The AL(L)-IN review 2020

Welcome to my first personal yearly review. 2020 is over. I am now 8716 days old.

This article is highly inspired, the YOLO report, written by Yoann Lopez. I am deeply grateful for everything he writes on the internet. It is very inspirational. I encourage you to discover his work through his website, his articles, or his newsletters.

So, why is the name AL(L)-IN? My name is ALexandre INukai. As many, I punctually play poker. But more importantly, in many areas of my life, I try to do things 120% or not doing them at all. One of the mantra of my life could be similar to Derek Siver’s idea: Either “Hell yeah!” or “No”.

This year was very special. The pandemic wiped out many of my plans. Resilience could be the keyword of the current situation. This year taught me a lot of meaningful lessons. And in the end, it all went very well.

Why this Year-in-Review Report?

While listening to a podcast between Tim Ferriss and Kevin Kelly, I discovered the quantified self movement. Since May 25th, 2019, or 587 days, I log many data points about my days. I started with 3 points: a description of my day, the location, and how I liked it. At the beginning of 2019, I was tracking 14 data points. I now track 34 data points.

Hopefully, it takes me only 5 minutes every morning to do it. Some back of the napkin math gives us: 5 min * 587 = 2935 minutes or 48h and 55 minutes. Some could say it is a lot but for me, it became a mix between a daily habit and a sort of meditation.

It is a way to take a step back from the daily routine. I am not anxious about what my day looks like. At the moment, I do not bother with the values I write down. But in hindsight, I reflect on it from time to time. Here is the first time I formalize a sort of analysis at the end of the quarter/year.

This bigger picture helps me to understand myself and give the best of myself day in day out. As naval says: first you want to seek freedom from external events, then you seek freedom from internal events. (I badly rephrased it, but you understand the idea.)

This is my first published piece. I could keep it to myself, but I am inspired by many others to “build in public”. I also hope it will push me to stay accountable to myself.

Location

My plan starting 2020 seemed really really nice.

  1. Finish my engineering degree under the scorching sun in the French coastal town of Marseille.
  2. Run Paris Marathon with two very good friends.
  3. Go to Tahiti for 5/6 months for an internship in Computer Vision.
  4. On the way back to France, discover San Francisco and its entrepreneurial spirit (while maybe doing the 42 SF bootcamp). It could have been a great opportunity to meet very talented and interesting people.
What I did in 2020

Unfortunately, steps 2 to 4 fell apart. Instead, I was on lockdown at my family home. I spent a long time with my family. It was good and everybody was happy as we didn’t stay together for quite some time.

The marathon will be for another day. And as I was in France, I discovered a city I fell in love with! Biarritz. Not so bad in the end. Here are some of my favorite pictures from Biarritz.

The best flatmates of Marseille gathered for more craziness in Biarritz.

Feeling

On my big spreadsheet, the first metric I track is my feeling during the day. I rate it on a scale of 5 (between -2 and 2 as I prefer 0 to be in the middle). -2 is a day I hated. 0 is neutral. 1 is fairly good. 2 is “I would definitely do this day again!”.

Since I track this metric since the beginning, I can compare the second half of 2019 to 2020.

My appreciation of the years 2019 and 2020

First, the trend lines are always in the positive part of the chart. Fair enough, I am a happy and optimistic person. I’m surprised by how 2019’s mean is constant compared to how often I changed of environment. I was traveling alone in Japan, then went back to my family’s place in Japan (yes, I am hāfu) and then went back to engineering school with all my friends. There is only a tiny blip in August 2019 at the end of my trip in Japan.

In 2020, there were more ups and downs. At university, it all went well. But when the lockdown occurred, I didn’t felt good at all. It was good but hard to live again with the parents as I left 6 years ago. I also didn’t felt free anymore which is one of my core values. Lockdown is over, happy me is back as I left to live with my university flatmate in Biarritz! Summer went well and 2nd lockdown gave me a new hit.

  • Average 2019: 0.89
  • Average 2020: 0.60
  • Average during lockdown (103 days): -0.06
  • Average free from lockdown (262 days): 0.84

The lockdown had a terrible negative impact on my “feeling of the day”. I guess it was the same for many around the world. Free from the lockdown I felt as “happy” as in 2019. Let’s hope that this period is over (even if it doesn’t seem like the case…)

Productivity

I also log a productivity metric. Every day, I write approximately how many hours I considered myself “productive”. Productive is when I work on something useful or intelligent or when I learn something new.

According to my daily log, I was “productive” for about 1500 hours or 62.5 full days in 2020. A French full-time job would “work” 1607 hours a year.

