Hello from rainy San Francisco! The midwest and east coasts of the US got hit by a "Polar Vortex" recently, and the west coast is getting inundated with an atmospheric river this week. If you're in areas with unusual amounts of rain or snow, be sure to bundle up and stay safe out there.
Lucky for you, there's enough content in this week's newsletter to keep you busy for a few hours. Apparently with bad weather comes an increase in tweets and blogposts!
Before we dig in, I want to give a quick shoutout to those of you who have stepped up with an incredible amount of support, both financially and emotionally, in the past week. I've been blown away by all of your kind words. Your support is what keeps me going! Not sure what I'm referring to? No sweat 😅Catch up on recent DevRel Weekly news.
DevRel Weekly Patreon
Call to Action
An important CTA thanks to PJ Hagerty, documented by David Bisset:
“Find someone who looks nothing like you and bring them up, support them in the community. This falls on us, especially if you are white and male.”
Components of a Healthy Community
Components of a healthy community: shared values, a desire to learn, clear guardrails & a welcoming environment.
I couldn't agree more! Erica recently put together a voice and tone guide for Atlassian which exemplifies all of these components. If you're looking for a guide to follow, look no further.
What's the Most Useful Skill for DevRel Professionals?
Empathy, not sympathy or pity, is the most useful quality a #DevRel can cultivate.
DevEx is Like Brewing
Developer experience is a lot like brewing. All we do is facilitate and create the best conditions for someone else to create something new.
In #DevEx's case it's your users building the future, and in brewing it's yeast making magic out of hoppy sugar water. Cheers! 🍻
Tools Aren't Enough
Buy your expensive engagement product, build your platform, draft your messaging and tell yourself that's community management. It isn't. You need people who are skilled in managing user content, facilitating discussion, and overseeing the platform to build community.
Build Trust Through Connections
An important skill for any #CMGR: networking & identifying opportunities within their own circles.
"I know someone who is doing what you're doing" is better than "Sure, I can help" if you aren't a subject matter expert. Build trust and it will pay you back in spades. #community
Advocating For Developers to Product
A developer advocate's job is NOT to advocate for products. They advocate for developers. They advocate for you (developers) to us (in the product teams). It's invaluable input.
Use Your Platform for Good
Something I hate seeing is trusted community leaders acting as gatekeepers of knowledge & ideas.
Instead, use your platform to enable people less fortunate & without as large of a voice to share their ideas. There is never a downside to increased innovation and experimentation.
Community Managers are the Leaders of Tomorrow
Community managers are the leaders of tomorrow (today?)!
Why: they lead informally. They lead without power. They must respect and understand group dynamics. If they force things, they lose their communities. That's #digitalleadership.
Empower and Lift Up
Good #DevRel isn’t showing off what you can do. It’s showing others that they are capable of so much more than they think.
This tweet sparked quite the controversy last weekend:
Thoughts on speakers helicoptering in for a conference, e.g. arriving for their talk and then leaving immediately afterwards? Go.
Some people completely agreed that speakers have an obligation to be around for the entire conference and others made the case that conferences are draining experiences and speakers aren't compelled to stay beyond their talk.
Emily Freeman wrote up a list of related "speaker cardinal sins."
Thoughts? What are our responsibilities as speakers? Hit reply and let me know!
Community is Marketing (but only sometimes)
After a fantastic Community Manager brunch on Sunday, I walked back to the train with David Spinks, founder of CMX (go congratulate them on their acquisition, btw!). We found ourselves exploring the "where does community fit with DevRel" question (hint: it's the same as other community management... just with a more technical audience, and is absolutely necessary!) as well as Marketing vs. DevRel. I landed on this:
Community/DevRel at its core is old-school mom & pop-shop marketing — building relationships, meeting ppl’s needs, solving problems, creating resources — so that those friends become valuable customers.
and David also tweeted his summary:
Community IS marketing. They both focus on:
- vision, values, messaging
- shared identity
- relationships with customers
- creating value
Cmty just takes mkting to its fullest potential, by connecting and mobilizing the people you inspired.
