Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

2023 review - just keep iterating!

🗓Yearly Reviews,⭐️Featured

This is my 10th yearly review. 2023 was yet another challenging year, but in a good way. I’ve re-discovered the power of slow but consistent iteration and this has been a theme all year long to me:

2023 review - just keep iterating!

The year of values for Nozbe, my business of 17 years!

On one hand, I’m proud. Few businesses last that long. On another, I know this could have been a much bigger business than it is currently. I have made lots of mistakes in growing it and I’m trying not to beat myself up about it too much.

2023 for Nozbe and me was a year of figuring things out.

We re-discovered our values of: Passion, Simplicity, Fairness and Freedom. We had the guts to change prices of both Nozbe and Nozbe Personal and harmonize them across the board. In the process we shared the principles behind the pricing and explained other details like payless upgrade and our “for life policy” which gave all of our customers a much needed confidence boost.

The decision to raise and harmonize prices between both Nozbe apps was tough, but our customers responded better than we expected.

The other decision was to launch a new tier in Nozbe: Nozbe Business which lets our customers manage several workspaces in one app. This was a great move and the customers who have decided for it, love it. This year we’ll be promoting it much more.

2023 review - just keep iterating! team

The time has come. I will finally need to fire myself from a role of interim VP of marketing and hire a proper marketing person.

Our Nozbe product has been improving steadily and now a lot more Nozbe Personal users are migrating to the new Nozbe. We’ve added much-requested features, listened to feedback and made the migration easier. Again, there’s no stress to migrate, but as the prices of both Nozbe apps are the same, people start liking the new features.

Business wise we’ve doubled the MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) of the new Nozbe and we want to double it again this year to be finally healthy financially.

On a sad note, Radek, our ex-CTO and my ex-The Podcast co-host left the company, but on good terms and we are still friends. I wish him all the best!

My gear - new iPhone, Watch and other improvements!

I gave in and traded my beloved iPhone 13 Mini for the iPhone 15 Pro. I’ve also upgraded my “wrist” to the Apple Watch Ultra 2. I’ve significantly upgraded my travel backpack thanks to the products by Peak design and Patagonia.

What hasn’t changed is my main machine - it’s still the iPad Pro 13” - the most versatile computer ever.

Other than that, my home office has changed only a little but I keep iterating and improving it a little.

There are two new gadgets that really made my year in 2023 which I haven’t blogged about yet - Mavic Mini 3 Pro drone (Amazon link) and Moleskine Smart Notebook (Amazon link) - I love both of these! More on them soon…

2023 review - just keep iterating! notebook

Personal projects - lots of new Shortcuts!

I’m using the Action button in both the iPhone 15 Pro and the Apple Watch Ultra a lot so it motivated me to develop new Shortcuts for iOS. I’ve built quite a few of them this past year. I’ve created a simple way to add a short note using the Action button and a way to Add task to Nozbe.

I’ve also updated my Journal Shortcut version 3.0 and extracted a separate Gratitude Journal out of it. I’ve added a Dice 🎲 Shortcut to my “dice” page and improved the YouTube Watcher.

2023 review - just keep iterating! watch

I’ve created an entire Shortcuts category on this blog and I have few more Shortcuts coming: to add multiple notes 📝 on the Watch and iPhone, to create threads 🧵 for social media platforms and to create presentations for my webinars.

Health and Sports - reached most of my goals!

I’m still struggling with my weight. I’m at 75.5kg right now and this has been an average for me this year. I’d love to lose a few kg but the trusted slow carb diet isn’t working for me anymore. This year was particularly brutal as I reached 79kg of weight in September after summer holidays and had to work a lot to get it back down to 75kg. My ideal weight would be around 70kg but I don’t see it happening anytime soon…

2023 review - just keep iterating! sweden

Anyway, the weight surge in summer motivated me to get back to doing sports more regularly in the fall and I reached most of my fitness goals:

I beat my goals in 5/7 tracked sports, so not bad at all! In total I did 268 hours of sports, only 8 hours more than last year, but much more effective I’d say. The total score for me was 4480km, which is when you sum it all up and use weights (1: cycling and skiing, 2: walking, 4: running, 10: tennis, 20: swimming and strength training). That’s better than last year’s 4123 and similar to 2021 at 4558 but far worse than over 6000 in 2019 and 2020.