My productivity in 2019 and 2020

It seems like my university (between September 2019 and March 2020) didn’t push me to be highly productive. I can easily spot some of my vacations on those graphs (Christmas 2019, February 2020 and October 2020). The 2 lockdowns were bad for how I felt, but they were also a very productive time (nothing else to do, you know…)

  • Average 2019: 3h 16min
  • Average 2020: 4h 7min
  • Average during lockdown (103 days): 5h 16min
  • Average free from lockdown (262 days): 3h 40min

(These averages include Saturdays and Sundays.)

On average, I was productive for nearly one hour more in 2020 than in 2019. This is not surprising as 2019 was mostly a gap year and I had a lot to do in 2020. More surprising is how I was 1h30 more productive during the lockdown. There is some good in this bad situation.

Friends & Family

The good thing about this pandemic is that I spent a lot more time with my family. My mom must have been the happiest about the situation. We postponed 3 weeks together in Tahiti by 2 months with my brother and father in Lyon. It was a pretty good thing in the end. I also had the chance to see my friends from Lyon both in May and in December when I stayed for a longer time.

My goals for 2021 are:

  • to spend more quality time with the people I love (Family, Friends from primary school, high school, or college).
  • to meet ambitious and interesting people from around the world (even though digital interaction would never replace real ones).

Sports/Physical Activities/Health

Sport

This year I planned to do a lot of sports. I enrolled in the Marathon of Paris on April 5th. This was a challenge with a good friend. The small challenge transformed into 3 months of intense training and was a lot of fun. I was then planning to go to Tahiti and improve my surfing skills.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t do both. I still did a lot of sports, but in a different place than where I thought. I trained for the Marathon until early March. My goal was to finish it in less than 3h45. This challenge is postponed to an unknown date.

As I couldn’t go to Tahiti, I relocated to Biarritz where I could work remotely for my internship and do the sports I love.

Every day, I track if I do some “sport”. I consider it when I do at least 1 hour of moderately intense physical activity. For example, going for an hour bike ride would be considered “sport”. Golf practice wouldn’t. I finished the year doing 229 sport days or 4.3 days a week of “sport”.

I had two big blips during the year. The first one was at the beginning of the first lockdown. It changed a lot my routine. For the first few weeks, I didn’t know how to do some physical activity. After a short time, I started a new routine consisting of YouTube’s CrossFit exercises straight after I woke up. Even though I didn’t love it, it helped me to stay sane and motivated.

The second one was when the second lockdown occurred as I moved out of Biarritz. I was traveling to see some friends and hadn’t any sports gear with me. I ended up doing a lot of skating but didn’t consider these as “sport” days.

I would definitely like to increase this metric and its regularity for next year.

Marathon Man

I was first motivated to do a Marathon while reading the 4 hour-body of Tim Ferriss. In the chapter Going from 5k to 50k in 12 Weeks, he explains how training for strength can be an efficient way to improve your marathon time. It was also a way for me to show that contrarian ideas can work. I tried to put in place this training between November 20th, 2019, and March 10th, 2020.

For these 111 days, I did a total of 77 trainings or 4.8 per week. Among these 77 trainings, I did:

  • 10 long runs for a total of 83 kms
  • 19 sprint sessions (for example 8*200m on 2 min or tabata run (20sec on, 10 sec off) on a treadmill at 12.5% and 12.5 km/h) (Tabata run is wayyyyy harder than what it seems like)
  • 48 Crossfit sessions

At the end of my few months of training, I was managing my effort a lot better. My sprint times were very constant. My long run-times were becoming acceptable for a non-runner like me. My longest run was 23km in 2hours and 2 minutes (quite proud of this one). This challenge is postponed to more favorable times.

Walking

I track the number of steps using a FitBit Charge 3. I still need to found an easy way to track my bike rides without having to log them every time. I would be very interested in this metric.

This year I did a grand total of 2,700,000 steps. This is equivalent to about 2000 km or the distance between my place in Lyon and Stockholm.

The month I walked the most was February with 13 146 steps per day. The least was April with 3891 steps per day (thank you lockdown!).

2000 kms can make you go quite far away!

Sleep

I track my sleep patterns manually in my big spreadsheet.

I am very interested in the polyphasic sleep pattern. When I can, I try to do one or two 20-min naps during the day. This allows me to have more energy even if I sleep less than 7 hours during the night. In 2020, I did 289 naps among 246 days or 5.5 naps per week.

Here are a few statistics about my sleep time.

