An 8 Min Diary: Thinking About 2024 🌏

Reflecting on the year ahead

XQ
The Eden Of XQ

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At the end of every year, I sit down and pen my thoughts about the year that has passed, stuff that I did, some predictions and plans for the future.

In the world of tech, 2023 was the year of AI. For me, it was the year of spontaneous projects encompassed by an overarching plan.

2023 was by far my most peaceful and stable year yet. I had more control over my time, personal finances, plans, and almost every other aspect of life than ever before. Work projects were concluding well. I was writing many articles, building many projects, and exploring technology that I found fun and fascinating.

Part of this outcome might be due to how I look at life and plan things.

Minimalistic mindset, being truly independent (socially, emotionally, and financially), planning things way ahead of time, finding inner peace, prioritizing myself, and living on my terms without succumbing to any social narratives — all of it (and more) certainly helped.

My motto has often been all about thinking slowly, living steadily, and optimizing for peace and comfort — and I advocate for everyone to think through this lens.

It’s a beautiful place to be.

Let’s first revisit a few goals I set for myself in my thinking about 2023 diary.

  1. To create more video content
    I actually made some video content on the xqbuilds YouTube channel and Instagram account. That was fun.
  2. To scale my LinkedIn account to 100K followers
    It barely moved, and the reach actually reduced by more than 50% in 2023. Thanks to the unfavorable algorithmic changes and deletion of inactive accounts. I had ~45K followers at the start of 2023, and now I am near 48K followers. I feel that’s okay as I continued creating content I connected with and enjoyed, rather than trying to be someone I am not or creating shallow reaction-inducing content just for the sake of public appeal or for the algorithm.
  3. To update and add more features to xqbuilds.com
    This went above and beyond the wildest expectations. I added many updates to the website and learned a lot of stuff along the way.
  4. Build an app incorporating generative AI.
    While I wanted to build a mobile app, I made an AI-based product called TechFlix. I think I will plan a mobile app version of it for 2024.
  5. Make a new habit that can help me reach 10k steps even on days I work from home.
    This was something I couldn’t figure out in 2023. On days I go to the office, I walk around and easily finish the 10K steps. On WFH days, keeping the steps consistent was just too hard. One suggestion I got was to take multiple 10-minute breaks throughout the day to walk around. I never could implement it properly. Let’s hope 2024 will be better.
  6. Build a video game, a goal I couldn’t achieve in 2022.
    Unfortunately, this remains a goal I couldn’t achieve in 2023 either. It was at the back of my mind for some time, but I was never motivated to explore the domain this year as I was busy with AI.

Highlights of 2023

  1. 2023 is the year I reached a sort of breakeven lean FIRE where the least passive income that can be generated from my net worth exceeds my monthly living expenses. All while doing a normal job, living a normal life. I neither had the highest paying jobs in the industry nor any successful side hustle.
    Given that I meticulously plan personal finances, it felt refreshing. It shows that anyone can achieve this in a short time frame with a proper strategy. It gives a shift in the mindset and leverage to work on things that I truly want to work on. Of course, I am not retiring anytime soon, and there will be a lot of liabilities coming my way in the future, which may require more cashflows. I talk about retirement plans in a recent diary entry if you want to pick my brain more.
  2. This was also the year I greatly enjoyed my work as a software engineer. It has been super flexible and chill, especially in the second half of the year. I worked on some new technologies and got a lot of autonomy in execution and figuring things out. I had incredible flexibility in work timings and hybrid work. I also took enough time off to slow down, relax, take rest or sometimes to explore side projects. It was a good year overall in terms of satisfaction and balance.
  3. I did my first every masterclass + webinar series in 2023. I am normally averse to video content or live events. However, I wanted to put myself out there to pick new skills and it was quite refreshing. I hope to do more of it in 2024.
  4. Thanks to ChatGPT, I impulsively worked on many different things. I have done and documented many projects, from publishing my first Python package to creating TechFlix to making PicToWebP. I also created custom GPTs to automate some of my workflows and wrote a lot of tutorials on AI and software engineering. I also started a news and media website on the side. In terms of productivity, this has to be my best year yet.

What Next?

Photo by Lili Popper on Unsplash

The world is on an exponential curve. Every other week, we get some AI product updates. My productivity has improved tremendously, too.

Amidst all of that, these are the trends that I feel will play out aggressively in the next few years.

As always, the best way to predict the future is to create it.

Automation and Agents

It’s not an if but when. The AI ecosystem is quite mature to bring end-to-end automation solutions. I am creating custom GPTs and software to help with my use cases already.

Agent driven, AI powered automation will be everywhere within a few years. I want to automate my life and work as much as possible. Most businesses will also move in this direction.

