Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

10 things to do in the next decade

Posted by shannonclark on September 13, 2007

The usual format might be “things to do before you die” but instead of that, I’m going to list a much more immediate set of life goals.

  1. Improve my health. Lose at least20lbs, 40 is even better, figure out an exercise for my upper body like my walking 3-4 miles a day for my legs – my legs are in great shape, my upper body not so much. Also some long put off time with a dentist. Target – by end of 2008, dentist by end of 2007
  2. Visit Turkey. I spent most of my time in college studying Byzantine, Ottoman and Armenian history. Yet somehow I have never been to the part of the world I spent so much time learning about in depth. Target – by end of 2010 have spent 2-4 weeks exploring Turkey
  3. Have a home that feels fully furnished. For over a decade my living space has been furnished in a mix of free, cheap, and only slightly functional furniture. I haven’t ever had a fully “finished” room in any home I’ve lived in on my own. Takes money, sure, but also just spending the time and getting it done finally. For the moment this means: buying rugs, buying dressers, desks, chairs, lights, curtains, and a few other pieces of furniture. Target – by end of 2008.
  4. Travel in Asia. I have been to India. Once. I need to go back there for many more weeks. Also to Singapore (to eat especially), to Tokyo & Japan, to Hong Kong, to China, to Thailand, and to Vietnam (where I never took up an invitation from the Ambassador to the US to visit him in Vietnam!). Target – at least one trip by end of 2009, many many more each year there after.
  5. Start a family. Tricky without a partner (female in my case) but by the end of the decade with or without a partner I hope to be in a position to have a family. Which does mean adoption possibly if I don’t have a long term relationship (probably a marriage but that choice is a mutual one). Target – by 2015 take steps if not already in progress.
  6. Attend conferences I have long wanted to attend. Best case as a speaker, but in any case stop reading about them and attend them. Specifically at the top of this list is the TED Conference but there are a few other events I have long wanted to attend which are similar (Rennaissance Weekend’s New Years Even event, Davros, The Aspen Institute’s conference, Poptech -which I have attended in the past). On a related note, I want to have the time (and money and partner) to “do” a film festival – pay to go, get a festival pass, see lots of great films all at once. Probably not Cannes but rather a smaller but great festival such as the Santa Barbara Film Festival or the Toronto International Film Festival.  Target – attend at least one of the conferences on my list, even if I have to pay for it, by 2008.
  7. Eat meals at a couple of places I have long wanted to try. I have eaten many, many great meals. Cooked some myself, paid for others. But there are a handful of restaurants I have long wanted to try but have not – French Laundry, El Bulli, Masa (In NYC). Total cost for these three meals (assuming I go with one other person and pay for her) is likely about $2500 or so ($1000+ for just Masa). Of course El Bulli would require flying to Spain and French Laundry renting a car (don’t own one) and probalby staying somewhere overnight in Napa Valley. So the total cost would probably be higher still. But in the scheme of life and my personal passion for great food, worth it.  In addition to these very high end places I want to get into a lifelong habit of cooking more for my friends, as well as trying at least one great (and yes sometimes fancy) restaurant each month. It is all to easy for me to fall into a pattern of eating only at inexpensive, mostly ethnic, restaurants, often by myself. Target – share at least one great meal at one of these three restaurants by the end of 2008
  8. Write my book on Economics. Since about 2003/2004 I have been telling friends that I wanted to write a book, since 2006 I have felt ready to write the book. I have offers of introductions to publishers and book agents, I have to get serious about writing a book proposal, pitching the book, selling it and then writing it. For me writing it means getting it published, so this to a degree requires the help of others to achieve, but I am confident in my abilities to both write a great book and to sell it. I do, however, have to follow up and get it done. Target – 2007/2008 I have a bunch of business activities which will keep me rather busy, so a realistic goal here is to have the book in print by 2009, though I do hope it is sooner than that.
  9. Get my degree. I do not have a college degree. I took time off from college, worked for a while, then went back and nearly finished but got busy with work and starting my own company. I never again in my life plan on working for someone else (the exceptions being if a company I’ve started is bought or I hire someone at one of my companies to be my “boss”. See my related list below, I don’t ever expect to need my resume. So this is entirely for myself. Beyond my BA at some point in my life I fully expect to get a PhD as well. Though that may not be in the next decade as I anticipate business will keep me rather busy. Target – by 2010.
  10. Build a long lasting, great company which changes the world. Yes, this is not atypical for many entrepreneurs, but it is one of my long ranging life goals. I don’t want to build a small, “lifestyle” business. Sure the money could be nice but though I do want to build a great company in part to get the flexibility and freedom that comes with wealth and resources even more I want to build something which is self sustaining and worldchanging. A company which impacts many people – possibly in part by employing them, but even more by helping lots of other companies and people to earn money, make a great living and have an impact. I am a capitalist (see above, the book I am writing is on Networked Economics after all) so I want to do this in part by building a self-sustaining great global company. With the resources this will, I hope, bring me, I also will continue to do projects such as MeshForum and MeshWalks which also help change the world. Target – this will be an ongoing part of the next decade, but we have I hope started along this path this year, so it starts in 2007

