Looking back on 2021

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is one of the most beautiful F1 race tracks in the world. Its fast corners and unpredictable weather have always made it super fun to watch. Covid vaccinations created a brief opportunity where Aditi and I could see this race in person so we grabbed it with both hands.

We flew over to Brussels one fine evening and took a designated bus full of F1 enthusiasts the next morning to Spa. The feeling was glorious! We had one of the best seats in the house. Opposite the pits, we could see the cars accelerate from the starting line and enter the first corner jostling with each other.

The morning F3 race was amazing and we were all pumped. Last evening’s qualifying had unexpectedly seen the Williams of George on the front row grid. Max was on Pole and Lewis to start third.

Spa Spa

See the umbrella in the background of this image? It’s quite normal for it to rain at Spa. It’s a feature, not a bug. Or so I thought till the race scheduled to start at 3PM kept getting pushed out in 10/15 min intervals. Finally, at 6 PM we walked 2km down the hill back to our bus since it was on a fixed schedule, absolutely gutted.

On reaching the bus, the driver told us that the race is starting again and we could watch it on the TV here or head back. Aditi was tired of the 12 degree C (feels like 8 with windchill) but I ran all the way back in rain to catch one glimpse. The cars finished two laps behind a safety car before I reached and Max was declared a winner so I got to see nothing but this sign.

Session suspended Session suspended

I started with this story as my 2021 recap since it was just this kind of year on a personal front. Both of us, a lot of my close family and our friends got covid. Some didn’t make it, some still have severe symptoms so it’s a suck-fest.

My personal highlight of the year though was spending our 6th anniversary last week in the miniature wonderland at Hamburg. This place is all kinds of 🥰. I can spend hours talking about it but this video probably does it more justice: https://youtu.be/R669l5CA1YA. I still can’t wrap my head around how much love and care went into creating this. On that note, I also started making Lego again so our plant and book shelves are receiving a ton of plastic friends!

Lego friends Lego friends

Talking about books, I read quite a lot this year. My two favourites:

  1. Project Hail Mary, Andy Weir. I like this one more than Martian. The storyline is gripping and the situational comedy is gold
  2. Bottle of Lies, Katherine Eban. Supremely important book on the generic pharma industry and how incentives shape human behaviour. It was also a jolt to realise how unsafe taking a pill can be.

I also started writing a book on pricing. The first chapter is publicly available here. I’m nearly done with all the other chapters, just doing some edits which will take a few more weeks to wrap up

My chef skills have expanded significantly to brewing and baking. I can now make a mean cup of filter coffee and bake my own bread / pizza from scratch 💪. My next mission is to beat Adi in making Indian food but getting the spice balance right is so damn hard. How do you fight with this perfection?

Kadhi made by Adi Kadhi made by Adi

My new year resolution to move up another quartile of fitness hit a major beta software snag 🤦‍♂️ Can you look at this graph and predict when Apple came out with WatchOS 8 beta? June. I had Covid in Nov so that’s the second inflection. I ran a 5k in -6 degrees and snow the day before yesterday so I can confidently say that next year’s target will be sorted. Apple Health graph

On the professional front, I’ve switched into a general management role at HelloFresh and now lead the reactivation experience globally. There’s much to explore everyday and I’m enjoying myself a whole lot learning from a cross functional team of experts. I have enough time to reflect on things and build which probably makes me more productive than I’ve ever been.

I’m also in a headspace where I’d like to start up again soon. 2022 is promising to be a rather fun year. Here’s wishing the same for you and your family.

P.s. If you’re looking for recommendations for things to do in the new year break, here’s a couple of podcast episodes I really enjoyed this year:

  1. Ep 195: Memories and Things, The seen and the unseen Aanchal Malhotra talked to survivors of India’s partition about things they got from across the border. It’s a fascinating window of insight into the human mind and what people value.
  2. My Conversation with Rory Sutherland: Persuasion, Beer on the Beach, Self-Driving Cars and Japanese Toilets [The Knowledge Project Ep. #19] Mad men always have an interesting pov on the human mind. Rory is no different and makes a strong argument for non utilitarian decision making.


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