hi DevRel fam! Welcome to our first newsletter of 2021 😊🎉
I hope everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable end-of-year celebration and is feeling refreshed as we start off the new year. With that said, I know just because 2020 is over doesn't mean January 1st was suddenly easier -- we're still in the midst of difficult times and have some difficult days still ahead of us. I got a postcard from a mentor and friend this week that said "Let's be belligerently hopeful" and while I don't usually have a "catch phrase" or "word for the year" I may just adopt this one.
As we look back on what 2020 brought to the DevRel industry - moving conferences online, shifting our focus to digital content rather than in-person engagements, finding new ways to connect with our communities - we've seen DevRel mature in a number of ways, and I expect that growth will continue throughout 2021. I look forward to digging into trends and research in the days and weeks to come (stay tuned for a "state of DevRel resources" special edition of DevRel Weekly in Q1), but for now, there are a few other folks who have written about trends they're noticing and predictions they have for 2021:
- What will community management look like in 2021? 8 community leaders share their ideas.
- Our Community Christmas Wish (List)
- Community Predictions 2021
For those of you who are entering this year feeling worn down, "stuck," or feeling like you can't take a break from your community to take care of yourself, I'd encourage you to take a deep breath and then force yourself to take a step back. Both you and your community will be better for it if you take care of yourself first. Brian Oblinger had a great thread around this right before Christmas, a time during which many community managers are feeling guilty for taking time away from their online communities. Rachel Happe summarized it in this way:
If your community can't live without you, you have a co-dependent and unhealthy relationship. Not healthy for the community manager, not healthy for the community.
If you haven't already, I'd encourage you to check out the "Best Of" issue from March 2019 when I covered the topic of burnout. To borrow a phrase from Community Manager Advancement Day, coming up on Jan 25, we can all use to increase our resilience in 2021.
With that, let's dive into the content I've collected below from the last few weeks of 2020 -- hopefully it will be an encouragement to you as we look ahead to a new year of serving our communities!
DevRel Weekly Patreon
Look for the Questions, not the Measurements
We have a collective obsession with data.
Instead of asking "What should we measure?", we should ask, "What questions don't I have answers for?", and pick the minimum set of metrics that help us to find answers to those questions.
Fewer metrics mean fewer distractions.
Play the Long Game
Community is one of the greatest compound effects in action.
At the beginning you might not feel it but on the long run it will be your competitive advantage.
Play the long game!
DevRel is a Balancing Act
Developer advocacy / developer relations is a solid balance between:
- Product feedback
- Engineering (sometimes)
Each of these could be their own role, & often are in larger teams, but D.A.s still do most of these things day to day.
"It's Hard, but Tools Can Help!"
This thread from Taylor Barnett is required reading for anyone who's doing Developer Relations work at an early-stage startup (or any company, for that matter). I've pasted the thread in its entirety below for ease-of-reading, but click through to read the conversations that happened throughout the thread as well.
early-stage DevRel has basically been on my mind my entire DevRel career. when you are in DevRel at an early stage company, it can be hard to nail down the company goals and their relationship with your work.
these goals exist, whether you know it or not. things are moving fast! sometimes it even feels out of your "lane" to ask about them if they aren't obvious. but this work is so critical for your strategy work. which you should def be doing!
I've been experimenting with everything from the AAARRRP DevRel Strategy Framework (thanks to @leggetter) to Libby boxes (thanks to @mary_grace) and honestly, literally everything comes back to having a clear understanding of company, not team, goals.
so, the question is, do you know your company goals? one of the things I've done is interview the whole leadership team individually to get answers from different perspectives and learn the language to speak "DevRel" to different areas of the company.
often I find myself just looking at words I've written down trying to make sense of them, but things really have clicked when I started picking goals in the AAARRRP framework or drawing Libby boxes. it's hard, but tools can help!
P.S. This is also how you get other teams to work with you more and help you out -- if aligned on company goals, it is an easier "yes, I will help you with x."
Digital Developer Relations: Past and Future
While end-of-year reflections aren't uncommon on our blogs, Lorna Mitchell took a slightly different approach to it this year. She looked back at 2020, a year in which many DevRel professionals complained about their inability to reach developers, and saw the bright side of things. In this article, she covers how digital Developer Relations is inclusive, impactful, and intentional. It definitely changed my perspective and my guess is it will change yours as well!
No-One Wins If You Rush In
If you're starting a new job soon, first - congrats! 🎉 Second, you'll want to read this short article from Rich Millington. In it, he explains that while you might want to dive in on day one, it's actually better to take things slow and get to know both the people and the environment. Your community will thank you!
Defining Your Community Stack
Trying to figure out how create a successful community? Consider the stack (yes, like a tech stack or solutions stack) that you want to implement. Jeremy Ross digs into the different components to consider and how you build the most efficient and effective stack possible in this recent article.
Stop Explaining Community Management
Listen, I know that we're all really passionate people with chips on our shoulders that people don't understand our work, but what if our corporate overlords don't need to understand everything to create better communities?
Whew! Carter Gibson ends his recent blogpost with this statement, but it was a strong enough argument that it made me go back to read the article a second time.
Trust me -- if you haven't seen this post already (it came out in November, so I'm feeling a little behind the times) -- you'll want to read it today.
DevRel Podcasts and Videos
- Quitting Communities, Choosing Platforms, and Developing Strategy with Sarah Hawk - Masters of Community
- Breadcrumbs and Carrots: Optimizing Developer Onboarding with Brian Douglas (video - an oldie but a goodie)
- The Era of Virtual Events with Shelby Spees - Screaming in the Cloud
- Developer to Developer Advocate with Lauren Schaefer - The MongoDB Podcast
- Building the World's Largest Startup Community with Derek Andersen - Masters of Community
Developer Relations Events
Kate here: I'd like to think that the quality of some of these virtual events has really gone up in the past year. Are there any events you're looking forward to this year? Take a look at the DevRel Weekly Events Collection, maybe it will surprise you.
Did you know that you can recognize people by the way they type? This is what we do at TypingDNA, and are looking for a Developer Evangelist to join us in the mission of making the TypingDNA Authentication API the #1 choice at a BringYourOwnDevTool party. For this, you will attend and talk at events for devs, will technically help them on all the channels where they are, and also create various content (screencasts, videos, and the like).
Developer Evangelist - Moovweb
The future of development on the web is Jamstack, and our jam is bringing these performance and simplicity benefits to large, dynamic sites where traditional techniques don't apply. We're seeking a passionate Developer Evangelist who will blaze the trail for strategic community engagement and the growth of our developer base.
Developer Relations Jobs
"Hello? New year. Who dis?"
Looking for a new position in the new year? Check out the DevRel Weekly Jobs Collection. You might just find something that interests you.