Matt Hackmann


The thoughts and goings-on of some programmer dude.

Annual, but not Only

2023 was an odd year for this blog. Where it had seemingly become a home only for reflecting on this annual letter to myself, this year saw nearly a solid month of random reflections. But, a 30x increase in blog posts does not mean that the staple content will go away. In fact, here it is!

Dear FutureMe,

How were your final days of being in the DINK camp? Yes, that is how I will open this letter.

Obviously, the big thing coming up in your life is an additional life in your life. From my vantage point, the Wee Baby Evan is scheduled for arrival in June. I hope you call him "the Wee Baby Evan" to his face as much as possible. Or perhaps the NIPT was wrong and it's the Wee Baby Emma? Not a likely scenario, but an interesting one to think about, especially hot off the heels of seeing all the little princesses on the Dream. I'd prefer not to have nail biter hoping for a daughter with #2.

2022's letter was an interesting skip year for a particular recurring topic: employer. Right now, it's still all SurveyMonkey all the time, but that ship is getting old. Most especially the part where you play "learned old man" to all things billing experimentation. I prefer not to entertain the notion of bouncing companies with four months of paternity on the horizon plus that sweet sabbatical just waiting to be used, but it's a thing on my mind. At the very least, joining Tim's team would be a bop back over to product focused development... assuming he's still at the company himself.

Those are the big items that are top of mind, here's on to the list of personal goals that I'm eyeing achieving in 2023:

  • Princess half-marathon is coming up soon and your sweets laden body isn't ready for it. I don't doubt you'll get it done, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous
  • Following from the above point, the fact that last years holiday chub never dropped off has been a sore internal point. Working out has probably slowed the scale tipping upwards, but the bad eating habits are kind of negating all that work. Your goal: at least 215lb by the time you read
  • You've got that sweet, sweet laser machine. Will you have opened that Etsy store of Disney Cruise related items? Park items? Make videos of lasering things?
  • Can't write one of these letters without mentioning the infamous SNES boombox. You realize it will have been six years since you conceptualized that, right?

Obviously, with the Wee Baby, taking time to do things for yourself will be much more difficult, but be sure to do it. Don't expect perfection, just be better than cruise vloggers. The bar is pretty low :)

The obvious big thing looking into the year 2023 from the end of 2022 was the birth of Kayla and I's wee baby boi (who is definitely assigned boy parts, something I'm reminded of multiple times per day). It hasn't been all smooth going, but Evan's by far the most chill baby I've ever been around and I've been around a lot of babies. His self-determined schedule is wonky, but he's mostly been a sleep through the night kid, pretty happy over all (even while travelling), loves taking long walks with daddy, and lately has become mobile and able to get into all the things we've been waiting to baby proof. I love that little dude :D

The SurveyMonkey story became interesting all around me in the year since this was written. My position didn't change and, indeed, the stuff I did was even more of what I complained about in the letter and probably worse. I'm a weird pillar of knowledge for multiple subject areas and it's burning me the fuck out. Everybody leaning on me for answers is not doing anybody else a service, especially since I'm trying very hard to bounce teams into different waters (hopefully waters where I have some betters/peers from whom I can learn from). But to the point of everything changing around me, there were layoffs and the company being taken private, given a new CEO, and a "new" direction. The job is good and I'm very grateful to still have it, but it's time for this cowboy to go play in a different part of the pasture. With the state of the industry, jumping to a different company entirely is a scary prospect, so I'm keeping that in my pocket for a different time.

Alright, let's go down the bulleted list (srsly; I should just do lists every year...)

  1. Princess virtual half-marathon was done and accomplished, achieving slightly better than the time I was hoping for. With the Disneyland half-marathon coming up in two weeks, I'll be doing that again but through the parks and with other people. I don't have any hopes for a particular time, just to finish the whole race.
  2. I did not hit this weight goal, in fact I climbed through early to mid-summer before finally starting to take some weight off. As of before New Years, I was still under where I probably was when I wrote this letter. Ample consumption of sweets since combined with travel eating, I don't know where I am now...
  3. While I didn't open an Etsy store of lasered good, I did a good number of projects, including one that was a complex project with lots of video shot that's stalled in editing...
  4. No... no movement on the SNES boombox. My now-famous GBA projects brother says that some other guy is working on a similar idear, so I should probably try a little harder at this...

To the last point, yes. Trying to do any personal projects with a growing baby is very hard and I'm happy to be able to get in my exercise daily. That's a good enough goal for me right now and I'll add more things to that as I can.