These past two weeks have been full of signs that things are slowly starting to change for Developer Relations and Community Management across the industries.
As Rachel Happe said, "We're at the awkward, bumpy stage," which means we're getting more attention but stakeholders are still wary of giving us more responsibilities.
David Spinks reminded us that "community is the future of business" has always been a part of the CMX vision statement, but now, it seems like that might be more of a reality than an aspiration. As he said, "The shift is happening."
And then came April Fools' Day, when Developer Mode reminded us of International Developer Relations Day, the one day when stakeholders across the industry unanimously agree that DevRel has business value. 😏While the wish of "everyone just accepts what we do as valuable" may be too much to hope for yet, the suggestions they gave for how those around us could celebrate the day were downright perfect, including my favorite: "If you are a conference lanyard, please stop twisting around and facing the wrong way."
In addition to all of the trend-spotting, there was a lot of great content published! I've attempted to group the various articles into categories to cut down on the length of this issue, but even so, there's a lot to dig into, so I'll let you get to it. Here's to having a great rest of your week and a restful weekend!
DevRel Weekly Patreon
Credibility > Career
My primary boundary as a Developer Advocate has always been this:
I will not sacrifice my credibility for my job.
I won't talk about products I don't believe solve actual problems. I won't say something is simple if it isn't. I won't advise unless I know what I'm talking about.
And as a manager, I won't ask the folks on my team to sacrifice their credibility either.
This seems so simple but as this field has grown it gets more complicated. More and more people expect me to put my name on their content, either literally or conceptually. And even if I agree with their content it makes me uncomfortable.
So DevRel twitters, how do you handle this? Can you maintain your technical credibility delivering a message that isn't your own?
Also, I'd like to thank my university for bestowing in me a deep discomfort with even appearing to take credit for other people's work. Well done honor code.
Communities Don't Run Themselves
Reality Check: communities don’t run themselves. Key individuals/groups do.
Left to their own devices, many communities degenerate to the most vocal or powerful minorities. I’ve seen this happen time and time again, across multiple industries.
This isn't limited to online communities, however. David Spinks reminds us that communities aren't just present on the company-run forum. Your community exists in the world around you. What are you doing to get involved?
Your community isn't just your forum. It’s your events, your employees, your culture, your vision, your advocates, your customers... it’s your entire business.
If you’re building a business you’re building community.
Make it a good one.
What do Your Metrics Reflect About Your Mentality?
If you are measuring developer advocacy based only on publicity (conferences, social media influence, etc), you might be a marketing org. Developer advocates shape products and have leverage to drive change. Their visibility is a consequence of their design impact.
Sometimes the Answer is DX, not Docs
Building a good developer experience for noobs is hard because those building it have a mental model which the users don't yet have. Walking through the DX with noobs (i.e. a workshop) is a great way understand the gaps. Those gaps should then be filled with better DX, not docs.
Interested in more about what good Developer Experience is (and isn't)? Here's a great thread from Daniel Erickson.
Mix up Your Meetups
If you organize a Meetup and you are tired of the same speakers, or find difficult to bring new ones, here's a tip:
Organize a hands-on instead. Get people together to build something for fun.
Meetups don't have to always be presentation-style.
Take a Moment to Understand and Empathize
I'm better able to help people when the storm of my judgmental mind settles; when I understand and empathize rather than criticize and condemn.
DevRel Advice Column
More and more, DevRel professionals are looking for best practices from others in the industry. A rising tide lifts all boats, after all! Here are the questions that have popped up over the past few weeks:
Speaker Twitter: what do y'all use to make your slides?
I'm interested to hear what folks think are red flags in developer advocate job descriptions.
To me, it's usually not single offenders but the combination of everything expected from one person (tech expert, product expert, renowned speaker, internal champion, 50%+ travel, etc)
Good morning Community Managers - I am seeking a Community #tweetchat - would you please share your favorites & their day and time?
How do we define what a "troll" is in an online community? Are they, by definition, members of the community? Is their existence inevitable? Or are they a consequence of inadequate community leadership or platform affordances?
CMX is going to run another industry study into how businesses are investing in, and measuring the value of community. What questions would you like us to focus on in this year's study?
Hey DevRel practitioners. I'm concluding my PhD research focused on DevRel. Could you help me answering the following opinion survey (~10 minutes): https://pt.surveymonkey.com/r/CB3632K
Speaking: Tips, Tricks, and Tools
Since publishing the Best Of: Speaking issue last month, I've seen a handful of great resources pop up around speaking, so I thought I'd share some of them here. Want to find all of the best articles in one place? I'm updating the "Best Of" list on DevRel Weekly's Patreon as I find more posts. Just sign up to be a patron to view all of the Best Of posts going forward.
- Use Your Voice Effectively for Impactful Presentations - This series from John Papa talks about how to use a tool you already have -- your voice -- to better engage with your audience.
