There are a lot of "how to's" included in this week's newsletter, but if I've learned anything over the years, it's that there's no "one size fits all" solution for Developer Relations. It's all about finding the principles behind the practice, massaging it to fit your situations, and then pulling levers until you find the right combination that works for you.
But that's part of the reason why this is all so fun, isn't it? It's our job to figure out what might work for the specific community that we're investing our time into (and let's be real, our hearts as well) and solve the daily puzzle of how to best serve them. So read these "how to's", glean the overarching principles, and then find the right fit for you & your community.
Sidenote to those of you who are new, thanks for joining me! Below you'll find Tidbits (tweets, quotes, and succinct descriptions), Tangibles (articles that directly apply to DevRel and the world of technical community building), and Tangents (features that may not be specifically about DevRel, but that are highly applicable to our industry). You'll also find links to collections of relevant upcoming events as well as current job openings, along with a fun avocado fact.
Why do I do this every week? So that you don't have to. Instead, you get to skim, click, read, and then go back to your to-do list with a renewed sense of purpose and drive to continue building your community.
Enjoy the newsletter, and as always, feel free to send me any feedback, comments, questions, or concerns: [email protected].
We're All Developer Avocados Here 🥑
As you all know, I have no problem with DevRel being rebranded as Developer Avocados...
Sara Vieira agrees:
Calling all the developer advocates, developer relations and developer evangelists! Can we just agree to call ourselves developer avocados? 🥑
Advice Column: Analytics Edition
Does anyone have a solution for Gene Chorba?
Has anyone built or used a system that grabs analytics from all the 3rd party products created in your ecosystem? Tracking users, use cases, etc? Is Google analytics the best choice here or something else?
#CMWorld Twitter Recap
There are a few tweets from this week's #CMWorld chat that bubbled to the top of my Twitter feed. Check out the ones that caught my eye below, or go peruse the #CMWorld hashtag.
The strongest communities, both online and offline, don’t revolve around common interests. They actually revolve around shared beliefs. So integrating your belief into your content strategy sounds risky, but it’s essential for growing a strong connection with people.
If you don't have a strategy you aren't going to be producing consistent content. Look, video is hard, and it'll be easy to give up if you don't plan ahead. Don't doom yourself from the start by jumping in without thinking it through. You won't make a splash.
In my opinion, "audience" is a group of ppl who are passively watching. A "community" is a group of ppl who are actively engaged with other members of the community and further contributing to the channel’s value prop and creed.
Focus your research where your strategy tells you to go. Are there areas where you plan to grow? Are there areas that need to be shored up? Research is the best way to get the voice of your customer on your key initiatives.
Lastly, if your role involves content, take a moment to fill out this survey from DivvyHQ.
Feedback Loops of Accountability
Let your Developer Experience be fully informed by your Developer Relations strategy and the feedback loop. That kind of accountability is a game changer.
DevRel is On-call with No Backup
This description of DevRel from Serhat Can might be one of the truest descriptions I've ever read. I'm sending virtual hugs to all of you who feel the same way. Hopefully this newsletter has shown you that you're not alone!
Sometimes my friends mock me and say I became an evangelist/DevRel to get out of oncall rotations and travel the world. The truth is this job often feels like always on-call with no backup 👀
You feel like a hero, learn tons, teach tons and have fun in the same time like being oncall 😎; but it is often very stressful and exhausting - and again unlike oncall, you are the only one in the rotation 😶
It might be a bit different with companies like Microsoft, AWS, or Google with tons of DevRels but often DevRel teams aren't that big and lack the advantages of having someone in the team that can cover you.
What takes up most of our time?
I'll be keeping a close eye on this survey in the next few days to come. I'm always curious to see what people think about DevRel!
For those NOT in #devrel... Which part of developer evangelism/advocacy do you think consumes most of one's time?
* Speak at Conferences
* Write Feedback Documents
* Drive Community Projects
* Write Articles
Pro Tip on How to Handle your SWAG
George Siosi Samuels brings a pro tip about swag this week:
💡TIP: People love freebies, but if you're seeking to build something sustainable, use freebies wisely. If you do not, community members will be "trained" to expect free things, generating a culture of entitlement.
Find the Right Fit
Use the appropriate approach for your community. Not everything you research will be a fit.
She takes a closer look at this concept in a recent article.
It's all About the People (duh)
I ran a Twitter poll last week and it came out about like I anticipated, but I'm still curious to hear more... are we the anomaly? Or is this standard among conference goers?
I'm curious... those of you who attend conferences fairly often (#DevRel as well as conference speakers and ppl who are lucky enough to have large education budgets), which do you find more valuable?
* hallway track
* conference sessions
* other (leave a comment!)
Thoughts? Hit reply and let me know what you think!
