Browsing Tag: mattmcgee


    A Connection to My Biological Parents

    August 6, 2018

    It’s been more than a year since I sent some saliva to 23andMe to learn as much as I could about my genetic makeup. None of the reports I’ve been able to access since then have revealed any inclinations toward serious medical conditions … which is a Good Thing. (Here’s hoping that trend continues!)

    I’m happy that I took the dive into this genetic testing/sharing, but it’s all been very abstract. For the most part, the tests are related to medical conditions that aren’t part of my daily life and experience.

    That changed not long ago when 23andMe emailed me about several new reports that they added — one of which was for a minor condition I have called misophonia. I clicked through to read the report and, sure enough, 23andMe says that my genetics make me more likely to have it.

    It never occurred to me that something like hating the sound of chewing would be a hereditary thing, but that’s apparently the case. Who knew!?!? This is something I deal with every day, which makes it the most visible and tangible connection to my biological parents. And that’s really cool. Less cool is that I’ve also passed misophonia on to my daughter. Family meals are few and far between with half the family not enjoying the sound of other people eating!

    (By the way, my misophonia is probably not as bad as it is for others. Generally speaking, if I’m also eating, I don’t mind the sound of other people eating. Generally speaking, the sounds that bother me most are crunchy sounds like the cracking of potato chips or crackers. It’s annoying but I know it could be worse.)


    2017 was the year

    December 31, 2017

    2017 was the year that I said goodbye to my mom.

    It’s been 2+ months since she died. I used to chat with her every weekend, usually on Sundays. And since she died, not a weekend has gone by when I haven’t thought to myself at some point, “Oh cool, I get to call mom today.” (or tomorrow) And then I’m reminded, “No. No, you don’t.”

    It’s the strangest thing not having either of your parents around. So much gets written about dealing with a parent dying, but I don’t recall ever reading or hearing people talk about when the second parent dies. When your parents are alive, there’s some kind of buffer zone, a layer of protection between you and your own death. And then when both die, that protection is gone and it’s like … “you’re next!” Such a strange feeling to have both parents gone. I wasn’t at all prepared for this. But seriously, I’m fine. Not looking for sympathy here, just sharing some personal thoughts. (Many of you know that I consider this blog a personal journal.)

    2017 was the year that I decided respect — both self-respect and respect from others — is more valuable than money, titles, status, etc.

    In a marriage workshop that Cari and I attended many years ago, attendees were asked to choose one of these two options:

    • You can have everyone’s respect, but no one will love you.
    • You can have everyone’s love, but no one will respect you.

    Our group of attendees, like most groups before us, voted largely on gender lines: Men (including me) overwhelmingly choose option 1 and women overwhelmingly choose option 2.

    Maybe the biggest thing I learned about myself this year is that respect trumps all. I don’t need to be liked. I don’t need to be agreed with. I need to be respected. And this was the year I decided to stop surrounding myself with people who don’t respect me.

    2017 was the year that I literally heard God’s voice for the second time in my life.

    He was so right the first time I heard His voice (in 1993) … how could I not listen again this time? I still don’t know where He’s leading me, or why, but I know that listening was the right thing to do, no matter how difficult it was, how out-of-left-field it was, etc.

    2017 was the year that I learned who my true friends are, for both better and worse.

    After I left Third Door Media in July, almost everyone was incredibly supportive and helpful and rooting for me as I steered my career in a new direction — and I’m so grateful for that. But I soon learned that there was a small group of people who were spreading rumors about me. They were saying I left TDM because I was lazy and didn’t want to work hard, and because I was afraid I was going to get fired by my new boss. (Not only were the rumors false, but they were disrespectful to both me and my former boss, Danny Sullivan.) I thought the folks gossiping about me like that were friends, but that’s not how friends behave.

    But more recently, I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from friends and acquaintances as I applied to be the Chief Experience Officer for The help I got with this was crazy — more than 2,500 votes!!! Are you kidding me?? People from across the SEO industry, people from across U2 fandom, people from my wife’s social circles and all over the place were voting for me and sharing with their friends to drum up support. I didn’t make the cutdown to 100 finalists but that’s okay; what I got from the friends who came out of the woodwork to support and cheer me on was invaluable.

    I can’t adequately express what that experience meant to me on a personal level. A simple “thank you” seems insufficient, but it’s all I have at the moment. Thank you. I was blown away by the amazing messages and shows of support — and it showed me that I have friends in places I never knew. Incredible.

    2017 was the year that I devoted myself to helping my wife reach her career dreams.

    Cari and I tried working together about 6-8 years ago; I’d give her online marketing advice and she’d ignore most of it. She wasn’t the best client, and I’m sure I wasn’t the best consultant. For a variety of reasons, we never clicked on that level. But it didn’t really slow her down too much — she’s still managed to become one of the top ~30 real estate agents in a market of (I think) 700 or so agents.

