2017: Finding Balance on 91 Flights

2017 is over, in what feels like a blink of an eye. And has a business been born? That 5th and most challenging of goals? The short answer is no. But January 2nd, the final ingredients for the first scaled production run will be purchased, and by January 5th, scaled production will begin.

I did Annual Review’s in 2013 and 2016; I find it is a great way to reflect and create goals I can hold myself accountable to.

First, I want to look back on 2017 – what worked, and what did not. In my next post, I will look ahead, setting the 5 goals that will define my year.

2017: What Worked

1. 91 Flights Gave Me Balance

I am married to my job. And given my incredibly flexible working environment, it’s easy to be thinking about work 24/7. I want to do this work for years to come, and do to it, I need to find ways to maintain my health and wellbeing while loving every minute of my work. Well, 2017 we did well.

By the numbers:

Trips for weddings and roadtrips in South Africa and India capped a year of travel that included 91 flights and 243,000 km of travel in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

I also managed to read 14 books, focusing my moments of fatigue (a 2016 goal).

2. Operations > Vision

2016 was the year of creating the strategy for a food system that truly works. 2017 was about making it real (another 2016 goal). And to make it real, I had to push myself to become a detail-oriented operations person. Cassava fermenting, import documents, mixing machine design, all topics that me, the social science student, has had to become an expert on.

3. Maximizing the One-Day Visit

With all the travel I have been doing I have found I can utilize 1 or 2 day stopovers in the cities where I have family and close friends. A visit doesn’t always have to be long, sometimes one quality dinner with my grandparents or a wander around a new city with an old friend can provide the quality time I need to reconnect.

2017: And What Didn’t Work

1. I Tried to Change the World, And Not Liberia’s Food System

I got ahead of myself, spending valuable time this year thinking about other countries, and how Hampton Creek can make an impact in new ways. First, before anything else,  I must nail Liberia.

2. Vision < Operations

I became an operations person, but with that refocus I lost the time and space for the visionary thinking that makes me who I am. I need to ensure my day-to-day has the space for this.

3. From Knowledge to Control of All Manners of Adulting

I now have a slightly better sense of thing like my finances and insurance benefits. I don’t just want to be informed, I want to be in control of these things – picking plans, investing in crypto currency instead of just standard mutual funds, and maybe even exploring the real estate market.

Stay turned on January 1st, when I will look ahead to 2018.


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