2017: A Year of Personal Growth

2017 was a great year for my personal growth. And I’m grateful to the people who have helped and supported me throughout the year.

Here are a few areas that I felt I’ve grown in:

Content marketing

I switched my role as a community champion to a content crafter in 2016. For the last few months of 2016, I was learning the basics of content marketing and writing more. In 2017, I lean in to content marketing. Being the main writer for the Buffer blog, I was able to focus on writing for most of the year. I published 54 blog posts on the Buffer blog in the past year.

Now as I look to grow in other areas of marketing, such as email and copywriting, having a good foundation in writing has been immensely helpful.

Speaking engagements

I set a goal to give a talk on my experience at Buffer or remote working in 2017. One talk led to another, and I gave two talks on content marketing and was on three discussion panels (two on content marketing and one on remote working).

The experiences were all terrifying at first but eventually, I found them enjoyable. I was also glad that I was able to help others with what I know and would love to give more talks in 2018.

Speaking engagement in 2017

Reading books

When I was setting my annual goals for 2017, I decided that my main goal for the year would be to read more books. In 2016, I read 11 books, the most I’ve ever read in a year. In 2017, I aimed to read 26 books, one every two weeks.

I read 28 books. Most importantly, I fell in love with reading.

Here’s the list of books I read in the past year:

  1. 80,000 Hours: Find a fulfilling career that does good
  2. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
  3. Elements of Style
  4. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
  5. The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1)
  6. How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times
  7. Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping Our Future
  8. Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success
  9. The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
  10. Headway
  11. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
  12. Winning with Data: Transform Your Culture, Empower Your People, and Shape the Future
  13. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Enhanced Edition: A Leadership Fable
  14. Ego Is the Enemy
  15. Gone Ahead
  16. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy
  17. The Decision Maker: Unlock the Potential of Everyone in Your Organization, One Decision at a Time
  18. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
  19. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
  20. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth
  21. Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success
  22. Personal History
  23. Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising
  24. The Long Earth (The Long Earth, #1)
  25. Thinking, Fast and Slow
  26. Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger
  27. The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #2)
  28. Death’s End (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #3)

My top three favorite non-fiction books are Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. MungerThinking, Fast and Slow, and Personal History.

My favorite books of 2017: Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger, Thinking, Fast and Slow, and Personal History

Trying new things

2017 was also a year of trying new things.

After taking a Treehouse WordPress development course, I created my own WordPress blog theme, which you’re looking at now. I started a newsletter of curated articles on content marketing and slowly grew it into my personal marketing newsletter. My team lead gave me the opportunity to lead our marketing squad at Buffer for six-weeks to drive mobile app downloads.

Also, I had the chance to visit places I’ve never been to — Madrid, Scotland, the Faroe Islands, and Denver. I count myself lucky to be able to travel to these places in just a year.

Buffer Madrid retreat

Hello, 2018

In 2018, I aim to continue growing in these few areas, with an additional focus on writing on this blog. If there’s anything you would love for me to write about, let me know in the comments section below.

Happy 2018, and wishing you the very best for the year ahead!

  • Anastasia S

    Hi Alfred, congratulations on the great progress you’ve made! Maybe in one of your next posts you could elaborate more on your time management tactics – how it’s become possible for you to do sports, improve writing, learn coding and squeeze traveling into that 🙂

    • Hey, Anastasia! Thanks for always reading and responding to my tweets and blog posts. That’s a great idea. I’ll start drafting that. 😄

      • Anastasia S

        Also I wanted to ask for your advice. I’m planning to start an affiliate site, and I don’t know if I should just do it on WordPress without coding, or should I create it from scratch. What do you think? Thanks!

        • Oh, I don’t know the difference between an affiliate site and a normal blog. If it’s technically the same, I’ll decide based on my coding knowledge. For this blog, it’s very easy to maintain it with WordPress so I stuck with it and only created a theme rather than an entire blog. Hope this helps!

        • Sharing a few thoughts that could possibly help. I have always been a huge fan of WordPress and it’s amazing how you can do anything imaginable with WordPress.

          I have once had an affiliate blog by the name StrikeBuys, but I am working on revamping the entire model now.

          Before you get started with making an affiliate site, you have to note that it’s no easy task and requires a lot of effort and patience – the range scoping from learning what content to focus on, how to deliver content and how to market it out.

          There are tons of niche websites built with WordPress and a simple search query on DuckDuckGo should give out a lot of information.

          Also, if you are new to WordPress, it’s encouraged that you have a look at this learning centre that the good folks at WordPress.com have put up https://learn.wordpress.com/, or if you are more into making self-hosted WordPress (WordPress.org) sites, you could look at this page for advanced concepts possible with WordPress.org https://codex.wordpress.org/Advanced_Topics

          Hope this helps. Good luck!

          • Anastasia S

            Hi Arun, this helped a lot! Thanks!

          • Happy to help! #WordPressFan 🙂

  • Great post, Alfred. It sounds like 2017 has been a brilliant year for you, as you’ve crossed over into the marketing world. I must confess I’ve only read a few of your Buffer blog posts. That being said, I’ve still appreciated you using your position and resources at Buffer to share valuable insights for those of us that perhaps don’t have such a large pool of data to work with. Keep up the good work bud. I hope you have a cracking 2018. 👍

    • Thanks, Matt! Yes, it definitely felt like a great year for my personal and professional development. It helped that I had a group of mentors and friends that supported me throughout the year.

      I appreciate your honesty! You’re welcome, and I would love to continue doing that since it sounds beneficial to many.

      Have a great 2018, too! 🙌

  • Awesome job on your personal and professional growth this year! And jealous of some of your travel 😛

    I travelled a lot for work last year (for speaking engagements). But it was mostly within the states and to places I’ve often visited already.

    Great job on the reading list, too! I’ve read a few books that are on your list. Need to get “Peak Performance.” For me, the goal is more hardcover books and less tv (i.e. Netflix). I tend to want to watch movies or tv shows to relax. I’m switching that up with more books. I love reading and I love learning, so it’s a good switch.

    • Thanks, Ricardo! Yeah, I’m really lucky to explore those places last year (some for work, some for leisure) 😄

      Yeah, that sounds productive to me. I love watching movies sometimes, though. It’s relaxing and helps me think creatively or keeps me inspired!

  • That’s quite some impressive feat, Alfred! I am thoroughly impressed with what you have done in 2017, and I have been a huge fan of your work on the Buffer blog. There has been a lot of content that will help both new marketers or advanced ones. Keep writing!

    On a different note, please consider changing the color of the links on your blog, as well as the Disqus setup on this blog. Both are not clearly visible.

    • Thanks, Arun! Really appreciate your kind words 😄

      Ah, yes, the link color is horrible. Thanks for the nudge! Oh, how does Disqus look like on your computer?

      • Links on Disqus have the same color as regular text on Disqus.