These are ambitious goals. And beyond these I have numerous smaller, shorter term goals. Organizing my library, catching up on great books I haven’t yet read (and/or going through my 150+ some books “to read” and selling/donating the ones I will never actually get around to reading).

There are some former life goals which I have met, many in this past year.

  1. Buy a custom suit. When I was in India a few years back for a friend’s wedding, I achieved one of my former goals, I had two suits (and a bunch of shirts) custom made for me. These are amazing, great suits and the shirts and suits give me pleasure everytime I wear them. Well worth the cost (which was less than buying an off the rack designer – not even couture or high end – suit and shirts and the fabrics, construction and quality are all higher)
  2. Be able to visit NYC without needing a hotel room. Eventually I expect, possibly in the next decade, that I have a place of my own in NYC and even live there for some of the year (and hopefully still have a place in San Francisco and likely one or two other homes at least one of which is outside the US). But earlier this year I started having enough friends in NYC and near NYC that I have not needed a hotel room in New York though I have visited there many times in the past months.
  3. Have a home where I can host friends. Growing up and even to this day my parents often opened up our home to guests. We hosted exchange students, visiting musicians, friends and family. For me, the ability to be a host, to share my home with my friends (and help them avoid needing a hotel room) has always been part of what it means to be an adult. But it was not until this year that I have had both a large enough space and the furniture, bedding etc suited for hosting friends. Just a few weeks ago I hosted my business partner, his wife, their 7 year old daughter, and their newborn son. I now have enough beds to accomodate up to 6 guests (a pull out twin sofa bed, two twin studio sofas which can combine to form a king, a fold down full studio sofa, and a queen air mattress with room to use it.  Just this weekend I’m hosting a client of a friend of mine who is a fellow founder of a bootstrapping startup, in town to present at a conference but looking to save money. Being able to do this gives me a great deal of personal pleasure.
  4. Have space for my full library. I own over 1400 books. Most weeks I buy 3-5 new books. Have for most of my adult life. When i lived in Chicago I left many books at my parents, when I moved to the Bay Area in 2006 I fully expected I would have a hard time finding an apartment with lots of wall space (and indeed most places I looked at did not have much). My current apartment has nearly 100 feet of wall space which I can fill with bookcases. I have much of my library out on shelves already, in meeting my goal of furnishing my home a part of that will be expanding my bookcases to accommodate the rest of my collection, something which is, thankfully, among the easier parts of my goals.
  5. Help my friends change the world. A few years ago, back when I lived in Chicago, though my personal network was large and I tried to have an impact (and did manage to hold a great conference in 2005 thanks in no small part to my extended network) I little imagined that I would routinely read about my friends in the Wall Street Journal, in the New Yorker, in the pages of many other business magazines. Or that I would see their books in bookstores everywhere, including airports, and on best seller lists. But in the past few years that has become almost routine. And as a proxy measure for the impact my friends are having it seems a reasonable one. My friends now are routinely speaking at conferences, being interviewed on television, running worldchanging companies (and blogs) and in short helping change the world in countless ways. My small contributions give me great pleasure. And no, thse are not “frienda” in the weak, social network sense of the word, these are folks I’ve invited to my home for brunch, whose children I have met, whose bbqs I have attended. I keep pinching myself but we are changing the world. And that’s really cool.

I have a busy decade ahead of me. I plan on revisiting this post from time to time. It is my public reminder of what I am really trying to do.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: