I am deeply passionate about communities. I have been ever since the early days of Open Source. I’m talking dial-up internet times, by the way.
I started my career as a full-stack Open Source Java developer. It wasn’t called full-stack back in the days. We just did everything by ourselves, plain and simple. It’s a thing now.
My first development team applied extreme programming. Strictly by the book, as nerds do. Kent Beck was a hero. Green was our favorite color. Pair-programming desks were cluttered with books like The Mythical Man-Month and Unit Testing.
Books were a big deal back then.
I was hooked on collaborative development.
I didn’t realize it at the time. I sure didn’t fully appreciate it.
I always had an intense desire to understand, to think out loud, to dig deep for answers to questions you don’t even fully grasp. To throw it out there and hope someone is listening.
The developer community has come a long way. No matter what you’re building you’re part of the largest community in the world and it’s getting bigger and more productive every year. Software development is more than ever a community endeavor. There’s always someone listening.
For most disciplines, experimentation is limited. If you are learning bioengineering, you probably lack the equipment, certifications, and budget to do it in your home. If you are learning chemical engineering, I doubt you are allowed to turn your backyard into a refinery.
For most developers, these limitations don’t apply. A laptop, an internet connection, a curious mind, and coffee will get you most of the way.
However, without a community you are stuck. A community is how we learn new skills, hear different perspectives, receive support from others, grow as people, and feel like we belong. Amazing things happen when people talk and connect with each other.
If I can not connect and engage.
I feel lost.
Back in 2005, I hosted my first community event. I was working on a software team that struggled to improve the flow of QA. The agile community was still young back then. People had more questions than answers, and we were not yet as connected as we are today.
I hosted my first Open Space. People drove all around the country to connect and share their experiences. Heck, people even flew in from other countries. I never felt more alive.
Following years I build communities and ecosystems for a wide range of industries, from software development, product design, leadership, to innovation. I witnessed the rise and fall of communities.
Almost 15 years passed by.
Today, I’m going back to my roots.
Tapping into a developer community can be a challenge. Especially when you are a developing-facing company that wants to gain market share in the competitive developer ecosystem. I want to help you to win the hearts and minds of your developer community.
It is not just about understanding the needs and goals of your developers, but to fundamentally understand the fabrics of their culture.
This is called developer relations.
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