This will be a shorter email as I'm packing for a holiday!
This month, I learned from Sean that developer tools are always doing developer relations. Even if there is no DevRel team yet.
I also learned from Zivit that it takes effort and intent to understand the language developers use to describe their problems.
And finally from Colin, I got an insight into a market I thought was very mature (auth) but actually still has a long, long way to go.
Sean Falconer - Head of Developer Relations & Product Marketing at Skyflow
Sean was the first guest request I had from a listener (thanks Harpreet!)
Sean dropped a lot of knowledge so I've broken it down ito sections
On starting a DevRel function:
- There is no one answer for when the best time to build a DevRel function is, it depends on many different factors and is very context dependent.
- If you're developer-first or even developer-plus, you’re doing developer relations - even if you don't have a DevRel function.
- Developer relations can mean very different things, so it’s important to understand what you’re hiring for and what the goals of the program are.
- A lot of this is a long term investment - it can take 6-12 months to see real payoff from something like a content strategy or event strategy.
- You need to viciously weigh the decision about whether to start a DevRel function against the other things and investments that you could be making for your company.
- Understand what type of content is most important for your company and focus on quality over quantity.
Early DevRel hires:
- Understand your company’s goals, values, and culture before beginning the hiring process.
- Do not hire a junior person at the beginning
- Consider hiring someone with a founder mindset who is flexible and able to adapt to change.
- Think about the long-term when hiring for developer relations and do not hire simply to fill a seat.
- Be patient and take the time to find the right person for the job.
Early stage DevRel:
- If a company is a startup, developers should not be limited to only working with engineering.
- There is a tension that often exists between some people in DevRel and marketing teams. The tension is unproductive because it doesn't really matter what you do within your silo if the company fails.
Zivit Katz - VP of Marketing at Zigi
Zigi is the developer's assistant for non-coding tasks
I've had three or four conversations over the past six months with Zivit and I've been following Zigi for a while, so I was really delighted to share this episode.
Zivit was previously with Wix and brings a really great approach that is led by diving into the field and listening.
- Zivit interviewed 50 developers to learn about the challenges they have as well as the language they used to describe these challenges.
- Developers see themselves as creators and that they suffer from cognitive overload from non-coding tasks
- Craft a strong story that can be remembered and one that has room to grow as your company does
- Work on social proof - check out the social proof on Zigi.ai
- Understand your market and your product positioning within it
- Understand your user’s intent
- Create a marketing plan and update it every few months
Colin Sidoti - Founder of Clerk.dev
Clerk.dev is ridiculously easy authentication and user management
I really enjoyed this conversation with Colin. I have to admit that before this conversation I thought auth was a solved problem but now I'm so excited for what Clerk is doing.
Clerk have done a really great job of embedding themselves in the JAMstack community and really raising the bar on what it means to be an auth provider.
- Auth is not quite solved yet, and this is what led Colin and his brother to start Clerk
- The biggest challenge is getting developers to try a new tool, when they may already have a preferred solution
- Clerk aims to become preferred over open source tools by offering a faster, more complete solution - a better developer experience.
- Clerk focuses on React and the JAMstack to make it easy for developers to get started
- Even the biggest player, Auth0, estimate they only have about 10% of market share
- Invested a ton into user profiles (something their big competitors don't have)
- Don't compromise on security and reliability even if it slows you down initially
I'm heading to Japan on Friday so I'll probably only release one episode in the next two weeks.
But then we'll be back with even more amazing guests.
And probably five developer tool lessons learned from Japanese vending machines.