I am doing the year summary to have this feeling of accomplishment and self recognition. The common knowledge is not comparing yourself to anybody else but rather to your former self. Well, let's do it 2023 edition.


Biggest topic of the year for me personally was stability - both legal and financial. I did some work around my ancestry, and managed to prove I am the heir of a Estonian citizen lived here between 1918 and 1941. So I was eligible to obtain the Estonian citizenship as well. This means that nobody can kick me out of the country or the whole EU, which greatly contributes to the feeling of safety.

I also adopted the thought that I am not visiting Russia anytime in the forseeable future; I don't care about places, but it's a bit sad to be separated from mother, sister and grandma. Well, every choice has a price.

Another stability improvement was in the financials; both me and my wife substantially increased our income through hard work. We managed to save the money to close the car leasing, meaning we are entering the New Year with only mortgage, which is considered a good practice: avoiding all non-mortgage debt.  We also already have some vacations planned which also adds to the mood.


Let's talk about work! That was a fun year as a Senior Engineering Manager at Bolt. First of all, I lost one of the Engineering Managers reporting to me in the first quarter. I am blaming no one but myself. I screwed up during his compensation review and let him open the door to potential recruiters. The guy got an offer with significantly higher salary; well, good for him and lesson to myself! On the bright side, I got to know business part of billing in Bolt better and hired an amazing substitute. Unfortunately, there was no new headcount for Billing in 2023, and there will be no in 2024, so I didn't have to hire anybody else this year.

Instead I focused on the Billing Strategy. I started with the Event Storming sessions for each of the billing domains, the result of which I covered in the related blog post. As a result I have a preliminary technical architecture and team setup for the next year, which I will be finalising in January. Hope, that will be recognized properly on the Performance Review.

The other big problem I faced was an internal conflict in one of my teams. I see the reasons in the cultural differences and lack of communication of expectations. I obviously can not fix the cultural background, but I can help seeing the differences and adjusting to them. I also run several meetings so that folks can tell what are their expectations from different roles and agree on those. Looks like it is working so far.

I also did several contributions outside of my direct responsibilities. I helped redesigning  the interview process, changing how we treat system design interview, changing the live coding part to a code review exercise and providing the materials to prepare. I also gave several talks promoting Bolt at DevClub, Nordic DevOps Days and local meetups. All the talks can be found on my YouTube channel :)  

Work again

This year I tried founding a startup at spare time. And we managed to create a product out of it, checkout https://supplied.eu. What it gave me is the understanding how to bootstrap a SaaS from the technical point of view, starting from the DNS, routing and that staff, to managing the third party APIs. Great experience!

Unfortunately, we didn't get any investments so I will not be able to commit to be a full time CTO there. But the thing is still alive and gathering the customers. If you know the companies looking for DAC7 solutions, drop me a message :)

That was a fun experience, I learned a lot and got some great content for my talks. Mid journey I realised I had issues understanding what I want to work on in the first place.  I was interviewing with a couple of companies but nothing felt right. But in the end I got that I need to stay at Bolt and do something on my own... Be sure to stay tuned as announcements are coming soon!

Blog, Newsletter and other Content

The newsletter growth declined. This year brought only ~250 subscribers to the website. However, I perceive the fact that newsletter continues as an achievement itself. It means I got enough motivation and discipline to continue it, especially when people say it's useful!

At the same time Telegram channel with the same content reached almost 1700 subscribers, more than doubled from last year.

Growth in the channel since September

The main achievement though is the YouTube channel content-wise. I dropped the topic of video covers for the newsletter and focused on the standalone content and interviews. The channel gained ~1500 subscribers and growing! If you're not subscribed, feel free to do it now!

YouTube channel dashboard

And of course I need to highlight that I have built a small, just 13 people, but cozy community among my subscribers. This is a great feeling of being supported, thank you folks!


This year I was not paying a lot of attention visiting doctors, but I got a useful habit of training at home 2-3 times a week. I am using an app called MadMuscles, it gives you a personalized program depending on the stuff you have. I see clear progress in strength, body shape and weight and that's great! I start liking how I look in mirror, and couple of t-shirts are a bit tight in chest, if you know what I mean. I don't do it only for mere training: I have a knee problem, and I have to some routine of exerices to keep it in shape. It works: the pain is almost gone, which is going for me. Looking forward to lifting more weights!

Set for 20 kg. I added another 20 with additional weights


ChatGPT for political dissapointment

Need to admit that all of that happens while the war in Ukraine continues, war in Israel started, Estonia goes through the political crisis with the scandal around the prime minister. It contributes to the overall anxiety and let's face it - disappointment. Disappointment in the western policies, disappointment in the hypocrite political leaders, disappointment in the whole world literally. UN as a most useless organisation ever, EU running from freedom at an increasing pace and there seems no place on the whole Earth where things are going in the right direction.

The mentality I find useful in such dare circumstances is graping power. Grow to the best of your abilities, become financially independent, build a community around yourself, have a business or a side hustle which would let you leave the job if required. Build a resiliency inside yourself. And this is the attitude I am bringing in the 2024, and I wish you the same.

Of course, if you like my work, you can always support me at Patreon, subscribe to the telegram channel and youtube channel!