As you might have noticed, the newsletter is a day later this week. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you may already know that I decided to change the schedule up a bit. You'll be getting DevRel Weekly in your inboxes on Thursday mornings from now on to better accommodate my schedule and take better care of myself.
I've realized just how important teamwork is throughout these last few weeks. When you're running your own business as I am, you quickly learn that you have to take care of yourself first and foremost, because while there are benefits to being your own boss, there's also no one to delegate work to or reprioritize tasks with. I'm guessing teamwork is a topic that is front of mind for many of you, given how many teams DevRel tends to work across on a regular basis and how difficult of a task it can be to work cohesively with so many differing opinions.
Sometimes being in DevRel means being a part of a team that you didn't expect (or frankly, want) to be a part of -- and you have to make it work. Other times it means making hard decisions about what your team is (and isn't) responsible for.
Other times it means giving up things that you want to be involved in -- a conference, a side project, a particular segment of the community -- all for the good of the team. I understand what it's like to feel like you're missing out as a result of these hard decisions, and I feel the FOMO of not being able to attend all of the conferences, pursue all of the projects, or talk to all of the people. That's part of the reason why I do this newsletter, to be honest. It helps me keep a pulse on what's happening around the industry, even if I don't get to be in the inner circle of each project, and it means I get to share the information I gather with lovely people like you. So today, I'd be tickled if you consider me an honorary teammate -- bringing you information that you don't have time to find on your own.
- Mary, @mary_grace
It's ok to not know everything.
DevRel tip: relax. You can’t know every last technical detail of your company’s output. It’s ok to say, “I’ll find out”
-Matthew Revell, Founder of DevRelCon & DevXcon
Help a Colleague: Mapping Online Community Mgmt Practices
Alberto Cottica is working on his thesis in online communities and needs our help. If you manage an online community, please fill out his survey.
It's not about the numbers.
I've made this point many times: It's not how many people you have in your #community. Instead, it's who they are and what they do. The right community, no matter the size, does what it does because it widely attracts people with common interest and challenges.
-Dion Hinchcliffe, Chief Strategy Officer at 7Summits
Richard Millington, Founder of Feverbee, has an interesting observation about the size of active communities as well:
Ever wonder how many active contributors most brand communities have? We scraped this data back in 2016.
- Mean = 281.
- Median = 162.
- 25% = 58.
- 75% = 389.
It's generally far lower than most people imagine.
Don't strive to be adored.
Community professionals: Don't strive to be adored. There's a reason the average presidential approval rating is 54%: people don't love being governed, it's hard to govern, and for every 1 person you make happy at least 1 other won't be. Shrug it off.
-Evan Hamilton, Community Team Manager at Reddit
TL;DR of DevRel
DevRel: Connecting people with other people and/or documents that help them learn neat stuff, build cool things, and remove toil from their jobs.
-Aja Hammerly, Cloud Developer Advocate at Google
Community Managers are Connectors, Inviters, and Includers
The #ESNChat this week focused on inclusion, both in the sense of bringing people into your external community as well as being the bridge between departments at your company. Here are a few points that stood out to me:
So much of a Community Manager's role includes being sensitive to the spoken and unspoken currents in the network. They are very aware of participation patterns and can frame invitations to engage in a proper and compelling light.
A Community Manager can visibly guide & encourage people to share, reassure them that their POV matters, and lead by example when responding to posts.
In a large organization, the Community Manager can be a matchmaker. I found teams in different geos doing the same work and introduced them to each other.
When your workforce is global and culturally diverse it's essential to have people connecting people. Finding and introducing colleagues to each other is quite a vital role that sometimes might go silent.
For more on how Community Managers can foster diversity and inclusion in their communities, check out this new series from Trellis.
Google Spent Years Studying Effective Teams. What mattered most? Trust.
The best companies are made up of great teams. You see, even a company full of A-players won't succeed if those individuals don't have the ability to work well together.
I'm sure it's no surprise to those of you who have been in DevRel for a while, but in this study, Google uncovered the fact that if trust doesn't exist between teammates, they can't accomplish work in an effective manner. It gets even more complex in DevRel, given just how many teams we work with and how many people need to trust us (and vice versa) for us to be able to do our jobs well. This is why it's important for our community building to start internally and then move externally after we've gotten a feel for who the stakeholders are and what they're expecting from us. Building those relationships first can lead to a much smoother path down the road.
6 ways a thriving community will help your project succeed
Just like DevRel works across many teams, your community can also serve to be external members of many teams. From research to marketing and support, a community can provide all of these things, if you choose to nurture it. I firmly believe this is a choice, one that is weighed against other priorities and evaluated on a regular basis because it's hard to track and the value isn't always immediately apparent. This article from Alessio Fattorini walks through 6 different ways that a successful community can benefit your entire organization.
How DevRel fits the business
When your next step is to figure out which metrics to track to prove the value of this initiative, there are (not surprisingly) a lot of opinions on this difficult topic. Here are two that popped up this week:
- How DevRel Fits the Business from Ian Barber
- Adam Fitzgerald's talk from DevXCon 2017: Which Metrics Matter?
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech
Anil Dash recently dove into the topic of how tech is impacting our culture, politics, and society these days. He identified 12 key principles that can help us understand technology's place in culture. While not DevRel specific, as people who work in the tech space and are constantly evaluating how our technology is affecting our community, this article is a must-read.
One from the Archives 📰
What's the Difference Between Social Media and Community Management?
TL;DR: While you may often be on the same team (or at least working closely together, Community Manager != Social Media Manager. This article might be a few years old at this point, but it still holds true -- Community Managers need to be able to manage Social Media tools and platforms, but Social Media Managers aren't necessarily able to manage communities. Per usual, we're unicorns. 🦄
Additionally, we're often tasked with figuring out why our company's content isn't succeeding through normal social media channels. The next time you get that question, take a look at this article for tips on how to make sure your link is one of the few that actually get clicked on.
Public Speaking Resources
We're quickly coming up on conference season and yet the CFPs keep coming. Whether you're looking for help with writing the perfect CFP or figuring out how to write the perfect slides, there are a lot of resources revolving around public speaking this week. Looking for someone to train your entire team? My good friend Vicky Brasseur has just the thing.
P.S. If you're on the other end of the spectrum, trying to find speakers instead of prepping a talk, talk a look at this article from Andi Galpern.
Developer Relations Events
You get an event, and YOU get an event, and YOU... well, you get the point. Seriously though, there were at least 3 different events that related to DevRel in the past 2 weeks alone, and there are more coming! Check out the ones listed in the collection and let me know if there are any that I'm missing.
Building A Skill-Based Community Manager Job Ad
If you're hiring, the Community Skills Framework can help you figure out not only what level of role you're looking for (individual contributor? manager? team lead?) but whether or not you're looking for a unicorn that might be too far out of reach.
Looking for a Director of Community specifically? Here are a few tips.
Developer Relations Jobs
New jobs are popping up by the day. My latest count was 123. I like round numbers like this one, but if you have any jobs to add to the list, just let me know.
Developer Avocados 🥑
How Big is an Avocado Team?
It is possible for an avocado tree to produce 200 to 300 fruit per tree once it is about 5 to 7 years of age. If only DevRel teams could grow that quickly! However, avocado trees seem to suffer from fluctuation just like DevRel teams. While they might bear a large crop one year, it will likely be small the next.