Empathy and education. Meet Kelly M and Maria Ashby

Kelly Moreira: Empathy and Growth Metrics

Respect and empathy were the words of the day at the October Voxgig DevRel Meetup. Kelly Moraira and Maria Ashby shared their insights about user-centered product design and advocating for others. 

Kelly Moraira is a software engineer, developer advocate and data scientist. She spoke about how growth metrics evolve at each stage of your company’s growth, but the user stays the same, and empathy for the user’s needs is key to achieving growth. 

You don’t have to wait until a certain point to start measuring growth metrics – you can start at pre-seed stage. Keep talking to your users, finding out what they’re looking for in your tool – and what they’re not looking for. 

Startup Growth Metrics

At startup stage, the growth metrics change. Kelly outlined three useful metrics for measuring startup growth. 

  • Time To First Launch –reduce the time it takes for external developers to start using your tool or API, so you can create your final version faster and start earning revenue. 
  • New users –how long it takes to obtain new users and how many become monthly active users. 
  • Conversion Rate –how long it takes for monthly active users to start using the paid version of your product. 

How to Track Metrics 

Tracking metrics is an ongoing process. You talk to users, run experiments and learn from those experiments. You gather feedback and data from those experiments – and then you do it all again. 

You can also track metrics with the content you create, measuring the number of people who test your demo app and read your concept articles and tutorials. Finally, you can add a tracking link to your product descriptors on YouTube etc. and measure how many people click on it. 

How To Communicate With Users

There are some simple ways to keep those great conversations going. 

  • Make sure your docs are high-quality 
  • Pay attention to questions, so you can address issues immediately. 
  • Organize a one-on-support meeting with your engineers. Your users aren’t just external – you need buy in from your team. 
  • Gather feedback. Zoom offers you the option of creating a survey which pops up after the call. 
  • Create valuable content – when your product engineers launch a new feature, you can create a ton of new content around it.  

Enterprise Metrics

When a startup becomes a full-blown enterprise, the metrics change again. You don’t think in terms of churn; you think about building long-term relationships founded on empathy. 

You can capture email addresses and embed payment tools at student hackathons, For example, you build relationships with the student population through hackathons, and those students will return to your tools when they become junior developers.  

Maria Ashby: My Journey from Classroom to Cloud

Maria Ashby is a developer advocate with Kubeshop. Her dev rel career is founded on advocating for others and helping them discover the power of technology, regardless of their background or level of tech knowledge. 

Maria’s Mission 

Maria knew from an early age that education was the key for if she wanted to advocate for others. She started to tutor children from all kinds of backgrounds, opening them up to the power of Python, Java and other coding languages. 

Maria wants to create a sense of belonging in the world of tech, so that everyone can experience its power. She wants to banish the notion that the world of engineering is an untouchable place, only open to a few – if you can solve problems, you’re an engineer. 

User-Oriented Developers

Like Kelly, Maria advocates user-centered design. When you design a product with users in mind, it becomes accessible to everyone. Every developer can be an advocate for good design – you just need a passion for educating others on how to use your products. 

The thread of user-centered design continued into the Q&A. Everyone agreed that effective product design assumes no knowledge on the part of the user - you take them through it step by step. This shows respect for users, and you’re educating them, helping them feel confident about using your tools. 


  • Keep your internal and external users at the heart of your product design and treat them with empathy and respect.
  • Any developer can advocate for others, as long as you’re committed to educating people about your products.