2017 was the year when I left my job and decided to take a break. I’m still enjoying it actually. I needed some space to clear out the old and start priming my mind for thinking new things. I started feeling stupid and uninteresting which is something that I really, really disliked. This is gradually getting better.
I’m happy that I made the decision to take this time and think I will look back at this as the right call. But the persistent feeling of 2017 is still that it was challenging. Work is such a big part of my life that when it doesn’t flow, it has consequences all across the board. For me and for the people around me. I’m glad to say that I feel like I’m on my way to something else now. Something new.
It was also the year where I started using my phone more, and my computer less. Thus I consumed more and produced less (other than photography). I always feel like I should be writing more. I started getting into art in a more serious way. Thought less about it and felt more instead. Became a member at SFMOMA and went often. I baked a lot of bread, and found something meditative in that process. I listened to a lot of podcasts and it became the conversations that I didn’t have enough of in person.
We got our second daughter, Alexia.
Some of you have read my annual summaries before, and I have now collected them all on this new and unfinished site. Here’s 2010 (link TBD), 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. This little tradition of mine is now too long to be broken. So with that, here is my 2017.
- Started the year with a few days off. Took Miranda to some museums and took a selfie with a stuffed bear.
- Flew to New Orleans with the whole Toca Boca crew for the annual company trip. These trips are where you really see what kind of people you have around you. An amazing group of people and an absolute delight to hang out with. It was useful, intense, fun, humid, exhilarating and much more. I’ll never forget it.
- Trump started making executive orders that were so outrageous I felt compelled to speak out on behalf of the whole company. We wouldn’t let this happen without stating where we stood.
- Became a monthly donor to the ACLU, which was to become the beginning of an increasingly politically coloured year.
- Listened to Questlove on Here’s The Thing and was so impressed that I bought and read his book too.
- Our video service Toca TV didn’t have the holiday figures that we were hoping for, and we started asking some big and difficult questions about what the real problem was. This unfortunately became the beginning of the end.
- Got hooked on Seth Meyers´ A Closer Look series.
- 2017 was a Migos year that started with T-Shirt.
- Made liters of slime with Miranda throughout the whole year.
- Bought Ottessa Moshfegh’s Homesick For Another World, but couldn’t get into the style for some reason.
- Realized that Young Thug released an album called Jeffery which is the most rap thing that has ever happened to me. This was the best song on it.
- Discovered how great Andytown Coffee in the Outer Sunset was. Dedicated myself to become a local and went several times a week for the rest of the year.
- Flew to New York to try to figure out how to fix Toca TV.
- Had a huge and delayed housewarming party in our new-ish house. It was busy, primarily because everyone has kids these days.
- Watched The Mask You Live In as a part of our ongoing diversity efforts at Toca Boca.
- Bought a guitar because I realized that I missed having one accessible on a daily basis. Started playing a little again.
- Started getting good at baking vegan after a few false starts.
- Somewhere here Caroline sat me down and told me, nicely, to get my shit together at work. She was right. Things hadn’t been working well enough for a while. This is how you know you have a good colleague. However, turning it around proved to be more difficult that I first imagined.
- Flew to Vancouver to meet up with Tobias. Together we borrowed a cabin on Mayne Island and spent the weekend there. Just talking. It was fantastic. Well needed.
- Miriam released her first radio show for SR P1. She is so far ahead in her understanding of technology compared to 99% of all Swedish journalists. It was cool to hear this come out in a different medium.
- Spent a weekend outside Petaluma with Peter, Matthew, Madeleine, Emil, Miriam + the kids. Had intense discussions about whether the world was going to hell or not. I was in the “no” camp, but the rest of the year made me doubt my position somewhat.
- Decided what to do with Toca TV and made the difficult decision to let some great people go. Flew to New York for a day to tell them that, and how to go forward from this point. Worst part of the job.
- Kept listening to Desert Island Discs on BBC and rarely missed a single episode. Arundhati Roy stood out.
- Found Leon Bridges´River in the outro credits of a Girls episode.
- Got invited to guest lecture at UC Berkeley Haas about mobile ecosystems and Toca Boca in particular. An honor.
- Outed my Starbucks name as “Jeff”.
- Fell in love with the Twitter account Limericking who is a genius. I mean, look at this.
- Finished listening to S-town which was the most elegant, touching, suggestive, and well-crafted piece of storytelling and journalism I came across all year. Can’t recommend it enough.
