New One Just Begun: Looking forward to 2024

Nick Felker
7 min readDec 31, 2023


This post will reflect upon the last year of my life and the goals that I set for myself. I have set a few personal OKRs: Objectives and Key Results. These are quantifiable goals that are set and evaluated every quarter.

It is far more formal than many New Years resolutions, and most goals in general, but it does help me understand and appreciate my accomplishments.

Successes and Failures of 2023

This year I had three overarching themes: Be More Awesome, Achieve High Status, and Setup My Career for the Future.

Here are the scores for each quarter, along with the averages.

Be More Awesome: 0.81/0.61/0.56/0.72

Achieve High Status: 0.63/0.61/0.73/0.66

Setup My Career for the Future: 0.53/0.43/0.72/0.73

Overall: 0.65

I tend to work sequentially. I had some big, long goals such as publishing novels and completing my master’s program. So I will spend hours writing my thesis and then don’t have enough time to cook new things.

Sometimes I need to take a break. I had aimed to do more traveling and see more shows than actually did. I live in New York City and it’s been too long since I actually saw a Broadway show. I think I didn’t manage my goals as much as I wanted.

I did many things that I wanted. I met new people, made new friends, and gave several presentations as a technical expert.

I took a long trip to Ireland, along with shorter trips around the country: DC, Columbus, and Mountain View.

I’ve made a name for myself, with a positive reputation as someone worth listening to.

Onwards to 2024

I have been thinking about the new year a bit. With a lot of things completed, I will have a lot of free time to try new things. So this coming year will be about new horizons.


My first top-level goal is to create in many senses of the word.

I finished my epic fantasy series in December, roughly a million words across six novels. It’s been many years of work and it’s good to be done.

Yet I’m not done with writing. I want to turn away from epic fantasy towards science fiction.

Most sci-fi today is so pessimistic, and that certainly affects our attitudes of the future. I want to come up with more optimistic views, or at least explore a different perspective from the constant doom. I have been publishing these stories on Substack and I want to continue doing it.

These are short stories, ideally digestible in a few minutes every week. It’s a better way to explore a variety of potential futures than trying to create a singular narrative.

But I haven’t finished with fantasy either. I have a bunch of epub files which work fine to reading on a Kindle but isn’t very impressive in paper. I do want to get a boxed set of every book, even if just to stick on my bookshelf. So I will be playing around with epub formatting to create an elegant layout that deserves print.

Maybe I’ll return to the fantasy world that has been built. Many characters who only made brief appearances but deserve larger explorations. There could be a lot of stories left to tell, hopefully in shorter installments.

Writing extends to blogging, which I focused on this year and aim to do more going into the new year. I have become a contributor for Liberal Currents, publishing three essays. I have doubled down on software blogging, sharing my learnings. I want to keep doing this.

But writing may not be enough. A big audience spends their time watching videos. I had done TikTok skits mainly at the start of COVID and that petered off since. Yet I want to keep a foot in this area and try to use it to extend my writing to a new medium.

Technology is also something which can be created. With generative AI becoming more common and usable, I really want to explore techniques such as Retrieval Augmented Generation to better connect data together.

Threads launched this year and I joined right away. It aims to use ActivityPub, a recently popularized technology for decentralized social media. I want to see if I can use it to build some of my own social networks, perhaps finally getting to make the Untappd for Coffee that I’ve been poking at. I could go further to build an Untappd for anything.


Connections are important, linking me to friends and the broader community. I want to double down on this and really make sure I’m doing my part.

This starts with my friends and the book clubs I’m in. I read over 60 books this year and aim to read more next year. In OKR scoring, you are supposed to be ambitious. If you get to 100%, to like I did this year, it means I wasn’t ambitious enough. Getting 70% is better. As such, I aim to read 84 books next year, 21 each quarter.

I also want to revive a D&D community and do more things with the local IEEE.

Ironically it took me a trip to Columbus for the Pokemon International Championships to meet Pokemon players in New York. Pokemon Go has been a useful incentive for me to get outside and make friends, and I am going to try achieving more milestones in the new year.

This also extends online, where I am in various communities. I want to grow my engagement where it makes sense, including Threads. ActivityPub being decentralized should be useful in allowing me to migrate my account elsewhere in the event the app breaks down, unlike Twitter.

Local communities include my neighborhood and city, where I have been tracking places I’ve been through Google Maps. I reached Level 10 this year, getting over 100,000 digital points. There’s nowhere higher to go from here, but I still aim to keep trying new places.

In particular I want to focus on visiting new museums and parks. I also have a longer goal of being able to visit every single of the over 400 stations in the New York City subway. I’m only at 170 today, so there’s a lot more to go.

With my master’s in engineering, I have demonstrated my elevated technical expertise. What will I do next? Develop my career further? Become an adjunct professor? I don’t know, but I have many options available to me.

Digital Zen

Mobile notifications stress me out. I don’t like seeing dozens of notifications when I wake up every morning. Phones have the ability to make our lives so much easier, yet they often don’t. Worse is when we have many computers in our lives and struggle to switch between them.

That isn’t their fault, as they are just machines. How can we, as people, empower and not empower ourselves?

Part of this comes down to the tools that I use. I started down this road at the start of the year by consolidating my to-do lists into Google Tasks and building Ethereal Tasks as a richer desktop management tool.

I recently download Obsidian at the bequest of my friend and so far it seems like a handy tool. Can I use Obsidian as a way to consolidate many apps and data into one place and save me some stress? I have already started using it to write and sync blog drafts on the go, including this one.

Earlier this year I created Evening Discourse as a new tool to help me sort out my long queue of articles to read in Instapaper. Turning articles, which I hardly have time to read, into podcasts that I can listen to on the subway has been a great tool for myself. I want to extend this further to support Feedly. Marking an article there as Read Later can immediately start the text-to-speech process, providing me with more zen.

This ties in with my Create goal as well. Can I use AI to collapse digital bureaucracy and simplify my life? It’s something that I’m keen on exploring.

Happy New Year!

This year has been monumental. Lots of advancements have happened in science and my own life has changed a lot.

While the days seem grim, a lot seems to be happening that we sometimes forget about. Solar energy is cheaper than ever and is quickly becoming a key global energy source. US GDP is up and unemployment is down. Hopefully Artemis 2 will launch in the coming year and continue our exploration of our moon.

I expect this new year to be even more unpredictable.



Nick Felker

Social Media Expert -- Rowan University 2017 -- IoT & Assistant @ Google