DevRelCon 2017

Yesterday was the DevRelCon London conference. One full day of talks for people doing Developer Relations. I went there for the first time last year, while I officially started to work as a Developer Advocate.

It was highly refreshing to see so many people actually doing this job, and realising that we mostly faced the same problems (explaining our job, getting metrics, learning to say no, managing our inbox, etc). But most importantly, seeing that no-one had any idea of what they where doing was highly refreshing and mad eme feel much better.

The job is young, we're still learning, we're all doing the same mistakes. Such a conference is the best place to share them and learn from each other. This year was no exception. I did learn a lot, and got a few new questions to think about. Also, being in the audience, instead of on stage, absorbin knowledge was a great change of pace.

Opening talk

I arrived a bit late in the morning and the first talk had already started. As it did not had slides, I had a hard time understanding the content and the message. To be honest, now that I'm writing my notes down, I don't actually remember what it was about. There were so many great talks during the day, if I don't have a visual cue to remember them, I'll just forget. Funny how the brain works.

Making the imlicit expliti

The actual first talk I saw was by Erin McKean. She works at Wordnik, and online community dictionnary. Her talk was about the similarities between being a dev advocate and being a lexicographer.

In both cases, you're asking yourself the same questions: "What do people know? How can I teach them what they don't?". This field of study even has a name and it's called epistemology. It means it's the study of knowledge: what is knowledge? how do you acquire it? why do you know what you know?. Very interesting subject actually.

As dev advocates, we're doing talks, building demos and writing tutorials. We have an audience that wants to know things, and part of our job is to teach that to them. When someone comes with a question, we're here to answer "I can teach you how to do that.".

This very simple sentence actually hide a lot of complexity. Who is you? Not everyone is the same. What does how means? There are various ways of doing the same thing. And finally what is that? What do you actually want your reader/audience to learn?

Being a developer advocate is actually nothing more than being an "applied epistemologist". That would look fancy on business cards, but is true.

When you start thinking about your audience, you might want to generalise to "I speak to developers.". But not two developers are the same and they have various degreers of knowledge, and past experiences. Some learned to code at school, other learned on the job and another chunk actually are self-learners. The last group is interesting because the did not actually learn by themselves, they learned by looking at what others where doing, and replicating it, or reading blog posts. They were actually taught by the community.

It's important to keep this distinction in mind when you write content. Don't assume that your reader learned the same things as you in computer science class. Maybe they never had computer science classes (I know I hadn't).

Another aspect is that what you want to teach your audience might be different from what they want to learn. You might want to teach them how to use an API, how to monitor Docker in production, what is a monad or anything else related to your topic. But what they want is actually broader than that. They want to become a better developer. They want to get better at what they do.

You cannot just teach them a new tech in a vacuum. Your tech will interface with other, real-life, elements of the stack. You shouldn't isolate your example into the ideal world where your tech is the only one. Real-life projects don't work like this. You might need authentication, monitoring, automated tests, and so on. It's not enough to tell your users "Obviously, you shouldn't do that in production that way", without providing an alternative or at least explaining why. If you don't explain, people will not understand the consequences and will do it anyway.

Building a demo that does search and authentication and image resizing and monitoring and rate limiting and many other things will surely be too much if you only want to showcase the search part, though. You don't have to dig deeply into the others parts, just show that they exists and just do the minimal part so the audience can fill the void. The important part is not to pretend that other parts don't exists. Acknowledge them, and give pointer and simple examples on how to integrate with them.

As someone was saying, "All models are wrong, but some are useful". In DevRel it's similar. All our tutorials are incomplete, but some are useful.

You want to transform a tutorial about your API into a teachable moment. You should not try to teach them only about your product, you should be here to help them get better at what they are doing. Sharing tips and tricks with your tech, but with other tools as well. You want to be a role model, to lead by example.

But try to not be put on a pedestal either. Don't try to hide mistakes you do. We all do mistakes, that's how we actually learn things. We your live-coding sessions fails, show how to fix it. Don't pretend your way of working, your choice of tools, are better than another choice. Just explain what you use, why and how, and everyone will get value from that.

