It's been a busy week in my world, but it's been all of the right kinds of busy. I've spent so much time engaging with so many of you! From my inaugural office hours to recording a live webinar with Vanilla to a handful of mentorship meetings, this week has reminded me of all of the reasons why I started consulting in the first place: because I love engaging with and supporting the Developer Relations community.
You all have in turn supported me and expressed your appreciation, which means the world to me. 💖 If there's ever anything I can do to help you or your team, please don't hesitate to drop me a line. What I love the most about this community is the empathy and compassion that we extend not only to our own technical communities, which is a theme throughout this week's newsletter, but to each other.
Before I let you dive into the content, I'd like to say thank you to our newest sponsor, Nylas. Nylas was one of my earliest clients and I spent a fair amount of time with their team, helping to build and nurture their fledging Developer Relations team. Be sure to take a look at this fantastic opportunity!
DevRel Weekly Patreon
p.s. A special note of thanks to those who have signed on to help support this newsletter via Patreon:
Andy Piper, Andy Tuba, Anthony FaRouxche, Avi Goldman, Aydrian Howard, Bernd Rücker, Chris Short, Cole Strode, The Copernicus Team, Daniel Maher, Davey Shafik, David McKay, David Simmons, Emily Freeman, Erik Riedel, Georg Link, Hayley Denbraver, Horacio Gonzalez, Jennifer Davis, Jeremy Price, Jesse James, Joel Lord, Josh Simmons, Rain Leander, Katie McLaughlin, Ken Mugrage, Matty Stratton, Myrsini Koukiasa, Nick Felker, Taylor Barnett, Tom Mairs, and Zan Markan.
Relationships > Degrees
DevRel is much less about being a dev yourself than it is about relating to the devs.
Jeremy Meiss quoted Zan's tweet and added this thought:
DevRel requires soft skills like empathy and listening more than it requires being a Dev. Does it help to be one? Sure. But in rare exception; it shouldn't be a requirement.
Once You've Found Success... What Next?
Cédrick Lunven drew my attention to this tweet from Kelsey Hightower this week:
Once you've found success, your next goal should be helping others do the same.
Cédrick posited that this is the essence of Developer Advocacy, and I tend to agree!
Hubert Sablonnière seems to agree as well:
😉 This week, I took 2hrs of my time to help a friend on his tech talk (content & presentation)
🤔 Maybe I (and others) should do this more often like every month...
🤗 I'd like to favor people who are under-represented in tech conferences
(just thinking out loud for now)
Everyone is a Participant
Do you want to get the most out of a technical conference?
Stop thinking you are ATTENDING a conference. Start thinking you are PARTICIPATING in a conference.
Change your perspective, change your experience.
There is no Single Recipe
There is no single "recipe" to build community growth. It needs an initial ignition (the launch), and then consistent amplification via content, campaigns, social, advertising, and other methods. This needs to be planned and resourced, informed by metrics about what "sticks".
Trust Takes Time and Energy
Community building. It's how we restore trust.
Organizations have taken advantage of that positive externality for years... they are also part of the solution.
Want trust? You have to build it - and that takes time and energy. It's not free.
Words & Phrases to Avoid in Talks
If you're in #DevRel, here's a handy list of words/phrases to avoid in talks:
• everyone knows
• we've all heard
• you know
If whatever you're talking about were any of these things, you wouldn't be talking about it. Be more inclusive.
DevRel Advice Column
Time to give back to your community! Here are the questions going around this week:
Developer Advocates & 🥑 -- how do you manage time off after working through the weekend? If you go to a weekend conference in another city, do you take time off afterward to have a proper weekend for rest and self-care, or do you just power through the work week?
I’m writing a chapter for a textbook on #internalcomms. My focus is #enterprisesocial. Want to sense-check my thinking on some things, please.
Q: In your opinion, what is the most important work performed by a #cmgr? Say, your top 3 do or die functions/tasks. #digitalworkplace
Anybody out there working as a developer advocate in a non-developer focused business? Does that even exist? What kind of work do you do?
Question: How are community strategies different from more traditional business strategies in your mind?
4 Secret Ingredients for a Vibrant Community
Sometimes dreams are easier to achieve than we would have thought. As Denise Henkel says, a vibrant community "doesn't have to be a dream; it just needs a functioning system."
In her recent post on the CMX Hub, Denise talks about her CHAI framework: Creativity, Helpfulness, Affirmation, and Inspiration.
Looking for a way to establish a tone for your new community from the start? Feverbee has a suggestion on how to lead community members in a direction that builds a good reputation:
The best way to improve your reputation in this community is to consistently make better contributions to the group.
