Happy Thursday, everyone! My apologies for the lack of newsletter last week. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that my wonderful nephew passed along a nasty stomach virus that had me saying no to a lot of things in favor of getting the rest that I needed. Now that I'm back on my feet I've got a jam-packed newsletter for you today! You may have seen on Patreon that I was wading through dozens of links on Wednesday, trying to pare everything down to share the best possible articles.
There was a lot that happened in the greater tech industry this week, from Microsoft announcements to Google's launch of their Community Leads Platform in addition to Jack Dorsey's TED interview and potential political legislative changes to Section 230 which could impact those of us in the US in the future.
But before we jump in, I wanted to give a quick shout-out to our new sponsor Samsara. They're hiring a Lead Developer Advocate with an IoT focus to help them build their community. Interested in becoming a sponsor? Check out the sponsorship page for more information.
Have a great rest of your week and a restful weekend.
DevRel Weekly Patreon
DevRel Advice Column
Speakers: do you have advice on co-presenting? Asking for two friends and one of them is me
We’re discussing a mute functionality in a community setting in the office today. Allowing members to mute each other helps create a better experience for the user vs, it creates segregation and an exclusion mentality. Opinions?
Are there any ppl in tech whose intersectionality extends to the majority of humanity outside Europe & N. America, and are working on some kind of model policy that confs can adopt, to address the climate impact of aviation in our industry?
Those Numbers are People
People want to be seen and heard. So much of #DevRel is just trying to fix that awful gap between corporations and their consumers. To tell people “we see you and hear you” and to remind corporations “those numbers, are people.”
Design Opportunities for Serendipitous Collisions
Collisions. That’s what makes community building so much fun.
I love serendipitous moments where people collide & realize that they can help each other.
It usually starts when you allow a vulnerable moment to take place. That’s where magic happens.
It's Not Either/Or
DX vs UX is a false dichotomy.
An excellent developer experience is not a trade-off for great customer experience.
Related. Once asked my dad (a builder) about the phrase, "it's a poor craftsman who blames their tools".
His response, "it means it's time for you to get some new fkn tools".
Empathy Despite Your Mood
You can cause a lot of damage in a community when you're 'not in the mood'.
i.e. Not in the mood to deal with someone's problems...
Not in the mood to help members with beginner problems etc..
Being a professional #CMGR is about doing it well regardless of your mood.
Find the Title That Lets You Get the Job Done
Some community #realtalk: Over the years I've found myself needing to adapt the language of working in community in order to be taken seriously and combat the uncomfortably gendered attitudes many have about community roles.
In my last job, I was the VP of Member Operations. I changed the name of my entire team from Community to Member Ops specifically to help combat the constant "but what's the purpose of your team?" lines of questioning that I've become very accustomed to in this field.
I love working in Community - growing businesses by creating amazing customer interactions/experiences/products. But I also love my title not getting in the way of my job.
The Value is Clear. Now We Need Data.
The value of community is clear.
What can a business accomplish with 10 employees?
What can a business accomplish w/ 10 employees + 1,000 ambassadors&contributors?
Community-driven companies scale exponentially faster. The (solvable) challenge is getting data to prove it.
Make Sure You Understand the Cost
90% of the community strategies I've seen aren't costed.
The community strategist has NO IDEA if they have the resources to do what they plan. It's completely unrealistic.
EVERY community strategy we create is fully costed both by time and financial resources required.
One reason why this is so important is it helps to determine the staff levels.
If you know the work requires 80 hours per week, you probably need 2.5 members of staff.
If the work requires 30 hours a week, you probably need just 1 person. etc...
This is an important principle to keep in mind particularly when asking for additional resources. Don't just ask for headcount. Instead, demonstrate the value you could provide if you have additional resources at hand, whether tools, coworkers, or education. Richard talks about this more in a succinct blogpost.
Find Those who Want to Engage
So much of a community’s success is reliant on choosing the right people as members and leaders.
When you choose the right people, everything else almost takes care of itself.
This is counter to how teams usually tackle low engagement in communities.
We change the space, the onboarding, the experience, the messaging... everything except the people.
We try to get people to engage instead of finding people who already intrinsically want to engage.
Right Intentions Reveal Value
You can't see a long term value in your #community until you have the right intentions behind it.
Reddit Study Shows Power of Community Guidelines in Combating Harassment
We can all think of a handful of online forums that seem to be full of trolls, with tire fires around every corner. But what if there was a relatively simple way to circumvent these trolls? A recent study revealed that when a post reminding forum members of the community guidelines was pinned to the top of every page, the number of posts deleted due to violations went down by 8.4%. More importantly, new members were 70% more likely to jump into the conversation. Sometimes it's the little things that make a big difference.
The Power of Customer-to-Customer (C2C) Marketing
Empowering communities to self-organize by giving them the proper support and tools to do so can be the difference between a community that grows steadily over the years and one that scales exponentially. This recent post on CMX Hub talks about the power of Customer-to-Customer (C2C) Marketing, citing examples from Duolingo and Burning Man, among others.
Another benefit of empowering your users is a reduction in churn, which is a business metric most stakeholders will rally behind. This post from Groove talks about how to use relationship marketing (aka community building) to grow your business.
A Seat at the Table
Short-term profits are a lousy way to build a sustainable community.