The overall talk was really well delivered, with some valuable nuggets of informations. The introduction and first half were really attracting for me, I had a great time watching. The second part was more a list of tips and tricks, but I felt it slightly less inspiring.

DevRel leadership

Second talk was by Ade Oshineye. He talks about the hard questions that are often asked to DevRel people. Who are you and what do you do? Instead of answering, he often asks the question in return, to know how people perceive our job. None of the answers he got were actually incorrect, but they failed to paint the whole picture.

"You do hackathons and go to conferences". Hmm that's right that we do this. "You blog and you tweet". Yes, we do that as well, but that's not a goal. "Oh, you're the rockstar developers". Hmm, I think you mean that in a positive way, but that's not even true.

Overall DevRel is victim of a Cargo Cult. Many successful companies have a DevRel team, so when company reach a certain size they think "Hey, I need a DevRel too!". So they hire someone and try to replicate what others are doing, but without understanding why they are doing it.

DevRel is a bi-directional activity. We're an interface between the outside world and the internal employees. The outside world is full of people in varying stage of commitment. Some know about our product, some don't, some like it, some don't. Our job is to make sure informations from one side can correctly go to the other side, and more importantly to the relevant person on the other side. I would even go further as to say our role is not just to be an interface, it's to ultimately disappear so both sides can communicate directly.

Now what does it mean to be a leader in DevRel team? Even if he has been doing this job for 10 years now, he is still unsure of what he is doing. DevRel is a young field. It evolves quickly and what you do one year might not be valid the next. This is true both because the industry as a whole evolved quickly, but also because the company where we work also evolves.

What a great leader should do is being able to articulate the team purpose, or mission. What are we doing? Why does the team exists? Why does it matter? Why should we keep existing? Those questions should be asked regularly, because answers will evolve. The moment you stop asking yourself those questions, your team will die.

Just like teach a tech in a vacuum does not make sense, the prupose of the DevRel team cannot be defined in a vacuum. DevRel touches on so many different other teams that our purpose is shaped by our interaction with those teams. It is also shaped by the other organizations in the ecosystems, partners and competitors alike.

Are we here to drive adoption? Or should we help improve the quality of the product? Both questions, and many others, are completely valid purposes for DevRel. The important part is that the mission should be clear, and that ideally every team member believes in it. It does not mean the mission should not evolve in time. Actually it must change over time.

To define your mission at any given time, we should look at the various points of leverage. By that he means the points where we can actually make a difference if we intervene. We should identify them and it will help us prioritise what we do. The way he suggested looking at it was to look at the maturity of your product.

When the company starts, the goal of DevRel is to do some outreach, letting more people know that we exist. It includes goings to meetups, hackathons and conferences. We have to show that we exists and stay top of mind by being present in various events.

When the company grows, this part starts to become less and less scalable. There are so many events every day all around the world, we cannot get to them all. So we start building content that scales better: blog posts, and tutorials, and demos, and documentation, etc.

But even with the best documentation, you'll still end up with people having issues, and asking for support. The bigger your outreach, the more support channels you'll have to handle. In addition to your official support email, you might have a community forum, questions on stack overflow, issues on GitHub and also a lot of other people asking questions about your product in channels you're not even part of (like Slack groups). Making sure you help all those developers be successful is a lot of work.

Then as you grow even bigger you start creating partnership with other companies and platforms. Maybe you have an official training so people are certified users of your platform, or you have some agencies you trust into building quality implementation and you can offload some of the support to them. At this stage, you are now building relationships with C-level positions, which is whole different new set of skills.

All of that makes what DevRel is about. But you cannot objectively expect someone to go to events all around the world, answer support questions on a vast array of channels, while maintaining a deep knowledge of your API and securing partnerships with other large companies.

Each of those steps requires commitment, it require to devolve a large amount of time to get to know the communities and build the needed trust. One person cannot do all of that. When your company evolve, you'll end up doing very different things. This might not be specifically in that order, but the reality is that what the day-to-day job is will greatly change.

