187. Editor Picks of 2020

It’s that time of year, where we reflect on the year gone by, look forward to the holidays, and plan for the year ahead. It’s time for The Rabbit Hole editor picks for 2020! What did we learn this year? What were some of our favorite episodes? Tune in to hear 2020 wrapped with Michale Nunez, Dave Anderson and – coming to you live from the other side of the world – producer, William Jeffries. Listeners are also encouraged to fill out The Rabbit Hole Podcast Survey for a chance to comment candidly on the show and enter the draw for an exciting prize. For a detailed overview of some of the most informative and insightful episodes this year, make sure not to miss this episode!


Key Points From This Episode:


  • Dave and Mike thank listeners for their support in 2020.
  • Since customer participation will be a special focus in the year ahead – go take the survey!
  • The team talks about their number one pick for the year: Surviving 2020 and COVID.
  • Dave shares his first editor pick – the Ballmer Peak episode – and why he enjoyed it.
  • Hear about the episode on uncertainty versus willful ignorance, which is the next pick.
  • William explains why the four-day workweek episode was his favorite in 2020.
  • Why the XP versus Scrum episode was another one that stood out to Dave.
  • Mike’s next pick has to do with scheduling and remote work, which was covered in the remote spaces episode with Esther Derby.
  • The acronyms for fun and profit episode and why it was insightful for William.
  • Why the Django versus Rails episode was somewhat controversial, according to Mike.
  • The team agrees that the SOLID series was very successful in 2020.
  • Hear from William as he shares his perspective on the programming is a story episode.
  • Goals for 2021: a higher response rate on Twitter, more guests, and a new microphone.
  • And much more!


Transcript for Episode 187. Editor Picks of 2020





[0:00:00.2] MN: Hey, Dave.


[0:00:01.2] DA: Hey, Mike.


[0:00:05.7] MN: How’s it going? We’re reaching the end of the year. Can you believe it?


[0:00:05.7] DA: End of the year, 2020. What a year? What do you think of it? I have a quick survey for you.


[0:00:11.7] MN: Oh, I’d be more than happy to fill out any survey that I have pertaining to 2020. But this isn’t just about 2020, right?


[0:00:20.0] DA: Well, I happen to have a survey right here that you can fill out for 2020. We really appreciate everyone listening to the podcast. It’s really kept us going through the year, having you guys listen and comment on everything that’s going on, and we want to keep talking to you, we want to hear more.


[0:00:42.6] MN: Right. I think one of the things that we will make an extra effort for in 2021, I feel, is the customer participation. I want to be able to interact with the listeners who are listening and be available for any questions or comments and stuff like that.


[0:01:02.1] DA: Yeah, trash talking. If you think that Ruby is fine and that I should get over Python, then you can let us know as well. 


[0:01:10.4] MN: Yeah, and then we need to be more responsive for those hot takes too whenever we dish them about — but yeah, Dave, you mentioned you have a survey about the Rabbit Hole?


[0:01:21.2] DA: Yeah, let me get you the link. It is bit.ly/rabbit-hole-survey kebab case. If you know what it means, then you should take the survey. But if you don’t know what it means, you should also take the survey. Kebab case means it’s a dash, so rabbit-hole-survey.


[0:01:46.1] MN: There you go. Upon completing the survey, we will probably have email associated to the survey. That way, we’re giving out a prize, a random selection to an individual.


[0:01:58.6] DA: A fabulous prize?


[0:02:00.8] MN: It’s a fabulous prize, yes. We are planning to give out a fabulous prize, and the prize is going to be a cool gift, that’s going to be a Raspberry Pi kit.


[0:02:10.5] DA: Oh, man. I am kind of jealous. I feel like I should get this on my Christmas list as well. I know you have one yourself.


[0:02:19.0] MN: Yeah, I do but I’m definitely going to fill out the survey like five times, so don’t worry about it. You should fill out the survey for sure. And with your email, we’ll ensure, we’ll contact you if you are the selected winner. We would probably need your address to send it over. Note that you may need to live in the United States for us to send it to you. That’s probably some logistics that we have to deal with.


[0:02:38.8] DA: There’s some legal stuff maybe. Maybe there’s fine print about us not entering, but maybe I’ll fill out the survey anyway. Mike says he’s going to fill it out five times. I got to get in there too.


[0:02:50.9] MN: Hit us up on the survey, that is bit.ly/rabbit-hole-survey.


[0:02:58.0] DA: Awesome! On to the show.


[0:03:01.0] MN: Hello and welcome to The Rabbit Hole, the definitive developer’s podcast. Live from the boogie down Bronx. I’m your host, Michael Nunez. Our co-host today. 


[0:03:08.9] DA: Dave Anderson.


[0:03:09.0] MN: And our producer.