How Content creates Content
If you're wondering how to pump out yet another blogpost for next week, perhaps you need to go back to the drawing board with your process. Max Katz explains how to create repeatable processes in this recent blogpost. From in-person events to online webinars to blogposts and Twitch streams, he lays out a clear way to streamline your content and produce more valuable content in a timely manner.
Imposter Syndrome: Understanding and Managing It
Imposter syndrome is an issue that we've addressed previously, but it's one that can always be revisited. After all, most, if not all of us, have suffered from imposter syndrome in our own careers. So how do we not only understand it, but manage it on a daily basis? Jono Bacon offers some wisdom in his recent blogpost.
The Convoluted History of Developer Evangelism
The Financial Times published a piece this week about the problematic nature of "wishy-washy titles" -- what they termed "Long-winded, self-aggrandising titles aimed at remunerating employees with status rather than pay."
In this list of titles was "evangelist," which sparked a series of tweets from Hal Berenson.
Charlie Kindel then chimed in with a thread about the history of the title "Technical Evangelist" and how it's changed through the years, as well as how he and his team built a champions program, creating external evangelists at Microsoft.
Closing out this trifecta of tweets is Greg DeMichillie, Director of Strategy for DevRel at Google, who clarifies that this "sliminess" that Technical Evangelism can sometimes have is exactly why Google chooses to call their DevRel professionals Developer Advocates:
It's not just idle word-smithing. It makes explicit that we advocate for developers and not just to them.
The Power Of Community In Blockchain Marketing
If you've found yourself wondering about the differences between your average API community and a blockchain community, you're not alone! Lars Schulze explains the ins and outs of creating a blockchain community from scratch in a recent blogpost.
Lessons Learned while Running a First-Year Conference: Setting Boundaries
Setting boundaries is a key skill for any DevRel professional, but particularly when event organization is in play. I published Part 2 of Lessons Learned while Running a First-Year Conference earlier this week, taking the time to address boundary-setting as well as how to give yourself (and your co-organizers) grace when things don't go quite as planned.
I hope for your sake that you don't have much planned for this weekend! Besides wanting you to be able to take a break and put in a little self-care time, I also have 6 solid podcast episodes for you to tune into to end your week on a high note.
-Josh Long on Live Coding and More - DevRel Radio
-Teacher and Developer Advocate Ali Spittel - DevPath.fm
-Why Southwest Airlines Has an Online Forum - Community Signal
-Framing Community Building as Empowerment - Conversations with Community Managers
-Moldable Development: Tudor Girba - Future of Coding
-What’s Up With The Web? - Voice of Design
Hackference India 2018 - A Look Back
As more DevRel-focused events start to spring up, I'm fascinated to see the cultural differences in how we're approaching DevRel around the globe. Community Evangelist Shubham Upadhyay wrote up a description of the DevRel-related talks at the conference and what the focus areas were, including strategy-building, advocating for a DevRel team, and the UX of DevEx.
Letters to the Editor ✍️
Opinions Regarding Helicopter Speakers
Aaron Aldrich reached out to me last week to share his thoughts regarding the "helicopter speaker" debate that was taking place. Here's what he had to say:
I love Emily's take on this, especially with the caveats of "sometimes speakers are bad at time management and/or need self-care". I've had the occasional conference I've had to fly through due to double booking (and not realizing until I'm finalizing travel) and I've had the conference where I just COULD NOT and needed to spend time to myself or with a few known quantities rather than in massive available groups.
He countered this experience as a speaker with the inside perspective of a community conference organizer:
As an organizer for a very community-focused conference, we count on our speakers to be a part of the event's atmosphere. Folks are selected not just for the content they can deliver on stage, but the angles and ideas they'll bring to the conference as a whole in Open Spaces and in hallway tracks. When I have a speaker that flies in just for the time slot, I'm usually spending an extra measure of energy worrying that they'll be here on time, for one, and disappointed that this person won't be available more broadly than 30-60 minutes on stage and maybe a few minutes for questions and greeting afterward. So many more ideas and quality conversations are made outside of that initial touch point.
Developer Relations Events
There are a lot of events coming up at the end of February including some in Berlin, Tokyo, New York, and online. Take a look at our collection of upcoming events to find meetups, conferences, and webinars that you’ll want to attend! Know of a great event that should be on this list? Let me know!
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
With over 150 jobs in our collection something is sure to fit what you’re looking for in your next career move. Our newest sponsor, Nylas, has an awesome Lead Developer Evangelist opportunity open right now. If you're looking for your next career step, sure to check it out!
Developer Avocados 🥑
We've come full circle -- The busiest weeks are energizing and worthwhile if we're helping each other. Team avocado (and coffee) ftw!