September Meetup: Anil Krishnashetty and Andy Piper

Building a strong developer community can offer real growth opportunities for your business. That was the message coming from the talks at Voxgig’s September meetup, featuring Anil Krishnashetty and Andy Piper. 

Anil Krishnashetty is a product marketing manager and prototype tester with over 13 years’ experience. He’s currently working at Contentful, who sponsor the Voxgig meetups. Contentful is an API-first service that enables you to create, design and edit content on any channel. 

Developer-Centered Design

Anil has always had a passion for design and was keen to enhance the developer experience of Contentful’s open-source products. He and his team carried out prototype testing with the help of their developer communities. They answered questions on Contentful’s Slack channel, carried out developer interviews and organized peer programming sessions with developers. 

These interactions helped Anil and his team source developers who were willing to test Contentful’s products in peer programming sessions. After each session, Anil’s team spent 15 minutes logging the learnings from the session into Jira, in documents they called friction logs. 

Anil and his colleagues quickly realized that their designs didn’t address the issues developers were struggling with. When they observed how developers interacted with their products during the peer programming sessions, they were able to identify their pain points and to resolve those issues quickly. 

How To Enhance Developer Experience Through Community 

Anil offered plenty of tips to help people avail of the opportunities that their developer communities offer. 

  1. Create A Feedback Channel – make it easy for developers to give you feedback via Google Forms and email. You can also ask developers to test your products in real time, at conferences and meetups. 
  2. Build an internal community. You have a ready-made community of internal engineers, who can test your tools and log the pain points. They’ll give you a fresh perspective on the effectiveness of your tools. 
  3. Start Meaningful Conversations – If you want to gain value from your community, give them value first. Engage them with interesting discussion topics and answer their questions. With the relationships you build, you’ll be able to find people who are willing to test your products. 

Dev Rel In the Era of Community Everywhere

Andy Piper is a dev rel and self-confessed hardware tinkerer, who worked at Twitter during the glory days when developer communities gathered in one place. Now developer communities have migrated to multiple platforms – community is everywhere. Andy shared the challenges and opportunities and challenges ‘community everywhere’ offers to dev rel professionals. 

Welcome to the Fediverse

Because community is everywhere, you now have to talk to a lot of people in a lot of places– Threads, Mastodon, GitHub, apps, blogs etc. But that’s not all – you also have to make sure that your content can be easily shared across all the platforms where your community lives. That’s where the Fediverse comes in. 

The Fediverse is a decentralized network of platforms like Activity Hub and PeerTube, which allow you to retain ownership of your data and make it portable. You can transfer your content easily between platforms, save it and share it with your community wherever they source their information. 

Takeaways from today’s Meetup

  • Involving developers in your design process gives you an opportunity to observe how they’re interacting with their products in real time. This helps you uncover pain points you may not have been aware of and create products that bring real value to your developer communities. 
  • Community is everywhere, so you need to talk to more people in more places. But the good news is that they’re talking about your products in more places, which gives you the power to reach a wider community than ever before.