[0:03:09.7] WJ: William Jeffries




[0:03:12.1] MN: Today, we’re talking about the editor picks of 2020. 


[0:03:16.1] DA: Oh my God! We did it. That’s my number one pick, we survived.


[0:03:21.5] MN: That is the number one pick. The fact that we’re still here sitting safe and sound, to the best of our ability, in 2020.


[0:03:31.1] DA: Yes, very much blessed. William really beat the odds, among all the people.


[0:03:38.2] MN: Fleeing from the United States over to India, then having to get out of India to go to Korea, where COVID is not even a word that they use over there anymore, right William? Is that what’s happening in Korea?


[0:03:50.8] WJ: I mean, in Korea, they’ve always said Corona. They never said COVID. I think it was just less confusing to call it Corona in Korea because it’s not a word in Korean.


[0:04:00.2] MN: Yeah, but the Corona isn’t running rampant right now, essentially, like how it is in the United States?


[0:04:06.7] WJ: Oh! I mean, yes. Korea is definitely managing it way better, way, way better than the US. I mean, yeah, people are still freaking out about the winter, so we’ll see.


[0:04:19.2] MN: Hopefully we don’t get demonetized or anything crazy because we’re talking about COVID and countries or whatever. We’re here about the editor picks. The editor picks of The Rabbit Hole Podcast for 2020.


[0:04:28.2] DA: But one of the things that really made it possible for us to get through the year is each other, talking about tech stuff, and you folks, you all listening to the show. Really appreciate those of you who have responded to our listener’s survey. The window is closing. We already pitched it in the beginning, but I want to pitch it again. We’re going to let it run for another week or so and then we’re going to pick out somebody as a raffle to win the fabulous prize, which – Mike, what is that again?


[0:05:02.2] MN: I believe they’ll win a Raspberry Pi kit. Raspberry Pi with the goodies.


[0:05:06.1] DA: You got some competition so far, you know you still got a chance. 


[0:05:09.2] MN: These numbers are better than the lottery, ladies and gentlemen. Get the survey in and make it happen.


[0:05:14.3] DA: Yeah. We really appreciate your support and kind words. Or you can also – do the survey and do some [inaudible 0:05:21.9] like really, let it all out at the end of the year, and start the year unloaded from any frustration.


[0:05:32.3] DA: You could tell us why you’re mad. It’s 2020, we get it. I’m going to kick off an editor pick that I have. Possibly like an episode that I really enjoy and actually sparked a really interesting conversation on the fly. It definitely was the Ballmer’s Peak episode. Just a little backstory ladies and gentlemen. We were at the bar because of someone in the organization at Stride, friend of the show, Blake DeBoer was leaving the organization. So, we are at a bar, and we’re chilling, have a couple of drinks, wondering what life is going to be like for him.


[0:06:04.7] DA: I felt like guilty, I was like, wait, like we never missed a Wednesday recording, but having the “going away” on Wednesday, what are we supposed to do? Then I guess the answer was like, get drunk and record a podcast episode.


[0:06:16.7] MN: No, we were like, we needed to record something. We to record something now, and we asked another friend of the show, Michael Silvy. “Hey! Do you have a topic on mind you want to talk about?” He said, “Well, we could talk about Ballmer’s Peak.” And like just throwing it out there, he saw the bartender and like, “Yo! Me and Dave Anderson, we need two shots right now. We’re going to go record this episode on Ballmer’s Peak.” I thought it was a great episode.


[0:06:37.3] DA: That was before anything even happened in 2020.


[0:06:40.2] MN: Yeah. It was like yeah. COVID was running crazy, but Ballmer’s Peak was definitely one of my episodes. We talked about programming under the influence, what are some thing you may have done while under the influence in programming, writing a lot of comments, or writing code, or stuck on a test. There was a lot of that. Then there was just the idea of this day and age, people are microdosing to figure out what actually helps them work better and stuff like that. We were just nerding out between Dave and I, and it was just a great conversation. And we had a bottle of another swig to drink as we were doing it. It was great. I loved it, every second of it.


[0:07:18.5] DA: Right. I miss that bottle in this Rabbit Hole studio, but yeah, it was a good time. Yeah, for me, I think also in Rabbit Hole studio, we recorded an episode about how we don’t know anything and how that’s okay sometimes. I felt like the episode about uncertainty also was something that we recorded, I think, before March. Just the more I thought about it in retrospect, it really resonated with me even more. 


[0:07:51.4] MN: Yeah. It’s just like the idea of like, you don’t know what you don’t know. It’s okay to say that you don’t know. It’s not the fact that you don’t know, it’s what you do with that information. If you are willfully ignorant about something and refuse to learn after you realize you don’t know something, that’s on you. Well, like if you don’t know something right now, you go and take the time to do research. That’s the best that anyone could ask for in terms of learning and growing in that direction.


