2022 Review & 2023 Goals
By Ian Kar
What’s up guys—today’s the last issue of Fintech Today of 2022. What a long year—2021 was brutal but adjusting to post-pandemic life is a different shade of difficult.
Personally, this was probably one the best years of my life. I somehow got Stevie to marry me (still surprising to me to this day) and I definitely feel like the luckiest person in the world. Being Stevie’s husband is extremely fulfilling and I’m really excited about the next chapter of our lives together. There’s this chart that keep floating around mapping out how much time one spends with different types of people—friends, coworkers, significant others. The significant other line is…significant—its one of the only lines that actually goes up as we get older. So I’m glad that I not only found someone that I enjoy spending a ton of time with, but someone I’m excited to spend more and more time with too.
Other big life changes: I started seeing a therapist, consistently this time (shoutout to Pam, the 🐐.) I’ve had a lot of mixed feelings in the past on therapy, and Indian parents have a ton of negative feelings towards it, so that’s probably why I was so ambivalent about it. But, I’m a complicated, anxiety-filled person that has a lot of trauma from past relationships and my life in general. Now that I have someone else in my life, I don’t want to have them carry my emotional baggage for me. I tend to ignore problems and hope they go away—part of maturing has shown me that I need to confront and deal with shit head on.
Another adjustment: I’ve gone pretty sober in the second half of the year. I definitely have used alcohol to numb stress and difficult situations in my life; when I turned 30 I realized that it not only doesn’t help but often makes situations way worse. Plus health-wise, alcohol isn’t that healthy. And lastly, and the biggest reason—I’m really excited and really want to start the next chapter of my life; if that’s the case, I don’t want to be the kind of father and husband that can’t handle stress in a healthy and normal way.
It’s been both way harder and way easier than I expected—the harder part is not succumbing to peer pressure, which definitely has happened in the past. The easier part is I don’t really miss it at all? I’ve always secretly been more of a homebody than I let on, and I only really used to go out under the guise of “networking.” Going out was kinda fun while it lasted but very superficial and not fulfilling at the same time; you realize that it’s the same exact thing over and over again. I do love hanging out with my friends but have been pushing myself to find new alternatives to hanging out with them rather than just going out.
Professionally, this year’s been a fucking mess—which has been really difficult for me mentally and health-wise. I timed the market really wrong and picked one of the worst times to raise a fund in the past 15 years and my earnings this year have been at nearly an all time low (I made more when I was 21 than I did in 2022). I’ve always tied my self worth to my professional success, so unless I’m thriving I feel like I’m failing. And a stagnant professional life doesn’t feel like a successful one by any means.
I could go on and on but frankly I feel and sound very ungrateful. Our fund has a ton in commitments and we have some incredible institutions on board—it’s just not going as fast as I would like (I’m very impatient). I got dinner with a fund manager friend who told me that he hadn’t gotten paid in 8 months. At least I had some income coming in, he reminded me. With the economy turning south, I’m thankful that I at least have a job with health insurance.
Doing a fund has been also extremely fulfilling for me personally—I love helping people and I love helping founders achieve their dreams and vision. We’ve been working with founders and have helped them achieve big breakthroughs in their companies, and now they’re absolutely ripping. We’ve also mainly invested in non-white folks and women, and I do think that we have the power to change a lot of the dynamics in venture that seem to remain constant despite everyone talking about it nonstop. It’s a good thought exercise to think about what you want to focus your energy and time on for the next 10-20 years—for me, that’s 100% building a venture fund that enables entrepreneurship and innovation in highly regulated sectors. And, as my mother always says, if it was easy everyone would do it.
So what am I thinking about for 2023? Great question, glad you asked. Here are some high level goals that I’m hoping to accomplish:
- Build More Structure & Discipline: There was a brief period of time where I was waking up at 5AM—that has certainly not been the case in 2022. I’m hoping to get back to having more structure and discipline in 2023: having a more strict sleeping pattern, working out regularly, and planning my days better.
- Read More: I used to love reading—I got banned from the library as a kid because I used to skip class to go read. I don’t do nearly enough reading now—I spent a lot of time consuming internet content, but most of the shit on the internet feels worthless to me. I’m going to start carving out time every day to read.
- Create More Audio/Video Content: I dunno if y’all know this but I love creating content. And as much as I love writing, I really want to create more audio and visual content in 2023. FTT Q&A’s have been going great but converting it into an audio format might be an exciting next step to explore.
- Go Back To Building Communities: There’s something oddly fulfilling about building a community—seeing people interact and meet and learn from each other is really exciting. As a preseed fund manager, it’s also pretty much a part of my job now. I think with there are a ton of new things to explore when thinking about building a community from scratch—physical locations, integrating Web3, and focusing on younger operators and founders.
- Back To Building: I really miss building something. Starting a venture capital firm definitely qualifies but I miss actually building a product. There’s something about the 0 to 1 stage of having a hypothesis and seeing whether its true or not that’s exciting for me. Then there’s the improvement phase, of tweaking and editing products to make sure it has the most product market fit. Taking some time off from building something has been good but I’m excited to get back into it too.