I usually wake up between 7 and 8. A bit later during the weekend, but not that much. As I had very few schedule constraints, I was free to work whenever it suits me the best. I still need to figure out the moment of the day at which I am the most productive. I like waking up as early as 6 but when I do so, I am not sure I am more productive for the rest of the day.

I sleep most on Saturday and Sunday nights. I sleep the least on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights.

Eating Habits

At the beginning of the year, I started cooking for my friends using Tim Ferriss’s book, the 4-hour chef (yes, big fan of Tim Ferriss here!). I still don’t eat that much raw food, but I diversified a lot. (I was probably the worse diversified eater when I was young, sorry mom)

I also fast as much as I can. Intermittent Fasting seems like the easiest way to mimic caloric restriction to stay healthy (and live longer!). This year, I ate on 8 hours windows or less for 210 days. I also fasted for 4 full days. 2 days in a row in March, one day in November, and one day in December. I didn’t fell well when I fasted for more than one day at the end of the year.

I’ll try to fast for longer periods next year. This fasting habit is excellent to understand my dependence on food and how our lives are organized around food o’clock or food travels.

My goals for next year are:

  • To cook for my friends at least once a week (I’m not cooking a lot for myself, but I’m very happy to cook for others and to see them happy!)
  • Diversify even more what I eat. (A big thanks to my friends who pushed me to eat food I never ate before. I now like a lot of what they forced me to eat!! Miam yummy salmon!)
  • Fast for 5 days in a row at least once
  • Eat fewer carbs
  • I would also like to track exactly what I eat using the Fitbit app.

Alcohol consumption

Since April I also track the alcohol I drink. I estimate the number of doses as the driving school taught me. You know the 25cl of beer is equal to 12 cl of wine as well as 3 cl of whisky.

During the first lockdown, I didn’t drink a single glass of alcohol. Thanks parents, you don’t push me to drink.

For the 290 days, I tracked it, I drank 602 doses of alcohol. I didn’t drink 171 out of the 290 days. So every day I drank, I drank an average of 5 drinks.

Too much beer bro!

An average of 5 doses each time I drink… Hmmmmmm, this seems like a lot. I need to stop binge-drinking on weekends and having sunset beers. I had a few spikes, but I didn’t drink more during the summer than in winter. I guess, it depends more on the context than the season of the year.

Resting Heart Rate

Using a Fitbit charge 3 since last Christmas, I track my resting heart rate. After reading many books about health and predictive medicine, Resting Heart Rate seems like the best indicator of great health. (My favorite book on this topic is Lifespan by David Sinclair).

Here is a graph of my RHR since April 5th.

I had a big increase in my RHR after an unfortunate bike crash in August. The average RHR during this period is 61.4. The minimum is 56 and the maximum is 70.

I hope to discover what is affecting my RHR whether it is my sleep, my eating habits, my stress level, or something else.

Overall health

Since April, I track my overall health in my spreadsheet. I rate my perception of health (mostly the physical part of it) between -2 and 2 every day.

Nothing much to say here. I felt healthy most of the year, except for a few days in May and when I had this bike crash in August. The second one annoyed me for a few weeks. I even went to see an osteopath for the first time.

Meditation

I am still trying to figure out meditation. For the moment my daily routine is that right after I wake up, I meditate for 5 minutes or more. Though, I rarely do it for more than 10 minutes. I use no video or app. I just sit on my bed with nothing going on. Whenever I think of something, I let it pass and try to refocus on my breathing. I still struggle to feel deeply connected to this meditative moment.

Last year, I meditated 4.9 times a week.

This year, I meditated 278 times or 5.3 times per week. This is a small improvement.

I still have a hard time meditating when I sleep at friends’ places or when they come to mine.

Meditation frequency in 2019 and 2020

My most significant experience relative to meditation is going into an isolation tank. In there I felt completely relaxed and thought of nothing. Up to now I did it twice and would like to do it more.

Tracking my Digital Life

Since April 5th, the only metric I track is the time I used my phone per day.

Averaging these 271 days, I used my phone for 216 minutes or 3 hours and 36 min per day. The minimum was 86 min and the maximum was 494 minutes (or more than 8 hours). 1/3 of the day on the phone, that really sucks…

I also spent 87 days staying for more than 4 hours on my phone but only 25 days staying less than 2 hours on my phone.

I don’t feel like I’m a lot on my phone, especially around some friends. But this phone consumption is very high and definitely needs to change. (The big spike at the end of the year is due to my uber delivery fun work. Especially the time navigating with GPS is not “real phone time”.)

My goal for next year is to decrease a lot this statistic:

  • Do at least 100 days with 2 hours or less on the phone.
  • Average less than 3hours a day on the phone.
  • Track my computer screen time using the free software RescueTime.

