Matt Hackmann


The thoughts and goings-on of some programmer dude.

With Retrospective Regularity

In what's become the only reliable thing on this blog (outside of my making statements like this), I wrote a letter to myself last year, as I do. Here's most of that letter, with some rather... personal thoughts redacted.

Dear FutureMe,

Well, hey there. That was one hell of a message you wrote two years ago. This one might be a little different. More uplifting? Sure. Let's go.

Work seems to be the thing I talk about first, so let's start there. In 2018 you finally left LinkedIn forever (probably) and SurveyMonkey, while seemingly a step down in engineering prestige, has a lot of great potential for personal growth. I expect by the time you're reading this, you'll have joined the Wrench or possible web platform teams. But, no reason to think you'll have left. Hopefully that stock will have gone somewhere...

Love life! Dating PERSON A right now, and have been in continuous contact with her for a bit over a month now. This is the first time I think I can see an actual relationship forming in the future, though I have a couple hangups (redact from the blog if you want):

1) The adopted teenager thing raises an eyebrow. I respect the shit out of her for doing that, but not sure how I am with it. Somewhat conversely, if she's against having her own kids, that'd be a relationship ending event.


If I had to make a prediction for one year from now... well, there's no reason to believe that anything will be called off at this point. Unless the speed at which this relationship is going becomes an issue. /shrug

In terms of personal achievements for 2019, I'd really love to get my pilots license. We'll see how that goes. Definitely want to put more time into the YouTube channel and I want to have the NES boombox finished and hopefully garnering some views from HaD and maybe even Kotaku and other outlets. That'll be the thing I need to get some viewership, I think. Hopefully the thought of not disappointing a bunch of subscribers will drive me to do more.

Okay, that's that. Nothing more to talk about... I am curious about where one other thing will be in a year's time. My money is on "nooooope".

I was a chatty one that year. Per usual, I spent most of it talking about my love life, because compared to all the other normal Hakk shit I do, that's always been the nut I couldn't crack and the only thing people seem to want to know about when meeting up after a time (looking at you, Hackmann Family Reunion 2019). Okay, let's knock out the bullet points.


More or less accurate. Still at SurveyMonkey, still really enjoying it. I've not actually bounced to the UI patterns infrastructure team (aka Wrench), or any inftrastructure team. Still on growth and feel like this might be the most comfortable yet fulfilling job I've had. It's firmly within my wheelhouse of knowledge in terms of technicals, I get to flex a little on design and product, yet there's still opportunity to grow. I like it. I like it a lot.


I'm not entirely sure where to start here, really. I think when I'd written this, I'd seen PERSON A... twice? Which is an awful not many dates to be saying "oh, hey. we'll totes be together a year from now". My guess is that I was high on the idea that I'd hit that elusive second date and was still talking to said date. But, yeah, those hangups... The one not redacted I stand by, though I don't like the way I worded it. The one redacted... honestly, embarrassed that I wrote it at all. I suppose the short story shorter is, PERSON A broke things off with me about a month after this letter. Then PERSON B came and went. PERSON C, however...

Towards the end of summer when I realized things with PERSON B weren't actually going to pan out but it wasn't officially dead yet, I was about ready to swear off the dating apps again for a while. I'd still sift through my twice daily email of OkCupid "matches", maybe handing a like out here, reading a profile there, and on rare occasion, making contact (nobody ever messaged me first, unless it was a bot). It was all crickets, mostly, and I was tired of being disheartened by it. I don't recall if it was one of these email suggestions or random perusal, but I read the profile of somebody who seemed interesting and theoretically had personality overlap with me. I fired off some stupid quippy message about a picture on her profile and moved on; this was usually where communications stopped. Surprisingly, she took the bait and responded, the beginning of a little back and forth. Given that I was starting a two week vacation to the midwest, I expected the lead to fizzle out before I could get back for an actual date. But, we texted the entire time, eventually met up, went to Disneyland on a random whim, and - fast forward some months later - now live together in a new house (and have been to Disneyland three more times). There's a hell of a lot of things glossed over in that sentence, but suffice to say... I feel like the search is over. It's a little mind boggling how aligned we are on so many things and how fast we clicked; it's the kind of stuff one might scoff at in some romcom. Despite the speed by which they went by, the last few months have felt like years and I'm excited for our future together.


Nope! I was hot on that for a couple months, started reading the Pilot's Handbook, and it fizzled out. Not sure I really care anymore at this point, at least not for a PPL and small prop craft. What I really want to do is get IFR certified and takeoff/land small jets that otherwise fly themselves. It's a weird desire.


Surprised I hadn't pivoted at the point of writing this letter, but I did make and release another Hakk's lab video last April. However, it was about burning an NES SimCity repro cartridge and not the NES (or SNES, as I probably meant it) boombox. But, I did get my wish and got featured on Hackaday and a nice 100% bump in subscribes (up to a whole 250 as of this writing). That boombox thing has made significant progress and will definitely be the next video I publish... once I finish unpacking this house and get to a point where I can make things again. Pretty excited for that.


Second time running I've left a cryptic note like this. I'm not 100% sure of what it's about, but if it is what I think it is, I was and continue to be wrong on that front. It trods on.

So, that's my reflection of both 2018's thoughts and 2019's actual happenings in a very short nutshell. It started off pretty mundane (with the exception of starting a whole bunch of exercise and losing a quarter of my person in weight, which was not talked about) and ended more spectacularly than I could have imagined. If 2019 was one for the books, 2020 is going to be one for the Library of Congress' Film Archives!