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Bonus: Developer Advocacy Roundtable


The. Hi, everybody. I'm wrong yet Barak. And this is a special bonus episode of command line heroes. An original podcast from red hat. This podcast went allot of places in season two we explored programming languages data overload security, crises the advent of service. I mean, we even went to Mars, but after closing out season two there was still one more place. We wanted to go. We wanted to go inside the minds of the advocates thought leaders who helped shape all the work that developers do sometimes they're called developer advocates or they're in developer relations, or their developer evangelists, whatever their exact titles from the developer's perspective. They seem to do a lot of the same things. You've seen them. Give keynotes at conferences. You've heard them getting interviewed on podcast like this one. You probably read their blog posts. But who are they and what? Exactly are they using their voices to get done to ring in two thousand nineteen we've pulled together. A roundtable of amazing people for you while they're titles are all different. Their purpose is the same. They're here to help developers and make sure their needs and voices are heard these folks are classic command line heroes. From the bay area. Sandra person is a musician global strategist and creator of the deverell summit, high Ceron Illo and also in San Francisco, we have Ricky Robin net. He's the director of the developer network over twenty. Oh, what's up? Joining me from just outside of Phoenix is Robin Bertran a community architect at red hat. Hi there. How are you doing? Great. Excellent. So there are a lot of titles floating around. There's developer advocate developer evangelist developer relations, and with all these new things basic definitions are super important. So I think a good place to start is just to define what these things are in. Specifically what you all do in this space. So can you tell me your job title? And what that title actually means Ricky let's start with. You sounds good. My title is the director of the developer network. What I have the privilege of doing is serving a team of developer relations of professionals. We haven't evangelism team we have a education team, and we have a community team. So it's definitely a mishmash of all the the different titles. You here. We kind of collect them on the team. Awesome. And sandra. What about you? I at Missoula as declarable strap. Gis for events and sponsorship, and I work with are develop outreach team in the merging tech group at Missoula. And usually explain my day to day activities as a lot of research in communications and explore rations that really leads to evaluating and deciding how we should all invest our resources our time money swag speakers excetera in order to give back to the developer community, but also to receive feedback from the developer community. So both evangelism side and the advocate side. Awesome. And robin. You're up next. Hi, well, so my official title is community architect. I get a lot of questions about this title. I've gone by community manager. I've gone by developer advocate. I've even gone by operations advocate at one job in the past. But I like to think of what I do is. You know? You know, when you're a community manager like the idea that you're really managing all these people who are contributing out of the goodness of their heart is sort of a silly notion. So I like to think of what I do as building frameworks in which people can actually successfully participate and make sure that roadblocks aren't in their way, and that they can get done all things they wanna get done and Ricky since you are essentially, the director of the entire network, not just in advocacy revenge. Eliza or community kind of feels like you're running the whole show. How do you understand this idea of being an advocate either four developers or advocating to developers? It's a great question. Phil Nash is one of the Vangelis in our team had had a great framing for this that I'm gonna steal which is we have a lot of different ways of describing what we do. But ultimately a lot of them just being helped. I like that. Yeah. We help developers. And so, you know, sometimes that help books like answering a question on stack overflow. Sometimes it looks like building a new. A tool sometimes it looks like organizing an event, and then sometimes it looks like initiating a product change internally. So I think that's the best framing. I've heard is really our responsibility responsibilities to help. Absolutely. And sandra. What I'm so interested in about your position is that you're not just a strategist your global strategist. And you're all over the world trying to bring developers together and help them as part of your job and Mozilla when we think about advocacy on a global scale. What does that look like does it mean, something different across different countries continents? Yeah. Absolutely. We know we just wrapped our third annual Deborah summit to Seyran Singapore. And the past two years, we hosted the event in Seattle and getting out to Singapore. We saw a different perspective when we get outside of the bay area. It's it can be something as basic as you know. How do we make sure everything just works? Off