I’ve been trying to figure out what to write about 2008. Predictions? Cliche. A “Best of List”? Overdone. And then it hit me…by any objective measure, 2008 sucked. It was a total train wreck. Let’s just look at the highlights (er, lowlights):

  • In February, I got laid off from Yahoo.
  • The economy went into the tank, and with it, the capital markets for startups got a lot tighter. Not good if, like me, you’re working on a startup.
  • We ended the year very close to being broke (see items one and two).
  • And the kicker…On Christmas Eve, my mother-in-law had a stroke.

Between losing my job, the economy, the lack of paychecks for the past 10 months, and dealing with a stroke, 2008 sucked.

But I loved every minute of it.

2008 tried it’s best to kick me in the teeth. But I kicked back. When I got laid off, I had the opportunity to meet a ton of amazing people including my new business partner, Jonathan. Through my new connections, I vowed to make a go of my startup. While we’re not live yet and we’re unfunded still, we’re making great progress.

2008 made me scrappy. Nothing makes you scrappy like running out of cash. We shifted gears away from our startup (temporarily) to focus on things that bring in revenue. And you know what? We reinvigorated a great business doing what we love to do–building kick ass web apps for people. When the second round of Yahoo layoffs hit in December, we launched the Purple People Collective to help other laid off tech workers find jobs. We learned to adapt, to be nimble, to find opportunity, and to move quickly. In the long run, this will only make us stronger and will make our businesses even better.

And 2008 taught me what was important. Going through a family trauma like we’ve been going through for the past few weeks really drives home the value of surrounding yourself with the people you love. My wife has taken each of these hits in stride with me and has been an amazing source of inspiration and strength. It’s my turn now to stand next to her while she helps her mom get better.

I’m walking away from 2008 a bit bruised, beat up, and broke, and I’m better for it. I’ve learned to find opportunity where others see dark dead ends. I’ve learned about adversity and what it takes to overcome it. I’ve learned to make do with less. I’ve learned that if you ask them, people are willing to help. And I’ve learned to reach out to help others.

So, bring it on 2009. Give it everything you’ve got. I’ve only got one resolution this year…

I’m going to kick 2009’s ass.

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(Actually I’ve got another resolution–I’m going to run another marathon. Oh, and drop 10 pounds. And blog more often. And…ah screw it.)

Whoopass courtesy of Yodel Anecdotal. I know…ironic, eh?

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