This quote has been making its way around Twitter the past few days and I understand why! It's refreshing to see someone as widely known as Seth Godin proclaiming that community building is a long-tail endeavor, not a short-term fix or a magic bullet.
The Road to Community: Part Four — Debut
Netlify has been doing the hard work of building a community slowly and steadily over the past few months and thanks to Perry Eising, we've been able to follow along. In this fourth installment, Perry shows us what it's been like in the first few days post-launch. They walk through what they did to set the company as well as the community up for success and some of the early lessons learned. If you're getting ready to lauch a community, you definitely don't want to miss this blogpost!
First-time Mentor? Here are some tips.
Mentorship is an important part of professional development, but finding a good mentor can be difficult. Even more difficult is knowing how to be a good mentor... it's not necessarily an intuitive skill!
Swarna Podila crowd-sourced advice for mentors on Twitter recently and then compiled it into a fantastic blogpost that's worth reading whether you're a mentor or a mentee.
KPI Community Basics: Part 2 - The ABCs of KPIs
If you're managing a team of DevRel professionals, you're likely already thinking about Q3 and Q4. What goals should you be aiming toward? What KPIs should you be setting? Or perhaps what OKRs are on the horizon? Whichever format you subscribe to, having a clear plan of how to set this goals is important. Carrie M. Jones, Founder of Gather Community Consulting, sets out a clear framework in a recent blogpost: Assess, Brainstorm, Choose.
Community building is as old as humanity – let’s remember, not invent
In this blogpost, Fabian Pfortmüller has put into words what’s been on my mind for months:
Building communities is not new. It’s been around for centuries.
DevRel is simply building communities for technical audiences. Sure, there are nuances and unique aspects to the puzzle when we're working in the tech industry, but for the most part, these questions that we're asking have been explored for decades by other community builders. Let’s stop reinventing the wheel & instead focus on improving it.
Developer Relations and community building has been a hot topic of conversation on many podcasts recently. Charge up your headphones and plan to spend your next week of commutes listening to these great episodes!
- Under the Influencers with Rachel Happe & Marshall Kirkpatrick - Community Pulse
- How to Start, Track and Grow Communities with Richard Millington - The C2C Podcast
- Open Source is Not A Business Model with VM Brasseur - Real World DevOps
- The Business of Bringing People Together with Derek Andersen and David Spinks - Indie Hackers
- Join for the Code, Stay for the Community with Shreyas Narayanan Kutty - Community Signal
- Conversations with Community Managers with Julie Blutstein - The Community Roundtable
- Breaking Tech Structure Mould with Shai Reznik - Bits of B
- Being a Cloud Developer Advocate with Laurent Bugnion - DevTalk
Journeys into Developer Relations
There have been a number of folks sharing their personal journeys into Developer Relations over the past few weeks. It's always interesting to me to see what brought folks into this industry and to learn what unique traits they bring to the table because of their (usually meandering) journey here.
Developer Relations Events
Summer is right around the corner and things are starting to heat up where I live! It’s time to pull out the fans and plan some summer getaways. Is attending a conference part of your summer plans? If not, take a peek at our list of upcoming events to see if one catches your eye!
Know of an event that should be on this list? Let us know!
Conversations about Community are Everywhere
One of the things that I've appreciated about this newsletter over the past year is that it's opened my eyes to how many community-related talks are given at conferences that aren't "DevRel conferences." These two quotes from a MediaX event at Stanford caught my eye recently. Thanks to Christian De Neef for capturing them!
When do online groups become #communities? It’s the sense of belonging, connection, the feeling of safe space, and the willingness to invest (energy, interest, time) and the #trust that make the difference!
Communities are NOT intended to serve the brand, they have to serve the people! Communities aren’t brand strategy, they are #businessstrategy! (the @Airbnb CEO is also in charge of community)
This quote from APQC's Knowledge Management Conference also resonated with me. Thanks to Rachel Happe for capturing it!
“What interests my boss fascinates me!” Good advice for success from @odell_carla #APQCKM
As I said on Twitter, this is a key point for DevRel professionals. Discovering what is of interest to your boss, to your boss's boss, and to other stakeholders throughout the company can make a significant difference in how our work is valued. By figuring out what they care about & how to draw a line from that to the day-to-day work you're engaged in, proving our success becomes much easier.
Lead Developer Advocate
Samsara brings together connected sensors and software in order to improve the safety and efficiency of operations for customers around the world. We are looking for a lead developer advocate to empower our developers to build applications and integrate Samsara’s IoT technologies into mission-critical systems. While we are currently working with a myriad of partners and large customers to build out solutions, we’re looking for someone who can help scale our developer program to the next level.
Developer Relations Jobs
We have seen a serious uptick in the number of jobs coming on the market recently. Is your dream job waiting for you? Check out our ever-growing list of open positions to find out!
Developer Avocados 🥑
The Anatomy of an Avocado
If you've been getting this newsletter for a while, you likely already know about my love for avocados. I've fallen away from posting my avocado fact in the newsletter, but I still have a soft spot for the fruit and the DevRel analogy.
Felix Heck recently took a crack at fleshing out (pun intended) the avocado analogy in a slightly different manner and I'm liking his take on it! Check out why he thinks Developer Advocates are like avocados in this blogpost.