line because connectivity such an issue or something like how do we just make sure developer who's working in Indonesia? Feels just connected to a developer community, whether that's online or on site through meet ups and an always going back to recognizing that some of our quote, unquote, basic things some of our easy things like Christmas imple- meet up in the bay area. Which is so a diamond doesn't rock, and there's a meet up everywhere is still something really special and something that a developer in. Let's say Vietnam still cease to be incredibly important valuable in enriching their developer community life. And one thing I'm noticing is that everyone has mentioned community in some way. And I run a community myself do code newbie, and I regularly get recruited by companies to be an an evangelist or a community manager for their company and one. Thing that I've always been a little worried about maybe little squeamish about thinking. Okay. I've spent the last three or four years taking care of this community with no strings attached on my terms. I'm doing what I think is best. But if I worked for a company, then will I have to sacrifice that my going to be in a position where to put the company before the needs of the community and how do I palace that relationship? So wondering, Robin, maybe we could start with you as a community architect. How do you how do you separate that? How do you maintain that church and state relationship so to speak? Oh, it's certainly an interesting balance. I mean, one of my former jobs, it's actually being the fidora project leader, and you know, for doors e upstream fort red hat enterprise, Lennox part of your role there is really to be sort of the the balancing act, right? The past three between, you know, or people happy in the community is company happy with what the community is doing and making sure that, you know, basically, everybody's one big happy family. And you know, I think when you're doing your job best in that position. Yeah. You're pretty much bound to probably anger someone at the at the corporate headquarters once in a while. But you know, the proof is in the pudding at the end of the day. Right. Like, I people ask me. Also, I'm like, how do you balance, you know, what's going on with answerable and red hat, and you know, like would answer we'll got bought by red hat like, oh, my God is red hat going to take it over and do something terrible to it like get rid of a bunch of support. And it was like that would be defeating the whole purpose. Of having this entire project. We haven't gotten to four thousand contributors by being terrible, making sure that your management trusts in you. And that you have clear communication with folks. All the time about what's actually going on that there aren't surprises, you know, on either side of the aisle is part of what makes the difference between, you know, success and maybe not always success. But you know, certainly people being surprised, absolutely. And Ricky what about you think about church and state in that relationship when you're doing so many different things? I think you you have to believe in the in the company and the technology. You have to believe that what you are bringing developers is going to have an impact on their lives and their careers and their companies. And then on the flip side, you have to have executives who believe in this approach to your work. So we're we're very lucky that our CEO is a developer in in. In in many ways was the driving force behind the way that we approach our developer community are evangelists have mission to inspire equip developers. And so there are times when we say is this Cisco inspire equip them because if it's not we shouldn't really be doing it because it's something that's outside of our purview. Sandra? I feel like you're a little bit at an advantage. Because is a nonprofit. So I feel like maybe I was gonna say, yeah. Tell me about that the history of missoula's that we're a rebellious company. We've always ran rebelled against the the corporate man, right? The whole history of coming out of Netscape. And would our one of our founders Mitchell Baker making sure that the web is and the internet is an open and free resource for all. I mean, we still every one of us every Mizzou leeann believes this mantra, and we hold it to, you know, dear to our heart. So it it's absolutely an amazing. You know company that has embraced the community side one hundred percent, absolutely. So Ricky I vividly remember the red export jacket. And I remember seeing you personally onstage during these awesome demos, and it feels like that whole approach to connecting with developers and helping developers was very new where did that idea even come from Attilio? That's that's. Very kind of you to to say, we've we do really believe we stand on the shoulders of giants here, you think of guy Kawasaki with apple of people doing the style of marketing way before us. I think that we got to be fortunate enough to be at the right time to to take this developers. And there's so many people who came in with the idea of of how we can do this and how to to keep leveling up how we approach it. I don't actually know who invented the red track jacket though. So now, I need to to go find out where that started. That's great jacket. I know that's