[0:08:19.7] DA: Yeah. Just being like honest with yourself about when you need to – honest with yourself and honest with others about when it’s okay to ask a question and figure it out, get some help.


[0:08:33.5] MN: During the whole coronavirus 2020 experience, one of the things that we didn’t get a chance to as much as possible is get a hold of William on the podcast, considering that he’s on a completely different time zone. It was really difficult for us to schedule some things, and we found the time to be able to get that recording. We used to record in the mornings, like early morning. I had to wake up before Jill to get a recording done. Then we found like a sweet spot. So William, tell us what’s one of your favorite episodes of 2020?


[0:09:04.1] WJ: I think my favorite episode of 2020 was the four-day workweek episode. I have been doing some flexible work arrangements because of the extreme difference in time zones. The four-day work1week, we get to explore some of that and it was just like a really fun time. It was a hilarious episode. We laughed a lot. That one really stands out in my memory as being the most fun to record of any of the episodes of the year.


[0:09:28.7] MN: Yeah. It really shed some light on like what life is like with the four-day workweek. Like you have mentioned like really the positives and the negatives of that of a four-day workweek. I believe the positives that you get, you feel well rested and that you’re almost eager to get into work, but then like that actual date is kind of jarring because like you’re not used to it. So, it’s just like, “What do you with that time?” and then you kind of figure that out as time goes.


[0:09:53.8] WJ: Yeah. I think we had some fun with time zones and time learning in that episode. It was a good time.


[0:10:00.6] MN: Yeah. It definitely resonated with people because, especially now, there’s a lot on people’s plates. They’re juggling different context and trying to figure out how to like maintain the separation. Yeah, it was an interesting discussion to talk about a different perspective for how to organize your week.


[0:10:21.5] DA: Another episode that I really liked, that I felt like I learned a lot from the discussion, and there was a lot of like give and take, and we were like hashing things out as we went through, was the XP versus Scrum discussion that we had with Aaron and Steven.


[0:10:39.3] MN: Just being able to like have those differences out in the open, have conversations about them. Steven Solomon is always a friend of the show, and then to have Aaron Braylin on the show as well, that was a lot of fun. It’s pretty dope.


[0:10:51.3] DA: Yeah. I like how we like kind of broke it down and looked at, like the fundamentals of the assumptions that we make when we’re talking about one thing or another thing, kind of having a critical eye about all these agile wastelands that we’re living in.


[0:11:11.1] MN: I have another favorite episode I do want to call out. 2020, one thing that we were trying to get like comfortable and familiar with, was the guests are always kind of difficult to schedule as we were trying to learn how to do that in The Rabbit Hole studios in Downton Manhattan. But it was a little bit easier to schedule people who are normally not in New York City to record with us and, as we were able to nail those down, I think one of my favorite episodes with a guest, friend of the shows, Esther Derby, when we were talking about remote spaces. Because I think at this point in time, everyone realized that we were going to be home for a while.


To have someone we were able to interview to talk about having the space open and how to learn how to work remotely was very, very insightful for me. Because like this transition as a parent is different than someone else, and they may experience things that are different, and it was just great to hear the dos and don’ts of management from what you would expect in an organization and what to do to change those things.


[0:12:13.2] WJ: Yeah. Another episode that I really enjoyed was Acronyms for Fun and Profit. I think for me the episodes that are most fun are the once where we laugh the most. 


[0:12:24.1] MN: That’s definitely – that one is good though. I really like that. It was just like a conversation on, why does acronyms exist? Why do people make them? And then we had to figure out some of the good ones that we’ve come across.


[0:12:36.2] DA: I really like, when you proposed that, I was a little skeptical. I was just like, oh my God! I just hate acronyms. But I feel like the passion really shone through where it’s like, “God! Why are we doing this to ourselves so often? So many acronyms everywhere. What a punishment.” But it’s a power that, I guess, if you use it responsibly, it can be good but just don’t go too crazy. 


[0:13:05.5] MN: Yeah. Some of our favorite acronyms, like DRY and DAMP and TDD and whatever, they’re good shorthands to help us remember the concept or something that’s like really core to an everyday conversation that we’re having. But the more obscure ones are sometimes frustrating and we’ve got into a lot of that in that episode.


[0:13:27.0] DA: Speaking of passions running over, you proposed a topic of Django versus Rails, and boldly supposing that Python has defeated Ruby. I mean –


[0:13:44.3] MN: I mean, the problem is that, it is I who try – at a client that I was working on. I was trying to mention like, “Oh, this can be built. Like we could use Rails with it.” They were like, “No.” Everyone refused because Rails is a dying language according to the energy, and I’m like, “Bobby, who told you that?” Like who’s lying to your face right now? But obviously, the Internet speaks truth and truth only, so Ruby and Rails has to be done, right? Like, that’s what I’ve got to say. 