What will I do after I automate everything?

Upskilling and combining my own expertise with AI automation to arrive at the best of both worlds and decision-making over the final outputs delivered.

All of this will also help me track multiple projects and domains single-handedly, which is exactly what I want.

It will also give us more free time to explore new stuff and think about new possibilities.

Any task that can be automated will be automated.

With LLMs in the equation, that’s almost all the tasks in white-collar jobs, leaving the human parts of accountability, decision-making, quality checks, and approvals.

Consolidation and Aggregation

We are moving towards the age of information abundance. There are just too many sources to track. Too many newsletters, too many YouTube channels, too many subscriptions, too many podcasts, too many social media platforms and too many creators to follow.

There’s also a lot of overlap in the content where people say the same things repeatedly.

I felt this problem in 2023, and it will only worsen.

I don’t want to miss out on any useful content. At the same time, I want to give my attention to sources of the highest quality and depth. I think a lot of people feel these issues.

Social media algorithms aren’t helping, either. In fact, they are getting worse as we speak.

Every company is moving towards being a content company.

Every creator is moving towards building businesses around their content.

Personal content aggregation platforms (or systems) will soon be a thing.

I intend to create one of my own, too (Techflix is part of it).

The goal would be to consolidate resources customized to one's personal needs and interests.

The next step is putting everything together on a single user interface.

The way we consume content will change a lot. Building tools and solutions in this space should be interesting.

Build in Public

The “build in public” movement will get bigger, better, and more mature than ever before. In fact, I will be launching an initiative called “Bootcamps” that embrace this phenomenon.

There are enough examples and roadmaps out there for people to take this seriously. From students looking for a job to founders of early-stage companies, building in public will become a go-to strategy.

I embrace the same.

If you have never learned or built anything publicly, please check how it works and read the success stories of those who adopted it.

This movement is bringing fundamental shifts in how people hire talent and how founders attract users and investors. It’s a very interesting trend to watch out for. Many side benefits come from it, like access to stakeholders, distribution, collaboration opportunities, work visibility, and talent inflation.

If no one knows how amazing you are, companies will rather hire someone they find online who showed their work more than you.

In fact, no one will know that you even exist.

So, show your work. Build in public.

Surprisingly, it often beats pedigree education or traditional paths and courses. It also bypasses any paper rules that the world operates with in hiring and career growth.

Like with every year, I kept a few goals for 2024. As always, I want to practice slow living and try these things at my own pace. No rush, no race. There are no thresholds, targets, or upper limits.

I want to look at these goals more qualitatively and the potential of what’s possible.

  1. To create more high-quality and well-planned content on social media. I don’t want to keep some target like 100K followers this time. I want to focus on content that I feel satisfied with and attract a community of people with long attention spans and those who really value diverse thoughts and deep insights. I want to upgrade my game a bit by re-learning language, storytelling and writing. As a part of this, I will be focusing more on my Medium content and bootcamps.
  2. To bring TechFlix 1.0 to life, along with a dedicated mobile app for the same. It’s a fun challenge with a lot of exploration and learning where I’m literally donning the hat of every single role from a CTO to a CPO to a CMO and more — a one person army. Let’s see where it goes! That said, I’ll recommend everyone to pick a niche problem statement like this and try building a 0 to 1 product, all by yourself. It’s great for upskilling, showing proof of work and discovering the exact type of work that you want to do.
  3. To do more technical writing as a service (blog content, documentation, tutorials, sponsored posts, newsletters). If you are running a tech startup and want to scale your deep tech content and community game, feel free to contact me on LinkedIn.

That’s it. That’s a lot, too, in a way.

The key focus will be to build content assets, technology, and distribution while optimizing for freedom of time, efficiency, control, and how I want to do something.

I wonder how things will scale. Let’s reflect back at the end of the year.

Current Distribution Metrics

  • LinkedIn: 47800 followers
  • TechFlix Weekly: 143 subscribers
  • Instagram (@xqbuilds): 174 followers
  • Medium: 1083 followers (Thank you 💌!)
  • YouTube: 4 subscribers (Yes, I do have a YouTube channel 😂)
  • GitHub: 27 followers and 600+ contributions (My most active year yet)
  • Twitter (X): 209 followers (Planning to be more active here this year)

I don’t have any targets, but I would like to think limitless, go out there and put my best work forward.

Let me end this entry with similar lines I say every year.

All the best to you, too, for a successful year ahead. May you find the inspiration for some strong resolutions, and together, let’s define humanity’s future!

Plan well.

Happy New Year!

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XQ
The Eden Of XQ

Exploring Tech, Life, and Careers Through Content 🚀