Welcome to our first DevRel Weekly issue of 2020, and a particular welcome to all of our new subscribers! Apologies for the odd release date of this issue. Despite best-laid plans, my intent to have this issue curated, written, and scheduled by Wednesday evening fell to the wayside last week due to unexpected meetings (adjusting to a full-time job is, well, a full-time job!) and then an unexpected illness (during which I learned a new German word, thanks to Erik Riedel).
All that said, I'm glad to be back and feeling (mostly) functional again, and even more glad to be sending out all of this fantastic content to you! I hope your new year is off to a great start and that your holidays left you feeling rested, relaxed, and motivated to tackle new challenges.
In addition to all of the excellent content from the last 3 weeks, I wanted to highlight 3 quick items:
- Tom Johnson is once again conducting his annual Developer documentation survey, and I know from personal experience that DevRel professionals have lots of opinions about documentation! Take a few minutes to fill it out this week.
- Vanilla Forums released a great list of 5 community-related books to add to your reading list this year! While not all are focused on technical communities, I can attest to the fact that many of these books are gold when it comes to principles and strategic tips.
- Lastly, David Spinks made a proclamation that simply confirms what all of us have already been saying: the DevRel industry is exploding and 2020 is going to be our year. It's an awesome confirmation to hear this from someone so highly respected in the broader community industry!
So with these declarations in mind, let's head into 2020 with our heads held high, knowing that the work that we're doing is good and important, and that it will bring value to the companies we work for! Let's make 2020 the year that the tech industry starts to truly understand the value we bring to the table.
As always, if there's any way I can help further that goal, don't hesitate to drop me a note.
DevRel Weekly Patreon
Make First-Timers Feel Welcome
Moderator/staff notifications of first-time contributors are really valuable. Respond by welcoming the member + offer help if they get stuck. This (a) builds a personal touch, (b) shows responsiveness, (c) builds belonging, and (d) is friendly.
Your Community isn't for Everyone
You cannot create or curate a community where everyone is welcome. It's an incoherent, fake goal. It sounds nice but it is categorically impossible. Some people, by their very presence, make a space unsafe and unwelcoming to others.
Different Kinds of Communities have Different Kinds of Value
A customer community ≠ a neighborhood community ≠ a fitness community ≠ a religious community ≠ friend group ≠ a family.
We use the term “community” to describe all kinds of social groups, but they’re all totally unique, and one won't replace the value of another.
Our Power is Underestimated
« The power of a Community is underestimated! » This is an understatement, and so let’s collectively change that! Best wishes to all the Community pros for a Happy 2020!
Lessons from Four Years of Community Building - Community Building and Strategy
If you only have time to read one article this week, prioritize this one from Carrie Melissa Jones. In it, she reflects on lessons she's learned in the last four years of her career, from the differences between leadership and strategy, to defining boundaries, personally as well as professionally. Trust me, it's worth the click.
Preparing For Success
If you're overwhelmed by the fact that we're almost halfway through January 2020 like I am, this article from Rich Millington will give you a few good tips on how to plan for success in your new community.
The Comprehensive Guide to Speaking at Technology Conferences in 2020
As DevRel professionals reflected on 2019 over the holidays, some took to Twitter or their blogs to share insights and offer tips so others could learn from their experiences. Three folks in particular chose to focus on the topic of speaking at conferences:
- The Comprehensive Guide to Speaking at Technology Conferences in 2020 by Karl Hughes
- What No One Tells you About Public Speaking (a Twitter thread) by Grishma Jena
- 100+ bite-sized Tips - Corey Quinn takes to Twitter with a plethora of tips regarding speaking at conferences
But What IS Self-Care?
Conversations about burnout and self-care were prevalent over the holidays, from blogposts cautioning against burnout to folks offering encouragement to those who found themselves struggling with it. As we start this new year, let's commit to doing better, for ourselves and for others. Here are a few resources that may help:
- But What IS Self-Care? Community Manager Advancement Day
- The truth about burnout and community
- Learning About Mental Health And Mindfulness With Rosie Evans (podcast)
- Staying sane as a software developer (video)
As Beth McIntyre says,
Self-care isn’t about “escaping” your life. It’s about taking the necessary steps to create a life you don’t need to escape from.
Managing Product Requests from Customer-Facing Teams
While collecting and communicating feedback is one of the top responsibilities for DevRel teams, I often hear that the product feedback never quite makes it to the roadmap, which can be confusing to the community and frustrating for the DevRel team. I stumbled on this blogpost from Brett van Zuiden last week and was intrigued by the prioritization technique that he suggests.
By asking each customer-facing team to filter through all of the feedback they receive and identify their top two requests, it not only reduces the amount of feedback the product team receives, it also forces those teams to truly understand what they're asking for. In turn, the product team should be committing to some progress on at least one of these top two issues every quarter or two. I think this is a great way to curate the list of requests that the product team receives and also allow for the DevRel team and other customer-facing teams to directly influence the product roadmap.
Looking for a few good podcasts to start listening to in 2020? I've got a handful to recommend, starting with these DevRel-related episodes!
- PJ Hagerty and His Journey to DevRel - We Belong Here: Lessons from Unconventional Paths to Tech
- Technical writing and Reddit, with Alan Bowman - Write the Docs podcast
- How a New B2B Community Creates and Drives New Content - Peers over Beers
- Threats to Section 230 Threaten the Very Existence of Our Communities - Community Signal
- Learning About Mental Health And Mindfulness With Rosie Evans - Technically True
- Starting your own conference, online meetup, and more with developer advocate Brian Rinaldi - Tech JR
- Building a Social Brand in Germany from The Ground Up - Peers over Beers
If your 2020 professional development budget is burning a hole in your pocket, there are plenty of great events popping up all over the world for you to learn and grow alongside your Developer Relations peers. Don't have a professional development budget? Now's the time to start advocating for one so you can take advantage of these great opportunities!
Developer Relations Jobs
New year, who dis? If one of your new year's resolutions was to apply for jobs, check out our Developer Relations Jobs Toby Collection! We're wishing you lots of success in 2020!