Yearly Focus

2022 Focus: Forecasting

Better every year. That is my goal. I believe that through focused effort I can keep improving and ensure my best years are still in front of me.
With that in mind, at the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. By being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split my attention.

More details about the process are in this blog post and you can review the results from past years (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021).

2022 Theme: Forecasting

This is the fifth year of my current sabbath cycle, a six year period where I am focused on preparing for my calling. When I selected that as the overarching vision, one of the things I talked about is how I might invest in key skills that I could leverage later. My thinking was that even if I didn’t know what my calling was, there were generic skills that I could invest in that would help any path I went down.

Lately, I’ve developed the belief that there are four generic skills that are highly valuable to do anything well;

  1. vision: seeing where things are heading, or could possibly head
  2. strategy: forming a plan to take advantage of that trend, direction or potential outcomes
  3. persuasion: convincing others to join or help you
  4. execution: completing the elements plan well and adjusting as needed

In essentially everything I do, success comes down to those four things. I suspect the other three will be skills I visit in future years, but I wanted to start with the first one as that is the one I feel I am likely weakest at and most apt to benefit from improving.

My goal this year will be to learn more about forecasting and prediction. To figure out what the common shortcomings of predictors are, how to improve them in myself, and how to shape my thinking around forecasts. I am not completely unfamiliar with this subject, but I’m excited to learn a lot more.

2022 Challenge: Become a Superforecaster

The term Superforecaster was coined by Phil Tetlock and the title of his best selling book Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction. My challenge this year is to become a Superforecaster, which I’ll quote the Wikipedia definition of as “a person who makes forecasts that can be shown by statistical means to be consistently more accurate than the general public or experts.” From what I’ve read, this roughly translates into the top 2% of forecasters, which feels like a decent goal since I usually aim to be among the top 1% at any hobby I put time into. I’m not sure if I have time to actually get selected by Good Judgement Inc. as one of their official Superforecasters, but more information about that selection process is described here.

2022 Habit: Spend an Hour A Week Managing Forecasts

My habit will be to spend about an hour per week thinking about forecasts – making them, adjusting them and reviewing them.

There are numerous websites that let you partake in forecasting challenges and I will likely use one or more of them. I might end up adding in some other formats of prediction as well. The intended benefit is that by putting more structure around this I will have a feedback loop that helps me improve throughout the year.

Usually my habit is something I want get accustomed to doing so that I will keep doing it in the future. This habit doesn’t quite fit that mold, but I believe a year of focused effort will be beneficial. I already make yearly predictions on New Year’s Eve and twice a year I review past big life decisions to reflect on what I got right and wrong about them. I hope to continue those practices and maybe this habit will make those easier or give me new tools for conducting them.

2022 Exemplar: Steve Jobs

As a technologist, Steve Jobs is someone I look up to in a lot of ways. Whenever I have a big presentation, I watch one of his old keynotes as inspiration. Considering the skills he benefitted from the most, I believe being able to see the future is among the top three. He had a knack for seeing where the trend was going long before it was obvious to anyone else. Reality had to fight to keep pace with his imagination.

I’ve watched a few movies about him and the Pixar or Apple early days but I’ve never read the biography about him that Walter Isaacson wrote and I’m excited to be able to do so.

2022 Bucket List Item: Finish the Cascade Crest 100

My bucket list item isn’t always related to the theme, it is just something I want to cross off my bucket list that year. I figure if all else fails in a year but I accomplish a bucket list item, I at least have one thing to show for it.

Last year I tried to run the Cascade Crest 100 but COVID had another idea and I dopped out of the race after 35 miles. This year I’m out for revenge. I was a bit ambitious in my hopes of doing it in under 24 hours last year. Even once fully recovered, by the end of 2021 I barely completed a flat 100 mile run in 24 hours. The Cascade Crest is much tougher due to the hilliness, trail conditions and remoteness. So this year I just want to finish it. The cutoff to officially finish is 34 hours. I’m going to let that be my official goal, but if you know anything about me, you know that 24 hours is still going to be a stretch goal I keep in the back of my mind during training.