Books

I track the book I read with a simple table in Notion. It is easy to display it in a nice way that I really appreciate (the power of Notiooon!). This year, I moved a big chunk of my digital tools to Notion. I’m really happy about it up to now. Here are the 13 books I read this year ranked from the most favorite to the least favorite.

Personal Library of the year

It includes:

  • 4 books about money management, risk, and randomness.
  • 3 biographies or autobiographies.
  • 3 books about mindset and how our brain acts.
  • 2 books about entrepreneurship.
  • 1 book about biology/health.

Needless to say that this list contains a bit more non-fiction books than fiction ones. During the first lockdown, I tried to read snow crash for the second time but got lost in the story and stopped in the middle.

I am extremely grateful to have discovered Matt Ridley’s and Nicholas Nassim Taleb’s books. They are my favorite books of the year. They are incredible in their fields and I definitely want to learn more from their writings. (Naval’s influence here, as he seems to appreciate these 2 authors as well)

My most important book of the year: The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley

I was absorbed by this book like no others. It teaches so much about anthropology, the role of trade in our evolution, and how lucky we are in 2020. I hope that more people could read this book. He gives a lot of contrarian ideas (mostly about the future of technology and the climate issues) that reflected on me.

My goal for 2021 is to read 15 books, 2 of which are fiction ones. No doubt, I will continue the Incerto series of NNT.

Podcasts

I listen to a looooot of podcast this year! Unfortunately I don’t know how many as Google podcast doesn’t give any statistics.

Here are my favorites podcasts of the year.

Favorite podcasts of the year

The Pomp Podcast

Anthony Pompliano is an incredible guy. Straight to the point and very open-minded. He often debates with people having ideas opposed to his and deep dive their argument! He shares the best insight about investing in early tech and bitcoin. His daily videos on YouTube, lunch money, are great to stay up to date of the most recent investments news.

The Lex Fridman Podcast

Lex fridman is a genuinely good man for the world. Very idealistic and optimistic about the world, I appreciate his views. He is extremely open-minded and curious. He also has the soul of an artist and shares some Russian poems from time to time. We need more people like him.

Silicon Carne

Podcast from French people living in the Bay Area. It was a way for me to discover this part of the world through a French lens. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to Silicon Valley, but I still hope to discover this entrepreneurial/VC world. This podcast teaches a lot about the tech and investment world.

The Tim Ferriss Show

Tim Ferriss was my first inspiration when discovering the personal development world. His experiences were amazing but he now slightly changed his area of focus. He still shares some incredible podcasts from time to time.

The Joe Rogan Experience

This man is the craziest of them all. Depending on the guest, I listen to his episodes. He did the funniest podcast I listened to. It was the sober October recap episode (can’t remember if it was #1405 or #1194). In this episode he gives an idea of his crazy life with his crazy bros! I love it!

Third Row Podcast

A podcast to understand the world of Tesla and Elon Musk (and my investment thesis in Tesla).

A few others pell-mell

  • Hence The Future: short episodes questioning Tech and how it will impact our lives in the future.
  • The Peter Attia Drive: Insights on health and longevity.
  • The knowledge Project with Shane Parrish: Very curious person giving great insight on very various subjects. Great episodes with Derek Sivers, Naval or Chamath Palihapitiya.
  • Nos Mentors by Abel Samot: As I might have worked for Abel in 2021, I listened to his podcast. He interviews very interesting people from the French VC scene.

Articles of the Year

Up to this date, I didn’t track the article I was reading. In fact, I tried, but I was doing it in a too complicated way. I simplified the process. I will now track them using the Notion Web Clipper. An article I particularly remember is Kevin Kelly’s 68 advices for his 68th birthday. This is also the man who created the quantified self movement. He is a great inspiration. Another great piece of learning was this video by Anthony Pompliano (big fan of him as well). In this one-hour video, he explains many things about

  • The macroeconomy
  • The stimulus checks and helps given by different governments
  • How all this situation make the rich richer and the poor poorer
  • Why Bitcoin is the most asymmetric hedge to inflation

The best teachers of the internet this year

I learned a lot on the internet this year. Many of the best minds share their thoughts publicly, and it is a blessing. Some of them are:

  • Hyperchange on Youtube: Tesla, Elon Musk and other disruptive tech.
  • Anthony Pompliano on Youtube and Twitter: Bitcoin, investment and tech.
  • Mathew Kobach on Twitter: The power of social media.
  • David Perell on Twitter: The power of writing.
  • Tiago Forte on Twitter: Building a second brain with digital tools for productivity gains.
  • Marie Poulin on Twitter and YouTube: The power of Notion.

