2023 Post Mortem

2023 Post Mortem
Photo by Diego PH / Unsplash

Hi. It's been a while since I posted anything. I've been busy. 🌝

A lot has happened in the last 10 or so months. Overall, I have grown a lot through the experiences this year brought. I reached both professional and personal milestones. I'm grateful for what this year brought and what's about to come next.

Being a CTO

In the first quarter of 2023, I took on the challenge of leading a tech-driven startup as a CTO. As the market shifted and resources became scarce, we had to make some drastic measures within the company. On top of all that, we made the decision to rewrite our entire product.

We successfully drove that initiative to completion, and now we're in the midst of a transition. The incredible work has already garnered attention from our clients, and receiving all the positive feedback makes me happy that we've pulled through. I'm proud of my colleagues, especially my fellow developer Jakub. Not only did he support me at every step and significantly contribute to shaping the new product, but his enthusiasm and motivation to learn more about topics beyond our usual tech stack deserve recognition. If you're reading this, thanks again for the great work!

In the past two years, we've made numerous decisions in our startup, and unfortunately, many of them ended in failure. However, it has been an invaluable learning experience. 2023 was the year of learning for us, and we all hope to apply that experience in our future endeavors.

As for me personally, it has been an incredible ride so far, and I'm very curious about what the future has to offer. I've experienced significant growth. This opportunity has helped shape both my technical knowledge and soft skills, leading to various realizations. The most significant one is that every endeavor we undertake is not just about the individual but also about others. It's equally important to place trust in and support others, alongside individual contributions to the effort. Decision-making isn't always easy, and being in an executive role has exposed me to many challenging situations, ultimately aiding me in becoming a better leader and colleague. I have no regrets and can say with a clear head that I wouldn't do anything differently. I'm proud of what we have accomplished despite all the circumstances.

Personal Achievements

A lot has happened in my personal life as well. A few significant lifelong dreams of mine came true in 2023, and they were truly amazing experiences.

The first one was that, for the first time in my life, I finished a half marathon run. The dreaded 21.1 km run. When I look back on myself a few years ago, it was unthinkable that I would pull this off one day, but here I am, proudly declaring I did it. My time was 2:08:11. I'm satisfied with that, considering it was my first attempt.

I wrote an article about my weight loss journey a few years back. After that, I had some nasty injuries that took me two years to recover from. I had to say goodbye to running for a while, and 2023 was the year I got back into it. Running a half marathon was an incredible ending to my personal running season. Now I want to focus on gaining a bit of strength by lifting weights and going back to the gym, so I can start my 2024 running season in better shape and take on more challenges.

Another significant experience I had was traveling to Japan. Both my dear girlfriend and I had wanted to go there for years. As someone who studies psychology, Japan sometimes seemed like an outlier in a lot of studies and phenomena. Its unique society and culture always intrigued me. I like stories, and the Japanese are great storytellers as well. I'm looking at you, Naruto, One Piece, Berserk, and other great pieces of anime and manga.

We went there in October 2023, for two weeks. Our trip started with Tokyo, then we went to Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Nikko. We tried to mix both countryside and nature, as well as modern/historic cities and sights. What an unreal experience that was. I was prepared for some culture shock, but I hadn't expected such a stark difference in some aspects from the Czech/European way of life. It was very refreshing to see a world where the society is built on mutual respect, yet everyone behaves so individually. For example, I noticed that even when being in one of the busiest parts of Tokyo called Shibuya during peak hours, I saw approximately the same amount of cars as in Prague city center. The catch is that Tokyo is approximately 10 times bigger than Prague. Traffic is also quieter, as I saw that the majority of cars there are electric/hybrid. The air also felt cleaner. Instead, most people move around by public transport, which is very convenient to get around. The same applies to commuting between cities - trains rarely have delays and are pretty fast.

What I'm trying to say is that I strongly felt that the Japanese have strong mutual respect for other people and don't put themselves at the expense of the comfort of others. When most people use public transport instead of cars, everyone there can enjoy less air and sound pollution. That's a strong contrast from Prague, where a lot of people would rather go by car and then complain about the traffic, also at the expense of other people who then breathe fumes and have to listen to rumbling engines on the street. If there is something that I truly miss, it is exactly that human quality - having respect for others, sometimes even at the expense of personal comfort.

I've had a ton of great experiences and interesting interactions with other people. Be it the politeness of staff in Izakayas or banter with locals in public baths. I wish to go back there at some point in the future and travel more across the country.

2023 was indeed an interesting year. I'm looking forward to what 2024 brings.