2019 Roundup

January 3, 2020 ยท 4 minute read

Here is a curated list of my writing and speaking links from 2019.


“From relational DB to single DynamoDB table: a step-by-step exploration” – one of the most poular posts I’ve ever written, it includes a play-along Github repo as well.

“How Serverless is Breaking Down Barriers in Tech” – an interview with Stackery’s Farrah Campbell.

“The Creeping IT Apocalypse” – a warning about the danger of career stagnation, still ruffling feathers almost a year later.

“NoSQL Design Patterns for Serverless” – a talk I gave at the Raleigh Serverless Meetup.

Interview with Marcia Villalba of FooBar Codes – Marcia was one of my first connections in the serverless community, and it was great to chat with her as fellow AWS Serverless Heroes.


I wrote the official GitLab CI + AWS SAM reference implementation, and published this blog post about it. There’s even a sample SAM app – just run sam init --location git+https://gitlab.com/gitlab-examples/aws-sam to get started.

“IAM is the real cloud lock-in” – but it’s probably okay!

Three podcast interviews with AWS Serverless Hero Yan Cui, covering serverless in production, serverless community growth, and the rise of FinDev.

Just for fun: the Faas and Furious webcomic site launched this month.


I helped to design and build the “Serverless CI/CD for the Enterprise on AWS Quickstart”.


“Serverless in the Brownfield” – a podcast episode with some strategies for migrating lecacy systems to serverless.


I wrote a love letter to CloudWatch Events (now Amazon EventBridge), the best-kept secret in serverless event processing, for the AWS blog.

“Pragmatic Enterprise CI/CD” – one of my most-cited blogs of the year, delving into strategies for CI/CD across diverse organizational structures.

“Does Anyone Know How Your System Works?” – in a lot of shops, somehow, the answer is no.


Check out this recording of a webinar I did with AWS and Epsagon on modern application development.

“Serverless Smells” – Think FaaS podcast on identifying bad serverless designs before they bite you.

I wrote up a few tips learned the hard way about serverless CI/CD on AWS.


“When Bad Architectures Happen to Good People” – my talk at Dash NYC

“Amazon won’t spin off AWS, but they should” – I think some of the angry orange site commenters are right that this one didn’t lead with its strongest argument. The big problem is retail and other sectors fearing the Everything Store, which has an unnecessary impact on AWS.


The infamous serverless vs containers rap battle – I may never live this one down.

Jeremy Daly and I chatted about enterprise CI/CD on his Serverless Chats podcast.

I competed with a bunch of other AWS Serverless Heroes on Twitch in a reality-style coding competition. It did not go well for me.


“On building a personal brand in tech” – not for everyone, but if you really want to know how to do it, here’s my advice.


“Hey AWS – it’s time to pay open source developers” – the Serverless Application Repository is so close to being a game-changer. I suggested one possible solution.

I started thinking more about the Serverless App Repo after I did this writeup on a recent open-source release from the SAR team that outlines their internal standards for code and config. My TL;DR: no magic, just thorough execution.

This was my first year co-chairing ServerlessConf. If you couldn’t make it, I previewed GIA’s talk on the Think FaaS podcast.


In the run-up to re:Invent, I ran down AWS’s newfound observability gains.


“The hidden cost of Lambda provisioned concurrency” – another re:Invent reaction post.

Finally, I contributed research to this Lambda Destinations deep dive.

I also wrote a number of science fiction stories for various publications this year – check out the bibliography for a full list.

Lots of exciting things coming up in 2020 – make sure to subscribe to the mailing list for regular updates.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and learning with me!

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