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2013 Annual Review

2013 was a turbulent year for me, but a great one. Tons of experiments, growth and realisations. Building upon the habit started last year with my 2012 review I’ll share some highlights of my close-of-year self analysis below. My review of 2013 turned into a mammoth document again, I’d been saving up thoughts and lists and it’s taken a few days, still, I enthuse you to try reviewing your time, it’s a worthwhile process and gives useful insight.

Note: With big intent for 2014 I will be moving to a new blog where I can be more focused and share only the big great/painful stuff, it’ll focus on concious self development and will be the future home of this kind of post. Visit for up to date info on this. For now, back to last year:



In 2013 I read 2x more books than in 2012, I’ve been intentionally amping up my reading. 2013 was a fantastic year for inspiration and looking back over the list of titles I’m glad to say that most were solid reads. Autobiographies gave me great inspiration for living and learning, with a smattering of modern thought tethering it all to today. I was initially looking for role models I could gleam advice from, seeking to replicate – but I ultimately found so much more in a lot of these books.

Here’s my 2013 pick, I can’t recommend these enough:

  • The Authentic Swing – Steven Pressfield. Epic reading for any writer.
  • Andrew Carnegie Autobiography and Gospel of Wealth. Inspiring autobiography, though I was told by the museum guy at the Carnegie Birthplace Museum in Dunfermline (I visited this year!) that the book Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw is far more accurate, as the family published the former after Carnegies death and so it’s edited with rose tinted glasses.
  • My Life and Work – Henry Ford. Epic story of perseverance, a wealth of information for any modern production business/entrepreneur, especially software houses.
  • My Inventions – Nikola Tesla. Tesla is a total hero. This autobiography is made up of essays originally published in a magazine, he talks at length about the concious and imagination. A great man, I shall definitely read more.
  • The Time Machine – H.G. Wells. Reading great literature is rewarding, even more so when it’s an authors first book and it happens to be amazing. Reading the quick preface at the start of this book was inspiring to me as a writer.
  • The Art of Learning  – Josh Waitzkin. Dudes amazing, just read it.
  • Psycho Cybernetics – Maxwell Maltz. More interesting stuff on the concious/subconscious. I’ve developed some useful practices from this one.
  • Plato’s Symposium. There is some fantastic philosophy in this book, on love and education and learning.
  • The Richest Man in Babylon I’ll reread this book every year. Keep your revenue streaming!
  • $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau. If your building product online, read this.
  • Rights of Man – Thomas Paine.
  • Purple Cow – Seth Godin. Be different as a core principle.
  • Startup Playbook. Hundreds of good coffee-table nuggets.
  • John Maynard Keynes Biography. Interesting character was Keynes!
  • Four Hour Work Week (4HWW). Another annual read. This year I looked at 4HWW with fresh eyes. I keep reminding myself that Ferriss wrote it after a fairly big financial success, and that the first big hit might take longer hours. I’m building Efficacy into my days though despite this, I now work MED 6 hours in two 3 hour stints.
  • From third world to first – Lee Kuan Yew. Long, dry but interesting. Learn how a modern government could work. Certainly none of them work effectively from my point of view, but there’s elements here which could improve them ten fold, if we can get enough determined men like Lee Kuan Yew to take office.
  • Without Their Permission – Alexis Ohanian. Dude co-founded reddit, you have to read what he has to say 🙂 A pleasant book with a good call to action and a solid message.

[None of these are affiliate links.]


Talks, Podcasts, Videos, Music

Glad to have found all of these. Thanks to the friends who’ve shared links and the authors that have lead me to find them. The Joe Rogan Experience podcast is the most coherent thing to my vision of my own existence I have found all year, props to Joe for having rational conversations that tip the balance to positive. Add Akala & Low Key to the mix and I see a future.

Akala – Find No Enemy


2013 was a full year of “work”. I consulted for ~3 months, building several WordPress plugins and a few web app prototypes, after which I became CTO at SAM, building the MVP there. Towards the close of the year I’ve now reset my goals and started working on the future of StormGate and Woody Hayday, in business terms (I’m looking for software problems to fix & finishing my novel!)

Social Gallery – Social Gallery moved in to the Epic suite of WordPress plugins, it’s since gone on to continue to sell well and is constantly in the “top sellers this week” section on CodeCanyon. It’s now beaten 2k sales and is on its way to 3k.

SAM – Social Asset Management ( – I joined SAM as CTO in March 2013 at inception stage and spent six months building the first MVP. SAM is a platform for media professionals to find and manage Social Assets (tweets, instagram photos etc.) in a modern, coherent way. It’s at the leading edge of innovation in the market and I’m glad I took it to MVP. I got to stretch my legs with almost all of AWS, and up to date JS. I moved on from SAM in October but I am confident it’s going to be a big success, definitely one to watch. James (CEO/Co Founder) continues to be an inspiration.

