Introduction

Hello there! Thanks for stopping by. My name is Matt Haliski and I build things on computers. I’ve spent most of my professional career designing and programming websites while working at various advertising agencies. I’m now splitting a lot of time between being a dad, husband and COVID-kindergarten teacher all while trying to hammer at a keyboard if and when I can.

Origin story

I started building websites in college at the University of Oregon. I still remember the day when I inserted some text inside the <title> tags and saw it subsequently appear at the top of a browser window. That small act might as well have been magic. It’s important to note that first steps are never trivial, no matter how basic they may seem to an experienced person. I wrote some code and watched that code became something real. Amazing. I was probably a year away from knowing that an array was, but it didn’t matter. My first steps into this new world were profound and lasting.

For the next decade I wore a ton of different hats as I built website after website. During that time I struggled with what to consider myself. Was I a web designer? Maybe I was more of a frontend developer. SQL sort of scared me, so I was pretty sure I wasn’t a backend developer. Should my career have been focused on a specialty or would I have made myself more valuable by being multi-disciplined? Those are tough questions to answer when you’re young, as they can have big implications for your career.

In the end, the river took me where it wanted to. I probably said “yes” to too many things. I backed myself into a corner by overpromising far too many times to count. I worked with a lot of cool people who leant me their knowledge and also showed me how far I had to go. I piled on brick after brick until I was finally able to step back and be proud of the things I’d built. I went from a self-taught html tinkerer to a Senior Front-End Developer and things were good.

And so, since I’d been in the habit of figuring things out after I’d committed to them, I decided to take the next step. I decided I was ready to strike out on my own.

Leaving Harbor

My initial foray into the land of independence continued with building websites. I built a couple college football news aggregator websites that combined my development skills and love for college sports. These endeavors coincided with the birth of our daughter which, in hindsight, should not have been something attempted in concert. As it turns out, infants don’t just sit there and cheer you on as you refactor your code.

So my web stuff slowed down as priorities shifted. In the middle of all this we made a big move from Salt Lake City back to the Pacific Northwest. After finally finding a house in the insane Seattle housing market, I set up my workspace again and started doing some thinking about the current state of the internet. A lot had changed since writing code in a dorm room as a college freshman. It wasn’t the Wild West anymore. The internet had grown up and matured. The barrier to entry had grown exponentially and people were playing for highest of stakes. Successful sites weren’t basement operations anymore.

With these considerations, a daughter to look after, and a wider perspective, I found myself searching for the right fit. I needed something to pursue that challenged both sides of my brain while being something I could drop for a couple days if I needed to. Websites are living and breathing things, after all. If they break, come under load, or are attacked, then you’re immediately responsible for fixes. That kind of sucks and wasn’t something I felt I could commit to so I began to explore other arenas.

I invested a considerable amount of time tooling myself for game development. I spent months learning Unity, C#, Maya, ZBrush, Substance Painter, etc. There’s a lot that goes into games! Building a game has been on my bucket list forever and I was all ready to go in early 2020… ooops. Didn’t see a global pandemic coming. I ended up staying home and working through it all with our daughter and that meant almost no computer stuff. No building, no exercising my brain and no getting lost in creativity. It’s been tough, but I’m thankful we all stayed healthy and I’ll be back at my desk, eventually.

Other stuff

When I’m not in front of a computer I do have somewhat of a life. My wife and I love to ski. I enjoy riding motorcycles. Both of these activities seem more and more infrequent as we spend our time hanging out with our daughter. She’s worth it. I love the Pacific Northwest. I dig the vibe. The trees, the gray, the ocean and the mountains are all why I like to call this part of the country home.

Matt and Melissa at Alta, UT.

I enjoy playing video games. I’m a console guy. PS4 until I can find a PS5 in stock. I used to play football and basketball and love college sports. I was an outside linebacker for the Oregon Ducks for a short stint before a shoulder injury and multiple knee surgeries ended that part of my life. Go Ducks!

I’m pretty much Apple everything for both work and play. I actually started on PCs, but nearly the entire design world was running Macs when I got into it all, so I switched and never looked back.

Anywhoo, congrats if you made it this far. I’ll shut up now. I should probably be writing code rather than goofing around on my personal blog. I’ll try to use this site to help others out on their journey. Head over to the blog for that. Thanks for stopping by.

Stay wild, my friends.