My Past Year
2022 was a beautiful year. It was a milestone year for me personally more than professionally. I am now a married man, having been through a couple of wedding receptions already, which took out a good chunk of my year. The wedding reception journey began in Morocco where I spent a third of my summer shuttling between the courts in Beni Mellal, Rabat and Casablanca trying to sort out our wedding documents, then moving to Kerala, India where my family had arranged for a wedding function the Malabar way.
Indian weddings are like earthquakes where the aftershocks (lunch and dinner invitations) keep coming in even a month later (I pray for the people of Turkiye and Syria, let’s hope it makes them stronger). And then our family moved back to Dubai, with the wedding aftershocks continuing alongside business parties and dinners. I was able to visit just two new countries this year, but life was exciting enough with frequent business trips and new strategies.
It was a wonderful time for some of my business operations that didn’t need a lot of personal input while I left some of my operations hanging especially, when I was really needed. Well, Indian weddings do that to everyone, I am not the only one. What is work if you don’t get to live? I must admit the year was a mixed bag for my business growth.
Was it just business and wedding? Of course not, I think I helped contribute whatever was left of me towards Islamic education and environmentalism, albeit not to the level I wished for. That’s okay because when you need space for personal growth, these are the first ones to be sacrificed. I found one more home for me in Norwich over this period. More homes, more travel, am I right? I did find a new niche of helping grow the entrepreneurial mindset in the youth wherever I am, be it Norwich, Dubai or Kerala. Thank you for reading through my personal review of the year, I would highly encourage publishing your own or at least messaging me it.
The 2023 Plan
2023 started on a slow foot for me, I had just returned back from the UK via a business trip in Saudi Arabia (This country and its future needs an entire blog to itself). I was in my hometown for a dhikr night (night of remembrance) for my late grand father who passed away a month ago. It was inspiring to see his influences on everyone in our village and my father which in turn influenced me. He has left behind a legacy I would like to leave myself the day I depart from the planet.
But before I leave legacy, I have to plan. Mine is to lighten my life (in terms of financial and time liabilities) this year just like the Silicon valley unicorns shedding excess skin, to be nimble and agile in a year of unknowns for trade and technology. Half the world expects a recession and the other half pushes forward without any concern. I believe in a balanced approach which has already affected me in approaching my business plans cautiously. I am yet to finalise our annual growth plan for Saudi operations (should I slow down or double-down on our annual growth of 70% from last year?)
More importantly, getting Reshift, my Carbon footprinting start-up, into the second gear (self-sufficiency) is the next big job for the year. It has to take off within the year as it has been three years of loss-making. But hey, it is the most exciting part of my life so far.
How do you combine your passions? In a new division of our family business, there is also a push towards joint ventures in manufacturing in lighting, cables and cable accessories. It is essentially a front for my father and I to exercise our passion for travel and will exist as long as we set up partnerships with businesses in the countries that we are travelling in and cover our expenses haha.
Beyond business, I would like to get into podcasting or some form of influencing space this year, I have been lobbying some of my best friends to jump onboard as a test run. It will probably be in Malayalam with occasional English ones. I will keep you updated on that. It could start as early as next week.
Catching up with AI
Now let’s move on to what you actually came to this blog for- OpenAI is the next big thing this year. I will develop my skills on using it (and if Bard AI is any better, that too) throughout this year. I feel that mastering this technology and its use cases will save time for me in many technical arenas, especially in the manufacturing industry. My biggest concern for it is the lack of citations in reporting facts. However, it is still a work in progress and I intend to master it while it is growing.
It is interesting how this is the first time I have seen people see AI as an opportunity. More importantly, anyone and everyone is catching up with it. The first time AI has taken a step ahead of humanity. This acceleration in technology is only going to leave humanity in a worse place as soon as it begins showing its benefits in the defence industry, election campaigns, cold wars and more.
There are limitations to ChatGPT and I am glad it is not to the level where it is updating itself in terms of its capability. The General AI can learn, grow and create new versions of its own (if it wants to) but also, more importantly, choose whether to comply to our instructions or not. That is the moment Science fiction has been warning us about. The day AI is smart enough to stop listening to our dumb questions (one only needs to have a look at YouTube to see how dumb the questions can get).
Let’s hope that the human ingenuity can always catch up with AI and that international regulations are fast enough to restrict AI and its use, unlike nukes where the US tested on human lives before bringing in regulations. Because, at the end of the day, if AI can teach the best coder to code, it has the capability to arm the most secure missile sites and cause international tensions simply to run its favourite scenarios.