like that's that's my mission for this afternoon now, and I'm wondering how has that idea of ventilate advocacy? How has that changed over time at Tokyo, given the fact that, you know, at one point you were a small little star little rebellious start up in the now, you're kind of a big company. How is the shape of? Changed as the company itself has changed yet. When I started here, I feel like I could have spent three hundred sixty five days a year hack Athans and in New York every weekend, you had to pick from five or six pack Afonso so much of what we did with evangelism was unit the hack Khan scene, and now that's not the same scene. And so really the the biggest changes have been driven outside the company rather than inside. So I talk about evangelist inspire in cuisine. And so the nice thing is that hasn't changed all the years. So the ways that they inspiring quip keep going differently, but the mission itself doesn't change and Robin with the rise of DevOps and Dev seco- ops. What does advocacy look like for for you and for being that community architect. Is there gonna be a ops? Advocate. Well, actually that was I mean my. First job after dropping out of school. Don't recommend it kids. Don't do that at home listening. Look at looking at you daughter. First job was actually as a Adleman at at Motorola for a number of years. And when I moved on from being in charge of fedora. A I worked at last search for a while. And you know, had this title of developer advocate and was like, yes, I hacked me way through several semesters of see in college. But you know, my heart was always in operations. I started feeling like my really developer advocate. I feel like I'm just advocating to ups, folks. Mostly, and I started calling myself an operations advocate, which nobody blinked an eye at everyone said, well, that's a really cool title. And I'm like, you know, I'm just advocating in general mostly to the inside of my company about what everybody when everybody else is doing so Zinder, we talked about how advocacy and vandalism looks different in different parts of the world. But I'm wondering over the years as we become increasingly more global and more connected has the larger picture larger shape of of. Evangelism shifted over time for you. You know, what is developer Latian? Are we pitching our product being more sales. E you know, I noticed that even large corporations are moving away from that tactic understanding that being offensive being truly a mindful of listening and responding to the needs of developers is key above all else. Not pitching product. I always go back and share with my team at Missoula that developers are actually one of the smartest and creative customer base that will ever work with they can smell that B S from MAs away. So we have to be smart about how we are sharing information. Like, it has to be a diverse group of talented and intelligent minds all coming together to become creative in our approach of communicating toward developer community. I really like that. This ID of many different skill sets. I guess backgrounds. Need to come together to release serve developers? Well to help developers help themselves to when I think about the rise of developer advocates to me, it feels very connected to the rise of open source. It almost feels like the more open source contributors there were and the bigger deal open-source became and the more big companies took it seriously. They almost had to establish better relationships with these computers, these developers it feels like those two really connected to me. So I'm curious about your ideas about that's, Robin. Let's let's start with you. Is that true at all as that idea of advocacy connected at all to the rise of open source, if you a company who is selling software that selling whatever licenses long-term support, you know, whatever your open source company's business model actually is if you don't have that. Feedback loop or you're not actually paying attention to what people are saying you're gonna wind up delivering of the proverbial wrong thing, I'm really being able to encompass that around the world and just day to day. And what you do is the difference between success, and I guess making the wrong thing, which nobody wants to spend time doing that idea. Yeah. That's generally a bad idea. So I want to know from each of you what you all have been focusing on really thinking about so Ricketts start with you, what kind of improvements, do you try to bring about in the developer culture in your role at Toyota, if I were to say the phrase, I've heard the most when I talked to developers. It's I'm not a developer. But. And that's probably like one of the biggest things that's always on my mind, broadening the definition of developer imposter syndrome for so many of us is a very real thing. It's amazing. How even some of the best developers? You know are struggling with it. And for me, that's one of the biggest things we can all do in. Our culture is give people permission to say. You know, what I am a developer? I am solving problems with code. And so one of my favorite stories is we have a member of our community name Doug McKenzie. That's a magician and he taught himself PHP. So he could use. Tech in his magic tricks on Doug is so cool because he was super humble about like, oh, I'm not