That one was pretty spicy though. People definitely resonated with that one and I apologize. But that’s word on the streets on the Internet. That’s what I’m hearing. They’ll take it out with me. You’ll take it on [inaudible 0:14:29.0]


[0:14:29.4] DA: Find those people on the Internet and see – I don’t know. I mean, we’re talking about it and it kind of made me think about Ruby again, which – I hadn’t programmed in Ruby for a while because it isn't bad, just completely. Yeah, like I really appreciate a lot of the human centered aspects of language. I feel if I had the opportunity to program Ruby again, I will take it. It would be fun.


[0:14:58.9] WJ: Ruby is fun. I don’t know why people say it’s bad. It’s not that bad.


[0:15:02.8] MN: I think a series that we nailed down pretty well for 2020 has been the SOLID series. I think it was really dope for us to be able to go through each principle in Solid and talk about each one extensively. I know it’s a great refresher for us to be able to speak about those principles that we use every day. Sometimes, muscle memory wise, but like actually talking them through was pretty dope.


[0:15:31.6] DA: Yeah. I feel like that's one of the things where I like doing the podcast because we get to talk through the concept and kind of teach ourselves what it truly means as much as try to inform. It can be one of those really abstract concepts, like all the different abbreviations in SOID. Like list cov substitution principle, what is that?


[0:16:00.7] MN: I mean, yeah, but we dived into eight principle and I thought it was a pretty good exercise for us to do that. We’re expected to do that in for our clients, client engineers that we should be able to talk about on the podcast, right? That’s the idea. That’s where we’re going. 


[0:16:16.6] DA: Overall, pretty solid series,


[0:16:18.3] WJ: One of my favorite episodes that I was not on was the Programming as a Story episode, and the idea that there are three different stories that you tell your client when you’re developing application. I also really enjoyed the SOLID series, which I know we’ve like already pretty solidly covered, so we’re going to have the type two, which is more about that. But I think my favorite was the single responsibility principle. Number one most solid SOLID episode. 


[0:16:50.5] DA: The most solid of the SOLID episodes.


[0:16:54.5] MN: Oh man!


[0:16:55.8] DA: I like the programming of the story one a lot too. It was an interesting kind of discussion, talking about the benefits of storytelling and the more kind of abstract idea of the either story, I guess, and different ways that people kind of interpret not just the user story but the code itself, as a description of what’s happening. 


[0:17:24.1] MN: Yeah, because it’s like, we often talk about the life cycle of – the developer life cycle, where we talk about the feature life cycle, if you will, in this that this more brand and not just the engineer writing the story, the product manager creating the story, and that kind of stuff. But that’s pretty dope. I really like that. 


[0:17:43.5] DA: So do you guys have any goals for 2021?


[0:17:45.0] MN: I need to respond to people on Twitter. That’s what I’m going to do. I need be on that. 


[0:17:52.3] DA: @googlemike.


[0:17:53.6] MN: And the Radio Free Rabbit tool, I need to be [more active on that, really. There’s that. I mean, maybe more interviews? Maybe we should like get more interesting individuals on the Rabbit Hole to talk about various concepts and whatnot. Those are the goals for me right now. Dave, what do you got?


[0:18:13.4] DA: Yeah, totally. I think add more people on. Getting William safely back to the States, that’s my goal as well. I do want to rescue him from this Utopia that he’s in right now.


[0:18:27.7] WJ: I will say I do miss Rabbit Hole studios, so that’s one incentive to come back. My number one priority for 2021 is getting a new recording microphone.


[0:18:40.2] DA: Yeah, Rabbit Hole Studios [inaudible 0:18:42.1].


[0:18:43.0] WJ: New recording microphone and a vaccine. Those are my two goals.


[0:18:45.9] MN: Yeah. That’s what we could wish for. Just want to say, from the different areas of the Rabbit Hole Studio that makes this podcast, we want to wish everyone a happy holiday, a safe New Year. May all your dreams in 2021 come true, and get vaccinated. That’s it for me.




MN: Follow us now on Twitter @radiofreerabbit so we can keep the conversation going. Like what you hear? Give us a five star review and help developers like you find their way into The Rabbit Hole. Never miss an episode, subscribe now however you listen to your favorite podcast.


On behalf of our producer extraordinaire, William Jeffries, and my amazing co-host, Dave Anderson, and me, your host, Michael Nunez, thanks for listening to The Rabbit Hole.





Links and Resources:

The Rabbit Hole on Twitter

Ballmer Peak Episode

I Don’t Know Anything Episode

4-Day Workweek Episode

XP vs. Scrum Episode

Remote Spaces Episode

Acronyms for Fun and Profit Episode

Django vs. Rails Episode

Programming as a Story Episode

SOLID: Single Responsibility Principle

The Rabbit Hole Podcast Survey