Writing/Other/Futures – In the last part of 2013 I began experimenting with a few options. I started working towards releasing my sci-fi novel in 2014 (perhaps August – click here to get notified), but for bread and butter I’ve been working on some software projects (SaaS for freelancers, authors and many other ideas!). I also finalised a joint venture that will begin in January. I’m keen to keep a fairly open field until I find something which matches my desired conditions.



We didn’t intend to travel that much in 2013, what with moving house, twice. We started in Belgium, moved back to Hertfordshire and still fitted in West Wales, Edinburgh, Dunfermline (Carnegie!) Great Yarmouth, Amsterdam (IBC2013) and finished the year in Romania. I couldn’t think of a better place to spend some time than Sinai with good friends! Now we are back in the home counties we are having lots of great evenings out in London and a few good talks too, it was a highlight of 2013 to go to four Akala gigs, his last featuring Low Key especially.



Time Management

In 2012 I started logging time I spend on a computer against projects. This was in part for consultancy billing but developed into a total analysis of my time spent. In 2013 I logged every minute I spent at a computer, tagging the time against a project (I used Toggl, which is excellent.) The process was interesting, as are the results. Doing this is definitely a solid step towards efficacy in your everyday life.

Time logged: 2871 Hours 54 Minutes

Or: Average 55 hours a week / 8 hours a day!


Here’s the distribution of my time – the big blue section is SAM, the other projects seem to share out quite evenly!

  • Email took up way less time than I had expected, totalling around 53 hours (just over an hour a week!) – I had been purposely lean on this in 2013, trying to avoid all “busy work”. Success.
  • “Lunch Reading” took up a bigger chunk than I had expected, though was still less than most people traditionally spend on lunch breaks.
  • I spent more time in the gym than I remembered!
  • I spent less than 100 hours playing computer games (Command and Conquer, Battlefield) – Again I was trying to keep lean here.
  • Several little projects produced fantastic returns per hour overall. I wonder how this scales.


2013 Summary

2013 was a long year. I’ve shown a fraction of it here, but the years busy turbulence has stretched time and stretched me. I happily chalk the to’s and fro’s of 2013 up to necessary change, it’s been bold but I’m in a better place because of it.
We’ve moved house twice, one of those times was across two countries. I built a hardcore MVP, a log cabin, several app prototypes, landing pages, documents, desks and relationships. I sold Social Gallery, I mentored. I blew the dust off my sci-fi novel and started re-editing. I hope these achievements will reinforce in me my capacity to build, deliver, persevere. I am not an idle man. Achieving my intent may take me several attempts in micro, but in macro it’ll resolve. As I ended last year thinking on “persistence” so do I this year. Persistence and Perseverance will mark 2014 as the foundational year to my next era.
I’m grateful for all 2013’s happenings and challenges as much as its successes. Above all else I’m grateful to my family, friends, to Alice and to my unknowing inspirations & life guides: Carnegie, Ferriss, Ford, Guillebeau for their awesome business minds. Tesla, Waitzkin and Pressfield for reminding me to be me. Joe Rogan, Munger, Molyneux, Hancock for their needed rational address. Akala, Low Key & Braintax for their soulful reminders to do good.
 I’ll not say anything about 2014 yet, but I’ll leave you with my thoughts at the close of this year, these are personal, but I wanted to share them anyway.
  • Stay True to your Self Image (You have no choice, ultimately, the subconscious will make you. The alternative is distress.)
  • Plan for Chaos
  • Take Big Decisions Slowly
  • People can be Mediocre & Corruptible, but the world does have Good
  • What seems disparate, fragmented or hard in the micro can make sense in the macro
  • Have the next project rolling before finishing the current
  • To stay content I have to channel my hyper amounts of energy effectively
  • Floatation Tanks Kick Ass.
  • Let it go. Discipline.

Have an epic 2014, do good and be your awesome self.

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  1. Posted January 4, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Excellent all around. Snagged a few books you recommended. Glad to hear things are rockin!

  2. Posted January 4, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Cheers Nick. Thanks for reading 🙂 Hope you get as much out of the books as I did.

    Keep killing it dude, you are inspirational.

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  1. By 2014 Plan: Futures. | Woody Hayday | Blog on January 6, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    […] 6, 2014By Woody On Saturday I posted up my 2013 review, sharing part of my ongoing attempt to bring order to my life and self. Below you can read the […]

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