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Holiday Countdown 2020 - The lost days part 9 - Dave Liao - Russell Zera


Due to the article size limit, older days have to be removed from the main article.

Here are the days 13 and 14:




Song of the day: Let it snow by Frank Sinatra (

And once again, we’re back in the US. Give a warm welcome to Dave Liao!

Dave grew up in beautiful Philadelphia, in the Northeast United States and is living now in New York City. He gave the most Kudos on our Community platform and he’s our number 13 this year.

Hi Dave, please tell us how and when did you become one of Atlassian's  Community Leaders?
@Erica Moss reached out to me this year - we met (IN PERSON!) at an ACE last year at Trello headquarters.

What motivates you being a Community Leader?
Theoretically having to answer questions less? When folks in my extended network ask me Jira questions, I direct them to Atlassian Community, then I try to answer their questions publicly. It keeps me on my game, and hopefully benefits others with the same questions.

What was the first time you ever used an Atlassian product?
10 years ago, maybe?

Do you have a favorite Atlassian memory to date?
Getting dim sum after (or during) Summit, no matter what city I'm in. I convinced a group of folks to grab dim sum nearby the convention when there was a gap in time. 🥟


Oh, I love that - we have an appointment next Summit!

If you could go back in time to give yourself an advice, professional or personal. What would it be?
Figure out your overarching goals, then align your tasks to meet those goals. If doing a task doesn't help you get closer to your goal, why do it?

Dave loves coffee and productivity tricks. About equally. Here you can see his favorite coffee spots in New York City:


Dave, did you have a New Year's resolution for 2020? Did you achieve it?
I stopped making resolutions years ago. Self-improvement is an ongoing task, and one should re-visit them more frequently than annually.

Do you have a resolution for 2021?
That being said... survive! In-between COVID-19, political unrest, and global warming, if I can make it to 2022, I'll be a happy camper.

What is your fondest holiday memory?
Christmas presents as a child. I celebrated in a commercial sense, not religious.

And your favorite holiday meal?
Stuffing and ham!

Which holiday songs do you love, Dave?

Anything Sinatra.


I hope, you love that Sinatra song I chose. The video is also amazing!

What is your favorite holiday movie and why?

Die Hard (1998)

It seems, this is the most popular Holiday movie in our calendar. I think, you’re the third leader saying that Die Hard is the favorite one.

Please share a heartwarming moment from 2020 with us
Joining the Atlassian Community officially, after lurking on the site for so many years?

What are you grateful for?
Waking up in the morning, and having coffee!


Maybe this is the right ornament for you ;-) - Although I’m sure, there are better coffeeshops than this one on your list.


Grinch or Santa?
The Grinch would win a fight, yes.


Grinch is catching up!

How do you usually celebrate New Year's Eve? Will it be different this year?
I try not to! If I'm lucky, I'm asleep by 10pm. Hopefully I can make it happen this year...

If you could change something about the way we celebrate the last days of the year, what would it be?
Make New Year's a several-day holiday so parties can be spread out :-D

What do you like about living in the USA?
The awesome diversity of geography.

Oh yes, the landscapes and National Parks in your country are breathtaking.

What was your best tv show in 2020?
I watched Doctor Who for the first time, and just celebrated Doctor Who Day. 


In a few days, there will be another Dr Who - fan in this calendar! I think, you’ll have a topic to talk about at Summit 2022!

What was the most unsual thing you did this year?
For me, going hiking in upstate New York!


(This is not Dave, it’s a stock photo - but it is Upstate New York and if it is just half as nice as it looks on that photo, it is definitely worth hiking there!)

Here's your chance to give a special shoutout to someone - who is it and why?
Shout-out to the Community Team for gathering us AND putting up with us. Community management is not an easy task, especially on a platform with this many users.

Thank you Dave for taking part in this calendar - and for everything you do for our Community! I wish you a merry Christmas, a lot of good coffee in 2021 and I’m looking forward to having dim sum at the next Summit!






Song of the day: Nutty Christmas by The Baltic Sea Philharmonic ( - Don’t just listen to the song - watch this video - it’s terrific - a piece of art!!!!


Let’s stay one more day in the US - and move to Marlton, New Jersey. Russell Zera is living there and hosts Community events in Philadelphia together with  Dana Everwine, Steve Masturzo and Valerie Palmer.



Russell won the Community Changemaker-Award 2020. Congratulations! Read the laudatio here:


Russell, it’s your day today - day number 14 - nice to meet you!

How and when did you become one of Atlassian's Community Leaders?

I became an Atlassian Community Leader in June of 2018

What motivates you being a Community Leader?

Everything I do is because I enjoy helping others and seeing that moment that they realize that using Atlassian Tools is going to make their lives easier/better, not vice-versa!

What was the first time you ever used an Atlassian product?

2007, my company at the time had someone come into our office and say "hey we would like to experiment with this new tool called Jira", after they presented it, I was hooked!

Do you have a favorite Atlassian memory to date?

I have countless memories, but honestly, I have to say Scott as "Doc Brown" and Jay as "Marty McFly" from "Back to the Future" at the 2019 Atlassian Summit BASH was just simply amazing, and getting to spend time with so many other Atlassian enthusiasts like myself at the BASH was just a one-of-a-kind experience!


But your version of Bob Ross was amazing too!


Russell, if you could go back in time to give yourself an advice, professional or personal. What would it be?

Never lock yourself into a specific path. Embrace the "inspect and adapt" mantra in your personal AND professional life, and you'll experience limitless opportunities!

What do you like to do for fun? What are you passionate about?

Spending time with my family, and DIY projects (I like to build things)

Did you have a New Year's resolution for 2020? Did you achieve it?

Keep the weight off! and yes... I did!


Awesome - I hope you stand firm in these Holiday days with all this chocolate and cookies everywhere  

Grinch or Santa?

The Grinch AS Santa (at the end after his heart grew three sizes)

Well, I would say, this counts for Grinch - not for Santa - we have a tie!


How do you usually celebrate New Year's Eve? Will it be different this year?

We have two small children that we don't let stay up for the ball drop, so we do a ball drop celebration mid-day and stream a ball drop video from Netflix while we have a party and eat appetizers for our meal

What was your best tv show in 2020?

The Mandalorian!

Ah, another Star Wars fan! I haven’t seen the Mandalorian yet, but it must be awesome!

Russell, thank you for being our number 14 this year and for being a Changemaker in our Community! I wish you and your family happy holidays and a wonderful new year and can’t wait to see your outfit for Summit 2022! I hope to see you there!



Thanks, Dave Liao, Russell Zera & Thomas for sharing this awesome annual calendar article for 2020!

Like Dave Liao likes this
Dave Liao Community Leader Dec 15, 2020

Ha, glad @Russell Zera and I could end up on the same page (literally)!

Like Thomas Schlegel likes this


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