    We gave it another shot in August of this year, and it’s been wonderful. We’re working like a team and I’m thrilled to be able to help her reach her career goals (which don’t include settling for being in the top 30). We’re having fun, too, and we’re succeeding together. And that feels wonderful!

    2017 was the year that the McGee clan eschewed the Big Family Vacation and instead enjoyed several shorter/smaller vacations. We all went over to Seattle in May for a U2 concert, and again in July for a Mariners weekend (and watched them beat the Yankees). We had a wonderful visit from our friends from Arizona — Mat, Holly and their three kids — in July and drove out to see Palouse Falls for the first time. On top of that, Cari and I also enjoyed trips to Las Vegas, San Diego and Santa Monica — all loads of fun and great to get away for even just a few days here and there. A highlight was getting to visit our alma mater, Pepperdine University, for the first time in a couple decades.

    2017 was the year that I got to hear U2 play The Joshua Tree in its entirety at four concerts. To be frank, this wasn’t anywhere near my favorite U2 tour ever, but it was magical to hear “Red Hill Mining Town” live for the first time — a song they’d never played live before this year. And I never thought I’d get to hear songs like “Exit” and “In God’s Country” live again. Every chance to see/hear U2 live is something I cherish.

    So that’s it for 2017. I hope you had a fantastic year, and I wish you an even better 2018!


    To clarify: I didn’t “leave SEO” (or the search industry)

    July 25, 2017

    In the past 10 days since news came out of my career changes, I’ve received a number of very kind messages from colleagues in the search industry congratulating me and wishing me best of luck in the future. I’ve appreciated every one of those messages and I’m grateful to know such thoughtful people — thank you all!

    Some of the messages, though, have also expressed sadness that I’m “getting out of SEO” or “leaving the search industry” or some such thing.

    Thing is … that’s not the case.

    Let me set the record straight:

    1) I left Third Door Media. That’s all. I’m not necessarily leaving the search industry or getting out of SEO.

    2) Re-starting my old SEO consulting practice is very high on my list of career options at the moment.

    3) I’m also very open to opportunities with marketing agencies and/or corporate in-house teams.

    4) I’d be happy to consider new journalism opportunities at other media outlets, too.

    To be clear, if a great opportunity outside the search industry comes along, I’ll certainly give it my utmost consideration. But I haven’t left SEO or the search industry. You guys aren’t getting rid of me that easily. 😉


    I choose to not be offended

    July 11, 2017

    1.) I’m not going to be offended by the 25-yr-old gal at the pet store today who asked me, “Do you want some help out to your car?” as I was buying a 30-pound bag of dog food. #ageism

    2.) I’m also not going to be offended by the woman at the grocery store a couple weeks ago who warned me that the avocados I was buying weren’t quite ripe, because she’s surely smarter than a guy when it comes to buying avocados. #sexism

    3.) Likewise, I’m not going to be offended by the female cashier at the grocery store a month or two ago, who decided to educate me about 75% of the items I was buying because surely guys have no idea how to do the grocery shopping. #sexism #womansplaining

    Nope. Not gonna be offended. Life’s too short. Just gonna keep smiling and doing my thing. YMMV 🙂

    ps –

    1.) Fortunately, I can carry 30 pounds of dog food very easily at my current age.

    2.) I don’t like avocados, but my wife says no one picks a better avocado than me. Weird, huh?

    3.) I’ve been doing the family grocery shopping for the past 10 years at minimum.


    “Are you afraid?”

    April 24, 2017

    I made a big decision recently: I bought a 23andMe DNA kit and have submitted my saliva sample so I can learn more about myself — at least the stuff that DNA testing can tell.

    One of the things it can reveal is my proclivity to contract certain diseases and/or health conditions. This is a black box for me because I’m adopted. My whole life, whenever I see a doctor and they ask about my family medical history I have to say, “I don’t know.” I have no idea if my parents had any diseases or conditions that could’ve been passed on to me. For me, it’s really the only downside to being adopted — the not knowing.

    I posted the photo above on Twitter not long ago, and one of my followers asked, “Are you afraid?” It’s a legit question: Would YOU want to know if you have the potential to contract a serious or even terminal disease?

    I thought about it for a moment and tweeted back, “No.” I’m not afraid. I’m tired of the not knowing. I’m tired of shrugging my shoulders every time I see a doctor and they want to know about my medical history. I want to know. 23andMe won’t tell me all the answers; I may have to track down my biological parents for that, and I’m giving that some thought for the first time in my life.

    But in the meantime, I need as much information as possible. And I’m ready for 23andMe to tell me whatever it can. No fear. God is in control. Whatever will be, will be. And I’d rather know than not.


    My Church Knows Me Well

    September 3, 2015

    This is a brochure that my church put together to advertise the new Sunday afternoon service that’s beginning soon.

    My answers: Yes. Yes. And yes.