In the expansive digital landscape, the surge of community-generated content mirrors the omnipresence of junk food in our diets: readily available, irresistibly consumable, but often lacking in nutritional value. This juxtaposition highlights a stark contrast in the realm of information consumption, where the immediate gratification provided by easily accessible content competes with the rich, nourishing fare of expertly curated information, akin to the culinary masterpieces found in high-end restaurants. Let’s delve into this analogy to understand the implications for knowledge acquisition, cultural enrichment, and personal development.

The Junk Food Paradigm of Community-Generated Content

Community-generated content, in many ways, resembles the characteristics of junk food: it’s designed for convenience, immediate satisfaction, and mass appeal. Social media feeds, user-contributed blogs, and forums are bursting with this type of content, offering a never-ending buffet of information that caters to every conceivable taste and interest. However, just as junk food can lead to unhealthy physical outcomes, the overconsumption of low-quality digital content poses risks to our intellectual and cultural well-being.

Pros of Community-Generated Content:

  • Ubiquity: Like junk food, community-generated content is everywhere, providing a constant stream of information that’s easily accessible to virtually anyone with an internet connection.
  • Variety: The sheer volume of content creators contributes to a diverse array of subjects and opinions, offering something for every palate.
  • Interactivity: The participatory nature of content creation and sharing fosters a sense of community and engagement, drawing users into the digital conversation.

Cons of Community-Generated Content:

  • Low Nutritional Value: Much of this content is the informational equivalent of empty calories — lacking in substance and failing to contribute to intellectual growth or critical thinking.
  • Quality Concerns: Without rigorous editorial standards, the vast landscape of community-generated content is fraught with misinformation and superficiality.
  • Overindulgence: The addictive design of platforms encourages constant consumption, leading to information overload without meaningful engagement or understanding.

The Gourmet Experience of Curated Content

In stark contrast, curated content represents the high-end restaurant of the digital world. This content is meticulously crafted by experts and thought leaders, providing a gourmet feast for the mind that satisfies not only the quest for knowledge but also the desire for depth, accuracy, and insight. High-quality journals, reputable news outlets, and scholarly blogs offer a carefully selected menu of information, prepared with attention to detail and presented with finesse.

Pros of Curated Content:

  • Rich Nutritional Value: Each piece of content is densely packed with valuable insights, fostering deep understanding and critical engagement.
  • Rigorous Quality Control: Stringent editorial processes ensure accuracy, relevance, and integrity, much like the exacting standards observed in fine dining kitchens.
  • An Engaging Experience: The thoughtful presentation and depth of curated content deliver an intellectually stimulating experience, encouraging consumers to savor and reflect upon the information.

Cons of Curated Content:

  • Limited Accessibility: High-quality information often comes with a price tag or is gated behind subscriptions, making it less accessible to a broader audience.
  • Constrained Diversity: The emphasis on expert curation might narrow the scope of perspectives, potentially overlooking novel insights or emerging voices.
  • Investment Required: Consuming and appreciating curated content demands time, effort, and a willingness to engage deeply, akin to the commitment required for a fine dining experience.

Bridging the Nutritional Divide

The digital information ecosystem’s future hinges on finding a balance between the instant gratification of community-generated content and the enriching experience of curated content. This equilibrium involves elevating the quality of readily available information while making in-depth, high-quality content more accessible and engaging to the public.

Navigating the digital age requires a discerning approach to content consumption, akin to choosing a balanced diet for physical health. While the allure of junk food-like community-generated content is undeniable, the sustenance and satisfaction derived from the gourmet offerings of curated content are indispensable for intellectual vitality and cultural growth. By advocating for higher standards across the digital content spectrum and fostering an appreciation for depth and quality, we can cultivate a more informed, thoughtful, and healthy digital discourse. This balance not only enriches individual minds but also strengthens the fabric of our collective intellectual and cultural landscape.

Developer training and certification programs provide tremendous value by increasing technical proficiency. But they often lack integration with strategic company priorities besides generic developer success. This article outlines an approach to transform skills building into a mission-critical enabler helping drive business growth, retention, and innovation.

