If this is your first time reading my yearly review: welcome. If you already enjoyed my honest look back on 02014, 02015, 02016 and 02017: welcome back.
In any case, it’s great to share with you what happened in the fields of Business, Finance, Personal, Mind, and Body this year.
We’ve got tons to cover, so let’s get right to it.
Strong Value Proposition
I’ve never felt stronger in my value proposition. My positioning has been excellent since the beginning of the year and I feel very much at home in my professional skin.
“La Fabbrica della Realtà is an innovation laboratory focusing on digital marketing for culture and entertainment.”
In the past 12 months, I’ve tried to express this positioning to the best of my abilities. I’ve worked with 8 different clients (the highest number since I started in 2011). I started working with a different outlook (more on that later). I also did not have the repeat business that I enjoyed in the previous years: most clients needed only one engagement from me this year.
-43% Bottom Line
The result of this fragmentation is a -43% reduction of the volume of business if compared with 2017. That is a 61% decrease from my top performing year (2016).
Work was very irregular this year. I had lots to do in Q1 and Q4 and much less revenue coming in Q2 and Q3.
I did less revenue per client and I also did something entirely new: I set up a revenue share with my main client.
This means that I co-invest in projects with my main client without requiring an upfront fee. Instead, I collect the revenue down the line according to the bottom line of the single projects.
This has already proven successful but has had the effect of postponing the revenue from this year to the next. If I factor in the expected revenue from this agreement the performance corrects from -45% to -30%. Still far off my forecast of +100%.
I feel good about revenue sharing and I will increasingly seek this kind of agreement in the future. On the other hand, I need some upfront clients to compensate for the momentary loss.
Consulting + Agency Work
Speaking of client engagements: only two clients have asked me for pure consulting this year. The rest have required a combination of agency work and consulting.
This is quite normal in my sector and I am happy to be delivering turnkey campaigns to my clients. On the other hand, I always fear that they will see me more as an agency and less as a consultant in the future.
All of my agency engagements have been possible due to healthy collaboration with Made in Com. My praise goes to Silvia, Francesco & Irene who have been invaluable and irreplaceable in 02018.
First Client from the Web
Consulting is a reputation game: most of my clients have known me very well for many years. This year something new happened: a client arrived from the web.
They were doing a specific search for a consultant specialized in entertainment. They found me, invited me to pitch and I had the luck to win the pitch.
This has led to one of my favorite case studies of the year.
What does this mean? That content marketing works, but it’s a very very slow game. The content I seeded in 2013 came to fruition in 02018.
Thanks for calling, please hold for 5 years
Winning at the Content Game
I am happy with the amount and quality of content I produced in 02018. I posted 7 long from original articles plus I refurbished one article from 2017.
I started getting more serious about SEO and started to align my articles more towards the Google searches that I want to target. I also started to use Wordlift, an AI tool that augments my content and allows me to curate the Themes of this website.
In 02018 I also switched to HTTPS and made my site much faster for users and crawlers. The result of all of these SEO strategies combined is an increase of 59.7% of the overall sessions year-over-year and a whopping 197.1% increase in organic traffic.
Educazione Globale as a Standalone Business
Educazione Globale grew 260% in 02018 compared to the previous year. It’s not a huge business, it represents still only 2.45% of my total revenue but promises to become a legitimate enterprise with its own yearly profit.
Since the site is still in the growth phase, 100% is being reinvested. But maybe in 02019 I can invite my sister out for dinner at the expense of our common project.
Marketing of Culture
My project around the marketing of culture did not take off in 02018 as I expected. Let’s see what happens in 02019.
Make an Acquisition Plan
My task this January is to acquire clients to climb the revenue ladder. I will look for opportunities to double down on existing relationships and grow new opportunities.
Keep revenue sharing
It’s hard for most companies to afford pure consulting fees. Let alone a retainer. In the years to come, I will increase the revenue share deals. This means moving from the pure marketing consulting to overall business consulting and working more with CEOs than the CMOs.
This means not just acquiring clients but investing in my client’s business. I am ready for that step up and I think it will lead to great fruits in 02019.
Clutch, First Gear, Go!