This is important to keep in mind for your teammates. We all want to grow in our job, we want to get better, we want to learn new things. But what if I like going to events and don't want to write tutorials? What if the next step is not appealing to me. Will growing in a DevRel team will make me feel better or worse?

Slight disgression here as the speaker did not mention that part, but I wonder how geographical separation plays into that framework. Your product can be particularly well-known in a specific region and not at all somewhere else. Should we start the process from scratch with meetups and events in the new region, or can we jump directly ahead?

Ok, back to the original talk. Some interesting metrics the speaker gave on how to gauge the mood of the team is to ask team mates regularly to estimate, on a scale to 1 to 10, how happy they are with their job. The actual value does not really matter, but variations over time will tell a lot.

In the same vein, it is also important to ask the leader to regularly put on a scale to 1 to 10 how happy he is with the results of the team and with every individual. Once again, absolute value is not very important, but variations and trends will tell a lot, especially when confronted with the happiness of the person directly.

He finished his talk with this story: One night when walking home, a men met another met in the street. The second man was obviously looking after something he had lost on the street floor, under a lamp post light. The first man asked the second - "What are you looking for?" - "My keys." - "Where did you lost them?" - "Over there, on the other side of the street." - "Why are you looking for the here then?" - "Well, there's no light on the other side of the street, I would not be able to see what I'm looking for."

This story had a lot of echo about what we do in DevRel. DevRel is very hard to objectively quantify. Some things are really important and must be done, but are even harder to measure. Often, we look for the comfort of clear, quantifiable metrics, to have the sense that what we do has value. We tend to do the visible and easy stuff because the important stuff is too hard to quantify. Knowing how many people read a blog post or how many retweets we have has value, but it is a very indirect metric of what is actually important.

This talk was one of the more interesting of the day for me. There were a lot of great insights, and hearing someone else put words on the struggle I'm facing helped a lot into seeing I wasn't alone and that it was actually normal that this stuff was hard, it wasn't just me.

Better DX messages

After lunch break, I had the chance to catch the quick 10mn talk about a better way to do the DX of error messages.

Every developers that is going to use your API will have error messages returned to them at some point. The quality of the DX of your error messages will have a direct influence on if this same user will move forward or not. Errors are a blocking point in every developer's journey. It's the moment where they can easily decide to stop trying your API.

The worst error message is the one that does not say anything except "An error occured". Slightly better is the one that is telling you that you forgot parameters, without specifying which one.

Better error messages are the one that will tell you why an error occured, and how you can solve it. As Developer Advocates, we've used our own APIs hundreds if not thousands of times. We know the common errors and pitfall. We should help define error messages (either directly in the API or in the integrations around it) that will give pointers to users on how to solve them (did they add their API Key? Does it have the correct permissions? etc).

The UX of DX. User testing in the invisible world of API

Following this talk about errors, we had another one about the UX of DX. The point was to show that it was not because an API had no UI component that it could not have an actual UX. It's not because you're a developer that you don't like easy to use tools. You don't need a UI to have a UX, API are actually interfaces as well, it's even in the name!

As Developer Advocates, we are using our own APIs every day. We know them by heart. We know them so well that they now seem obvious. It means that we are not the best suited to help improve their UX. To improve the UX, we need to do user-testing with people that will bring a new fresh look.

Ease of use of an API is a strong selling points. More and more companies are releasing APIs. Technically, there is not much difference between and Firebase functions. Stripe and Payfit are similar. SendGrid and Mailjet do similar things. Sure, there might be some feature differences, but you'll only notice them after you've become an active user of them.

While when it comes to UX, that's actually the first thing you'll see. If I have to add a payment API on my website I'm going to check what is available, and I'm going to implement the one that seems the easiest to implement (in that case, it will be Stripe). UX of your API clients (or DX, as we call it at Algolia), is a strong differenciator.

At Algolia, we try to build the best DX possible in both our API clients and documentation. I often say that "because we are developers ourselves, we know what developers wants". This talk made me realise that there are so many different kind of developers that we don't actually really know what they each want. Every developer will come to our website looking for a different piece of information. They will be looking for the information that will solce their needs.