Assessing Needs and Opportunities

The first phase focuses research on establishing the case for training and certifications as a strategic priority:

Skills Analysis: Survey developers on key gaps impacting productivity or advancement. Monitor forums and support tickets to identify recurring issues stemming from lack of expertise.

Stakeholder Input: Interview sales teams, customer success managers, product managers on use cases where lack of technical enablement impacts metrics like deal progression, churn, feature discovery. Document specific examples.

Competitive Benchmarking: Analyze technical training and certification offerings within the industry for differentiation opportunities. Look at job posts to determine in-demand skills.

Business Goal Alignment: Identify connections between establishing expertise and company OKRs around revenue growth, platform adoption, retention, or partnerships.

This grounded needs assessment spotlights areas where DevRel-led training and certifications can provide disproportionate strategic value.

Crafting Value Propositions

With priority skill and persona gaps understood, the next phase involves defining value propositions positioning learning programs as enablers of specific business outcomes:

Support Enterprise Deals: Getting Services Certified in Platform Training to Meet Procurement Gates

Reduce Churn: New Admin Certification Pathway Improves Troubleshooting and Product Mastery

Accelerate Releases: Architecture Certification Unlocks Effective Utilization of New Platform Capabilities

These statements connect technical enablement directly to revenue, retention, innovation, or other goals stakeholders care about.

Structuring Programs Strategically

Training and certs now emerge not just as a decentralized nice-to-have, but instead a centralized, mission-critical capability underpinning organizational success measures.

With executive backing, DevRel can invest in robust infrastructure for learning programs tightly aligned to corporate objectives:

  • Learning tracks tailored to persona journey stages
  • Blended modalities combining various formats
  • Case studies and demos grounded in customer success
  • Assessment-based credentialing pathways
  • Incentives and recognition for participation

This transforms technical enablement from an ad hoc function into a strategic capability.

Promoting for Impact

Once built, promotion should continuously reinforce tying program objectives to business priorities:

  • Produce collateral clearly stating value propositions
  • Recruit developer advocates to share firsthand impact stories
  • Offer rewards for participation as initial catalyst for word-of-mouth
  • Activate internal channels – email, Slack, town halls – to drive awareness

This branding strengthens positioning learning as an indispensable growth lever, not just feel-good community initiative.

Sustaining Momentum

Ongoing success requires relentless focus on business contribution through training and certifications:

  • Survey participants on applied outcomes from program
  • Collect case studies on deals won, churn prevented, products built
  • Share metrics updates in exec meetings showing impact
  • Support managers to sponsor team enrollment
  • Showcase certified developers in external marketing
  • Launch new specialty credentials on emerging priorities

The emphasis on alignments to corporate goals must persist, not just at launch.

Positioning Enablement as Imperative

Developer relations organizations seeking to maximize impact should evaluate shifting technical training and certifications from the domain of individual betterment toward instrumental programs underpinning strategic success.

This requires understanding precisely where skills gaps intersect with business priorities combined with articulate value propositions. Initiatives must build ongoing reinforcement of corporate benefit into the very fabric of learning programs through promotion, incentives, metrics, and case studies.

The payoff? Developers gain proficiency en masse. And organizations accelerate key objectives through large-scale capability building and enhancement. Aligned training initiatives become force multipliers, providing individual improvement at scale while propelling products to market, deals to close, churn to lower, and revenue to climb.


If this vision of strategic technical enablement resonates with you as a potential game-changer, we have hands-on experience executing sophisticated training programs and credentialing pathways tightly aligned to core business objectives. Let’s explore where skilling initiatives could unlock outcomes around revenue, retention, or adoption in your organization specifically. Our team can guide you in research, design strategy, and even tactical implementation support powered by proven learning frameworks.

Developer relations teams have countless options for activities to build community – from events and content production to incentive programs and support forums. With limited resources, where should they focus to drive growth and engagement?

This article summarizes a data-backed methodology for ranking the expected impact from 25 common DevRel activities specifically on attracting, energizing and retaining community members.

