My best of 2023: a year in review

By Dann Berg

Published or Updated on

Collage of several of the items listed in this Best of 2023 post

Another year in the books! This was an interesting year for me. It started with getting laid off in March (a first for me), followed by a fairly big career change from FinOps to Community at Vantage. That alone has made this a year of learning new skills and pushing myself to think in different ways.

Goal-wise, 2023 shaped up a bit different than the vision I had at the end of 2022. I was originally thinking I’d pour more energy into my long-dormant local neighborhood blog, but ended up making zero progress as I focused instead on my new role. Local community still interests me, but I’m going to be more conservative with my goals there for 2024.

I feel like 2023 was, however, fairly strong in terms of friends and networking. Avi and I hosted several game nights at our apartment, as well as launched a program we called Dann & Avi Film School, where we invited friends to join us and watch a series of six seminal movies1 that neither of us had seen. It was a wild success, and we’re now planning season two.

This best of 2023 post is a continuation of a long tradition (see 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2020, 2021, 2022). I’ve adjusted the format somewhat this year (mainly, revealing more detailed about the performance of this website), which I feel better captures my year and will be more interesting to readers.

This website’s performance

This has been a good year for my website—where “good” is defined as traffic levels that I’m satisfied with and me publishing a higher-than-average amount of new content.

In previous years, I’ve shared linked to my top content, in descending order, with a brief explanation of context. This year, I want to go a little deeper, and share some actual stats. If you, too, have a blog, you might find these details interesting.

Most-viewed content

Let’s start with the most-viewed content by me.

Chart showing the top performing pages by pageview for

The top five blog posts by traffic are all content that I’m super proud of, which is exciting:

  1. My Obsidian Daily Note Template - This is my top-trafficked post, by far. People seem to really like this post, and Google really likes this post, so that helps keep the momentum. I also actively keep this updated with new/fresh data.
  2. My Obsidian People Note Template - Once people impliment a solid Daily Note process, it’s time to grow the system. People Notes are a great next step, supported by these traffic numbers
  3. How Kagi finally let me lay Google Search to rest - This post was published in October and catapulted up to the #3 spot. Thank you, Hacker News.
  4. Daily Driver Task Management System - This is the bedrock of my own personal productivity system. It makes me happy that it continues to get traffic. Sometimes, people send me notes thanking me for this post, which makes me super happy.
  5. Recalling Books You’ve Read, Made Easy - People really like my Obsidian content. It makes me want to create more.

And here’s what that traffic looks like over time.

Line graph showing traffic to these top pages from Jan through Dec 2023

That Hacker News bump

In case you’re curious, that giant spike is the Hacker News effect, when my post How Kagi finally let me lay Google Search to rest hit the front page of Hacker News. It’s no wonder that startups everywhere are trying to hit the front page and get that sweet-sweet burst of web traffic. If you’re selling something, and able to convert even a fraction of that traffic, you’re feeling good.

But actually hitting the front page is finicky and inconsistent. I submitted the post myself shortly after publishing, and it got zero traction. Then, several days later, someone else submitted the same post and that submission ultimately ended up on the front page. Timing (plus a little luck) is everything. A special thank you to the submitter!

Google Search Console

One last thing I want to share is what Google Search Console looks like for this website. The previous data was from Google Analytics, which measures website traffic. Google Search Console instead shows how your website is performing in Google Search.

Chart from Google Search Console showing my views and impressions over time. It’s between about 125 and 325 each day.

This chart shows the number of search result impressions and clicks. This is for people searching for any keyword, where my website shows up anywhere in the viewed results.

So, what were people searching on Google in order to find my website?

Top search queries include “obsidian daily note template” and “obsidian daily notes template”

As you can see, 100% of the top queries that lead to my site are about Obsidian, and 80% of these queries are specifically about my Daily Note Template. That certainly explains all the traffic to that specific post!

I’ve used this data to inspire new Obsidian content (such as my People note, Meeting Note, and book notes posts) and Google has rewarded me with traffic.

I’m not monetizing that traffic in any way, but it’s fun to see number go up. 📈

Favorite books read

I’m still not back to my pre-pandemic reading levels. This year, it didn’t help that I decided to tacked Infinite Jest again. I’m a slow-but-steady reader, but these days it’s mostly just slow-and-sporadic. Anyway, here’s the tops:

  • Tim Urban’s What’s our Problem - Tim Urban’s blog-posts-turned-book, I’d been waiting for this one a long time, and was happy when it was finally released this year.
  • David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest - Picked this back up because Avi is reading it for the first time, and I thought it’d be fun to read together.

Favorite Movies

About four years ago, I had an epiphany: I really enjoy movies, and so I should see more movies. I don’t need to make it weirdly academic or competitive or anything. I literally have the freedom to just…start watching more movies because it’s something I enjoy.

Year four post-epiphany, my movie-going is still strong. I continued to make use of my Alamo Drafthouse Season Pass (I literally live above an Alamo Drafthouse…) and logged everything I watched on Letterboxd.

According to Letterboxd, I watched 96 movies in 2023—a slightly-inflated number, since it counts all the Oscar-nominated animated and live-action shorts as different movies.

These were the favorite movies I watched this year (some were released in 2023, others are older):

  • Beau is Afraid (2023) - I’m one of the weirdos who loved this movie. I saw it twice in theaters. After, I went back and watched all of Ari Aster’s short films I’ll admit it.
  • Poor Things (2023) - The trailer didn’t really do much for me, but I decided to give it a try anyway. Absolutely loved it.
  • Dicks: The Musical (2023) - It makes me so happy that this movie got made. I also saw this twice in theaters, bringing different people with me each time.
  • Saltburn (2023) - I agree with all the criticisms, and absolutely love the movie anyway. Barry Keoghan is a treasure, and I’ll watch him in anything.
  • Inside (2023) - No, not the Bo Burnham special—the movie of the same title starring Willam Defoe. I feel like this slipped sadly under most people’s radar. Superbly acted (by one person!!) and filmed, a wild claustrophobic ride.

