After last week's relatively light amount of content, I was taken aback by the sheer number of links that flooded my way this week! Perhaps everyone came back from all of the various conferences energized and motivated to share their new insights 💡
With that in mind, I won't keep you here in intro-land for too long, because there's a lot of great information to dive into below! I've grouped many of the similarly-themed articles together, so there's less exposition than usual, but hopefully it will be just as valuable for you.
I hope you've all had a lovely week. Remember to keep your head up high, celebrate your successes, and enjoy your weekend!
DevRel Weekly Patreon
Take Care of your Developers
Developer Relations is about taking care of your developers, whether they're users, customers or employees.
It all Starts with People
Want to grow your startup community?
Host a weekly entrepreneur lunch.
Develop a monthly speaker series.
Create a quarterly pitch event.
Leaders don't need a title to lead.
Build community. It all starts with people.
Think Like a CTO
Most products don't have a dedicated CTO but there is value when people in DevRel think and act like a CTO.
DevRel should be more than speaking at conferences and writing code samples. DevRel should be strategic and play a critical role in shaping the product.
Taylor Barnett replied to Kelsey's tweet, not only agreeing with it wholeheartedly, but adding some important context:
🙌 just wrote this today: ...importance of empathy and a strong relationship with Product within an organization. If you don’t have a way to feel a developer’s pain and then turn it into substantial product features or improvements, it will be hard to build lasting relationships.
Proper Training is Essential
From one of the brightest minds the Universe has ever created comes a great thought on #DevAdvocacy:
“It can be very dangerous to see things from somebody else's point of view without the proper training.” ― Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless
Engineering? Or Marketing? Choose One.
This poll from Aaron Wislang resulted in some fascinating discussions around where DevRel belongs within an organization:
DevRel should have its foundations in...
Aaron acknowledged forcing people to choose between Engineering & Marketing for DevRel's home is difficult when true DevRel includes both of these departments, as well as Product, Customer Support, and even Sales.
It's Time to Define our Roles
I think #devrel as an industry needs to decide what actually constitutes a developer advocate.
More and more I see people calling themselves an advocate who literally don't engineer solutions, don't represent communities, don't impact the roadmap of technical products...
I believe there is a Venn diagram of influencers and technical advocates. I think most people in #devrel exist in the weird in-between. But please don't use tech to draft off the hard work of engineers and position yourself as an influencer under the guise of advocacy.
DevRel is Cross-Functional
You want proof that #devrel work is cross-functional?
Before setting up a meeting with a colleague I usually check their availability in their calendar.
This is all the people I have interacted with this month so far.
Engineering, Customer Success, Product, Data, Finance, HR...
We are Teachers Above All
This series of tweets from Dhananjay Kumar touch on so many important, controversial points around DevRel lately! Start here to find all of the nested tweets.
There are so many tweets around Dev Rel nowadays. It’s obvious because there are sudden rise in many Dev Rel hiring across org. I have been a Dev Rel since 2012 and imo before engineer or marketer, Dev Rel should be good teacher and Dev community influencer.
As Dev Rel you are neither building product day and night, nor making strategy for growth hacking, not selling directly too. Perhaps you are doing combination of all three by your teaching to developer community. You can teach by your writing, git hub repo, or talks
Job of Dev Rel is two way. You represent your product and org among developer community and at the same time brings feedback from community to product team. You are technical the bridge between engineering and users of product.
Once again Dev Rel goes everywhere from marketing to engineering to sales and even maybe growth hacking.
But eventually Dev Rel does not sell rather THEY INSPIRE PEOPLE to buy product they are evangelising.
Current vs. Aspirational Identity
When designing a community program, these are great questions to ask:
- who are our members when they join the cmty? (current identity)
- who do our members want to become? (aspirational identity)
Then design the community messaging and experience around that evolution.
Defining a career path for Developer Relations
Bear Douglas has managed to take the daunting task of creating a DevRel career path & distilled it into straightforward responsibilities found across 3 components: technical quality, collaboration, & execution. This article for anyone even tangentially related to DevRel as well as practitioners, whether you're trying to build a DevRel team or figure out what your next career move is.
Documentation, DevEx, and Current Events
If you're looking for ways to improve your developer experience, perhaps you should think about making your documentation interactive. Adam DuVander gives an overview of what this looks like and how to implement it on your site.
If you're new to DevRel (or still in school and trying to figure out how to piece together a relevant degree), you may be wondering if a Technical and Professional Communication degree is necessary, or at least helpful. Tom Johnson lays out some of the potential risks rewards in a recent post that's worth a read if you're trying to figure out your next career move.
Delighting customers (in our case, developers) is a huge part of Developer Relations. A big part of that delight comes from knowing our community members well enough that we can serve their specific needs and help them find solutions to problems, whether they fall within our product's purview or not. Dion Almaer digs into the concept of delighting developers and elevating the developer experience in "ecosystem-enhancing, easy to copy ways" in his recent blogpost.
While documentation & developer experience go together like peanut butter & jelly, this third topic might catch you off guard at first. But this timely piece from Tom Johnson caught my eye this week. At a glance, the recent Boeing 737 Max disasters don't have much to do with DevRel other than making sure that you're not flying on one in the near future. But Tom digs into possible comparisons that could be drawn to the technical documentation that we often write, and expresses gratitude that the documentation we're responsible for isn't life-threatening! (Interested in more tech comparisons to the recent events? Check out this piece from J. Paul Reed.)
