Meet The Hacketts

This weekend, Stephen Hackett and his beautiful family have been mine and Sami Furse’s hosts as we decended upon the great city of Memphis, Tennessee.

I first became aware of Stephen a few years ago when he was still writing for Macgasm. We had arranged for him to join us on an episode of The Bro Show. I had remembered really enjoying his writing there and at his personal blog—which was called Forkbombr at the time.

He was a great guest on that episode of The Bro Show with us and we started to become friendly as we were becoming more and more familiar with each others work. Shortly after this Stephen gave me the great honour of becoming an entry on his ‘Writers I Read’ interview series for his site. This was a process of interview conducted over a collection of emails, I really enjoy being interviewed and at this time it was quite new to me—so very exciting.

As time went on Stephen and I became friends and shared many ‘That’s What She Said’ jokes together. For a little while Stephen was my editor at Magcasm as I started to write some app reviews for them. This was a real interesting and exciting experience as I have always enjoyed writing articles like this. Stephen left Macgasm after a while to concentrate more on his own site and to ensure he was spending more time with his family. I followed shortly after as 70Decibels was starting to take shape; so demanded more of my time.

Not too long after this me and Hackett started to discuss working together on a podcast of our own – he had guested on a few shows by this point – and he came to me with the idea of ‘Ungeniused’. I loved the idea of a show that would discuss random articles on Wikipedia as I’ve always enjoyed learning useless information. We launched this show, after a few months work, on the same day as we unveiled the 70Decibels network.

Since we started this show, Stephen has become more and more involved in the network. He is a constant sounding-board for my – usually – ridiculous ideas and has given me great support and assistance in advancing the network, as well as tightening things up. We have also started recording the 512 Podcast, a show that allows us to have our often conversation on technology in a public arena.

Throughout this time Stephen has become an important person, friend and mentor in my life. I was delighted when we (Sami and I) were able to arrange a visit to him and his family in Memphis—which is a trip I am currently returning from as I write.

I have been blown away with the kindness and friendliness that Stephen and Merri – his amazing wife – have shown to us. They have been our tour guides for the week and have been excellent in showing us the city and taking care of us.

I have been blown away by his children – Allison and Josiah – who are some of the most perfect children I have encountered. They instantly warmed to Sami and I – making us feel like important people in their lives – I have learned a lot about strength and happiness from them.

We have seen a lot of the city, which is a gorgeous place. Memphis has a character that I have never seen before. I have constantly been in awe at the beauty of it and would honestly move there tomorrow if I had the chance.

Today we went to see St. Jude hospital which was totally overwhelming. This is where Josiah has received his treatment since he was a baby and I have never come across a place so inspiring. The treatment and care they offer for their patients and the families is incredible. I urge you to visit and take the tour if you can or at least try to learn a little about the place. Be warned though; you will want to give them all your money.

My mind is blown that I met Stephen online and developed a friendship which made our time together feel totally normal. From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, I felt like I was with an old friend. It has shown me that it doesn’t matter how you meet, you can be as close to someone as your character will allow.

I will be visiting Memphis again – as soon as I can – to spend more time with the Hackett’s. They are a fantastic and strong family—unlike any I have met before. They showed us great hospitality, introduced us to many awesome people and left me feeling like my world just got a little larger.