I’m ready for my first automotive client. You’ve already seen through these pages how motoring is making me happy. I see this year as the first opportunity to make my first professional steps in the automotive space.
OUT as YOU
This year it was revealed how Facebook betrayed us. How it manipulated us, lost our data and our trust. Knowingly. For years. Our eyes are now open to the dangers of the social networks of today. We need to start thinking about how we share ourselves online. I think 02019 will see the coming back of the “coming out” project OUT as YOU.
The Dream Team
There is a group of people I love, with whom I collaborate, but that is still not working together as closely as I wish. In 02019 I would like to tie more professional knots in this group of people towards a common goal.
You know who you are, I’ll be in touch soon.
Matteo, Just Give Us a Number!
My objective is to grow the business 200% (triple it from today’s level) to go back to the level of 2016. It’s a tall order and if I look at Q1 of 02019 I am already off track. But for how it can sound unreasonable, that’s my goal.
Introducing the Growth Portfolio
In the past few years I set up a Permanent Portfolio of investments with the goal of providing a sort of pension infrastructure.
This year I integrated this conservative portfolio with a riskier component: a growth portfolio based on stock indexes (MSCI World + MSCI Emerging Markets specifically).
My permanent portfolio is bringing in around 1% this year.
The growth portfolio that I’m setting up closed 02018 at -5%. I feel comfortable with this added volatility since this is a capital that I can afford to lose, knowing that my safety net (the Permanent Portfolio) is weathering the storm quite nicely.
My 1st Roboadvisor
I also opened a new trading account with a roboadvisor. I set up the German platform Whitebox (affiliate link and in German) on the maximum risk/volatility setting and let it trade ETFs for me.
The result is currently a loss of -3,3% due to the current downturn, but in the same year, I’ve seen +5% performance as well.
Peer to Peer Lending Still My Hero
My financial hero is Auxmoney, as it’s been providing a constant return (around 5% a year) with no fluctuations and – for the moment – very controllable risk.
The bonus is that the invested money comes back to you progressively, together with your interest, allowing you to reinvest it month by month.
Sold One Car, Bought Another
I’ve sold BUD, my first Mazda MX-5. In my two years of ownership, I lost precisely 545.38 Euros. Yes, I was able to sell the car for just about the same amount I bought it for, and my two years of enjoyment have cost me roughly 74 cents a day. Not bad if you consider how much a lease would cost.
The total cost of owning the car was much higher than the depreciation. But that’s a story for a different article.
In the meantime, I bought another Mazda MX-5. This time it’s new and it’s a vehicle I would like to keep for the longest time. You know all about this new purchase if you read my article about my epic summer road trip.
Buy a Second Car
It’s a disease. It’s a passion. It’s stupid. But in 02019 I will buy a second car. Maybe a classic.
What will it be? Follow my newsletter if you want to know how it unfolds.
Did not invest in a “real” business
I set the goal of investing in a brick and mortar business in 2017. I never even started this task.
Stay the course…
In 02019 I would like to stay the course since I feel that the financial situation is quite sorted.
I would like to buy some land and build a house
I’ve set a new goal for the year to come and it’s financially immense. I would like to buy a plot of land and build a prefabricated wooden house in the countryside. Not a vacation home, but my very own first home and office surrounded by beauty.
That’s a huge commitment that will rock any previous financial plan. Follow me this year for updates on this plan.
An In-between Year
2018 has been an in-between year. No breakthrough. No revelation. No big visible changes.
Q1 and Q2 have not been great from the perspective of my mood. I’ve had a looming depression during this period.
I still have the feeling that I’m not expressing my full potential as a human being. Thus I’m looking for what is inhibiting the full enjoyment of my full self.
Needless to say: I am not feeling great about the -43% business result. I still (irrationally?) wish the business result would have been a better one.
Getting to meditate twice a day for 20 minutes a day and doing the third stint of therapy of my life have helped to weather this “in between” year.
I’m very proud to see that I am not the only one of my friends using therapy as a tool after passing the 40th year of age. Bring it on.
Dating, But Not Enjoying It
We live in the golden age of dating apps. But I think this is also the twilight of dating.