And many others.

Side Projects

For the most part of the year, I worked for my university and my internship. I tried to launch a few side-projects during the same time but my motivation rapidly fell.

During the first lockdown, I discovered money Twitter. The mindset is awesome. Many people share their learnings on the go and this is very inspirational. I tried to launch a small side biz in this Twitter money world.

Observation: Many people were buying courses (me included) on Twitter.

Problem: You couldn’t know the quality of the courses in advance (some of them are only 2 hours video or a simple pdf). On top of that, it felt that some of those courses were overhyped. Some affiliate sellers were telling you it is the best course ever, it will change your life. You absolutely need to buy it through their affiliate link.

Solution: Build a website to honestly review those courses. The reviews would also help people to understand the exact content of the course and if it was what they were looking for. You might still find the website here: https://www.gumroadreviews.com/

Up to December, I made 416$ with this. It was the first hundreds of dollars I made on the internet, so I was really excited about it. Unfortunately, after a few reviews, I didn’t like at all the marketing part of promoting our reviews on Twitter. The man I was doing this with also lost his motivation, and we abandoned this promising project.

I am now working on new projects such as

  • A 3D printed surf handle,
  • A website to sell surf rack (better to go surfing on a bicycle than in a big SUV),
  • A CRM created in Notion for network marketers.

My three main goals for next year are:

  • Have 100 users for my CRM,
  • Sell 100 surf racks
  • Earn 5000€ from other small side ideas.

My Personal Finances

In 2020, I had a bit of luck concerning my investments. I started the year with a few Tesla stocks. I didn’t sell any up to now, even though the upside decreased a lot. I strongly believe in what this company will do, and that they will change the world for the decade to come.

Tesla went to the moon!

In September 2019, I also contracted a tiny student loan. I do not encourage you to do this as it is a very risky move. In my situation, I would have no problem to pay it back with an engineering job. This allowed me to have some cash early 2020. I bought a small fraction of bitcoin that I dollar-cost averaged between April and July. Macroeconomics (FED printing money like never) and network effects are my main thesis in this investment. Since then, the bitcoin price more than doubled.

This year, I also bought and sold 3 different stocks.

  • Airbus early in the pandemic. Airlines and airplane constructors stocks lost more than 50% of their value. An airline can go bankrupt but as there is only 2 constructors, it seemed like a good way to decrease the risk for them to go out of business. But the pandemic continued way after what everyone thought. The aviation business would not come back for years. Even Warren Buffett decided to sell his airline stocks. After a few months, I changed my mind and sold for a small 70€ profit.
  • After reading a random advice on Twitter, I bought a few stocks of a medical company named Alpha Pro Tech. No idea. No analysis. This was a very very very bad move. And it doesn’t look like me. I broke my own rule of investing which is totally understand what I buy. After a few months of holding it I chose to sell it for a 170€ loss.
  • I discovered Opendoor publicly traded through Chamath’s SPAC on a lunch money video. Chamath one pager was easy to understand, and it seems like the company has a real moat. Many parts of the world will digitalize. Real estate transactions will definitely be one. I studied all I could on the company for a week and gave it a go.

Saying that I started my year with a basis of 100 (debt + existing investment), I finished it with a value of about 600 (Thanks Tesla!). I multiplied my net worth by more than 6, which is absolutely insane! It is way better than my wildest dreams. However, my investment are highly concentrated and risky. I do not advise anyone to do the same.

Lucky me made a few bucks investing

Random Stuff

  • At this date, I have exactly 720€ in valid vouchers. Sadly, the biggest one is my ticket for Tahiti…
  • On 296 days of the year, I read at least 1 page
  • I logged 73 dreams or 1.4 per week.
  • The metric the most correlated to my feeling of the day is my social decisions. (Yeah, I’m a social monkey!)
  • The metric the least correlated to my feeling of the day is the time at which I wake up.
  • I wrote peanuts 194 times in my food log. (But if I eat peanuts at lunch for a snack and at dinner, it is written 3 times)
  • I spent my days in 12 different towns. 11 in France and Napoli.

My 2021 Objectives

In 2020, I didn’t have very specific objectives to work towards. I now created OKR (Objectives and Key Results) for the year to come. Here is the list :

If you have any questions, remarks, or just want to tell me what you thought about this, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at alexandre.inukai@gmail.com

Happy 2021 everybody.

Thanks for reading!

Lifelong learner to improve the quality of our day to day experiences.