2023 in review

December 18, 2023 in Personal

This is the seventh year in a row that I get to share a “Year in review” post with you! If you want to follow along from season 1, episode 1 you can find previous years here: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022. Now onto 2023.

Reflecting on this past year has made me realized that it’s been… uneventful. There’s no real milestone that stands out. When I look back on the previous years, it seems like every year featured at least one major milestone either personally or in my work life. I started working with SuperFriendly and that paved the way to working exclusively remotely. My dog of 14 years passed away. I got divorced and moved on. I met Anna and we bought and moved into a beautiful house in the country side. We got Taylor. This year, nothing like that. Nothing that REALLY stands out. Sure, I’ve traveled. I’ve worked with great clients. But it’s been a slower year. I’m going back and forth whether this is a good thing or not and I’m leaning towards viewing it as a good thing. After all, it’s been quieter on purpose. I’ve started to design a life for myself that is slower and I’m starting to reap what I’ve sown. So let’s review my 2023 in the same order as previous years!

Projects & Work

Summer Health

My by far biggest project this year has been a continuation from 2022, Summer Health. I’ve spent nearly 900 hours working with the team this year and I’m thrilled to continue working with them in 2024. Doing work with a purpose is something that’s become much more important to me and if I’m able to contribute to new parents feeling even slightly less anxious then I’m happy that I made an impact. One of my favorite quotes from a parent this year is, “I've stopped frantically googling every tiny thing and my brain feels so much better.”

At Summer Health, this was a big year for me as I was able to work on the full spectrum of design: product design, visual design, branding, you name it. We launched a fully redesigned website and transitioned from urgent care to everyday care focusing on specialists in sleep, nutrition, lactation, and much more. Highlight of the year? Being able to meet up with everyone in NYC!

Loom

While it feels like a lifetime ago, it was actually in the beginning of 2023 that I got to work with the great product team over at Loom. Loom is a product that I use on almost a daily basis and still feel like I should be using it so much more. The new features launched this year including AI transcription are pure magic ✨. I teamed up with Sean Thompson, someone I’ve admired through Twitter for years, to help them rebuild their design system Lens. This team was a pure JOY to work with and I truly hope we’ll be able to collaborate again.

Front Gate Tickets

Though it technically started in 2022, I finished up my work with Tractorbeam and Front Gate Tickets. I feel incredibly blessed to get to work with such talented (and FUN!) people like everyone I worked with on this project. As if that wasn’t enough, my very favorite Amanda Chessa did the entire research phase. Is she the best? Yes. I’m hoping I’ll be able to share this work during next year. You may remember briefly seeing this work on my website earlier this year - I got the go-ahead to publish and then it was revoked. It sucks when it happens, but I’m sure I’ll be able to share it eventually, and most of all, that you’ll be able to experience it buying your festival tickets!

Short sprints

Apart from more coaching sessions, I also did more short-term projects making up like a week or less. Working with Summer Health long-term, it’s nice to break out these shorter sprints occasionally to be able to switch context. During this year, I was happy to work with Better Odds, Forward Operators, Flying Bisons, and a couple of stealth startups.

Website and newsletter

As I’ve been focusing less and less on my website and newsletter - for most of the year - there’s not that much to report - apart from the big news that I’ve decided to dedicate more time writing again! I’m a couple weeks in now of consecutive writing and it feels good, especially since I’m hearing more and more from readers that my writing is helping them. Readers might remember that I promised a product design course earlier this year. Well, if that happens in 2024 or not remains to see, but I will continue to share my thinking on creating user experiences.

I did move the website over to Framer this year (with some great help from Aaron Rolston) and I moved my newsletter back to Convertkit. So far I’m really enjoying both! And I paid for both a year in advance so I wouldn’t be as keen on trying out all the other new shiny things. 🙈

Personal

The big news this year is something I already mentioned in the first paragraph. It’s simply that I’ve worked less. Harvest, my time tracking software, tells me that I’ve billed nearly 1200 hours this year as compared to 2000 hours the year before. Next year marks the 15 year anniversary of me running my own company and I’m beyond proud that I’ve been able to do it for so long while staying profitable every year.

I did get to travel more this year and I loved visiting Palma, New York, and Rhodes earlier this year. I also enjoyed Way out West in Gothenburg this summer and I’m looking forward to returning next summer!

I got to meet Louise in Copenhagen and Amanda in New York! Two of my favorite collaborators who have both become dear friends.

Besides work, a lot of my time and focus have been on our house as well as hanging out with Anna and Taylor. I had forgotten how much work a puppy can be! She’s starting to calm down (music cue: Taylor Swift - You need to calm down) and loves to cuddle up next to you in the sofa. 🥰 Speaking of Taylor Swift, extremely excited to see her live in Stockholm this coming May!

Other personal news include switching to an insulin pump after taking shots for nearly 40(!) years. It’s still new, but the general impression is that I wouldn’t want to go back. My diabetes is something I’ve been ignoring these last years (not good) so I’m trying to shape up (figuratively, I feel like physically I’m in decent shape?). It’s a struggle some days, I won’t lie but I think it’s worth investing my time in.

Looking forward

I typically have a clear vision of what’s to come, but I have to say that 2024 still feels pretty much like an open book that is hiding many surprises. Again, I think this is a good thing that I’m trying to embrace. I’m looking forward to a couple of speaking engagements that I’ve booked, to continue the work with Summer Health (but hey, also accepting new projects so get in touch), and to enjoy every day. I’m so looking forward to this spring and summer when I can have my breakfast on the porch again. That’s my little slice of heaven!

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