We should start every DX improvement idea by asking actual, external, developers what they are looking for. This phase is an exploratory one, where we'll talk to many different people, and have no idea what we are going to discover.

More than talking, we should also try to turn those discussions into something visual quickly. The same word can have different meaning for different people. Visual representation (it can be as simple as pointing things on a website) will get much better result, making sure we're talking about the same thing.

The next step of reworking the UX of an API is naming things. This is one of the harder things to do. You want to find some naming consensus where everyone somehow understand the gist of what one word is supposed to represent.

A good way to test that part is to write down all endpoints of your API on various index cards. You then give a scenario to users and ask them to order the endpoints in the order they would call the endpoints to validate that scenario. If users are struggling it means that either your nouns or verbs naming choices are not obvious enough. Try removing an index card and replacing with another and see if it clicks better. Using index cards, you can iterate quickly on that, without having to implement anything. Don't overdo it. Your cards should look ugly. If it's too beautiful people will give you less honest feedback, while if it's cheaply done they will be more direct.

I found the next step to actually test this workflow extremely clever. You put a developer and a test user in two different rooms, but both connected to the same slack channel. You then ask the user to redo the scenario, but this time by actually sending messages through Slack to the developer, along with all the required info. If the developer can actually reply to the request with the specified information, then your API is making progress. Such a test will allow you to quickly show what is missing and if the flow of requests/responses makes sense.

All those examples looked like a very interesting way of creating an API with quick iterative sessions, without drowning into endless specification. Adding those findings to an existing API can be trickier because you'll then have to introduce versioning in the API. If, like use, you've decided to always stay retro-compatible in order to only have one API version, that will be harder.

But the advices where really great, and I think that's something we should be doing for upcoming new features or endpoints (or even for secondary APIs like the logs or monitoring). I wonder how it translates with other APIs (like library and frameworks API).

Overall a very hands-on talk. Something that I think could fit into a WriteTheDocs or any dev centric conference as well. Defining API endpoints is not only the job of DevRel.

Live API Teardown

Next session in the same room was Cristiano Betta doing a live teardown of an API website. Cristiano has an ongoing serie of videos where he walks through the whole onboarding process of various API companies, basically doing live user-testing and putting the accent on everything that they are doing wrong.

As he put it himself, he is not trying to be a jerk in doing so, but he is not actively trying not to be jerk either, so even if constructive, the recap can be quite harsh sometimes.

For this session he put several names in a hat and picked one at random. Algolia was in the hat and I would have love to get feedback and ways to improve from Cristiano. Unfortunately, SendGrid was randomly picked up (again).

He started his journey by playing the developer that goes to the website not really knowing what they do. The home page should quickly tell you what the API is doing without you having to guess. It should also let you try the actual product without having to commit to anything.

SendGrid does a good job at explaining that they send emails. It's pretty clear from their page. Then, Cristiano clicked on the API link to see how it works. There he had a curl code snipper. That seemed straightforward so he copy-pasted it in its terminal... and it didn't do anything because the API key of the snippet was not a real one.

That's too bad because it would have been awesome if that would have worked. Simple copy-paste and sending an email. I would have been blown away by the simplicity.

Instead, it seems you have to create an account to get a real API key. They are pretty aggressive on the payed plans, but they still have a clear link to get a free account.

A simple form asking for name, email and password comes next. The name field raised a few question: why is this field needed? what will they do with it? should I put a nickname or my real name?

The second page after that was much more aggressive: first name, last name, gender, company, role, size of the company. It clearly shows this is for sales or marketing to more easily qualify the signups but the questions were so specific that they didn't make much sense. In the end, Cristiano answered everything with John Doe and Lorem Ipsum content.

This is a double lose situation for SendGrid here. They don't get any meaningful information out of it, and they have a customer that starts his journey pissed off to have to fill an fake form just to get an API key.

