2019 — A Year in Review

2019 in Review + 2020 Goals

Michael Batko
5 min readDec 29, 2019

I just looked back on my 2018 Year in Review (+2017 here).

Picture of 2019 — sun, friends, coffee and board games

Status Quo

  • 🏡 Location — Live in Australia, Sydney (July — October in Melbourne)
  • 👩‍❤️‍👨 Girlfriend — Gabrielle Bleakley (5Y anniversary in July 2019), M&A lawyer
  • 🧳 Work — Startmate, startup accelerator which invests in and helps 10–15 startups grow twice a year
  • ✈️ Travel — Fly every 2–4 weeks to Melbourne, 2x 1-week trips to San Francisco (April / October)
  • 🚴‍♂️ Sports — Triathlons
  • 📺 Hobbies — Anime (One Piece, Boku No Hero Academy)
  • 🚶‍♂️ Things I do Read, Write

Update vs Last Year

  • 👩‍💻 Gabby left Clayton Utz joined Corrs
  • 🧑‍💻 I stepped up from Head of Ops to CEO of Startmate
  • 🚴‍♂️ Hardly any Volleyball, but lots of Triathlon training

Family & Friends

A notable difference to last year is that I’ve leaned into better updating my family and friends. It gives me lots of energy and is paying off in closer relationships.

  • Calling my family every Sunday
  • Monthly email wrap up about Good, Bad and Uglies in my life
  • Annual (and more often) catch-ups with my closest friends
  • Elephants group with my closest friends
  • Booking out time for weekends away (more below #social)

Health & Sports

My goal was to finish a Triathlon this year and train 4x a week.

Stuck pretty religiously to the 4x week training routine.

Stark drop-off post-Half-Ironman in mid-Nov.

Instead of one triathlon finished a Sprint and Olympic triathlon and topped it off by a Half-Ironman in 6 hours (1.9km swim, 90km cycle, 21km run).

Bucket list item done, but wouldn’t do it again - training takes way too long ☠️


A big year for Startmate —more detail here:

  • People: Sascha joined 🙌, extended an offer last week to our newest member 🤞, I stepped up from Head of Ops to CEO
  • Accelerator: SYD19, MEL19 and SYD20 climate cohort announcement
  • Fellowship: 2 cohorts of 16 fellows



Lost my book reading routine when I moved to Melbourne halfway through the year. Would love to pick it up again, on the other hand, I’m enjoying reading longer blog posts and online articles.

Favourite Read: Courage to be Disliked


Started out with a big goal. I realised after a while that quality was more important to me than quantity. Problem with that was that I then almost completely stopped writing 😣


Another realisation was that producing anything including content without distribution doesn’t make sense — so started to engage and build an audience via Twitter. The more I engaged the more followers.

Public Speaking

Didn’t track this as strictly as the above — but had some sort of presentation or panel roughly every other week.


Lots of good stuff here. It was a real priority in 2019 to spend lots of quality time with Gabby and friends.

Barossa Valley, Hunter Valley, Japan Trip, Blue Mountains, Weiheke Island, Boomerang Beach, Newcastle


🐄 Stopped buying and ordering beef and drinking milk since Jan 2019, because of the environmental impact of cows. Easy, small change.

2019 Reflection

My goals for 2019 are here and below:


  • Pay it Forward
  • 12 public speaking engagements

DONE — paying it forward every day at Startmate :) still core to the job ++ lots of public speaking


  • Finish a Triathlon

DONE — finished 3x incl Half Ironman


  • Find a non-sports related hobby
  • 4x go deep in an industry/area and blog about it

PARTIALLY DONE — drawing class for 3 months, but didn’t blog enough

2020 Goals

2020 will be a big year of travel for me → SYD, MEL, AKL, SF, Poland and Canada. My focus will be on still spending enough time with Gabby and empowering the Startmate team to work in an environment they love.

  1. Build a great team culture
  2. Spend quality time with Gabby
  3. Explore my personal brand

🎄Merry Xmas! 🎄