- Went to EdFoo in Mountain View. Saw a guy control another woman’s hand simply by touch and electrodes. Blew my mind in a way that nothing had for a long time. I think this started some sort of ball rolling. I needed new things to think about.
- Flew to Sweden with Miriam and Miranda. Didn’t repeat the same mistake as last time and divided work and play. Got to hang out with my parents and sister for a week together with Miranda. Their interactions are so lovely to see.
- Went to Copenhagen for a break together with Tomas and Martin. Always a delight. It also started a Messenger thread conversation that is still going to this day.
- Toca Life Hospital came out with some real life inspiration, which was covered in HuffPo.
- Silicon Valley S04 started on HBO. Hit close to home.
- Read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. It was to become a start of a more conscious approach to food, without making radical changes. Started buying pasture raised eggs which can’t even be compared to the regular ones.
- Jacques Lu Cont could still bash out a remix.
- Turned 36 on a plane, because that seems to be what I do.
- Read and was impressed by something as rare as a well-informed and nuanced critique of the new statue on Wall Street. This was pretty much the opposite of everything else during the year that became polarized and reduced to talking points.
- Listened to a lot of radio in the car, and Shazam found me Nef The Pharaoh and his tribute to Big Tymers.
- Flew to New York to let the rest of the team from Toca TV go. This was a horrible experience, and one that I did not agree with at all. This isn’t how these things are done, and this isn’t how you treat people. But this call was out of my hands. It became the final nail in the coffin for me. It was time to leave.
- The Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons exhibit at the Met had lines around multiple blocks in the rain, so I missed it. Did get to go to the Met Breuer for the first time instead.
- Flew to Stockholm and went straight to Moderna Museet to see the Marina Abramovic exhibit. It was good, but it is challenging proposition to convey performances after they’ve passed.
- Watched all of Master of None S02 and still thought it was really special.
- Found Frank Ocean’s Lens and listened to it a lot.
- Laughed at Ivanka Trump’s book that got an amazing review. Samantha Bee absolutely destroyed her on the same theme.
- Flew back to SF and took Miranda to Maker Faire in San Mateo. She liked the robots best.
- Caroline was named one of the Future Female Leaders in Sweden. Was very happy for her.
- Took a few days off and went to Cambria with Miriam and Miranda. This was our last trip together before the new family addition that was coming in August. We didn’t go to Sweden for the summer for this reason.
- Listened to Nicki Minaj kill Remy Ma in an entertaining beef.
- Watched all of Billions S02. Absolutely loved it in every possible way. S02E11 was unbelievably good TV.
- Dreamt myself away with Adieu by Tchami.
- Watched the whole One Love Manchester concert with Ariana Grande + friends. Fantastic.
- Flew to Paris for all of 36 hours to join a panel at OECD Forum about gender equality. It was such an unexpected request that I felt I had to go. The panel was introduced by the Danish Crown Princess Mary. That was a first.
- Discovered the Swedish start Jireel and this track became my most listened song in 2017.
- Karin and Björn visited and it was a good reminder of how much I miss good, old fashioned, conversations with smart people. Can’t have too much of that.
- Toca Boca’s work with diversity was highlighted in USA Today which was nice recognition for the team.
- Bought a lot of furniture and got the house in order. It was probably nesting, in some way.
- Flew to LA for the day to do a TV interview. I need to smile more on camera. Perhaps more in general?
- Miriam and I went to Saison as a delayed birthday present. The best meal of the year.
- My colleagues threw me a carb-heavy baby shower which was a total surprise, and a very lovely thing of them to do.
- Experienced Flower Piano for the first time.
- Sara visited for midsummer and we sat in a park, ate herring, and hung out with friends. Almost like the real thing.
- I started running and working out in a regular manner. I would keep this up all year, somewhat surprisingly. Decided to teach myself to like it, since it was inevitably going to have to be a part of my life in some capacity.
- Calvin Harris released the perfect summer song.
- I told my closest team and boss that I was leaving Toca Boca. It would take several months before I could actually leave and announce this to the rest of the company though. It had reached a point where I wasn’t happy and it was affecting both my family, my performance, and my overall well-being. I had tried to turn this around in the months prior to this but not been successful. It was a very, very difficult decision since I cared so deeply about both the company and my colleagues. But it had to be done, and in retrospect it was the right call. Perhaps a little late, if anything.
