Letters from the editors

Dearest Increment readers,

In this issue, we explore an expansive and essential pair: reliability—that steady, failure-free predictability, uptime, and how-many-9s; and resilience—the buoyant fortitude, flexibility, and ability to bend without breaking.

Together and apart, they’ve become ever more omnipresent aspirations and critical discussion points in the last year. Reliability, a pillar of often undersung but critical infrastructure work, earned renewed focus as teams grappled with myriad rapid and often unforeseeable changes. And resilience—including and writ larger than its role in software—helped people and systems endure and adapt. Actively performed and invested in, these two Rs can proffer an almost poetic durability that supports and enables truly high-performing systems.

Speaking of Rs (sorry, I couldn’t help it!), I’d like to introduce you to another: Rebecca Hiscott, a longtime friend of Increment who’s joined us as managing editor. Below, she shares more about this issue.

Wishing you well,

Sid Orlando
Editor in Chief

It’s a pleasure and a privilege to write to you as Increment’s new managing editor—and what a timely issue to start my tenure with. Reading these pages, I was struck by the many intersections between reliability and resilience, and how these concepts relate to our teams as much as our technologies. These junctions are explored, for example, in Ryn Daniels’s essay on resilience as culture; Safia Abdalla’s examination of the shared knowledge and practices that underpin open-source projects; and Dr. David D. Woods’s comments on the factors, both human and technical, that can shore up the graceful extensibility of our systems.

With reliability and resilience poised to be continued motifs in 2021, I look forward to learning from and with you, readers—in this issue and beyond.

Take good care,

Rebecca Hiscott
Managing Editor

Thanks to our contributors for this issue

Editor in Chief

Sid Orlando

Managing Editor

Rebecca Hiscott

Contributing Editors

Meghna Rao, David Wolinsky

Copy Editors and Proofreaders

Laura Entis, Swapna Krishna

Technical Reviewers

Tushar Dhoot, Jacob Feintzeig, Robin Hoese, Jared McFarland, Arshia Mufti, Bobby Powers, Ben Ransford, Tristan Schneiter, Jacob Scott, Arpith Siromoney, James Vaughan, Cory Watson


Safia Abdalla, Ipsita Agarwal, John Allspaw, Poornima Apte, Georgios Bakirtzis, Benoit Baudry, Richard Cook, Ryn Daniels, Tiarnán de Burca, Tess Donnelly, Mathieu Frappier, Mads Hartmann, Lara Hogan, Dorothy Jung, Beth Long, Ana Medina, Martin Monperrus, Qui Nguyen, Tanya Reilly, Ian Steadman, Chris Stokel-Walker, Heidi Waterhouse

Creative Director

Justin Pervorse


Mercedes Bazan


Sua Balac, Janice Chang, Ana Galvañ, Susan Haejin Lee, Luis Mendo, Jon Stich

Cover Art

Luis Mendo

Distribution and Logistics

Melissa Contreras, Bobby Kessner

Additional Site Proofreading

Emma Janaskie, Kate Lee

About the author

Sid Orlando is editor in chief of Increment. She lives in New York City where she is friends with every bodega cat.


About the author

Rebecca Hiscott is Increment‘s managing editor. She lives in London with her husband and stacks and stacks of books.


Artwork by

Luis Mendo



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