- Conference Speaking Like a Boss - Jennifer Wadella breaks down the ins and outs of public speaking, from how to look for the right conferences to how to get a good headshot, and everything in between.
- Quick Thoughts on Not Making a Crap Slide Deck - Slides are meant to be a visual aid for your talk, not a restatement of your talk in visual form. Robin Moffatt takes on the topic of making slides that will complement your talk in this recent blogpost.
- The Nuanced Thread about Public Speaking, Tech Edition - This twitter thread from Jan Lehnardt walks through his personal speaking experiences and reminds all of us that the network you create and the platform that you have as a speaker can greatly benefit your career down the road.
- Any Questions? - Q&A... the most dreaded portion of any conference talk. But what if it didn't have to be? Chris Bertrand explores how to improve audience participation.
A Framework for Generating High-impact Developer Engagement Projects
Want to create a developer community project but don't know where to start? The crew over at Developer Mode took the time to write up a few of the steps that help them figure out what the right project is.
Do Champion Programmes Harm Motivation?
External advocacy programs are popular among many API and B2B tech companies today, but is it possible that once these programs are formalized, they decrease the motivation of the community members who had previously been so excited to talk about your product? Matthew Revell digs into this topic on the DevRel.net blog.
Online Communities 101
There were a number of exceptional articles about online communities circulating this past week. From how to get started to how to track success and how to handle difficult situations, there's a lot of great information to take in.
- How to Track Community Growth in Forums - Jono Bacon is no stranger to online forums or the frustrations that can come from chasing down success metrics. In this article, he encourages us to decide on a key set of dimensions and track those things effectively.
- An Apple a Day Keeps a Stagnant Community at Bay: Checking the Health of Your Community - Online communities thrive best with a careful balance of hands-on nurturing and space to grow on their own. Leon Papkoff talks about how to apply some of these methods in this practical article.
- Does Your Online Community Contribute to Business Growth? Here’s How to Tell. - We often hear that communities can be an essential part of a product's growth, but how will you know when that's become the case? Marjorie Anderson points out signs to look for.
- Improving Community Management Using Data Science - Adam Zawel's taken metrics a step further with his community. By writing a few Python scripts, he's been able to analyze the activity of his forum users, including frequency and category of posts. With this additional data, he's been able to make informed decisions about how to change the forum to better meet his community's needs.
- Addressing Anger - While you can't necessarily stop someone from posting on your forum when they're angry, you can address and resolve their anger once it's public. Rich Millington gives a few key tips on his blog.
DevRel-related topics on podcasts have been on the uptick over the last few months, and this week is no exception! Here's a sampling of what's out there that you may not have heard:
- Technical or Tech Savvy? What's Actually Required to Be a Developer Relations Professional? - Community Pulse
- Developer Events with Katherine Miller - Under the Hood of Developer Marketing
- Building Communities, Evangelists, and Superfans - C2C Podcast
- The Sunset of Google Plus Communities and the Sunrise of a National Geographic Society Community - Community Signal
- Developer Communities and Forums with Adrian Speyer - Under the Hood of Developer Marketing
Interviews with DevRel Professionals
As more people are asking "What is a Developer Advocate?" and "What is Developer Relations?" more individuals are starting to write up their own stories of what DevRel means to them and how they got started in the industry. DevRel.net has started doing interviews of their own, highlighting DevRel professionals in a variety of companies. Here are a handful of the recent articles:
- Taylor Barnett: Lead Community Engineer at Stoplight
- Anthony Kiplimo: Developer Relations Lead at Africa's Talking
- Grace Francisco: VP of Developer Relations at Roblox
p.s. Given how many tweets I come across every week asking these questions, I took the time to write up a blogpost on how to transition into a DevRel-related job. Feel free to share it with your DevRel-curious friends and colleagues!
Developer Relations Events
Did you know our Toby collection has more than just in-person conferences and meetups? Check out all of the awesome upcoming webinars we have listed that you can attend from wherever you are!
There have been a handful of DevRel-related talks and conferences happening both on- and offline in the past few weeks. Here are a few recaps of those events:
- Growing Your Career as a Community Manager with Tim Falls
- Breaking into DevRel - Panel - Codemotion Amsterdam
- DevRelCon Tokyo 2019 videos - more coming soon!
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.
Head of Developer Relations
Camunda is an open source platform for workflow and decision automation that is reinventing workflow automation for customers around the world. While we are currently carrying out a number of activities to support open source adoption, we are lacking a systematic approach as well as the necessary talent and bandwidth to scale beyond the work that’s been done and fully execute on this goal. We are looking to hire a passionate and experienced Developer Relations leader who understands how open source workflow empowers developers to build amazing applications and can assemble a team of equally passionate individuals to inspire developers to build great things.
Developer Relations Jobs
If you’re in the market for a new job, check out our Toby collection with over 150 jobs in it to see if anything catches your eye!