This is the first post in my new blog – I’ve been putting it off for so long, I almost had lost hope that some day I’ll have my tiny place on the web where I will share (hopefully, possibly) useful extracts of my everyday life and experiences in work, sports, ,entertainment, (cooking) and damn-good-ism.
But here it is. Starting from the bottom, one of the things I learned in 2015 – there’s this domain “.rocks” and right now you can buy it from Superhosting.bg for BGN 7 only, so I couldn’t help but register “manchev.rocks” – a bit narcissistic, but simple and effective I believe. We’ll see.
What else I discovered in 2015.
This was one of my most dynamic years in work so far. I changed three jobs, the last one I finally believe I can call a mission and not just a job. I tried to pursue a career change – from creative to tech. Finally landed somewhere in between. I started the year in an established corporation, switched for young and small company lacking corporate culture and ended in an even smaller project where we will just start to build an organization from scratch. Some chops of wisdom I extracted:
- Good corporate culture is vital for companies to grow and succeed. If your people believe in your cause, they’ll fight for it. Simple as that, big up to All Channels Communication – a full service communication corporation in Bulgaria where the team is almost an illuminati style society that fights vigorously for what it does – even when it is advertising.
- Career in tech is possible in spite of your non-tech background. There’s so much need of people with coding and analytics skills, that for 6 months or less you can learn the basics and continue learning in a real company. But don’t do it if you’re not really interested in, or if your main drive is just a bigger salary. Salary will never be big enough to pay for something you have to do against your nature. Try Treehouse if you are considering it, I find it a great paid e-learning service. If you’re interested but know nothing or little about code, educate yourself.
- Tools: Slack is cool. Both Outlook’s and Google’s calendars will save your life especially if you have hard time organizing your time, Asana is cool for project management, although I find it kind of lame they tried to copy Slack’s funny copies.
- No matter what steps you take in your work – you always have to think of the next step. “What will I do after I do X?”, “Where will this decision take me?”, “What will come next?” etc. Asking these simple questions may save you some pain.
I can’t image what my life would look like without sports. I have always been moving a lot and luckily 2015 was no different.
- In my sixth year of judo practice I had the opportunity to train with ex, current and future champions. The best thing about judo is that you constantly learn new things about what your body can do and what other people’s bodies are capable of doing.
- I discovered and really enjoyed Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu thanks to GF Team Bulgaria.
- I took running to the next level. I managed to turn it into a habit and organized a tiny community of fellow runners to share my weekly 12km trail with. In November I ran my first 21k trail and even finished in top 50%. My goal for 2016: 42k.
- I have two great bikes but didn’t have the chance to ride them regularly in 2015. Will try to improve that in 2016. Speaking of biking, in 2015 I helped my friends at Velocafe to launch their online store for biking t-shirts by shooting a catalogue and a photo session for their site.
I played most of my music for 2015 on Spotify – so far the best music software I’ve used. In December it even surprised me with the coolest “My year in music” feature and told me I’ve played 204 hours(or 9 days) of music on the app for 2015. And its Discover Weekly algorithms are just sick – they’ve picked so much gems for me.
What I’m waiting for the most in 2016: Kanye West’s SWISH and , ‘wait for it’, Gorillaz’ comeback.
I’m not much of a festival guy and had no planned fests for last year, yet 2015 was one of my best “festival” years. I visited three fests, had great times and the best thing is all this was unexpected since all three are events are far from mainstream. Here they are:
- Voinegovtsi Wrong Fest 2015. This was the third edition of a small rock fest held on the outskirts of Sofia, Bulgaria. Behind the event stands the strong community of Wrong bar – a successful rock bar in the heart of the city. For last year’s edition they invited some really cool bands – Truckfighters, Planet of Zeus, Popa Sapka, The Subways (unfortunately didn’t make it because of technical issues) among them, some legendary bulgarian bands like Animacionerite and Babyface Clan and some hot new artists like Kottarashky & The Rain Dogs and Hayes&Y.
- A to jazZ . This free jazz festival took place in the beginning of July and filled the small park behind Hilton hotel in Sofia with nice people enjoying great music – actually lots of people. The weather was great, the sun was setting just behind the stage and the park’s terrain turned out to be perfect for enjoying superb jazz with friends. I had the chance to listen to Kenny Garrett – Grammy award winner and ex-member of Duke Ellington’s Orchestra. How cool is that?
- Beglika Fest. Beglika is much more than a music festival – it’s about arts, crafts, entertainment, mindfulness and conscious way of life. It was held on the meadows around Beglika dam in Rhodope Mountains – one of the most beautiful pieces of nature in Bulgaria. You don’t go to Beglika Fest to party hard but to meet good people, learn something new, meditate and eat good food. Adaptation to city life after is a bit harder in the first two days dough. Planning to visit Beglika 2016 too.
I spent most of my year in changing and unstable environment and you don’t build habits easily in such state. That is why I didn’t read as much books as I wanted. Anyway, three book recommendations from me:
- Shogun by James Clavel. Absolute classics on everything japanese. The best way to feel the spirit of Japan and get to know them better. The bad thing is the book is exhaustingly long.
- How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. It’s not a self-help business book. It’s a love story, it’s a Slumdog Millionaire’s style tale of “a man’s journey from impoverished rural boy to corporate tycoon”, it’s interesting. Chris Sacca recommended it on Tim Ferriss’ podcast. By the way I recommend that podcast too, also found it in 2015.
- Wait but Why. Ok, it’s not a book, but judging by it’s length it could be. It’s a blog by the really talented journalist Tim Urban. He writes about trending topics like Tesla and Elon Musk, ISIS and the AI Revolution and the best thing is he studies his topics so carefully that his posts cover almost everything essential about them. It’s brain food.
2015 was full with insane movies of all kinds. These I enjoyed the most:
- Straight Outta Compton
- Tangerines (it’s 2013 but watched it in 2015, plus it’s too powerful to miss it out)
- Ex Machina
- Mad Max: Fury Road
- Wild Tales
- The Salt of The Earth
- The Lobster
The best things I bought for less than 100 leva in 2015.
- Mi Band. Although not that useful right now, wearables will surely be the next big thing soon and change our everyday life, fitness and health. Most wearables today measure relatively insignificant data – steps and sleep cycles/time. This is what Mi Band does too, but it is much much cheaper than the competition yet it is designed really well and tracks data really accurately. It’s a great conversation starter too and you can change silicon bands when you get bored. Cost: < USD 20.
- Ikea Annons 5-piece cookware set. Includes a small saucepan, a larger saucepan with glass lid and a pot with glass lid. This Ikea set is so cheap yet you get so much…you gotta love them swedish designers. Cost: USD 9.99 / BGN 18.50.
- Hario V60 Dripper. This thing is a japanese plastic accessory for manual coffee brewing and it’s really cool. And no, it’s not some hipsters’ bulls*it. Combined with a good roasted coffee, manual coffee brewing may unlock for you hidden aromas and flavors you didn’t expect and won’t find in espresso. Another thing – the process of preparing a cup of coffee via v60 takes concentration and is slower than espresso – for me it’s a morning mediation and reminder that you eventually don’t have to hurry that much if you want good results. If you consider buying fine coffee or coffee accessories in Sofia I recommend Dabov Specialty Coffee and Chucky’s. BGN 11.50.
Love works in mysterious ways.
(You didn’t expect me to ruin that great post with something that personal, did you?)
Oh, thank you for spending time to read my first post on the blog.
This is what I left behind in 2015. I am planning to write here at least two articles per month covering similar topics. On Monday I’ll start my first week building a gaming company from scratch at a co-working space. Expect the first week report soon.
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