Taylor Barnett-Torabi

2020 In Review

by Taylor Barnett-Torabi

Text: 2020 In Review, with ferns in the background

2020, what a freakin' year. I honestly don't have the energy to write about it, but I am really good at making lists. Here are some lists of things I explored, read, wrote, and spoke about in 2020...

Blog posts:

In the last few years, I've averaged from 6 to 12 blog posts a year for work. I hit a new high with 16 this year, as well as editing and giving feedback on dozens of teammates work.

20 Years Since Y2K: left-pad, Heartbleed, and DevOps
20 Years Since Y2K: The Future of IT Operations with Chaos Engineering and Resilience
Writing Runbook Documentation When You’re An SRE
Rewarding Documentation in DevOps
Documentation as a Path to DevOps Automation
DevOps Spectrum of Automation: Scripts
DevOps Spectrum of Automation: Orchestration
DevOps Spectrum of Automation: Runbooks
DevOps Spectrum of Automation: Human-in-the-Loop
Human-in-the-Loop Incident Response
DevOps Spectrum of Automation: Artificial Intelligence
DevOps Cat Teaches Datadog About Human-in-the-Loop
What's in a name? Incident Management v. Incident Response
API Specifications Conference 2020 Recap
The Importance of Bi-Directional Incident Response Integrations
SREcon Americas 2020: Exposing the Human Factor

I did notice one interesting pattern: I did almost no long form writing in March and June. I blame Covid-19 and our nation's other epidemic, racism, for that. My brain was focused on things that mattered a lot more, and that's okay.


I worked on various new and updated docs pages for the Transposit docs.

Transposit Docs Update


This year I figured out what Twitch actually is. I was a guest on a couple of shows this year, but I am interested in exploring streaming, including while writing code, in 2021.

DevOps Party Games guest
Equinix Metal Developer Family Feud guest


Virtual talks, big oof. It was a rough year giving virtual talks, but I still managed to give my average number of talks. I've never wanted to do more than a talk every couple of months since I like to focus on other forms of content too. Although I'm probably going to write a couple new talks in 2021.

Failover Conf - Human-in-the-Loop DevOps
MLH Fellowship Chat on Working Remotely
Dash - Human-in-the-Loop Automation with Datadog
Cisco DevNet Create - Human-in-the-Loop Automation
Puppetize Digital - Why Humans Are Critical to Automation
All Day DevOps - Human-in-the-Loop DevOps, ADDO Edition


My team at work helped me turn my Spectrum of Automation blog series into an eBook. I also drafted many of the graphics for it.

Spectrum of Automation (let me know if you want a copy!)

Podcast appearances:

Community Pulse Live - COVID-19 Retrospective (Audience guest)
Community Pulse Live - A Talk About Racism, Privilege, and DevRel (Audience guest)
Community Pulse - DevRel at the Foundation, Episode 51 guest

Attended conferences:

I tried, I tried so hard. It was a struggle. That's all I have to say on that.

Failover Conf
Deserted Island DevOps
API Days
DevOpsDays Chicago
API Specifications Conference (Program chair)
Chaos Conf
DevOps Enterprise Summit
All Day DevOps
And various other virtual events

Texas State Parks I visited:

Normally, I'm a climber and you'll find me in Reimers Ranch Park on most weekends along with a few out of state climbing trips. (And no Mexican NYE celebrations in El Potrero Chico.) But in order to be extra catious with Covid-19, I decided to stop climbing until later in 2021 since normally it involves closely interacting with climbing partners outside of my household. Instead, I picked up more hiking and camping.

Davis Mountains State Park
Lost Maples State Natural Area
Bastrop State Park
Palmetto State Park
Colorado Bend State Park
McKinney Roughs Nature Park (not a state park)

Some other favorites:

Favorite blog posts and articles:

Honestly, there's too many for me to remember all of them, but here's a few...

This professional climbing coach wants to see her industry change - Maria Hollenhorst (Marketplace)
Net API Notes for 2020/10/02 - Governance - Issue 143 - Matthew Reinbold
Stripe’s payments APIs: the first ten years - Michelle Bu (Stripe)
Complexity Has to Live Somewhere - Fred Hebert
Revealing the Critical Role of Human Performance in Software - David D. Woods and John Allspaw (acmqueue)
Above the Line, Below the Line - Richard I. Cook, M.D. (acmqueue)
The Confessions of Marcus Hutchins, the Hacker Who Saved the Internet - Andy Greenberg (Wired)
What's a server - Julia Evans
Virtual Events Suck - Austin Parker
Why the founders of Crowns & Hops are running a brewing company with a mission - Andie Corban and Kai Ryssdal (Marketplace)
How we launched docs.github.com - Sarah Schneider (GitHub)
“There Are No Checks and Balances”: Two Texas Criminal Justice Experts on the Fight for Police Reform - Amal Ahmed (Texas Monthly)
Climbing's Send-at-All-Costs Culture Almost Ruined Me - Beth Rodden (Outside)
Whiteness in the Outdoors - Pattiegonia (in collaboration with others)

Favorite books:

I was a lot better at listening to audiobooks at the start of the pandemic, but I still got in some good ones.

Uncanny Valley - Anna Wiener
Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life - Lulu Miller (one of my favorite books, ever)
You Never Forget Your First - Alexis Coe
So You Want to Talk About Race - Ijeoma Oluo (reread)

Favorite TV shows:

This is probably only 1/3 of the TV I watched in 2020.

The Mandalorian
Schitt's Creek
The Flight Attendant
Love Life
One Day at a Time
Ugly Delicious
The Boys
Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi

Favorite podcasts:

I've literally listened to every single Marketplace podcast since mid-March. It was heavy at times, but it was a weird ritual that got me through it. I didn't really add very many podcasts to my normal listening.

On the Media
It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders
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