Scoring Model

To enable comparisons, each activity receives a categorical score as a consistent grading mechanism:

  • Highly Impactful
  • Moderately Impactful
  • Impactful
  • Low Impact

While no activity is completely ineffective, this scale identifies where teams should prioritize spending based on potential influence on developer community health and growth.

Key Determinants of Impact

The rankings derive from assessing each activity against a set of determining factors indicative of ability to create connections and provide value:

  • Depth of engagement
  • Developer contribution and participation levels
  • Applicability to personas across the journey
  • Lasting utility beyond one-off interactions

This focuses impact assessment specifically on community-building metrics beyond general awareness.

Highly Impactful Activities

Of 25 common activities, 8 emerge as highly impactful based on their strong performance against the key determinants:

Workshops & Hackathons – Hands-on learning builds relationships; participants directly give back by creating demos.

Event Sponsorships – Visibility and credibility from integration into external developer communities.

1:1 Technical Support – High-touch guidance that builds loyalty and meets key user needs.

Open Source Projects – Provides tangible value to developers; contributor community engagement.

Free Tiers – Low barrier to entry increases reach, enables testing and learning.

Challenges & Bounties – Rewards contributions, incentivizes participation beyond passive users.

Partnerships – Extend reach by leveraging partners’ developer audiences and relationships.

Surveys – Direct needs assessment and feedback from community members.


The common thread across highly impactful activities is they provide layered, multifaceted value – education plus networking, visibility plus contribution opportunities, access plus incentives – driving deeper connections.

Moderately and Least Impactful

No activity lacks merit, but those relying primarily on passive participation or one-off contribution fall lower in expected influence on ongoing community growth and retention. For example:

  • Webinars (scale limitations)
  • Documentation (utilitarian)
  • Transactional bounties

Still, these activities play useful roles in a balanced program.

Optimizing Activities Mix

Given constrained resources, DevRel teams should emphasize highly impactful areas as primary growth levers while utilizing moderate and low activities to round out and support the program.

However, teams can enhance impact through strong execution, strategic bundling, and continuous optimization informed by user feedback and data. For example, combining high production value webinars with interactive forums and incentivized challenges to boost engagement.

The framework provides a starting point for consideration based on typical results. Teams can further tailor and validate through experimentation with their communities. But focusing on depth of engagement stands out as the key determinant for developer relations impact.


As experts in building highly engaged developer communities for leading tech companies, we can conduct an assessment of your existing developer program activities through this evaluation lens. Let us research and grade the initiatives you have in flight today across content, events, support, and incentives. We’ll identify what’s working well and where to adjust strategy for maximum community impact.

Developer Relations teams juggle countless activities across content, events, community engagement, and support. With limited resources, how do they determine where to focus for maximum ROI? This article presents a data-driven methodology for evaluating and prioritizing DevRel initiatives based on balancing risk versus potential business value.

The Need for ROI Focus

DevRel teams often struggle to connect their efforts directly to business outcomes due to diffuse activities spread across many developers. However, optimizing ROI should still guide priorities:

  • Building loyalty among key developer personas drives adoption and retention
  • Reducing support costs through self-service frees up engineering resources
  • Attracting new users expands revenue potential from conversions

The challenge is determining which initiatives best balance risk and reward across these objectives quantitatively.

Scoring Model Factors

The proposed model evaluates opportunities on three factors, assigning each a numeric score:

Expected Business Impact

This represents the potential value created if an initiative succeeds, mapped to KPIs like signups, retention, lower support costs. Score on a 1-10 scale based on current benchmarks.


  • Drive 20% increase in conversion rates (8)
  • Reduce onboarding friction to improve retention (7)
  • Lower support volume by 30% via self-service (9)

Inherent Risk Level

This captures the intrinsic uncertainty of whether the initiative will achieve intended outcomes, based on its type. Score from 1 (low risk) to 5 (high risk).


  • Launch online community forums (2)
  • Organize annual developer conference (4)
  • Publish video tutorial series (1)

Mitigation Level

This evaluates whether strategies are in place to manage execution risk. Score from 1 (poorly mitigated) to 5 (well controlled).


