Ryan Rodenbaugh's personal site

Reflections on 2019

Reflections on 2019

2019 was a good year and I am looking forward to a lot of change in 2020. Some lessons/reflections and random notes

  1. If I lived outside the US, I would live in Asia. I spent a good portion of 2019 (and late 2018) living in Asia full-time for work in Hong Kong, China, and Korea. For all of the handwaving about China, it’s a very enjoyable place to live. Things are relatively inexpensive, it’s easy to travel around the country, and it has a real fun wild-west vibe to it
  2. While I was living abroad, I also spent a lot of time being a solo tourist and I have a newfound appreciation for being a lone traveler. I got to do all the weird things I wanted to do that no one else would be interested in.
  3. Deep friendships > shallow friendships. When I moved back to SF this year, I realized one of the reasons why I think I had not liked the city at first was because I had a lot of shallow and fleeting friendships. I am making an effort to spend more time with a few people, while still being open to meeting many people. Some tradeoffs there.
  4. “Poor distribution is the number one cause of failure.” is a lesson from Peter Thiel’s Zero to One, which I read but had not internalized. I will never make the mistake of overlooking this again
  5. If you are lucky, the best kind of business to be in is one where you really love your customers and the people you are selling to/building products. There were many times this year when I felt that and it was a great feeling.
  6. Writing, both in public (blog, etc.) and in private (internal company docs), is one of the most powerful ways to convey your thinking, 10x your ability, and get in front of a broad audience who might not otherwise see your thoughts
  7. Dedicating time to think is a good use of time. Work-wise, I am guilty of often being very in the weeds and not spending time to sit back and think about things at the “3,000-mile high level”. As a practice, I have found that when I spend dedicated time doing this that I am able to generalize and share my thoughts at a much higher level.
  8. A lesson I am always relearning in different ways… keeping great care of your health is super important. Dieting well, working out, having healthy relationships, etc.
  9. It’s useful to connect people you know to each other and see how they can benefit each other. Being recognized as a person who can make good connections is a nice place to be in
  10. Being decisive is important and it’s good to recognize when you’re avoiding making tough decisions


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First published on December 31, 2019