Next step was to send an email with the ruby gem. It worked flawlessly, a bit of copy-pasting an API key and an email was sent. The end result was impressive, but the DX could still have been improved along the way: there was no link to the documentation from the onboarding page. And more importantly, why is the Ruby gem named sendgrid-ruby? If it's a gem it is in Ruby, but definition. If I see that I assume their API clients are automatically generated and not actively maintained, which does not send a very good first signal.

Overall it was still an interesting session, even if it's unfortunate that SendGrid got the chance to get the treatment twice. I would have loved to have Algolia got through this harsh testing.

Art of slides

The following talk was another of my highlights of the day. I personnally often do talks, and I try to alway get better at the way I'm delivering the talk, both about my stage presence and my slides and this talk taught me a few very interestin things.

As I was saying when I talked about the first talk of the day: I don't remember it because it did not have any slides. Slides are a very important part of talks. They help your audience remember your points by setting a visual cue into their minds.

Slides are here to help your point across. For every talk you do, you should ask yourself: "What is the one thing I'd like them to remember from this talk?". Once you have this, you can ask yourself if what you have in your slide really goes in that direction or not.

Your number one goal is to allow your audience to absorb the information your are sharing with them. You will not be the only speaker they'll see today. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to absorb what you share. The design of your slides should help minimize the cognitive load they'll have, not increase it.

She then shared 4 principles of slide design, reminding us that this is the one she follows but that there is not "one true way" of making slides.

1. Maximise signal, minimise noise

We should try to keep the noise to signal ration as low as possible in the slides. Each slide should have only one purpose. If we want to say more than one thing in one slide, it's better to split in several slides. That way the audience will get less overwhelmed and better able to absorb the content.

If you end-up doing a bullet-list type slide, you might be better splitting them into several slides. It does not mean bullet-list are wrong, but only use them when you actually want to show a list of things as one mental object, and not talk about each of them individually.

Slides are not your teleprompter, you're not here to read them (people can read just fine). If you need to read your notes, use the speaker notes mode. Slides are here as a reminder of what you say.

She also said that slides are not meant as post-talk notes (or for people that could not attend). Slides are in support of you being on stage, they can't work without you being there to use them. If you need a post-talk support, go create on in the form of a blog post, or wait for the video.

I'm not entirely on board with that part myself. I like to be able to follow the thought process of a talk just by looking at the slides. Slides that only have images or one word per slides requires the speaker to be very very good. Today there were a few speakers doing that, I was impressed by their ability to deliver a clear message with slides being only made of a few words on a colored background.

Overall, try not to distract. Don't put too much text because people will try to read them and listen to you at the same time and will fail at both. Also, you don't have to fill your slides. It's not because you have unused space that you should fill it.

2. Make important information stand out

Based on the von Restorff effect: thing that are different will be more easily remember than more mundane elements. You just have to change either the color, size or shape of elements or words to make them stand out.

Try to pick a color palette and stick to it. Pick colors that have a nice contract so they will still be readable on a projector. You can try for various color combination. Try to use a dark background if possible (light background can be blinding in dark rooms). Pick a simple color for your text, and a highly contrasted color for the important stuff you want to highlight.

Changes in font can also replace changes in colors. Try to pick fonts that are not default fonts as most of the audience will be used to seeing them and it will then not stand out. Also, most basic font pre-installed on computers are optimized for paragraphs of text, and talks usually only have a few words displayed.

3. Show AND tell

A picture is worth a thousand words. Just like we said in the talk about user testing your API, try to add visual elements that might better represent your point than long and complex sentences. Great examples are when you need to show numbers, percentages, maps, timelines or diagrams. Images are more explicit than words.

Try to avoid photographies, unless they exactly convey the point you're trying to make, otherwise they might just be confusing or distracting and adding to the cognitive load. and Flickr Creative Common search are great places to find photos. For icons, you can search on The Noun Project.

In the same vein, you can use animations if they really help you convey your point (once again, for an animated diagram for example). Animations are very easy to misuse, so be careful and only use them when they really bring something.

4. Be consistent

Being consistent does not mean every slides should look the same, but similar parts should be expressed in similar ways. For example all the slides where you have a quote can have the same styling, same for slides with code examples.