I’ve not enjoyed dating very much in 02018 and this means that the hunt for Mr. Right goes on a hiatus for a while.
Lots of Happy Kilometers
I’ve enjoyed driving in 02018. I clocked 13.881 Km in the new car, plus 6.903 in the old car for a grand total of just over 20000 KM. Most of them have been on b-roads and the autobahn/strada, but a certain amount has been on race tracks.
I’ve enjoyed my time on the Nürburgring and on Groß Dölln this year. I also went to a snow driving course.
I enjoyed a ton my time in the car and I could not be happier about the new car. The 02018 version of the Mazda MX-5 is everything I want in a driver’s car. It’s quick, responsive, always fun to drive. It has you working to suck out the power: rowing the gears to redline to get maximum performance.
It’s the best sports car in the under 300 horsepower range you can have.
I traveled a lot in Europe this year. Mostly back and forth between Germany and Italy. This is leading me to the conclusion that it may be better to move back to the homeland after all.
All my travels were smooth, and I have a decent routine with my carrier, EasyJet. That said: if I could take fewer airplanes in 02019, I would be grateful.
Focus on Air Quality
@dhh put air quality sensors on the map for me in 02018. I had no idea that you could have an affordable air quality monitor in your home, and I’ve started measuring indoor and outdoor air quality ever since.
I’ve realized that not everywhere you see green you also have good air quality. Also: you don’t open your home windows often enough.
If you’re curious I’m using a Netatmo (affiliated) for my home readings and a Temtop (affiliated) for outdoor air quality.
Imagining My New Home
I will spend much time in 02019 imagining and planning my new home. This will take a lot of energy and need in-depth study.
The only step stone of this project is that I’m committed to building with natural materials. The variables that are still unknown are the exact location of the plot of land. This has to do with many many factors. Not least of which air quality.
Asia on My Mind
Would be cool to go back to Asia in 02019. Japan and Korea would be my natural choices, but Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand are also destinations I would like to visit.
Another time investment that I would like to make in 02019 is towards a meditation retreat. Maybe also some more experiments in the exploration of the self are in order.
Winning at Meditation
I’m finally winning at meditation. In the past few months, I’ve meditated twice for 20 minutes every day.
During travel time, I tend to fall off that habit. However, since I consider driving a form of meditation, then I am not too far off my goal of meditating twice daily every day.
Sleep Is More Important Than You Think
That’s not just a truism. Sleep is so important. I’ve read “Why we sleep” (affiliate) this year and have devoted additional focus on sleep quality and hygiene. The result is that I have more energy all around.
Sleep has been a big win for 02018. And that’s big progress since I was reporting in this very report that I had been struggling with it in the past years.
More Reading, Less Movies, Way Less Netflix
Sorry, Netflix. Sorry, Hollywood. In 02018 I’ve started to devote more time to reading. By going to bed earlier, I’ve prolonged my reading time before sleep. I’ve also read more long-form articles on Pocket. I’m reading a mix of non-fiction and fiction.
Favorites of the year: Why we sleep, Sapiens, Mahabaratha (Ramesh Menon edition), Whiplash (Joi Ito), It doesn’t need to be crazy at work.
I still love entertainment: only I’ve selected more and tried to avoid the complete time wasters. I’m talking about the Dynasty’s and the Riverdale’s.
I’ve written often in 02018. And I’ve enjoyed doing it. Hope the content production continues in 02019. My goal is to produce at least 6 long-form articles this year. If I’m very diligent I could even get up to the aspirational number of 12.
I’ve temporarily abandoned the idea of writing a longer form book on entertainment marketing.
Also: I had the idea of creating a short e-book by compiling many articles present in the blog but that fell through as well.
Bad, Bad Tech
In 02018 I’ve spent too much time on my devices. Specifically, I’ve spent between 5-6 hours on the devices using apps that trick your mind into mindless interactions and updates. I’ve also picked up the phone more than 5 times per hour. That’s not acceptable.
Screen time needs to go down in 02019. As a rule, I’m keeping the phone on airplane mode for 30 minutes after I wake up.
