Andy Manoske
3 min readDec 31, 2020

What I learned from a confusing, painful year

It’s been almost four years since my last personal post. And while I planned on doing one for 2020, this wasn’t the post I was planning to write. But that’s 2020: a year where so many things we planned were irrevocably altered by a virus that changed the world.

Like most of the world, COVID-19 and 2020 have changed my life. I’ve lost family and friends during the outbreak here in the US, and it was likely a major contributor to losing a two year long relationship. It would be a simple matter to say that 2020 was one of the worst years of my life.

However that’s not necessarily true. In a very dark time, my professional life has taken off in ways I never dreamed it would. Vault has become one of the most popular open source security projects in history, and we pulled back the covers on a secret project that I’ve had the pleasure of helping to create over the last few years. Our company as a whole has grown tremendously, and I’m excited and beyond grateful that I’ve had an opportunity to work with a group of amazing people to change the world.

And I’ve personally still gained things from 2020. Like my experiences in 2016, 2020 served as a painful but valuable series of lessons . I’ve grown and matured as a person throughout the year, and in getting the help I’ve needed to keep going I’ve deepened relationships with my family and friends in ways that I arguably never could have if things weren’t so hard.

I’ve struggled to emotionally frame this bizarre dichotomy of a year. In moments like these I usually turn to poetry. Certainly elements of this year could be captured in some lines from Horace, Catullus, or Yeats.

But the verse that I think best frames how I feel comes from a big room banger best blasted at some festival:

Some days it’s hard to make it
But I know we’ll make it through
These winds are always changing
But I’m holding on to you

I know that there are ups and downs
It’s hard to stand and face it
As long as we’re…

Andy Manoske

Principal PM for Cryptography and Security Products @HashiCorp. Formerly Defense/NatSec & Crypto @NetApp, VC @GGVCapital + @AmplifyPartners