It will help your audience understand better as it will all be familiar to them. You slowly expose them to the building blocks of your design, and with repetition you create consistency, and this consistency adds to your point, making you look more professional and expert.

The 4 points were on point, I reference this presentation when I'll be helping people doing their slides. She also did not mention it, but I saw the speaker applying a few other speaking tricks with great success: adding slides to recap the important parts, repeating the important messages several times, with only slight variations, and having her intro and conclusion perfectly rehearsed.

Her conclusion was also completely on point. Great talks are not about the content or the speaker, they are about the audience: they have to teach and inspire the audience in the room.

DevRel survey

After the break, we had a small recap of the annual DevRel survey. I did not take a lot of notes, but here is what I remember.

Many in the industry struggle with mental health issues and burnout episodes. What helped them the most was spending time with family, but also learning to say no to things. I can definitely relate.

What was considered the most important part of the job was still events, meetups and blog posts. And what was considered the harder part was scaling the outreach.

Intersection of DevRel and Product Marketing

The following talk was by SendGrid, about the intersection of DevRel and Product Marketing. The title seemed interesting, but I must confess that I did not understand the subject at all. I quickly lost focus and interest, and started to look at the slides instead, trying to see if he was following the advice I learned from the talk earlier in the same room.

Answer was no: the SendGrid-branded slides were distracting, slides with a lot of text where passed too quickly, animated gif were used in place of content, and animation where used (even in a comical manner, but did not add anything). Still, there was some consistency in the slide design, but not enough to make me understand the actual content of the talk.

Still, here are some of my notes that I still find interesting, even if I don't know how they are supposed to be linked together :)

Most of us in DevRel are working alone, or in small isolated team. We are all learning the same things the hard way, doing the same mistakes and asking the same questions, but we're not great at sharing what we learn. Well, DevRelCon is actually the best place to do that. I think he talked about DevRel at that time. Or maybe it was product. I'm not sure.

Still, the one thing I remember and that actually makes a lot of sense is that DevRel and PM teams should work more closely together. We can find the perfect, committed, user that a PM would need to user test a new feature. On the other hand, we could greatly gain from knowing in advance what is going to be released and get some field knowledge about it.

Scaling without losing your soul

Following talk was by Joe Nash from GitHub, that delivered a very interesting talk packed with useful information at the speed of light. I did not managed to write down everything that was valuable from the talk, and I will have to re-watch it in video.

I won't go into all the details that are way too GitHub-specific on how the implemented it, but he basically talked about the GitHub student pack. It's how they train what we internally call Ambassadors: people that are volunteers developer advocates.

There was really too much content in the talk for me to know where to start. What I would say is that scaling a DevRel team is very important, and a great way to do it is to automate things you've already sucessfully done manually

Ground work. Outcomes. Trust: can only scale with trust. Operations: automate all the things. Iterate: start again and improve.

the need or ambassaodrd gros out o your stargegy?

SCOOP framework: SUPPORT: be there for your delopers. strip answering the same questions. can we go to every hackathons, give swag, etrc. Identify people with the same kind of needs (conferences, swag, access, etc). Give them things that can be repeatable (training kit, first time grand for hackathons)

sponsoring conferences for those people (conference for hackthon organisers). Help something that is already doing it. Like conference organisers, or MLH, canned responses.

(talk was too fast, lots of interetsing bits but too quick)

you need albassaodrd to trust in you, and want to talk about it. they won't do things you wouldn't do yourself. aambassadors should rperesnet the brand, but won't have pay for that.. Trust them to make trhe best choices, don't start to micro manager. Trust them to do the best: train them, but then let them dpo.

can askstudent spealer to replace a real employee because we trust them, then the conferenc etrusts us because we trust the ambassaodrs; This will let us say yes more often.

