Daily Review – Day ending in 2020/08/31

September 1, 2020 | minutes read


Most interesting part of yesterday was a 1 on 1 video Chime chat that my co-worker scheduled with me. What started off with me stepping through our code base (for a set of features I added to the dataplane) morphed into a lengthy discussion around mental health and burning out and the idea of feeling confident in our own abilities. They had shared with me that they were starting to feel physically ill and after paying visits to the doctor for a full body check up, they discovered their symptoms manifest from mental health issues.

I’m very familiar with these feelings and can empathize.

In turn, I shared that I prioritize mental health and well being above all else and that I attend weekly therapy sessions (for the past four years) to deal with very similar issues that they are encountering: learning how to set boundaries, learning how to believe in oneself (i.e. imposter syndrome). It’s not as if I’ve completely overcome and mastered these problems; in fact, I wrestle with these issues — every day — but I now have have tools and data points to support me.

Although I love working as a software engineer, I sometimes wonder if I would pivot into a position or line of work where I can directly help people. It feels meaningful.


  • Kept up with my writing cadence, publishing two small blog posts (a daily review and summary notes for the SPIN operating system structure)


  • Sang and played my own original guitar song I titled “Elliott’s in the house” for little Elliott while she was bouncing up and down on the couch while dinner, her mom guiding spoon fulls of avocado and noodles in her dime sized mouth

Graduate School

  • Read first paper “SPIN”, performing a first pass on the paper (good to reinforce the learning material since there’s so much information packed into the lectures)
  • Finished watching lectures on “Introduction to Virtualization” (learned that with paravirtualization, less than 2% code modification is necessary to integrate nicely with the underlying hypervisor)


  • Represented my team at the weekly operations meeting for my organization, stepping through all the high severity issues that I encountered and how they affected our metrics
  • Finished a first draft of my design document, a paper that I am presenting to my organization today
  • Met with a colleague of mine and confirmed that he will be participating in my fireside chat that I am organizing on behalf of Asians@ Amazon (I’m on the professional and development committee)


  • Gathered all the necessary documents (e.g. 2 months of pay stubs, last 2 years of W-2, etc) to submit to our lender since we needed to send an offer in for a house by today and needed a preapproval letter.



  • Plan day and week out by reviewing OmniFocus forecast events
  • Process e-mail inbox down to zero
  • Migrate sticky notes (written down while walking dogs in the morning) into writing tracker and OmniFocus

Graduate School

  • Begin second series of lectures for advanced operating systems, lectures on “Memory Virtualization” (exciting stuff, I think)


  • Polish one pager design document for work and present
  • Review dashboard in preparation for organization wide, weekly operations meeting


  • Morning routine of walking dogs at local Northacres park, blending a strawberry and banana smoothie (wait: no much coconut milk so that’s out of the question), eating lunch together, bathing Elliott as part of her night time routine
  • Put together loan documents so that we can get a pre-approval for house that we are putting an offer in

Word of the day

insolent – adjective (adj) – showing a rude and arrogant lack of respect.

My strict teacher does not tolerate insolent behavior in her classroom

What are you grateful for?

I’m glad I’m writing down what I’m grateful for because its so easy for me to get trapped inside my own brain, my own world, when work (on call specifically) feels like a tornado.

  • Jess being an amazing mom (so patient, so communicative) and leading parenting my example


  • I had lamented and avoided writing a paper at work and realized, after setting ink on paper for just a few minutes, I actually enjoyed the task but had to overcome my own fear of “not knowing enough” or “looking stupid” in front of my colleagues
  • As mentioned above in the summary, I feel good when I can help and serve others. Not in a purely intellectual way, but mentally and emotionally. This is important and perhaps will steer me in a new (or same or different) direction with my career

I’m Matt Chung. I’m a software engineer, seasoned technology leader, and father currently based in Seattle and London. I love to share what I know. I write about topic developing scalable & fail-safe software running in the AWS cloud, digital organization as a mechanism for unlocking your creativity, and maximizing our full potentials with personal development habits.

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