Ilya Lyamkin
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Year Review 2020

December 28, 2020

Usually, I don’t set goals for the next year because I prefer to be driven by my values.

Goals often limit the opportunities you could chase or lock you in something you don’t really need. They add a lot of unnecessary pressure and stress especially if you have not achieved planned results.

On the other hand, I found several values that I want to work with and improve every day. I’d rather focus on the process than on the outcome. For example, you want to get better at something instead of figuring out a final number (e.g. complete N courses), split it into small recurring tasks (e.g. spent 30 minutes every day).

2020 proved that this approach works great. Let’s finally start with this year’s review.

What went wrong this year?

Finance. With the lack of long-term planning, moving between countries, and many other things, the only consistent thing I’ve seen is the change. As a consequence, I wasn’t managing my budgeting and finances properly. As a fact, I lost thousands of dollars and couldn’t earn as much as I should have.

Productivity and work. It’s been a strange year, and I can’t say that working from home improved my productivity. It’s been instead declining: I wish I did more in general — at work and personal life.

Knowledge sharing. I spent much less time writing articles and creating content. I have new formats that I want to try out but haven’t started yet.

What went right this year?

Interviews. This year I went through interview processes with top-tier companies like Google, Amazon, Shopify, Apple, etc. I ended up taking an offer from Spotify. I did around 5-6 interviews with each company, and it’s been a massive learning for me.

Investments. After moving to Sweden, I finally got my shit together and invested ~$50k across the stock market and private equity. If you find this topic interesting, I can go through it in detail.

Knowledge sharing. Even though I didn’t spend enough time to write this year, I got 100k views on my articles. I’m excited and appreciate the attention I get. The messages I get from people who find my stuff useful worth 100% of the time spent. Thank you!

People. I improved my relationships with people. I believe that relationships are one of the most essential parts of our lives. This is something I want to focus on consistently, no matter what and which year it is.

Travel. Not to salt the wound. I started this year in Singapore, then I went home to Russia for a while. In January I spent some time in Vancouver. While living in Spain, I visited Madrid and everything around Barcelona. I also managed to organize a fantastic vacation in the Maldives. It was a truly amazing experience, considering everything. Now I am a half tourist in Stockholm. Given 4 months of quarantine, travel was still a part of my life and I could not be more grateful. (Let’s hope 2021 let us be even more mobile)

What did I learn this year?

Moving between countries takes energy, time, and money, even if the changes themselves are positive. You dig through bureaucracy, obstacles; it hurts any long term planning. You can expect me to settle down in the next years in some lovely country.

Working from home takes from you strict boundaries and goals aligned. You need to be specific and driven to overcome it. The thing that I find working for me is physically separating work areas from home areas and writing more detailed plans for the day.

The interviewing process teaches you a lot: you have a chance to overlook the working methods of a diverse set of companies. Make sure that you interview the company as much as they interview you.

What I’ll focus on in 2021

Now, the final part — 4 focus areas for 2021. Let’s dive into it!

Create new revenue streams. I’m soft launching my company called sourcexperts. It’s a distributed product development and venture investing studio.

  • If you want to build the best product possible — we will help you.
  • If you already have the revenue and are ready to scale it — we can invest in your business.
  • If you’re a talented engineer, marketer, or designer — join us.

Save and invest. I plan to double down on investing and have by the end of the year $100k invested across different markets to drive future growth.

Career. Drive innovation and creative thinking daily within my job at Spotify. We’re building a new ambitious project that will save hundreds of hours for all employees.

Knowledge sharing. Write at least 1 article per month about engineering and, maybe, about finance.


Let’s go through this year together. Let me know how’s your year went and what do you plan for the next one.


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