AMbassaord have local knowledge, people there have the knowledge, we will save time and money because those people know things we don't. we need to trust our experts and they need to trustr us

we should train them, public speaking module, code of conduct, tell them exactly what we expect from them. they get a sticker. theyr goal is to improve their community through Algolia/GitHub

"why do you think you need this? why is diversity important?" (other question forgot)

tell them why ther's here, they are smart they will uderstand, they will have a bettefunderstanding. tell them how it affects the bottom line, why metrics is important. give them the knowledge so they can take the best solutions.

some people don't need training on things they alreadt know (won't telle ameetup organisze how to organise one). We can still give them things that is valuable for them, and explain why we need them. We should also get to know what they do, get to know them as persons. Understand who they aren, tell them what we expect, gve them somethinhg valuable.

scale be usin what is already there. no synchronous training, don't scale. (how do you get to know people as person if it's async). The created some MOOC for training, with sharing knowledge. Use of course GitHub for trhis whole collaboration

This scales as you first train the first wave, and then they help each oter. Access to a private repo where the can share stuff.

badges of training, let you see where your communicty is. we know who we can rust with what. fundrasuing, public spekaing, code of conduct, etc. they will learn things that will help them individually to build a community of personal development, but will also do it for the company.

open new features o ambassadord, bete testers, they will have access to a valuable thing, but also be a beta tester that knows the stuff.

iterate on that. ambassaodrd will let us know what is often asked of them, so we can package stuff. maybe we can actuallyt start to hire them?

Winning at stack overflow

yo get points when you ask or answer qyestin that the community like, and lose them when theydon't like it

more reputation lets you do lmore things on the website. upvote or not questions, reduce ads, chat rooms, boost some answers, or hide content not interesting. reword questions and answers

might be interest to have someone to handle that, so best answers are pushed forwards

should we use SO as the support forum for product? some support questions should be aked to support, not to SO. Questions on SO are closed if they are not answered quickly, so you want to do support on it, you need to have someone monitoring it for reeal.

old questions should be updated with new information, so old questions are updated and found. need to update the old questions. but many people find information on SO about a lot of things. Need to update the links, the variables, etc. Lots of google juice on SO, importantto keep them up to date

retagging also help because people put their own tags. and with the typos on angolia, that could help.

plug question of SO directly to the support system, that's what we do => Slack and HelpScout

datas science: stack exchange data explorer. can export all information to see the number of questions, average time to answer, most regular questions, compare with competitors

see message that are more common in questions. is that working? what are the words of competitors?

you can create your own neytwork, there is one for nexmoe, one for magento, that miht helper when you have a large developer base

you can add bounties for questions, if you want people to try new feature or complex issue. you post something, and give a bounty, so developers wil try Algolia ina specific context

Proactive and Reactive DevRel

By our own Jessica West.

contrast of yellow on blue not looking so great reading notes too much, and reading what is on screenn better after the intro, but got back to scren too much hands touching a bit too much show a game of risk, because not everyin will know it nice content, but too much and hard to follow on the slides no need to say "shameless plug", explain more why donation instead of swag, nice example on too much "word" => definition read. one or twice might work, but all along the talk was a bit too stiff. Parts where was natural was much more interesting

best defense is offsne, but not work in devrel things we do is a roll of the dice, some randome and tries going to conferences is a roll of dice value is in the sequence: conferences on the same event, sequence of blo posts

we need to be more proactive everyone will ask you to do everyhtinh, from sales, culture, marketing, engineering, etc so reactive only will be doing too many difference things but no focus, and will take all our time as individual we get disctracted: writing content, writing code, doing talks, we do reactive stuff need to define what we do and what we don't do

we'll have to show execed and the budget what we do. doing a bit of everything does not work, we don't understand what people are doing, even if doing a lot of small tasks, not doing anything where they are experts

for proactive, you need to define what you do. stop sending people all around te world, just to be present. it's something you do at first, trying to be everywhere, but does not scale. works only if big team with one person focues on doing that. one event somewhere is not enough, you need several datapoints in the same area to see product. not 6 datapoints in 6 different area

Community / Code / Content create code and content, and the community will come give before asking. give 10 times before asking

do retrospectives: look back to achievement and objectives. iterate and adapt. industry is evolvig. competitor, new feature, size of company, etc. need to adapt and change the mission in an iterative manner.

