Dylan Smith


I’m hesitant to write a list of new year’s resolutions. I’m generally happy with how everything is going and have no reason to believe that satisfaction won’t continue through the next 12 months. That said, there are a handful of priorities I’ve accumulated and highlighting those here for myself to reflect on and reevaluate is a nice exercise, even if I decide by March that some of them are no longer the right priorities. This isn’t a checklist, it’s just directional.


I’m partially publishing this post as an anchor. I’d like to return to writing more thoughtful and substantial on my own website. I didn’t write a single “article” here in all of 2023, though in absence of Twitter I was fairly consistent (not prolific) with my feed.

I subscribe to the RSS feeds of some people whose writing I really envy. My favourite bloggers are those who make it feel effortless. They post about seemingly random topics and I find it interesting because it’s in their voices. I also like the recurring themes certain people employ. Dave Rupert has a recurring vibe check where he summarises a number of areas in his own life, and I think stealing that type of lightweight structure might work well for me, too.

My two aspirations: write regularly, and make the habit of publishing feel easy.


Consistency is also key to this one. I picked running back up around June of 2023 and I really love it. I’m good at running and it’s always come naturally to me. In the past, though, I’ve always focussed narrowly on bettering my 5K time and I’ve realised this go around that I much prefer endurance over greater distances. I’ve swapped the racing flats for max cushioning and traded in the Spotify playlist for podcasts. My longest run in 2023 was a 31 kilometre (19 mile) round trip from my flat in East London to the Design Museum in Kensington. It’s especially great to be a runner in London because I can take a new route every day and there’s always something interesting to look at.

This year I’m not going to set goals for speed or mileage. I don’t care if I run a race. I just don’t want to hit a slump. If I run at least 2–3 hours every week I’ll be happy. If my self-discipline slips and I find my shoes collecting dust, I’ll be disappointed. If you run, too, follow me on Strava for accountability.

New house

Alana and I bought a house! Almost. We’re in the final stages now, just waiting on solicitors to finalise paperwork, and due to get the keys in a matter of weeks. It’s move-in ready, which was important to us for the first home we buy, so there aren’t any major projects on the horizon. I want to replace some carpet with wooden floors ASAP. We’ll paint, obviously. But mostly just superficial improvements, barring any nasty surprises.

We’re planning to work our way through the house and make it our own room-by-room. It’ll be a lot of work and take up a lot of my free time, but it’ll also be rewarding. We’ve saved for years to “get on the ladder.” My goal is to have the interior fully decorated and furnished to the point that we’re really happy with everything by the end of the year.


The vibe at work was pretty gloomy for most of 2023. That had a big impact on morale, even if I grew really close to my team through the uncertainty. Now that we’ve started hiring for a bunch of new roles for the first time in almost a year, it feels to me like we’re finally back to normal.

Frankly, between the layoffs and lack of career progression, I found myself mentally checked out for a good chunk of last year. Despite that, I’m unable to turn off and ended up with positive reviews. I’m also starting the year off by transitioning back into design engineering and moving to a different product area, which I’ll say more about soon.

Goals? Don’t fuck it up. Leave 2024 with a better title and bigger paycheque than I entered with.

Side project

I’ve had some app ideas bouncing around for years. One in particular is a working proof of concept with real users that continue to provide positive feedback and recommend it to others. The only problems are that I hate its current form too much to share it myself, and the codebase is not fit for purpose. I know everybody says these things, but this thing is built fully client-side, using jQuery to grab data from Firebase. It’s really hanging on by a thread.

This is the year I ship it for real. I still think it has legs if done right. And if it doesn’t, I think I have what it takes to learn and pivot. And if I don’t, well, I still think startups are fun. I owe it to myself to give a SaaS an honest try.

Email Geeks

This one’s bittersweet. Since 2016, I’ve helped grow and maintain the Email Geeks community for the email marketing industry. We’re at 21,184 members as I write this. That work has opened a lot of doors for me and introduced me to a lot of people. I’ve given a lot back, too — probably hours a day on average for eight straight years, even if most of those hours were passive. Between the admin, member vetting, content moderation, development of internal tooling, a near legal battle, and the 2020 salary survey, there’s been no shortage of volunteer work. Not to mention all the ideas I didn’t get to.

But it’s been almost two years since I worked at an email-related company. I take the stewardship seriously but that’s not my world anymore. Facing a potentially demanding year with everything listed above, something needs to give. I want to launch the 2024 salary survey, automate what I can to replace myself, and then log out for at least a while.

Bonus: Profile photo

I’ve been using the same headshot everywhere for a little too long and it’s starting to get ridiculous. I’ve been growing my hair for a year and a half. I need to use a new photo.

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