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The Evangelism Compendium - Issue #2

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I was going to use this issue to talk about what it's like going to conferences and spending literall
 

The Evangelism Compendium

June 30 · Issue #2 · View online
The successes and (mostly) failures of a developer community builder person

I was going to use this issue to talk about what it’s like going to conferences and spending literally weeks on end bouncing around the planet. 
It was going to be something like this: Turbulence. Flight delays. Crappy late night food. Timezones. Wah. 
I decided that was too easy, though. I can talk about that anytime. And I think it’d be more appropriately written literally 30,000’ in the air. 
Let’s instead talk about building a community… from nothing

Ohh, yes
How to win friends and influence people
My patented 700 step process standard issue recipe for driving adoption and creating community goes something like this:
  • Develop decent documentation. Add gifs and don’t forget information hierarchy. 
  • Talk. Nay- listen to actual users. Write down what they say. Share that and takeaways with the team.
  • Capture issues as well as ideas in a backlog or some sort of roadmap.
  • Try to memorize your API completely.
  • Get outside the building and talk about cool stuff that may or may not have to do with your company. Dealers choice.
  • Try to come up with a firm stance on something even if it’s scary.
  • Try to come up with something profound even though you feel like a total outsider poseur imposter.
  • Build things with code even if it means learning new things.
  • Ship content often from the three topics above and hope it will be relevant and helpful to your users.
  • Measure that content and what you do as well as you can. Try to measure with numbers if possible.
  • Spend too much time on Twitter and Slack groups.
  • Read HackerNews. 
  • Go to StackOverflow but only if you’re ok getting yelled at.
  • Try to balance work you deem important and interesting with work the company deems more important.
  • Pass a newborn under a virgin horse three times during a full moon.
  • Wear a cowl while reciting passages from the Necronomicon. Spin.
  • Only wash on Thursdays.
  • Order more swag.
  • Cross your fingers and hope to the open-source gods and internet wizards that they may bless your product with success.
  • Work hard. Be nice. 
  • Repeat.
People are funny
Spoiler alert…
You an do all of the above. And more. Perfectly. 
And still fail. 
Fail to drive adoption. Fail to get users. Fail to convert users into paying subscriptions. Fail to get anyone to notice you. Fail to convince the business that what you do is worth more than your salary + travel expenses.
I know. I’ve been there.
I’ve failed at every single one of those things numerous times. I’ve made a fool of myself in front of a room full of people. I’ve had to back out of conferences because travel funding got slashed (pro tip: conference organizers LOVE this!). I’ve had some really really shitty days at work.
I'm ok you're ok
Second spoiler alert…
That doesn’t mean what you do was wrong. Or less valuable.
Sometimes the product is just crappy. Sometimes pricing is terrible. Sometimes the documentation really isn’t as good as you think it is. Sometimes it’s just the wrong time. Sometimes the servers go down right in the middle of a hackathon and sometimes wifi just shits the bed.
Second spoiler alert…
That doesn’t mean what you do was wrong. Or less valuable.
Sometimes the product is just crappy. Sometimes pricing is terrible. Sometimes the documentation really isn’t as good as you think it is. Sometimes it’s just the wrong time. Sometimes the servers go down right in the middle of a hackathon and sometimes wifi just shits the bed.

It starts small
One of my proudest moments lately was in our Slack channel. A developer showed up. Asked a question.
and then…. wait for it…
Another community member answered it. 
Exactly
Exactly
I threw a party in my head. I found a tiny little baby itty bitty seedling of a community sprouting up before my very eyes. SOMETHING HAD WORKED. 
It’s these types of things that keep me going. The big wins? Eh. They’re fine I guess. But if I can actually see other peoples lives improve just a teensy amount and share some love? Well damned if that isn’t the best thing on the planet.
You got this
As dev evangelists/marketers/advocates we’re in the business of helping people. When we can’t help people life gets hard. Work gets frustrating. We start questions why we’re here. I know. I do it on the quarterly. Sometimes the daily.
What I’ve learned (mainly through the consolation from people smarter, more experienced, and cooler than myself) is that this isn’t unique. You are not a special flower that is incapable of success. 
What YOU do is important because if you learn how to suck a little less next time then IMHO it’s worth it. If you make the internet a little less shitty. A teeny bit more inclusive. A smidge more supportive or even a schmekel more fun? 
Well then my friend- you have succeeded.
Next time...
In which we talk about making and shipping shit. 
Same bat time! Same bat channel! 
Obligatory cat tax
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