DevRelCon London introduced all sorts of new concepts to us this past week, including how to be a SaaS company during the holidays (Santa as a Service). It also brought us many common themes, including metrics, fighting burnout, and creating inclusive communities. There were also many difficult (but necessary) conversations surrounding the ethical responsibilities that we as Developer Relations professionals must face.
This week's newsletter brings you a taste of DevRelCon, from the Twitter conversations to blog recaps to published slidedecks (many with extensive speaker notes!). If you weren't able to attend, I hope it gives you a taste of the event and helps satisfy your desire for additional resources until the videos are released!
We'll be back to our regularly scheduled content next week. See you then!
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Metrics and Business Value
Metrics was, of course, the most popular topic of DevRelCon (no surprises there!) but folks weren't only bemoaning the need for them as has been the case at previous conferences. Instead, we were offering suggestions and frameworks that could make it easier to prove business value in the future.
Steve Pousty spoke about formalizing our work and putting a more professional face on Developer Relations. Jeremy Meiss had a great Twitter thread that highlighted points from Steve's talk. This quote from Suzanne Fortman caught my attention in particular:
Bring more intention. We can justify our #devrel existence without numbers.
Josh Dzielak spoke about the Orbit Model. As Nicolas Grenié tweeted,
The Orbit Model for #devrel
Gravity = Love x Reach . 🌎 = 💖 x 📣
Each member of your community has some gravity power
it’s your role to increase it
I for one am really looking forward to trying out the Orbit Model in the weeks and months to come!
Lastly, I spoke about DevRel Qualified Leads: what they are, why they're not related to sales metrics (I promise), and how I think they could change the way that our industry is viewed by our business counterparts. Interested in learning more? Check out my blogpost.
What Department Should We Sit In?
This question was brought up by a number of different folks, including Ana Jimenez Santamaria and Shy Ruparel. However, unlike past years, almost all of the speakers agreed that what matters far more are the goals of your department (and their stakeholders), rather than the name of the department you report into.
As DevRel roles can report to different departments, they are also connected and should always be seeking to build relationships with developers. (Ana Jiminez Santamaria)
"Care less about what department #devrel is a part of and more about empowering and educating developers" (Shy Ruparel)
Documentation: Tips, Tricks, and Takeaways
Documentation was a new track at DevRelCon this year and it was clearly needed! Here's a sampling of what I saw from the Twittersphere:
Oh look. Another statement saying that docs and good examples are the most important aspect of developer experience.
Jolly good, let’s hope that ecosystems respect humble tech writers more then 🤗😬🥰
“As developer advocates, we represent those who are using the API for the first time... as educators we need to contribute to the content to bring beginners to mastery.” -@ShyRuparel
"Docs are about helping ppl to find what they need, where they are and where they cld go from here. We need to make doing the right thing about doing the easy thing" says @lornajane.
-Suze Shardlow (click through for the full thread)
"Good documentation is like a love letter to your future self." -@evpari
For DevRel Newbies
For those of you who are looking into the possibility of DevRel or trying to figure out what to do next with your career, Jessica Rose gave loads of tips about what hiring managers are looking for, as well as what areas to focus on. Suze Shardlow gave a fantastic recap of the talk via Twitter.
Uttam Tripathi approached the conversation about career growth from a slightly different angle. If you aren't familiar with the concept of "Ikigai" (I wasn't!), it's essentially a Japanese framework that will help you decide whether your work will be fulfilling to you long-term. This lens gives us a great way to look at the work that we're accomplishing as DevRel professionals. Christie Fidura sums it up well:
Love this great Venn diagram - do what you love, what you’re good at, what pays you, and what’s good for the world. Less than all 4 can lead to “questionable career choices,” says @tripathiuttam
For DevRel Managers
There were a number of talks addressed to the DevRel management in the room. Here are a few of the snippets I came away with:
- Jessica West spoke about the need to have executive buy-in for your DevRel initiatives (Twitter thread)
- Adrian Speyer expanded on his C.A.R.G.O. community framework (tweet). He also has a blogpost with more indepth information on the Vanilla blog.
- Brandon West articulated the difference between remote and distributed teams and how to empower your team, no matter their geographic locations (Twitter thread)
The Art of Story Design
Melinda Seckington delivered a fantastic talk about story design, which builds on top of her previous talks:
While I couldn't find a succinct Twitter thread or discussion around her talk, I have no doubt that it's as good as the last two and I look forward to seeing the video!
In the meantime, this tweet from Sarah Thiam's talk resonated with me as well:
“Program managers don’t just print stickers and run events. We capture the #community connection,” @truckerfling. Love her fresh perspective and her #storytelling expertise to transform #DevRel.
Slide Decks & Resources
Looking for speaker slide decks and resources? I'll be posting them to this Toby collection as they're released. If you see a link that you'd like me to drop in here, just let me know!
Looking for More DevRelCon Content?
There are a few folks who either published full recaps of the conference or maintained a single tweet thread throughout the entire day. If you're looking for more content, you can take a deep dive in these links:
- Twitter Thread Day 1 by Suze Shardlow
- Twitter Thread Day 2 by Suze Shardlow
- DevRel Conference London 2019 - a very concise and biased synopsis - day 1 by Kseniya Romanova (post in Russian)
- DevRel Conference London 2019 - a very concise and biased synopsis - day 2 by Kseniya Romanova (post in Russian)
- Twitter Thread Day 1 by Floor Drees
- Twitter Thread Day 2 by Floor Drees
- Sketch Notes by Ari Vanider
- Twitter Thread with Takeaways from Rod Burns
- Twitter Notes from István Szmozsánszky
- Round-up of Twitter Threads - aka my Twitter notes from the various talks I attended
When you search for a job, where do you look? We hope that our DevRel Weekly Job Collection is one of the places people look and find what they're looking for job-wise. We have everything from entry-level through manager positions in the collection. If you're looking for a job, we're sending good vibes your way.