2020 Goals

Posted on January 8, 2020

I’ve already written here about how I find September as much of a time for a fresh start as January. But this time around I’m feeling optimistic and I have several things I to look forward to over the rest of 2020. Does this mean my previous post was wrong? In terms of outcomes it must but I can offer the following mitigating circumstances:

  1. I was unusually quiet over the festive period. In fact I had two full weeks without having to do any client work at all which is the longest holiday I’ve had for some time.
  2. The weather today is lovely (albeit quite breezy) and I’ve been outside in the sun
  3. I’ve had two (!!) new business enquiries this week which is a lot for me and it makes me feel optimistic. Converting them into actual successful business opportunities is another story though…

Because of all this I’ve been putting some time into thinking what I want to achieve in 2020.


My original rowing goal (set in September) for the season was to be in the top final for the single scull at one of the big multilane regattas. Because British Rowing have decided not to run a national championship this year this effectively means being in the fastest six scullers (or being lucky with the draw) at either the Metropolitan regatta or Marlow regatta both of which are at Dorney Lake - the London 2012 Olympic venue.

Earlier in December I came 105th in a time trial race on the Thames called Sculler’s Head. Time trial racing, especially on the tidal Thames, is very different from multilane regatta racing and there were definitely a few things that went wrong on the day that I know I can fix by the Summer. But the fact of the matter is that 105th is a very low placing for someone with the above ambition so I think I probably just have too much ground to make up between now and June.

However, there are plenty of other races worth entering so I want to focus on the process of my training for now and then see how the racing season develops. I’ll know if I’ve succeeded at this when, once it is over, I can honestly say “I’ve tried hard this year”.


One of the problems I find with being a solo consultant is that it is difficult to take long holidays away from the Internet. My life has been somewhat lacking in adventure since going out on my own; a major advantage of being employed is that you can go on holiday and not have to worry about work stuff while you are away.

This year I’d like to get out for more adventures. These will probably have to be of the “mini” variety unless the stars align with client work in the summer. Can you help with this?

I started the year well in this respect by going climbing on New Year’s Day. Only one (short, easy) route but the first time I’ve been out like this for a long time.

This goal will conflict a bit with rowing. Rowing seems to be a sport where success requires you to be very rigid and consistent with training and I don’t find the training very adventurous at all. So I guess we’ll see how this turns out.


I have two main goals for business:

  1. I am really enjoying my work with Haymarket Automotive on classifying user intent using machine learning. Another client like this would mean I was spending a very large percentage of my time on work that I both find interesting and that allows me to position myself as a trendy domain expert for ML.
  2. I’d like to make some money (any money - even a tiny amount) from something that doesn’t amount to just billing hours. I have the skills to make simple SAAS products and something like this would be really cool but most likely this goal will be fulfilled by some kind of “productised” consulting.