Gathering Feedback through Surveys, Open Communication, and Diversity of Opinions
A truly successful feedback loop involves more than just receiving feedback and passing it along. It includes getting to know the people submitting the feedback so that you understand their problems more fully. It requires an individual who can accurately distill and communicate the essence of the feedback to the proper people. It also demands a diverse group of customers to ensure that no individual voice is louder than another. Kat Holmes, UX Design at Google, expands on this last idea in a recent interview, pointing out that you need to not only pay attention to the voices that are present, but seek out the voices that are missing.
Surveys have become something that we simply ignore, whether via email, at the end of a customer support phone call, or on the receipt that we receive from the store. But what if there were a way to make surveys enjoyable to the customer and therefore valuable to the company again? This article from Martha Brooke at CMSWire walks through the common pitfalls of surveys as well as how to write surveys that can result in valuable feedback from your community.
As most stakeholders will tell you, driving product adoption is an important business metric. But how does DevRel fit into it? Vikas Goyal walks through how being open and transparent, accepting healthy feedback, and building a community of advocates -- all DevRel-related metrics -- can help to drive adoption and increase the understood value of DevRel within your company.
Speaking of metrics and business value... Max Katz is taking a different tactic this year at IBM. They've analyzed their events from last year and divided them into categories: those where they successfully found new active developers and those which resulted in additional awareness. Read more about their process and how they're using these categories to set expectations around the company.
7 Lessons From Asana’s Community Launch (+6 Bonus Principles)
If you're looking to launch an online community in the near future, you'll want to dig into this insightful blogpost from Carrie Melissa Jones. In it, she walks through the steps that Asana took to launch their new Asana Together program. As she says,
...[Asana's] become one of the most recent technology companies to take the leap into organizing a thoughtful and robust community program, paving the way for other organizations looking to do the same.
Looking for more ways to lead and empower your community? Check out these 6 principles from Virginie Glaenzer.
Evans Data Developer Relations Conference Recap
The Evans Data Developer Relations Conference happened this week, which resulted in a fair amount of Twitter conversations, per usual when DevRel professionals congregate! Take a look at the full hashtag when you have a moment to glean some of the insights. I've included a few of my favorites below:
Inclusive developer relations are such a key component and wanting ingredient for building world-class tech. 👏
Cannot stress this enough!
Four #DevRel budget💲tips from @jimjaquet:
✅ Start small, pattern internally, build on success
✅ Online presence offers affordable reach
✅ Make your product concepts concrete
✅ Numbers will persuade management and finance folks
"It’s not that developers don’t want to be marketed to, it’s just that they are some of the most educated, knowledgable shoppers in the market” - @wtejada223
.@wtejada223: How many believe developers don’t want to be marketed to? About 3/4 of #DevRel raised ✋. He replied: I contend #developers love to be marketed to — but are among the most informed buyers on the planet. And we should embrace that.
Want to understand (and respect) marketing from an engineering standpoint? Aneel Lakhani digs into this excellent topic: Marketing 201 for Engineers: Messaging & Positioning.
Educator, entertainer, help desk and cheerleader. The many hats of a community manager
Rita Zonius recently posted a question about the role of Community Manager: What is the most important work performed by a Community Manager? She’s compiled a handful of insights in this article, including myself and many other Community Managers throughout the tech industry and elsewhere. It’s a great representation of the many hats we wear!
The podcast scene has been booming lately, with a lot of tech podcasts putting a spotlight on Developer Relations. Here are three episodes you'll want to check out this week:
-Developer Relations and Community - The Elasticast
Aaron chats with Chloe Condon, Microsoft Cloud Advocate; Jono Bacon, consultant and community leader; and Mary Thengvall, Persea Consulting and author of The Business Value of Developer Relations about the state of Developer Relations. Listen to find out what community means to us and what it is we do and the value that provides for both the community members and the companies that employ us.
-Developer Relations with Mary Thengvall - Under the Hood of Developer Marketing
Mary Thengvall joins us on our first episode along with SlashData CEO Andreas Constantinou to discuss developer marketing and developer relations, their importance and the trends coming in 2019.
-After Pulse: Lessons Learned From Organizing Tech Events - Community Pulse
Mary, Jason, and PJ sync up after Episode 33 to discuss event management, creating new events, and where event organization fits into community management as a whole.
Developer Relations Events
Conferences, and meetups, and hackathons, oh my! Spring is right around the corner and so are a bunch of amazing events. Take a peek at our collection of upcoming events to see if one strikes your fancy.
Developer Relations Engineer
Developer Relations at PubNub is all about teaching every software developer in the world how and when to use PubNub. You'll write and promote open source software to educate the masses on building real-time experiences into apps! You'll advocate on behalf of PubNub at meetups, hackathons, developer conferences, webinars, and be the developer voice to the rest of the company.
Developer Relations Jobs
While looking for a new job, the most annoying part, hands down, is sifting through all the job boards searching for the right title in the right location only to click the link and hit a “this job is no longer available” message. It's so incredibly frustrating! To help battle this, we’ve put together a collection of over 150 DevRel and Community Manager jobs that is updated weekly to cut down on all those dead ends.
Developer Avocados 🥑
Large Avocado Crops in 2018... What will this year bring?
There were a number of bumper avocado crops last year around the world. With the extreme weather events that have happened so far in 2019, it'll be interesting to see what this year's crop looks like! Likewise... with the increase in jobs and DevRel teams around the world in 2019, I'll definitely be keeping an eye on what this year's "DevRel crop" brings in.