Goals for 2024 are as follows: 50h 🎾, 20h 💪, 30km 🏊‍♂️, 400km 🏃‍♂️, 1400km 🚴‍♂️ and 250km 🚶‍♂️ which would get me to around 5000km score total. Ambitious, but doable. Especially that I didn’t compete in any triathlon in 2023 and this year I finally want to do at least one, maybe two. So I need to be in shape.

Trips in 2023 - back in the USA!

We had one Nozbe reunion in Katowice and we’ll also have one this year. As we’re improving our business and being mindful of the costs, we prefer to have one awesome reunion instead of two cheap ones.

In the winter for the first time in our family history we went on a short skiing trip and I managed to inspire all of my girls to fall in love with skiing which I’m really proud of.

In the Easter we visited the USA with my kids and my parents for the first time since the COVID pandemic - we traveled to New York City, Philadelphia and Washington DC area following the traces of the American Revolution inspired by the Hamilton musical and I finally met in person my long-time Internet friend: Augusto Pinaud.

2023 review - just keep iterating! america

In the Spring we also visited my uncle and aunt in Vienna, Austria. It’s been years since I saw them and we had a blast catching up!

In the summer we also rented an RV (camper) for two weeks in Sweden 🇸🇪 and this year we’re planning to doing it again but this time we want to go to Norway 🇳🇴. It’s become our yearly family tradition to rent an RV and all of us are enjoying this kind of holidays a lot.

In the fall we visited London to improve ourselves culturally and we saw several musicals: Heathers, Six, Frozen and the amazing Wicked. We’ve been defying grafity ever since! 😜

In the winter we traveled to our home town to experience Christmas 🎄 with our parents and brothers and friends. Now that the COVID pandemic is over it’s great to be able to hang out with the loved ones for festivities.

Throughout the year we also had some family commitments like a wedding of my wife’s cousin or first communion of my brother’s daughter. Both were logistical challenges but we made them happen and we enjoyed them quite a bit!

Dates with my wife

In the Summer, after a few years break, we managed to go on another of our Honeymoons - as we sent our daughters to a summer camp, we traveled to Germany and saw the Hamilton musical in Hamburg before they closed it down in October. We both speak German so listening to our favorite musical in this language was a real treat!

2023 review - just keep iterating! hamilton

Apart from our week-long trip without kids, we also managed to have our Planning weekend trip at the beginning of the year, we also had a relaxing weekend with Gongs, we flew to Florence (Italy) for a weekend to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary and managed to squeeze in yet another weekend date in November. We managed to enjoy one weekend date per quarter which has always been our plan. We’re so fortunate that we can still do this, despite having demanding careers and three kids at home!

2023 taught me to iterate consistently!

Now I just need to keep that consistency, especially in business.

Iterate, get feedback, iterate again!

What I do appreciate is that despite having quite challenging years as the CEO of Nozbe, my work-life balancing is going well and I get to curve out lots of days off with my family, get to travel to places, get to have dates with my wife and get to do lots of sports and enjoy my life!

That’s why it still pains me to see how bad the situation is in the Gaza Strip and most importantly in my beloved Ukraine 🇺🇦 where we Europeans are trying to help but the USA 🇺🇸 cannot understand how badly they need to intervene, as well. I want my fellow Ukrainians to have a great, and peaceful ✌️ life as well! Let’s hope we get a break from this war and from all of the awful wars in 2024!

Tuesday, January 30, 2024 /2023/