a developer. And suddenly you see like he's writing more complicated code than than many people have ever seen to do things that blow minds. And so I just feel like there's so many Doug McKenzie's in the world who are doing great things with code. And we have the opportunity to give them permission to be part of the community and to have an identity in that work. I love that story because it reminds me of someone I interviewed for the podcast, actually, and she was a writer, and she had a bunch of Simon's where she had to learn get in order to write about get and she'd written so many of these articles in it grew to be on other coding topics, and eventually, you know, a couple years pass, and she'd essentially become a developer and didn't know it. And by the time, I interviewed her and I said, hey, do you know that your developer sitcom writer, and I said you can be both. They're not mutually exclusive. But yeah, that that shift in perspective saying, hey, I'm actually coating in creating therefore I can now call myself a coder is it's tough for people takes while to get there. Absolutely. Yeah. So Robin for you. What's been the most positive change that you've managed push Ford in recent years, just making sure that as as we grow that we're not losing track of the big picture that, you know, our our main goals around, you know, keeping it simple for people to use simple people to contribute to, you know, simple to actually get stuff done within your life, making sure we're not losing track that or getting more engineering help to just work on some of the structure of actual project. And make sure that we're doing good job of keeping all that stuff. In order was I dunno. I thought that was important. I don't you know, I'm gonna win a Nobel peace prize for that. But I know it's something that mattered a lot to lots of the contributors that were. For me. Sandra about you. What's been the most positive change that you've managed to push forward in recent years as a global strategist two things that really stand out from my mind is expanding this definition, the persona developer has been something. That's been very important. We'd love to grow our community. Right. So why why restricted definition and description of developer when we did a panel at Sundance with some fame seems like Rachel Watson, Chris milk. We we gave an opportunity for filmmakers producers decision-makers to say, oh, we can do that too. We don't have to be bound by restrictions of. What can we do as creative filmmakers? We can adopt technology, and we too can become developers. And that was very refreshing to see another moment that we had at Missoula was bringing an artist. Ian Brill alight artists in Chicago to work with. Us on a project that we label arch in we brought this huge plastic light LED light with seven raspberry pies. Being programmed structure to significant Java script developer events to sear and in order to invite more programmers, whether they call themselves developers or not to try out two languages that. Ms low was advocating this year, pretty strongly webley and rust so we created two simple templates to say try it out. But it's not programming that we wanted to push towards it's not coding it was. Yes, there's some lines code it's language, but what you want to do is create a few lines that now can translate into art. And that brought so many new people into our literally brought them to our table. And then they would write their lines of code go and walk over under the arch to see their light expressions now being looped. Into structure that was amazing. Wow. Sounds beautiful absolutely beautiful. So wondering when we talk about advocating for developers, and you talked ton about community in this idea of at the end of the day, whatever our job titles are really just trying to help people. What do developers need help with Ricky start with you? What what developers say that they need from you? Well, yeah. What that is a good question. I think that what of the things we found is that they're like technology changing so quickly. And a lot of what we get asked about is just where do I start? What what do I do? I how how do I know? I'm on the right path for us. That's probably one of the areas, we have been investing the most is we call like helping people. Discover their power to change the world with code uniform. And I prove thank you. Yes. That's exciting. So we built a tool called TULIO quest to help people. Discover that power to help them know where to get started. But, but I just sense. You know, there's been this theme of people finding their identity or are getting permission to have that identity and for every person that's writing code already or solving problems with code or software. There's so many more who want to and just don't know where to start yet. So that's that's a thing. That's on our mind a lot. Yeah. Is it Robin for you at red hat? What are red hat developers? Looking for a lot of times? It's people who come to you. And they've got some roadblock in their way. Whether it's you know, somehow, my PR fell through the, you know robot cracks, but a lot of times, it's also people who were like, hey, I had this cool idea. Maybe doesn't quite fit in here. But I thought maybe it might approve you know, how the community is. Running or might be a good, you