Active developers vs. awareness events, an approach we are trying

If you in Developer Relations space then hosting and speaking at events is probably a big part of your job.

There are of many type of events that developers go to: meetups, workshops, conferences, online meetups/webinars, Lunch & Learn events, panels and others.

Metrics is the holy grail in Developer Relations. One type of a metric that many companies track is the number of active developers on their platform. Similar metrics can be number of apps created, number services created, etc.

One metric for us is a number of active developers on the IBM Cloud platform. As you can image, that’s a metric for the larger Developer Advocacy organization at IBM and also company-wide. So we got a lot of help.

What is an active developer? Every company can define it differently but usually it’s a developer who registered for a cloud account and created a service (there is also a time window when the developer has to be active).

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Why you should consider hosting Lunch & Learn events as part of your Developer Relations program

In the context of Developer Relations, a Lunch & Learn event is a lunchtime developer education event. It’s very similar to an evening meetup but hosted during the lunch hour. While a meetup can have different formats (hands-on, lecture, panel, etc), this particular event has a lecture-style format. Developers come to the event, get to eat a delicious lunch, learn something new, ask questions and network.

So now the question is – why run an event during the lunch hour. I’m going to share why a Lunch & Learn can add value to your developer relations program. I want to mention this is not to run instead of evening events but in addition to evening events.

Many developers don’t live in San Francisco. They come to San Francisco for work but don’t want to stay in San Francisco after work to attend a developer event. Many want to get home to their families, significant others, friends or just to relax. So we thought why not host an event when developers are here during the day. People have to eat lunch anyways – right? So why not combine developer education and delicious food. And that’s how we started hosing Lunch & Learn events.

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So, how does your solution compare to…

Competition

If you have been doing Developer Advocacy for some time, it’s very likely you heard this question:

So, how does your solution compare to <insert_competitor_solution>

This is probably not a question of if (if someone will ask but) but a question of when. This question can be asked at a conference, meetup, workshop, an online forum or even just via email.

There is no right or wrong answer here – as usually in developer advocacy. I want to share some guidelines I shared with my team on how to respond to this question.

Unless you have a deep knowledge of the competitor’s solution and can offer a constructive comparison, don’t offer a comparison. With so many different frameworks, libraries, tools, clouds – it’s not easy to have a strong understanding of how competitor’s products work.

Never bash the completion. It doesn’t make you look good and most likely damages your credibility, reputation and your company’s. It also damages any goodwill you had with the community. It shows weakness.

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Why Developer Advocacy programs should consider working with partners

One of the goals of many developer advocacy programs is to reach more new developers. One approach that I leveraged when I was at Appery.io and we leverage even more at IBM Developer is working with partners.  In this blog post I want to share a few reasons why working partners has benefits.

We work with organizations such as Women Who Code, Hacker Dojo, The Den and others. These organizations have their own vibrant developer communities. We also work with developer companies such as Twilio, Slack, Cloudinary, Dashbot, JFrog and others. These companies have their own vibrant developer communities.

There are a number of factors why we like working with partners.

First, and probably the most important – working with partners and external communities allows us to provide developer education to developers who we probably wouldn’t reach otherwise. At the same time, the partner is able to tap in our growing developer community. This has a lot of value to both organizations. A one-off event is probably fine but we like to build a relationship with these organizations. We ty to be consistent and host a monthly event. If one event a month is too often, you can try to do once every two month. Event frequency is really up to you.

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How content creates content

A big part of many developer advocacy programs is content. Content can be in the form of tutorials, blog posts, videos and hands-on workshops and other forms. Coming up with content ideas is not always easy. In this blog post I’m going to share some ideas how to simplify content creation.

The IBM Developer SF team hosts weekly events. We host at least one in-person event and one online event (webinar/online meetup). For every in-person workshop we host an online event. It’s usually best to host the online event after the in-person event as people who couldn’t make the in-person event can watch the online version (but the other way is also fine).  The in-person event is about two hours and the online event is usually 40 minutes.  So yes, the content covered will be different but the basis will be the same. This is the first example where doing a hands-on workshop easily creates content for an online event.  The in-person event doesn’t necessarily need to be a meetup/workshop type event. It can also be a conference talk, a panel or a Q&A. It can really be anything.

We we host our online events on Crowdcast, the event is automatically recorded and the recording is available a few minutes after the event is over. The video can be downloaded and uploaded to your YouTube channel. Right there you have another piece of content. You can also take the video and create a blog post with it. Embed the video in the blog post with a short description of what you covered. That’s another content idea.

Here is an example of how you can start:

content-creates-content-1

This is nice considering this all from a single content piece.

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DevRel Q&A with Matthew Revell from Hoopy

I did a Q&A with Matthew Revell from Hoopy on Developer Advocacy.

Matthew: Tell me about your role at IBM.

Max: I joined IBM about a year and a half ago and work in the Developer Advocacy organization. I lead a wonderful team of Developer Advocates and we cover the North America West region. The majority of our time we spend in the San Francisco Bay Area. The team provides developer education and covers technologies such as Watson AI, Containers, Serverless, Blockchain, Node.js and Machine Learning.

We run weekly in-person and online developer education events in the San Francisco Bay Area. We love to partner with other companies and organizations such as Women Who Code, Hacker Dojo, and others to host joint events. This works extremely well for us. We also attend and speak at local conferences and publish content such as tutorial, how-to’s, and videos.

Matthew: What brought you to this point in your career?

Read the rest of the Q&A.