DevRel Bill of rights: clear set of busines goals, well-defined place in the organization. need buy-in or support from exec. Not only a budget, but someone that is aligned with what we are doing.

metrics don't always tell the story of impact and impact is not a function of effort and time

One one must change one's tactic every 10 year if one woshes to mainta ones supriorty (napoleaon) change things, adapt, do what works, and try something different

do calculated risks in devrel. try new things: twlio an sengrind in hjackathons, sendrgid accelerator program, github student pack, algolia donation instead of swag, do something different

DevRel Bill of Rights

Anil Dash. Glitch.

used to be a coder, in a cmpany that didn't care about coding. found blogpost by joel spolsky, joelonsoftware. then founded SO and Trello

joel created a test. the joel test. set of practices to se eif an organizetion cares about their infra and ressouces needed. do you have a large monitor to see what you need to you use version control. it made a standrad of what you're looking for in organisations.

moved from undereespected to very respected. maye too much today with snacks and massages, and spoiled child stuff.

first employee ain fogs creek software, vp of devrel, but could not move forward, had to move out.

glitch, remix. here to restore ability to create stuff with code.

software is eating the worlds, developers shape culture what developers build, do, startups, change the world think of male/female radio buttons, but is actually free text, everything we do reflects culture. we can change culture and how things are seen

show first page of stripe and curl command, github as side project, twilio really easy. each is a mental milestone. this is the way it should be done. don't know it before, but know I know that this is way

why not define a standard. there will never be someone that will eb perfect to push the subject foward, so why not me? why not start and make it imperfect, and iterate. A Bill of Right od DevRel

  • clear set of business goals. seems obvoious but what do we do "we're supposed to have evrel, let's just hire one". not enough to achieve goals, need to have clear goals

  • wel defined place in the organization. engineering, mrketing, sales, other, don't know. dotted lines with everyone, no clear line. no clear budget, owner. "I want to know who my boss is and who I report to" is not unreasnabme. exactly what happened, so feeling better about that

  • structured way to impact product and platform. how do we move the feedback to product, having a way to impact the product. need to be part of the process to solve issues.

  • open lines of communication to marketing. no organization have marketing/devrell team wokring rogether, devrel is not top of mind in what they do

  • right tools designer for the job. Sales have a lot of metrics on everything, marketing have a funnel of everything. DevRel? just guessing. we are our worts ennemies: we have no numbers, or small ones, then our budget will get down first.

  • epxlicit ethical & social guidelines. setting the rules, code of conduct,

  • support for building inclusive community. increase creativty, strong value for company. active outreach. this is part of the work. need to reach peple that are not in our community. ths is the definition of building a community. people that we are not close to.

  • distinction from sales engineering.

  • ongoing resources for professional development. need time for resource and commit on things. need to learn the job, not just being reactive.

  • connection to a community of peers. talk with other people that care about that. might be the only one in the company doing that. people person, that like to talk and learn, do that as a job, but cn't talk about that with coworkers. will quit. job, or profession. need to talk with other people outside of company.

devrel should be a way to move forward, not moving out to grow. this talk really had all my concerns voiced. nice to see not alone. learn new things every year. just like parisweb in the first years. new step in my career.

hn goind to uch a confernce, you also start o look at the meta. all those people usually do talk, so you ca learn how to do better talks. you look at slides, are they clutterres, whaat is tge info, do I wan to tke a picture and post it? What is the enery on stage, the voice, the posture, etc. Which talks will I rmemeber at the end of the day, and why?

mixed audience and speaker between male and female

(gh-polls for polls in readme)

cold rooms, much better access to food than the long queues nice vibe of friends getting together. might be intimidating for people coming by tehemselves (getting into a new famly and its private jokesà, but once you start knowing a few people, it's atually a nice way to get introduces to more people

(Honestly, I'm really thinking about the future milestones. Pick stuff you'd love to see happening. Dreams. community events, people talking about us, speaker at big conferences. Note them in advance and serendipity wait for them to happen. Do your best, but do not focus on the goal, focus on doing the right thing, the outcomes will happen)

"I asked 6 times, I don't want to micro manage"

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