My best of 2021: a year in review

By Dann Berg

Published or Updated on

Dann’s Desk 2021

Here we go again.

Last year, when I sat down to do my regular end-of-year post, it felt so strange. We were still 2-3 months away from the first vaccines getting poked into arms, and the world still felt upside down. But I did a 2020 post anyway. It actually made me feel a bit better about my year. Plus, I have such a long history of these posts (see 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018) that it seemed a shame to skip the routine.

This year, it feels much more natural. We’re not completely back to normal, but 2021 didn’t feel like a total wash in the same way 2020 felt.

I’ve played around with the formatting/content in the past, but this year I’m just sticking to the same thing I did last year: a few stats about my content followed by my favorite things from the year.

A couple of the links are Amazon affiliates. Why not, right?

Alright, enough chit chat. Let’s dig in.

Most viewed blog posts by me

I didn’t publish much on this blog this year, but I pushed out a ton of writing through my newsletter. Honestly, I’m fine with that. I’m super happy with how the newsletter is going, and sharing my best content there. In 2022, it’s possible that I may expand an idea from the newsletter into a blog post. Best of both worlds.

Top videos by me

I was officially demonetized by YouTube this year. I guess that’s what happens when you stop uploading content, despite having nearly 1,500 subscribers. Ah well. Thanks for all the passive income while it lasted, YouTube.

Favorite books read

Man, I really suck at reading when I don’t have a daily commute. Before the pandemic, nearly all my reading was on the subway. Still, I managed to get a few books in this year. Here are my favorites.

Favorite Movies

This was a big movie year for me. I watched 78 different films! You can find the full list on Letterboxd, but here are my favorites:

  • Bo Burnham: Inside (2021) - An act of pure genius. The only “must watch” on this list, if you haven’t seen it yet
  • The Handmaiden (2016) - Both writing and execution are excellent. This is what other movies wish they could be
  • The Power of the Dog (2021) - Great acting all around, and a joy to watch
  • The Act of Killing (2012) - Easily the best documentary I’ve ever seen. Deeply disturbing, insightful, entertaining, and jawdropping
  • High Life (2018) - This movie was not at all what I was expecting. It definitely received mixed reviews when it was first released. But while the script was a bit sloppy, the story really stuck with me

Honorable mentions: Benedetta (2021), The Humans (2021), Titane (2021), Promising Young Woman (2020).

Favorite TV Shows

  • I Think You Should Leave - Not everyone’s cup of tea. Certainly wasn’t mine at first. But has grown on me like a fungus
  • How To with John Wilson - Second season is currently airing. Oh my gosh, episode two…
  • The White Lotus - Filmed at a luxury Hawaiian resort peak-pandemic, it’s an interesting look at class dynamics. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s certainly entertaining
  • Squid Game - There was a lot of hype around Squid Game this year. It’s deserved

Favorite Podcast

Your Kickstarter Sucks - Really, the only podcast I listen to regularly. It’s about terrible Kickstarter projects, but it’s also not about that. It’s the best.

Notable Objects

  • Zojirushi Rice Cooker - I’m not usually a fan of single-use gadgets, but this one is worth the counterspace
  • PlayStation 5 - I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of these puppies. I’ve been digging Binding of Isaac, Fall Guys, and Final Fantasy VII
  • Sonos Beam (Gen 2) - I’ve always wanted a soundbar for my TV. Finally pulled the trigger this year. This little guy is great
  • American Giant hoodie - If it’s below 60 degrees, I’m wearing this hoodie
  • Thursday Captain Boots - Probably the best bang-for-your-buck boot. Also, my first pair of nice boots
  • Misto Oil Sprayer - Just plain convenient
  • Nissin RAOH Tonkotsu Instant Ramen - A delicious upgrade to your standard instant ramen
  • Pocas Honey Ginger Tea - Decaffeinated, strong, and delicious


  • Maintained the 25lbs weight loss from last year
  • Vaxxed and boosted!
  • Promoted to Senior CloudOps Analyst and Team Lead at Datadog
  • Avi and I co-wrote our second full-length play, which was produced in China this year
  • Continued the monthly NYC FinOps Meetup all year
  • Sent a newsletter every month, as planned
  • Co-Hosted our 9th annual Fall Ball event, in a rented venue for the first time ever
  • Submitted an audition video to Survivor. Didn’t hear back, but dreams won’t come true unless you apply

Plans for 2022

  • Dive deeper into web3
  • Take a vacation somewhere
  • Continue sending my newsletter once a month
  • Co-host a big party (Fall Ball X: The Final Fall Ball)
  • Get more involved in the FinOps Foundation
  • More charitable giving
My best of 2023: a year in review
My best of 2022: a year in review
My best of 2020: A year in review