Where are the Professional Development Budgets?
Rachel Happe asked a question this week, which was sparked by this observation from Ellen Feaheny:
Orgs seem to understand well that CX requires investment and exponential ROI - why don’t CIOs / CHROs understand the imperative of funding EX (employee experiences) and get that it also will provide intrinsic and extrinsic ROI ? #DWX18 #itsAllAboutPriorities to be competitive
The resulting thread is fascinating. Looking for more information on this topic? The Community Roundtable published a piece this week about the business side of community management skills.
How to Organize a Successful Community Meetup
Organizing a meetup is one of those projects that can feel simple until you get into the thick of running it week after week, month after month. Alfredo Morresi has written up a basic framework for how to make it successful for both you and the community.
Here are the three steps he recommends:
Find a need, and a solution to it
Find a place where you can deliver the solution
Find attendees with same need, who believe in your solution and are willing to come to the place
Lessons Learned from Pruning Online Community Groups
Jeff Ross, Online Community Manager for Humana Inc., recently did a lot of pruning of online communities. Lucky for us, he took the time to write up some observations at the end of it all. From keeping the community informed about your decisions and process to merging groups with a similar purpose an intent, there are overarching principles here that many of us will be able to apply to our own groups!
From Bad to Great Conversations With Customers
Communication skills take a lot of work, even for people to whom it comes naturally. Paolo Fabrizio gives practical guidance on how to turn bad conversations into good ones in this article.
Members First, Always.
Sharad Seth brings us the 5 keys to a vibrant brand community this week. I've included his list below (you can read the full article here for more information), but I'm curious to hear what you would add to this list! Hit reply and let me know.
- Members first
- Organizational integration
- Shifting focus onto quality
- Brand follows community
- Embrace the conflict
How To Build A Community in Your Business
Robert Mitton brings a different strategy to the table when it comes to building a community. His community circle involves 5 segments that are necessary for developing a successful community:
- Social Capital
- Creative Thinking
- Sharing Economy
Thoughts? Feelings? Objections? Additions? Hit reply and let me know!
Clear Strategies can Prevent Burnout
If you've been subscribed to this newsletter for a while, you know that I'm passionate about protecting people from (and educating people about) burnout. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, The Community Roundtable's 2018 survey results are out and this week they focused on the fact that gaps in strategy can contribute to community professional's burnout. It makes sense that having a clear strategy can help prevent burnout -- after all, with a clear strategy, you can push back on extra work, you know that what you're doing is contributing toward a larger goal, and it's easier to attribute direct value to your deliverables.
Clear Storytelling Boosts Value of Analytics
As you know by now, I love a good story and consider storytelling a key skill of all Developer Relations professionals. The Wall Street Journal now backs up my hypothesis that storytelling plus quantitative metrics is the best way to fully understand the value of the metrics in front of us. While this story focuses on healthcare, the same principles apply:
Telling good stories [is] a way to help executives consume that truth in an understandable form.
One from the Archives 📰
People > Tools
We've got a tweet-ception this week for our post from the archives, but like Gabriel Fraga says, it'll always be a relevant part of understanding communities.
This is from 2016, still relevant. In fact, it'll always be relevant and the key starting point to understand communities:
When building a platform, the technology is useless without the people. But most tech companies only focus on the tech. (David Spinks)
DevRel Talks & Recaps
Looking for recaps of some of the recent DevRel events? I've started a Toby collection of the recent posts. Enjoy! Know of other recordings, recaps, or transcripts that I'm missing? Hit reply and send them my way -- I'll add them to the list!
Developer Relations Events
Here's this week's round-up of relevant upcoming events. Spending time with others in DevRel can be so incredibly important, both for our professional development and also to know that we're not alone in this chaotic journey! More on that in a blogpost coming from yours truly soon, but in the meantime, let me know if you're going to be at any of these events! I'd love to meet up with you in person.
New Community Manager Job Search Site
Mohammed Rafy has built a Community Manager jobs site. You can search and filter by company size and location, as well as click directly through to the application page. It's a fantastic resource for anyone who's looking for a job!
Developer Relations Jobs
124 is a nice big number, wouldn't you say? That's how many job links are currently in the Developer Relations Jobs collection! 🎉 From technical writers to Director of DevRel, Community Manager and Evangelist, there's something for everyone.
p.s. I'm in the process of spinning up sponsorship opportunities for the newsletter. If you're interested in highlighting your open DevRel positions in an upcoming issue, hit reply and let me know!
Developer Avocados 🥑
24 Ways to Eat an Avocado
I'm a firm believer in "there's no wrong way to do things," including eat avocados. Lucky for us, Epicurious has an article that will likely please all of us (unless you're not an avocado eater... I can't help you there ¯_(ツ)_/¯ ).