2020 In Review

It’s time for the annual retrospective. 2020 has been a crazy year and I’m not even thinking about the pandemic, the forest fires, or the US election. Let’s go over the major events in my personal and work life.


We managed to close a large funding round. The majority of the money came from a grant that I helped write. The CEO and I had to defend the case in front of a panel of six specialists, which was supposed to take place in Brussels, but due to COVID-19, we had to do it over a conference call instead. It was still an exciting experience though. We spent a few months on the application so it was very rewarding to have it come through.

One of my work-related goals for 2020 was to establish an amazing data science team. The cash infusion meant that we could finally get started on this. We hired three more people bringing the team up to a total of five people. It will be exciting to see what we can build together next year.

Like many companies, we ended up working from home for a good part of the year. Turns out that I actually prefer this over the open office. I’m happy that I got to try it out and I would like to do more of it in the future.


I became a father! This is hands down the most amazing thing to happen this year. We’ve been trying for about five years most of which included fertility treatment. After several years we decided that it was too much and that a biological child wasn’t in the cards for us and started the process of getting approved for adoption. The process was exhausting. Yet somehow in the middle of the stress and madness, we became pregnant. Our baby girl, Ada, arrived in the summer. It’s been exactly as difficult and amazing as people said it would be.

We sold our small apartment in Copenhagen and bought a house in Køge. We’ve been wanting to move there for years but ended up buying in Copenhagen last time because it seemed like the sensible thing to do. It still seemed the sensible thing this time, but every time we looked at a house in Copenhagen it felt like we were saying no to Køge rather than yes to Copenhagen. It will be exciting to see how living in Køge influences our day-to-day. I’m hoping to go for more walks along the beach and see my older brother more often. If remote work is here to stay I think we will be even happier with the choice.

One of my new year’s resolutions was to travel less. That turned out to be a trivial achievement in 2020. Another resolution was to build a video game. I got quite far – the process is documented here – but didn’t finish. Learning Unity was a lot of fun, but I can’t dedicate the time it takes right now. I hope to do more game development in 2021.

I’ve read quite a few books this year. I promised myself that I would try to read more fiction this year, but I ended up reading a lot about climate change, permaculture, and gardening. The books that have stood out the most are:

  1. Lifespan by David Sinclair. This book made it seem less impossible that I might live past 100. One of the take-aways is that I have to think hard about how I plan to finance my retirement. I don’t necessarily want to live a longer life, but staying healthy for longer would be nice.
  2. Unshakable by Tony Robbins. This little book convinced me that investing in index funds is the way to go. It is the first book I’ve read by Tony which is surprising since I quite like the self-help genre.
  3. The Artist’s Way at Work by Mark Bryan, Julia Cameron & Catherine Alen. The book is about rediscovering your creativity and is filled with small exercises. I think that this might be one of the cases where you find the right book at the right time. I don’t know if I would recommend it to others or even enjoy it in five years but I really enjoyed it.
  4. The Art of Doing Science and Engineering. This book is about learning to learn. This includes how to pick which skills to learn and what research topics to pursue. I think it is a gem of a book.
  5. The Rambunctious Garden by Emma Marris. This is a good introduction to different ways of thinking about conservation efforts — it certainly changed how I think about it. I love when I come across books like this that show the complexity of thinking surrounding some topic that I knew nothing about before reading the book. The author is skeptical about the ways conservation has historically been done and spends to book explaining why and arguing for a different approach.

It still seems that non-fiction books are the ones that leave a lasting impression and change how I see the world. I’ve included a full list of the books I read in 2020 further down the page.

Next Year

Next year I will spend five months on paternity leave so it will be quite an unusual year.

  1. I want to establish a forest garden. This will take many years, but I hope to put in a lot of the foundational work in 2021.
  2. I would like to establish a habit of winter bathing. They have some nice facilities for this in Køge.
  3. I would like to learn to use the “cloud” or a remote machine. Currently most of my work happens on my local machine because I don’t know any better.
  4. I want to write more blogposts. I find that doing so boosts my creativity. I would like to do at least one blogpost that uses “scrolly-telling”, meaning relevant things appear in the margin when you scroll down the page.
  5. I want learn more about CSS and SVG.

Books read in 2020