only after 5 months.
In 6 months I hosted 12 parties and over 100 people came, including strangers.

Catering business

I quickly realized that hosting my own party is not going to make enough money, so I started catering business. I thought getting paid to go to party would be a great lifestyle. I got even more serious about making finger food. But after a couple parties and events, I realized that catering is even less profitable than hosting my party, and preparing food for 40 people by myself killed the joy of cooking.

After 2 months after I quit my job, I gave up.

In retrospect, transition from lucrative IT industry to food industry was crazy. Even though I like cooking, there are so many people who can cook better than me.

I also became less interested in a party as a way to meet girls. It's partly my problem, but I never had a serious relationship with a girl I met at a party.

Tried lots of things

I also tried many little things, none of which lasted.

  • I was interested in building business on YouTube, so I shot a recipe video. It was fun, but not fun enough to keep doing it.
  • I organized a cooking class. Interesting experience, but again, not for me.
  • I started a podcast and interviewed solopreneurs. I really enjoyed the interviews and wanted to do it weekly. But I struggled to find guests and quit only after 3 shows.

Investment

Although this is a bit random, it's worth mentioning. I invested in real estate, which is the most expensive thing I have ever bought. Everything from choosing the property to managing it is handled by the company so I do not have to worry about it. It will not make money right away. In fact, I lose money until I pay off the loan. It's a long-term investment.

So that was 2017. It was a year of hopes and struggles.