  • Recruit technical moderators (4)
  • Sell early bird tickets (3)
  • Multi-phase video rollout (2)

Calculating Adjusted Risk

With numeric scores for each variable, this formula determines an initiative’s risk-adjusted ROI:

Adjusted Risk = Inherent Risk x (10 – Mitigation Level)

Initiatives with higher Potential Value scores can justify higher Inherent Risk, if thoroughly Mitigated. The goal is balancing tradeoffs to minimize Adjusted Risk.

Prioritization Guidelines

Teams can then make informed decisions about where to invest resources based on Adjusted Risk comparisons:

  • Pursue high business value initiatives only with substantive mitigation strategies.
  • Avoid low value initiatives with excessive inherent risks, even if mitigatable.
  • Double down on managing risks for high-value activities, given the upside warrants it.
  • Focus first on quick wins requiring fewer resources with good ROI.

The framework spotlights how mitigation strategies reduce exposure, allowing teams to undertake more ambitious, impactful programs aligned to business priorities.

Continuous Optimization

To ingrain ROI focus, DevRel should:

  • Maintain an inventory of past and proposed initiatives with risk vs. reward scoring
  • Re-evaluate ratings quarterly based on actual outcomes
  • Ensure new initiatives or plans receive a thorough evaluation

This embeds data-driven decision making and resource optimization based on balancing risk and reward tradeoffs. Initiative planning graduates from “gut feel” to become a core DevRel competency.


You now have a data-backed approach to optimizing ROI across your DevRel program by balancing risk and reward. Let us help implement it. Our team can compile your inventory of current and prospective initiatives, walk through scoring to identify high-potential ones, and provide advice on mitigating inherent risks.

For developer relations (DevRel) teams to benchmark and improve their performance, they require an objective methodology for evaluation. This allows them to identify strengths, expose areas needing work, facilitate comparisons, and inform resourcing and strategy.

This article outlines how to construct a data-driven framework for grading DevRel across key metrics indicative of impact and health.

Establishing an Effective Metrics Hierarchy

The foundation of any performance evaluation model is the metrics hierarchy used to define success. Be sure to incorporate metrics spanning:

Outcomes: These tie back to business goals around growth, product adoption, revenue, reputation etc. They indicate the tangible impact of DevRel.

Outputs: These capture volume and efficiency measures like users supported, content produced, events hosted. Outputs help drive outcomes.

Activities: These include specific tasks and projects like launching a forum, organizing a conference, or publishing APIs. Activities are required to deliver outputs.

A good metric framework mixes outcome and output key performance indicators (KPIs) to connect operational efficiency to overall influence.

Grading Methodology

With a metrics hierarchy set, establish a consistent grading methodology. The goal is to standardize assessments as much as possible for comparability.

1-5 Rating Scale: Assign each metric a score from 1 to 5, with 1 being “Needs Improvement” and 5 representing “Excellent” performance.

Rubric definitions: Provide clear descriptions for what constitutes each rating number based on reasonable expectations.

Evidence-based: Scoring should derive directly from available data points or user studies associated with each metric.

Weighting (Optional): If some metrics have outsized business impact, consider weighting them more heavily.

Overall Grade: DevRel’s overall grade is the mathematical average across all metric scores.

Sample Metrics and Grading

Community Growth & Engagement

Measures size and activity within owned communities.

1: Declines quarter over quarter
3: 5% QoQ growth
5: 15%+ QoQ growth

Content & Assets

Tracks creation of learning resources.

1: No new assets published
3: 4 new pieces per month
5: 8+ new pieces per month

Event Attendance

Captures community participation.

1: Decrease in attendees YoY
3: 5% increase YoY
5: 15%+ increase YoY

Evaluating Results

Once scoring is complete, analyzing the distribution of grades offers insights into DevRel performance:

Overall grade provides high-level performance snapshot
Distribution shows where strengths and weaknesses lie
Metric trends demonstrate progress over time
Comparisons to other teams inspire improvement

Teams can then strategize around upgrading lagging metrics, maintaining strengths, and replicating best practices. Rinse and repeat evaluations on a quarterly basis to continually optimize.

