2020 was kind of shit. Go on, it’s OK to admit it. But when I look in the mirror, 2020 was a lot healthier for me than usual. I’ve seen quite a few 2020 reviews this past week. It’s the fashionable thing to do. Hence this is my first yearly review. I’m going to try to use this as a sort of guide for next year. Now, whilst most reviews I’ve read highlighted the things people couldn’t do in 2020, or the exact ways in which it sucked, I made a conscious decision to try to find things that actually went well for me in 2020, and not even mention any of the negative shit 2020 is famous for.

It turns out, I didn’t have to look that hard for things to be thankful for. The DevRel life is full of chaos, so the fact that I didn’t travel for most of 2020 unlocked a lot of possibilities. A lot of those things that kept being pushed to “when I get a change” got done, so truly, thank you, 2020, you haven’t been all shit. And I honestly think I couldn’t have done most of these things if I wasn’t forced to stop travelling. I certainly couldn’t have stopped travelling on my own. My idea of “taking it easy” this year was to have a flight booked every two weeks, instead of the usual two flights a week.

First of All, What Happened in 2020?

👷Switched Over to the Dark Side

There were no cookies🤷. I’ve moved from an individual contributor role at Vonage this year to a manager position at Fidel. And in true Laka fashion, I still refuse to manage people. OK, I did manage a few people for a little while, but I’ve since spent most of my time trying to make myself redundant. Instead of building a team of Developer Advocates, like it’s the fashion, I’ve spent the past six months building a DevRel Culture inside Fidel, trying to make myself redundant.

🏋️33% Less Laka

I lost quite a bit of weight this year. 52 KG (110 Pounds) to be exact, which amounted to 33% of my body mass. There were a few factors that contributed to this one:

  • I started looking at what I ate. No, it’s not a figure of speech. I literally take a picture of my food before I eat it. It forces me to pause, and figure out if what I have on my plate is right for me. I also used to send that picture to a random stranger I found on the internet and was paying to give me advice about my nutrition. It worked from the very first picture because I was so ashamed with the quantity on my plate, I took part of it off and re-did the picture. Didn’t put the food back on the plate afterwards. The only thing that kept me honest was the eye-watering amount of money I paid for the service, I wasn’t going to pay to cheat.

  • I started going to the gym. Maybe a little too much, and it’s turning into an addiction. I’ve got 3 sessions a week with a personal trainer, and another 7 without one. The PT sessions are all focused on functional training, while the ones without are all about burning fat in steady-state cardio, usually on a treadmill. Because that allows me to listen to audiobooks or watch things on YouTube, it feels less boring, and it’s currently my happy place.

  • I did the math. With lockdown happening, I started cooking all my meals instead of eating out. That made it easy to better track what I ate in MyFitnessPal. My Fitbit watch tracks my calories burned during the day, so I started paying closer attention to the difference between what I ate and what I burn. I try really, really hard to make sure I’ve got a deficit of at least 1000 calories a day.

💨Gave up Smoking

As we started going to the gym more and more, the cigarettes began to affect our training. Julia was the first to quit, her training program is a lot more intense than mine. But after a few months of smoking alone, I just didn’t get the same benefits out of it. The negative impact of being the only smoker in the house outweighed the stress release aspect of it. So one day I decided to quit, cold turkey. Of course, that didn’t happen. Just the idea that I was running out of cigarettes sent me into a mild panic attack. I think that’s been hardwired into any smoker out there so deep, that just the idea I was running low was too much to bear.

So I tried tricking the lizard brain inside and bought a fresh pack of smokes. Of which I smoked exactly 5 cigarettes over the course of 3 days. And those were the last I’ve smoked. But I still carry around that unfinished pack of cigarettes with me, everywhere I go. I can smoke any time I want to, I just choose not to smoke. I think that’s the trick that finally helped me to quit smoking. The other time I tried, I lasted a whole of 10 hours without smoking, after which I proceeded to make up for it. It’s been 5 months this time, and hopefully, this one is for good.

🥑36 Issues of the Developer Avocados Weekly Newsletter

As you’ve probably figured out by now, a year has a bit more than 36 weeks. 52 if you must be exact. Why am I celebrating this, though? Because it’s a hell of a lot more than 0. That’s right, in a shit year, with taking a month at a time off from the newsletter, we kept finding the strength and motivation to keep coming back to send it again. Eventually. While we technically made no money from it.

And the fact that we could still find passion in something pre-pandemic, that’s definitely worth celebrating in my book. Oh, and towards the end of the year, we found the energy to run an advent calendar with 24 Developer Avocados, which required us to get out of our comfort zone and reach out to people we haven’t met. Especially in a time when people can’t be expected to give a damn.

🎨Got a New Website

After 4 years, I’ve finally got the time to make a new website. Or at least, I had the time to stand there and look pretty while Hui Jing did all the work. But it’s happened, and it made me want to add more to the website, regularly. I’ve written more articles for it this year than any other so far. The new habit-forming routine I’ve got might have something to do with this as well. So far, I’ve got 73 days in a row of writing 100 words or more. “Science” says that if I got to 66, it’s a habit and here to stay. No matter the outcome, it has certainly helped me write more this year. I think my goal was 12 articles a year for the past few years, but this is the first year I’ve actually managed to do it. And then some. I think I managed to publish 4 articles in a single week, and that’s something I didn’t think I could do.

What About 2021?


Get to the next level, year, whatever. That’s it. That’s the resolution.

If survival seems too achievable, I’ve got a few other things I could try doing.

  • Create a best-in-class Developer Portal. Open-source it from day 1, so other people could easily use it. I’ll consider this a success if it’s as easy to deploy as it would be to do one of the static-site generators.
  • Publish every week. I’ve started early on this one. I’ve started writing a minimum of 100 words every day. You can follow along with my progress on Twitter. But I’m hoping that’s going to help me publish 52 articles this year. I’ll consider this goal a success even if it’s 52 articles, and not necessarily one every single week.