2023 in Review

This was a great year of overall. The highlight of the year was buying and renovating our first home. I also launched my first Rails project and my first Ruby gem, traveled to 5 countries and gave a talk to 200 marketers.


The idea buying real estate never appealed to me. I’ve always thought of it as a big commitment with high risk. I also enjoyed the freedom to move and change of scenery that comes with renting. That all changed last year when we moved back from Switzerland to Singapore.

  • Singapore was the second most expensive place in the world for renting an apartment in 2023. The first was New York.
  • My wife being a local made us eligible to buy public housing turned an otherwise very expensive purchase into a manageable one.
  • After getting married, I learned to appreciate big commitments and the stability that comes with them.

Choosing Tiles Choosing tile gaps, one of the 10,000 small renovation decisions to be made

We found our dream place on the first week in January. It took a few months of paperwork to get the keys and another few months for renovations. We finally moved in September. It was a tedious and tiring experience, but it was worth it in the end.


It was a year with mixed results. The year started out great, but I lost momentum due to moving homes twice, constant demands of an ongoing renovation and the occasional travel. Life changes are disruptive, and moving is high on that list.

Onur's Github Commits 2023

That said, there have been a few first in my Ruby journey:

One of the things I tried this year was collaborating with a programmer friend I’ve known for years to build an email marketing tool. We both learned a lot, but ultimately failed to ship on time. This was a combination of over-thinking and not talking to customers early enough. This experience was a wake-up call for me to go back to my marketing roots and start talking to customers before building features – an advice I’d happily give others but clearly failed to practice myself.

One of the highlights of this year was speaking at Ahref’s SEO Summit in Singapore. It was such a well organised event with 200+ attendees from all across asia.

Onur on Stage at Ahref's SEO Summit Singapore Me and my extra minimalist slides which people apparently liked.


This was a great year for travel.

  • Attended a friend’s wedding in South Korea and visited Vietnam.
  • Had an amazing road trip in Turkey involving paragliding, hot air baloon and ATV rides, sailing, and eating at great places from the dingiest hole-in-the-wall kebab shops to the two michelin star restaurants.

Cappadocia Sunset Sunset in Cappadocia. What a beautiful place.

  • Attended the first Rails World in Amsterdam and met the Rails core team, Ryan Singer, Adam Wathan, Ufuk Kayserilioglu among many other fun Ruby people.
  • Met up and hanged out with fellow MegaMakers in Barcelona over a few days.


Despite big moves, I managed to exercise somewhat regularly, and got better at lifting heavy things. I’ve been following the Stronglifts 5x5 program and it’s good.

I also managed to do a few DIY projects at home, such as building the entire home automation system, sanding and staining furniture and installing things.

But most importantly, I got my pizza oven and got back to mastering the pizza at home, a journey that will continue well into 2024.

Sourdough pizza at home

Next Year

My main goals for the year are to get better at execution, think more clearly and meet interesting people.

  • Launch a SaaS product and make the first dollar online
  • Spend 20 mins daily without screens to think
  • Try Shape Up to ship more consistently
  • Gym 3 times a week to stay focused
  • Explore getting a co-founder
  • Write at least once a week
  • Get back to playing drums
  • Speak at a conference
  • Master pizza at home
  • Take a trip to Europe
  • Start a podcast

Reminder to self: good things take time. Best time to start is now.