- Toca Boca finally launched our consumer products at Target. Quite a place to start. This had been in the works for several years. It was both a relief and a true sense of pride seeing it on the shelves. It was also a good reminder that progressive values are easy to list on your website, but more difficult to actually live by when push comes to shove. Partnerships are hard. I’m proud of our part.
- Took a road trip north with Magnus for a week. Drove up through California, Oregon, and Washington State. Discovered a different side of him through music. Had a generally amazing time with both a lot of laughs and thoughtful conversations.
- Came home and took Miranda to the zoo. She liked the frogs and the mice best.
- Found this acoustic gem with Jesse Malin.
- Vacation time, while waiting for the baby. Did family stuff, like taking a paddle boat(!). Always wondered who did that sort of thing. People like me, apparently.
- Listened to Revisionist History, season 2. Not as good as the first season, but still very well produced and thought provoking.
- If it hadn’t been time to say farewell to R Kelly earlier, it definitely was time now.
- Visited Minnesota Street Project for the first time. Loved it and came back many times.
- Watched The Defiant Ones and was both impressed and inspired to do better.
- Bought an ice cream maker and a new digital scale. Good pairing.
- Lorde almost made me cry.
- Went to Berkeley to see Bobbi Jene, a documentary about an ex-Batsheva dancer. It really moved me. So raw, sad, beautiful, devoted; all at the same time. Drove home and listened to The Blaze in the dark.
- Listened to a lot of How I Built This. Especially liked the one with Raegan Moya-Jones from Aden + Anais.
- Met two new friends through a parenting group, Yuri and Amy. It’s lovely when new great people get introduced to your life.
- Miranda turned three. She is such a joy. I made a vegan cake.
- Read The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. I usually have a hard time with fiction, but I finished this one in a day.
- Watched Ozark with Miriam and it was eerie.
- One of my favorite columnists in the FT, David Tang, passed away. I bought his book.
- Loved the Kaytranada remix of Rihanna’s Kiss It Better.
- Toca Boca crushed the kids charts, as usual. Had the whole top 10 list. An incredible accomplishment, often overlooked.
- Started reading Sapiens but kept getting stuck. Could be that I was trying to read it on Kindle. Vainly got a little annoyed that everyone else was reading it too.
- Made glass for the first time, with the Toca Boca team. Fun!
- At the end of the month, our second daughter Alexia was born. Such a thing does not lend itself well to brief summaries in bullet points, so I’m not going to attempt it. It included Miriam being amazingly strong and balanced, and me running out in the street shouting at some garbage trucks blocking the road to the hospital: “MOVE YOUR TRUCK! I HAVE A PREGNANT WOMAN IN THE CAR!“. A film moment that won’t be coming back.
- Walter Becker from Steely Dan passed away. Steely Dan is still among my most listened artists, year after year
- I announced to the team and to the world that I was leaving Toca Boca. People were surprised and a little sad. I got some really beautiful words from colleagues that I’ll carry with me for a long time. A day of very mixed emotions. Relief that I could move on, pride of what had been accomplished, and sadness that I had ended up here.
- Toca Boca started selling a capsule collection at Colette in Paris, a store that I’ve been following since the late nineties. Huge.
- Started watching Friday Night Lights with Miriam. We were very late to this series, but it lived up to the hype.
- Throughout the year, I got increasingly fascinated by the opioid crisis in America. Watched loads of documentaries and read loads of articles. Nothing touched me more that this run-through of one week in Cincinnati. An unbelievable tragedy happening in front of our eyes.
- Listened to a lot of Death, Sex & Money and the episode called “Why I Steal” stood out.
- Watched Narcos S03. Fascinating and well made.
- Magnus went to the FT Weekend Festival in London and got me a Tyler Brûlé-signed The Forecast. True to form, he didn’t write his name.
- Discovered Sigrid and her incredible voice.
- After a few weeks of wrapping things up, I officially left work. I flew to Sweden to say goodbye to everyone. Had a lovely dinner with the SF team when I came back too. It was all very heartfelt. Thank you.
- Started my official break. Supposedly did nothing, at least not in terms of office work.
- Passed through Copenhagen on the way home, and went to Noma Under the Bridge. It was a great experience, but I wouldn’t have thought it was Noma food if I hadn’t known.
- My parents and my sister came to visit which was great. Our house lends itself well to visitors which makes a huge difference.
- Read Black Edge about how hedge fund managers do insider trading.
- Tomas visited and we went to the japanese Onsen.
