The Summer in Numbers
I left my job as head of digital products at goop at the beginning of the summer. There are certainly worse fates than being unemployed in the summer in New York City and I decided not to jump into the first full-time job that presented itself but rather to use the time to meet with as many people as possible while I figured out what to do next. I also had a few ideas of my own that had been tickling at the edges of my brain that I’d been unable to focus on while running product, design and UX at a high-growth start-up and that I wanted to investigate.
So I picked up a few consulting projects to cover my expenses and I jumped in to what I came to call the Summer of Discovery. The Summer of Discovery was SPF-slicked, frizzy and fueled by caffeine. But most of all it was energizing and creative and reminded me that what I’ve always enjoyed doing most is getting out and about and talking to people of different stripes to spark creativity and to put ideas together.
You’ve all read the posts on applying design principles to your life, especially during moments of self-reflection. I’ll spare you that same post. Instead, here’s what the summer of discovery looked like by the numbers:
68: The number of new people I met through generous friends and associates. One of my objectives in joining goop was to expand my network to include more entrepreneurs and start-up and venture employees. The majority of new contacts forged over the summer are in that cohort so this number is particularly gratifying. Adding in those already in my professional network who met with me to offer their counsel takes the total to 93. People were incredibly generous of their time and networks across the board, and for this I am grateful.
2: Those who went above and beyond to connect me forward. While a great many people were kind enough to put me in touch with others, a special shout out goes to Kenny Herman and Tamara Rosenthal, who each singlehandedly connected me to more people than anyone else this summer.
78: Meetings where food or drink was involved. This does not count calls where I was eating while talking or meetings taken in-office, of which there were many, many more.
34: Coffee meetings, a subset of meetings where food and drink was involved. (Not including coffees with friends that were purely for fun and definitely among the highlights of being out and about during the summer months.) I counted five “professional” coffees on one day in five different parts of the city, at the mercy of the schedules of those kind enough to agree to meet with me. I had way too many of Stumptown’s cold brew coffee with chocolate (Tim Julien, I hold you to blame for this).
1: Serious illness. I somewhat overextended myself in June, figuring that the meeting momentum would die out as the summer went on and the city quieted down — which did not ultimately prove out — and I contracted shingles. Should you undertake your own summer of discovery I would urge you to optimize for the geographical distribution of your daily meetings early in your process and avoid contracting this incredibly painful virus.
4: Start up business ideas. Two good enough to put some cycles against. One meeting with Goldman Sachs and priceless support from across my peer group. (Find me if you have an affinity for solving problems for the growing special needs population!)
1: TV series watched. I had high hopes for catching up on all the great TV I’ve missed recently (like, since having children — the list is long!) but only got through Billions. I’ve never been much of a TV watcher but this stat is low to goal even by my standards. Billions, though, was great. Adding Season 2 to the watch list.
4: Books read. This number is lower than I would have liked. The summer started out quite promising on the book reading front but a) I just couldn’t get into The Girls but kept trying to make that relationship work and b) I got time-sucked into trying to beat my seven-year old’s score at Threes.
323: Games of Threes played. Not a stat I’m particularly proud of since it represents time I might have spent better elsewhere.
28,113: Highest Threes score attained. I was aiming for 40,000 but am abandoning that quest — and Threes — now that Fall is upon us. (I did, however, totally cream my seven year-old. Now is that something to show for the summer or what?!)
8,800: Steps the average New Yorker walks daily in the summer months. I don’t use a fitbit so I had to borrow this metric but — at roughly four miles a day — it feels about right. Rediscovering my city on foot was a highlight of the summer.
27: In minutes, my best 5K time of the summer. Now: to keep that up on the treadmill in the winter months.
2: Pounds I lost. I had higher hopes for the summer of fitness but alas despite the miles walked daily all those lattes (see “coffee meetings” above) caught up with me.
1: Great new skin care line discovered: TULA, whose CEO @Julia Straus was kind enough to meet me — and to give me samples! — early in the summer. Probiotic skin care: recommend!
3: Visits to Canada. Twice to see my family in Montreal and once way off the grid in Fogo Island, Newfoundland, the northernmost I’ve traveled to in my homeland and a truly exceptional place.
12: The number of times I wore a colored bra under a white shirt after talking with the team at Cup of Jo about the popularity of and response to their post on the matter.
2: New friends. It’s not often you find a really good new friend as an adult/working mom, and I was lucky enough to make two this summer. Hopefully you know who you are.
3: Friends lost this summer. Sadly, a small handful of friends and acquaintances have passed away in the past year or so. May the coming Jewish New Year see you and raise you on good health.
4: Consulting jobs undertaken. Two worked on with friends (Eliot Pierce, Ronit Weinberg), which made the projects that much more fun (especially when we got to meet at the Nomad Library Bar and build decks over plates of French fries).
6: Companies that approached me about real, open positions. Three of which remain incredibly interesting to me. We shall see. Onwards!