Plus, I’ve set up Screen Time to reduce the number of apps available after 10:30 pm. For instance, reading an article on Pocket is allowed, but mindlessly browsing for cars on AutoScout is not.
I would like to have a smartphone vacation in 02019. Maybe more than one. Even every Sunday. Please let me know how you deal with tech addiction. It’s serious.
Keep Up with Meditation and Augment
Meditation works and it should keep working in 02019. I will also start with more inner exploration with a meditation retreat and some selected workshops.
I won’t allow late night and early morning engagements to interfere with my sleep in 02019. Sleep will continue to be one of my focuses. So long for the late-night parties and early meetings that I will miss.
Reading More Long Form and Even Fewer News
Atemporality is essential, especially in these crazy times. I’ve mostly stopped looking at the useless social media feeds from Instagram and Facebook. If I feel the need to be in the flux I’m going to my very curated Twitter feed nowadays.
Anyway, in 02019 I will shift further into non-current long-form of any kind.
Here’s my favorite part of this review. In the previous sections, I can edit and curate what I am going to tell you. Here I can’t lie. The body speaks for itself and never lies.
CrossFit is The Place
I didn’t do any CrossFit this year but I did a mix of strength training and bodybuilding using basic lifting equipment and functional movements. And it feels awesome. Thanks Nico & Spree CrossFit, as always.
I’ve started running again in the days I don’t lift weights. My legs feel heavy and my speed is slow. I am not enjoying it as I used to, but it works.
6x a Week
Running + weight training means that I have mostly just one free day a week. In reality, I often benefit from two free days and skip one running day.
Nutrition: big = fat
I haven’t found a nutritional regimen that allows me to be big and lean. During the winter months and up to the summer I was on a bulking, high protein diet. It didn’t work as planned and I dropped it in favor of a varied diet with intermittent fasting.
This year I finally have some graphs to show with some insight on the effect of the various regimens.
Given a steady 3x a week routine at the gym these are the results regarding weight.
My body fat is now as low as 15% but the real question is how to add lean muscle mass now.
Muscle mass % seems to be increasing as a function of fat loss.
At 41 your pains don’t go away, they move around. These are the areas and the ways I injured myself in 02018.
The year started with trouble with my right shoulder. An issue that I carry over from 2016 and ’17. Right after that my lower back started acting up.
I also suffered again from tonsillitis this year, but the specialist I consulted said that tonsillitis a year is nothing to act upon. Hoping to skip this in 02019 anyway.
I trained with a lighter regimen in summer but kept going to the gym overall my travels.
At the end of August, I had the worse body moment of the year when a lumbago attack hit me while I was squatting (my form was perfect, my body was just saying enough!).
Being scared of the recurrence of lumbago, I proceeded with a full reset of all the weights for all the exercises. After 3 months I am back at the same level of fitness that I had before lumbago.
Lift Until You’re 90
My goal right now is not just to increase my strength and my well-being (and to look very very good). But also, to find the movements that I will keep on doing for the years to come. I’m particularly focused on understanding what are the exercises that I do today that I could still do when I’m much older.
Eat + Sleep + Exercise
Never like this year I’ve realized how important it is to combine these three aspects of strength and well-being.
Sleeping consistently 8 hours or more.
Exercising in the morning before starting to work.
Eating freshly prepared real foods when hungry.
These are the consolidated lessons of these years body experimentation.
Keep It Up
A 6x a week routine is challenging, but I would like to keep it up as long as I am not traveling.
I’ll Have a Nothingburger, Please!
Next week I will experiment with the Tim Ferriss/Peter Attia fasting protocol loosely called The Nothingburger.
Maybe I’ll post updates on my twitter because it’s not going to be easy to follow through without some social support.
My goal at 42 would be to see my abs for the first time by summer. That would mean going from 15% body fat to 13% body fat.
This goal will be achieved with a combination of focus on cardio (to speed up the metabolism) and nutrition (with a combination of fasting, keto, and protein-rich protocols).
Thank you for reading this far and for helping me. This article is, as usual, more of a note to self than anything else. But the fact that you’re reading these words means the world to me. It means that you’re going to keep me accountable for the next 12 months.
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