- Read loads and loads of articles on politics. Got angry and turned my Twitter feed from tech to politics. Should probably turn it elsewhere.
- Fast Company profiled my then former colleague Mathilda which was great and well-deserved.
- Goop, the pinnacle of pseudo-science and silliness, completely lost it. Ranted about them.
- Got weirdly audio targeted with advertising for a Chinese conglomerate in a way that I really cannot explain. Super strange and a little bit creepy.
- Silicon Valley continued being euphemistic about banal ideas. Own less to live more? You rent out furniture. Come on.
- Discovered Rae Morris with a track that really grew on me.
- Bought my first Apple Watch with cell connectivity. I thought this would be a game changer. It wasn’t, since I still never leave the house without my phone.
- Went to Oakland with the family and saw the Friendswithyou piece. Loved it. Bought a print and hung it on the wall.
- Listened to all of Dirty John which was disturbing and fascinating, but not very elegantly produced.
- Bought some Japanese cookbooks but cooked less than I had hoped.
- Had a generally angry and confused month as I was trying to cleanse my brain from everything that had been. Seven years of context was gone. Replacing it was painful, but necessary.
- Read The Four by Scott Galloway. Surprisingly good. Loved his tone and candor.
- Flew to to LA for Summit17, the first conference I’ve gone to for myself in many years. Went with Sorosh which was great in itself, but there was a lot of good talks and experiences scheduled too. Seeing Esther Perel create an intimate environment with 900 people was very memorable, as was going to a dance meditation class at 1.30 in the morning.
- Saw RY X perform live at Summit. Really strong performance. Played his album a lot after I came home. Same thing with Allen Stone and this song that I even learned how to play on the guitar.
- Went on preschool tours with Miranda because it was getting close.
- Read Onward by Howard Schultz but liked it more for the details about a such a familiar company as Starbucks, than for the rather flat management advice that was given.
- Had the first early calls about what could be next for me in life, work wise.
- Obsessed a little over Rihanna’s rap on Lemon.
- Took Yuri to a course to learn how to make Danish rye bread. Made a few loaves during the rest of the year.
- Got annoyed with self-serving, badly formatted, click-baitey bullshit on Linkedin. But liked the label “broetry” for it.
- Had a very wet and fun evening with Jonas in Noe Valley.
- Called it quits on the awful Apple Podcast app and switched to Breaker instead. Never looked back.
- Ariana Grande again, I know, but this tribute to Whitney Houston was something else.
- #MeToo was everywhere, and rightfully so. Encouraging to feel the beginning of a change, but so disappointing to hear about former heroes behaving inexcusably.
- Finished Miranda July’s No One Belongs Here More Than You after seeing her speak at Summit. I love her work, both writing and art.
- Pod Save America became mandatory listening after having dipped in and out for a while.
- Grew increasingly frustrated over the persistent damage and societal sabotage that was taking place under the current president.
- Miranda went skating for the first time.
- Spent many walks listening to Esther Perel’s Where Do We Begin. Can’t think of anyone that wouldn’t benefit from hearing that series.
- The documentary “App: The Human Story” came out and the hours of interviews that I had done were reduced to a cameo that lasted about two seconds. Should have been more interesting.
- Bought new glasses which is always a long process for me. Went for a completely different look this time. I kind of mark phases of my life based on what glasses I was wearing at the time, so this signifies something new.
- Saw Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. I had always loved Man on the Moon, but this documentary really added a layer to it. Saw Jim Carrey very differently.
- Got invited to a gathering of British people in SF. Realized that this was the first time I have ever been identified as a Brit like this.
- Had a great dinner with Caroline, whom I hadn’t seen for possibly the longest time since we started to work together. It could have gone on all night.
- Read The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Well written, but difficult to read due to the subject matter.
- Went to Napa with Miriam and Alexia to eat at Morimoto. It was good, but I had much higher expectations.
- Got two fantastic Linkedin recommendations which meant a lot to me, as they summarized two working relationships that I really valued.
- Nancy left a hole in our family when she went home.
- Bought a lot of Christmas presents for Miranda and did my Santa debut.
- Booked our first trip to Hawaii for the beginning of 2018.
- Started reading Principles by Ray Dalio. Felt more like a reference book than something to read front to back.
- Went for xiao long bao with Yuri and Amy.
- Martin and Emma visited us and wrapped the year in the best possible way.
That was 2017 for me. Thanks for reading.