This generated a fascinating conversation about the danger of equating Marketing & Community given the current understanding of Marketing as lead generation. We settled on the idea that if (and only if) a company understands that Marketing serves the dual purpose of relationship building and lead generation, with branding shared by both segments, then Community and Marketing can be united.
Thoughts? I'm fascinated to hear how everyone's viewing the predicament of where the "right" place is for DevRel.
Direct to Community is the New Black
The new cool startup to build is a DTC (direct to consumer) brand
Most heavily rely on paid customer acquisition usually from Instagram/Facebook and Google
Forget direct to consumer, it’s about DIRECT TO COMMUNITY. First build community, then layer on commerce.
DevRel Advice Column
Super excited to be leading my company's first conference - in your opinion, what are some make or breaks of a conference?
And while you're thinking about some of your favorite things at conferences, hop on over Kim Maida's tweet to let her know what your favorite conferences are.
Give Back to Your Community Through Research
Want to spread the love to other DevRel & Community Manager professionals on this Valentine's Day? Contribute to the ongoing research by The Community Roundtable. This survey results in crucial industry data that can be shared with stakeholders & executives in order to invest more in DevRel & community programs in the future.
How to Gain Corporate Buy-In for Customer Experience Initiatives
Many companies are moving toward a "customer-centric" mindset in 2019. This is just one of many reasons why I'm encouraged about the future for the Community and DevRel industries! But it's still difficult to get corporate buy-in for your community initiatives.
These two articles from CMS Wire have a variety of tips for how to not only become a customer (or developer) experience champion but also how to get buy-in from your stakeholders for your upcoming projects.
The data-driven approach to writing developer content is wrong
Floor Drees isn't messing around with this latest blogpost. If you're at all responsible for content at your company (contributing blogposts, creating the editorial calendar, working with other contributors), you'll want to set some time aside to read this article ASAP. From tips on what types of articles to write and where to find relevant topics to promotion, this piece is a goldmine of information.
Best practices for community engagement
I have a lot of appreciation for folks who take the time to write up a clear and concise list of best practices, and this piece from Raph Koster is one of the best I've come across in a while. In it, he covers online as well as in-person interactions, how to keep a check on our own egos, handling confrontational situations, and more. Do yourself a favor and go through these today.
Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company
This article may not directly address what happens when you focus on the well-being of your community over the bottom line of your business, but it resonates in many ways. Huge props to Sahil Lavingia for being vulnerable and sharing Gumroad's story.
Women in DevRel: The Japanese Version
Aya Tokura recently tweeted a summary from her talk about DevRel for women in Japan:
I think of the three things that are expected of the developer community and DevRel in Japan:
1 - Improve technical skills (Programming, Infrastructures, Security, and more)
2 - Improve human skills (Presentation & Communication)
3 - Improve morals (Diversity & Inclusion)
Her slide deck is a fascinating exploration of the Japanese culture and the struggle to get women accepted in tech in Japan.
[Webinar] The Business Value of Developer Relations
Everyone recalls the "Developers, Developers, Developers..." song from Steve Ballmer, and most companies know Developers are important, but what does that really mean? Are you ready to learn about Developer Relations and what it means for your company?
Join us on February 19th, 12PM EST for a webinar with Mary Thengvall, a leading voice in the Developer Relations community, as she explains the "Business Value of Developer Relations." In this 45 minute presentation, Mary will cover the following topics:
-Why should your company care about developer relations for your business?
-Where to start in building your own DevRel program?
-How can you create an amazing developer experience?
Developer Relations Events
There are a ton of awesome conferences coming up all over the world! Check out our list of upcoming events to see if there’s one near you.
Lead Developer Evangelist
Nylas is looking for a trailblazer to be our Lead Developer Evangelist. In this role, you will serve as the official spokesperson, mediator, and translator between the Nylas technical teams and the wider developer community.
Developer Relations Jobs
Not challenged at your job but not sure where to start looking for something new? Take a peek at our list of jobs and see if anything jumps out at you.