know, companion tool to other stuff that we're working on. What do I do? And it's like how can I help you get started? What can I do like dude just need someone to say? Yes. Because I'm here to say, yes. All day long to me anything and just let people know that. Yes. Of course, you have permission to do that. So that's you know, I think the best thing that you can do at least in my position make sure people don't have things in their way, or the one thing that's in their ways waiting for someone to just say, yes, keep reiterating all the time that you don't need permission. But if someone needs it then by God, give it to them. So the last question when we need to wrap things up. Someone ask you each something. What is the single most important thing that you are going to be advocating for into nineteen. If you had a magic wand, what's the next big thing, you'd wanna change Sandra start with you. Oh, and you were going to. Well, the biggest challenges and yet the most exciting projects that we're going to be working on for twenty nineteen is to truly deliver on our promise of the web being one be greatest. Biggest most successful platform. We always tell developers. It's it's where you should build and ploy everywhere. But knowing that the web itself is incredibly complex, and that we have multiple browser vendors out there. Sometimes that's not a true statement. And it spit a perennial challenge for us, especially at Missoula where we want to keep the web open and free neccessary for all we want to we want to continue to make sure that we are fulfilling that promise to our developers that the web is indeed open accessible and available to all of review about you. Just making sure we're serving developers were they gather all. Line offline throughout the entire world. It can be super easy to get focused on what you see and forget that there's developers everywhere. Even when you don't see them. So I would wave my magic wand and just be more places all over the world finding out how he can help developers there. I just want to say I love Jared talk about dark matter. Developers was incredible. It's like a such a amazing concept when you hear it for the first time, it's like, wow. That really is. A thing tells about that what's dark matter developer, essentially, there are developers out there. There are those who do not show up to your meet ups who do not, you know. Participate in good hub online communities. Do not contribute to stock overflow on those are the developers who are still actively working and contributing, but we do not know we you know, we know that they're there. But we cannot see them we cannot identify them. And those are actually a very important segment of the developer community that we tend to ignore and we cannot it will be to our detriment working devolve relations, ignore the the community that does not speak up. And we need to be more proactive in searching those dark matter developers out in the universe. All I love. All. That's very cool. Yeah. And Jared actually works at twila, right? Yes. Yes. He runs to APEC devil. One of my former red hot colleagues who's now a company called tied lift Chris grams, actually have a blog that was titled dark matter matters. The things you don't see still actually matter. Absolutely and Robin without you. What would you do with your magic wand? Oh with my magic wand, so many things, but I guess pursuant to this conversation getting better at managing our dependencies upon each other. And maybe not surprising each other, especially when so many of us work in, you know, open stack OPN v and an answer will and all these things that, you know, build on top of each other just making sure that the relationships between our projects is more obvious than things can be when your head down in stuff. So it's a thing. I'm really looking forward to over the coming year because we're getting traction very exciting now traction is always just so good so exciting. Well, I wanna thank all of you. So so much for joining us today and sharing your minds and your thoughts in your stories that you also much you want to say good. Bye bye, y'all. Thank you so much pleasure being on this panel. Yes, thanks for having us. Absolutely. Today's roundtable included Robin Bergeron community architect at red hat. Sandra person, global strategist and Mozilla and Ricky rob net director of the developer network at twilly. Oh. I consider myself hugely lucky to have platforms where I could share my vision for what our community could become whether here on this podcast or elsewhere. But I wanna point out you do not have to have your own podcast to be an advocate being an advocate. Simply means you keep your eyes open, and you speak up on behalf of others. It really can be everybody's job. So I'm hoping Robin Sandra and Ricky give you a little inspiration to advocate for what matters to you. Meanwhile, season three of command line heroes is already in the works. You can be one of the first to learn about new episodes when they dropped this spring. If you haven't already subscribe over at apple podcast, Google podcasts or wherever you get your podcast. It's one click and it's one hundred percent free. I'm wrong at Barak. Thank you so much for listening and until season three keep on Coton.

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