Honorable mentions: Talk to Me (2022), Bottoms (2023), How to Blow Up a Pipeline (2022), Anatomy of a Fall (2023), Jules (2023), Totally Killer (2023), Mother (2009).

Favorite TV Shows

Looking back at my watch history for 2023, I’m realizing that this was a strong year for TV series. Once again, HBO makes the strongest showing, but this time Netflix creeps back in with several fantastic shows.

Nearly all my favorite shows ended this year, too, with the final episode of the final season airing in 2023. I’ve added asterisks next to shows with no planned future episodes, either because the series ended, or it was a limited series with no future seasons planned (to my knowledge).

  • Succession * (HBO) - Possibly my favorite series of the past decade+. Top notch writing, including absolutely nailing the end. Hats off to the creative team.
  • Barry * (HBO) - A wonderful end to a wonderful show. Absolutely loved this. Bill Hader blew me away.
  • How to with John Wilson * (HBO) - Sad this series is over, but happy because it happened. Thanks for everything John Wilson.
  • I Think You Should Leave (Netflix) - I hated this show the first time I watched it. Then it somehow squirreled its way into my brain and I love it. It’s an acquired taste?
  • Chimp Empire * (Netflix) - Probably the best nature documentary I’ve ever seen.
  • How to Get Rich (Netflix) - I’ve been following Ramit Sethi since his humble blogger beginnings. His new TV series is better than I expected.

Honorable mentions: The Curse (Showtime), Love Has Won (Netflix), Jury Duty (Amazon FreeVee), Avenue 5 (HBO)

Favorite Podcasts

For the past several years, I’ve been pouring most of my podcast-listening time into a single podcast: Your Kickstarter Sucks. It’s a comedy podcast loosely about shitty Kickstarter projects, but more just the two hosts talking to each other. It’s so niche that it’s hard to actually recommend to people (so I don’t) but endearing enough that I subscribe on Patreon and have listened to the entire back catalogue.

This “favorite podcasts” section is new this year, because I added a few additional podcasts to my listening playlist in 2023.

  • Your Kickstarter Sucks - I’ve listened to every episode (at 1x speed!) for years. Ain’t going to stop any time soon.
  • Search Engine - You may remember Search Engine from my September newsletter, and it’s good enough to make my Best of 2023 list, too.
  • Tangle - Everyone talks about wanting unbiased news. The Tangle newsletter and podcast is the best implementation of that I’ve seen. Informative, smart, and urgent.

Notable Objects

This year, I published my 2023 Indie Holiday Gift Guide, which is a great place to see a bunch of fun objects. I’m going to go a bit broader with this list, and list both physical and digital “objects” that were notable in my life this year.

  • iPhone Nightstand Mode - One of the sleeper features of iOS 17 was StandBy mode, where your iPhone turns into a clock when plugged in and horizontal. I love this next to my bed at night.
  • PS5/The Binding of Isaac: Repentance - My PS5 is basically a fancy Binding of Issac machine. Actually, most of my consoles are basically just Binding of Isaac machines.
  • Proton Mail/Kagi - This was my first full year without using Gmail or Google Search, and I didn’t miss it a bit thanks to Proton Mail and Kagi. Although I do with Proton Calendar worked with third-party clients…
  • Sticker Mule Deals - Each week, Sticker Mule has a fantastic deal on one of its products. And I’m a sucker for fun new stickers. As a result, I have a lot of custom stickers.
  • Apple Magic Mouse & Keyboard - I know that these are polarizing objects, but to me they’re perfection. Don’t @ me.
  • TypingMind - This is a third-party frontend for ChatGPT. The product is supurb, and so much cheaper than OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus because you’re just using the API.
  • Obsidian - Obsidian has been good to me. I use it heavily in my daily productivity life, I write all my website content there, and my Obsidian blog content drives nearly all my website traffic. Thanks, Obsidian!
  • Standing Desk - This is the year I’ve become a pro at standing and working. I now stand for 90% and sit for 10% of my work day. Honestly, I don’t really notice much of a difference, but I guess it’ll pay off in the long term?
  • Things - I’ve tried a ton of different to-do apps, and I can confidently say that Things is my favorite. I’m done searching. Things is the best.


  • Joined Vantage as Director of Community
  • Published fourteen new posts on, plus twelve newsletters. Holy smokes.
  • Added 59 new email subscribers to The Dann Chronicles, up from just 16 new subscribers in 2022.
  • Organized (and pulled off!) a 15-person Vantage trip to AWS re:Invent
  • Survived the regional Burning Man event Critical NW
  • Planned a successful surprise birthday weekend for Avi
  • Kicked off season one of Dann & Avi Film School with six movie screening hosting ~25 people total

Plans for 2024

  • Carry The Dann Chronicles newsletter into its fourth consecutive year (maybe with a few new surprises!)
  • Add 100 new subscribers to The Dann Chronicles newsletter
  • In addition to the newsletter, publish at least ten posts to this website
  • Host season two of Dann & Avi Film School
  • Apply to be a contestant of Survivor, again
  • Attend one in-person class (fun topic TBD)
  • End 2024 more skilled in one of these areas: vector-based design, iOS development, illustration

  1. Season one of Dann & Avi Film School included: The Third Man (1950), The Seventh Seal (1958), Breathless (1961), 8 ½ (1963), El Topo (1970), and Wild at Heart (1990). ↩︎

My best of 2022: a year in review
My best of 2021: a year in review
My best of 2020: A year in review