Ongoing, Consistent Evaluation Enables Progress

By implementing a standardized grading framework tied to well-considered metrics, DevRel teams and leaders can better evaluate performance, address weaknesses, and validate strengths. Consistent quarterly reviews ensure continuity in maximizing impact through continuous improvement. With developer experience playing an ever more vital role in company success, having an evaluation framework provides the basis for Developer Relations excellence.


Now that you have a methodology for objectively grading DevRel impact, leverage our team’s experience running top-tier developer programs globally to evaluate your current operations. We can apply this rubric through interviews, data analysis, and research to uncover strengths, weaknesses, and improvement areas to inform your strategy and resourcing.

Developer relations (DevRel) teams play a crucial role in attracting, supporting, and empowering the developers building on a company’s platforms. However, to maximize impact, it’s essential that DevRel strategy aligns with and ladders up to overall business goals. This article guides structuring a strategic DevRel program poised to drive growth, adoption, and community engagement.

Connecting DevRel to Company Mission and Priorities

The work of DevRel teams sits at the intersection of marketing, product, sales, support, and community engagement. While each DevRel activity serves developers, the program as a whole should tie to broader organizational objectives:

  • Growing the user base
  • Increasing engagement and retention
  • Gathering product feedback and ideas
  • Reducing support costs
  • Driving revenue through new products/features
  • Enabling partners and the ecosystem

Before determining any specific initiatives or tactics, DevRel leaders must connect with executives to understand company priorities for the year ahead. What are the challenges DevRel can help solve? How will its success be measured? Tethering goals to business outcomes provides purpose and sets expectations.

Crafting a Unified DevRel Roadmap

With executive direction setting the stage, DevRel can craft a roadmap of major initiatives mapping to those priorities:

  • Deliver training content on new capabilities to support adoption
  • Spotlight customer wins and growth metrics at conferences
  • Gather input on ease-of-use issues impacting churn
  • Showcase new moneitization tools at hackathons
  • Publish getting started guides for priority integrations

The roadmap should articulate major milestones over the next 12-18 months and specify associated impact metrics. It becomes a guiding document aligned around serving developers while advancing critical outcomes.

Structuring Roles to Support the Developer Journey

What organizational model best supports the roadmap? Successful DevRel teams incorporate specialized roles while encouraging tight collaboration across functions:

  • Developer advocates focus on technical engagement and support in the community.
  • Evangelists spread awareness and drive adoption through events, social media.
  • Content strategists produce learning resources – videos, blogs, training.
  • Developer marketing coordinates messaging and positioning.
  • Data analysts provide feedback loops based on usage metrics.

There is no one-size-fits all model. But staffing should map to supporting developers across their journey – from initial awareness to ongoing education/support and ultimately loyalty and advocacy.

Cross-functional coordination also amplifies impact, for example:

– Content and evangelism partnering on nurturing trials into customers.
– Advocates and support collaborating to address platform issues surfaced by developers.
– Product managers utilizing user studies and research to inform roadmaps.

Making Progress Visible Through Marketing Campaigns

To connect work streams, DevRel orgs often frame their efforts as sequenced marketing campaigns focused on priority outcomes:

Campaign: Drive Adoption of Platform Version 2.0
  • Developer advocates host office hours sessions on new capabilities
  • Evangelists highlight key features at 5 partner conferences
  • Blog series and video walkthroughs demo the updated workflows
  • Establish a migration support forum to assist developers

Campaign frameworks help consolidate initiatives around common objectives while increasing alignment and transparency. Teams can better visualize contributions to broader goals.

Providing Resources to Execute

Of course, without proper investment, DevRel teams cannot execute ambitious roadmaps supporting crucial initiatives. Executives may need education on required budgets to achieve expected outcomes. Teams should secure:

Staffing sufficient to specialize and scale activities
Tools & infrastructure like forums, content management systems
Program funding for events, content production, swag, travel

Optimizing these resources unlocks the ability to strategically support developers while moving company goals forward.

The opportunity for DevRel has never been bigger. But only with executive buy-in, strategic alignment to priorities, unified roadmaps, specialized roles, and adequate investment can teams fully realize their potential and steer developers to success. Treat this as imperative in elevating DevRel within any organization.

If this article resonated and you recognize gaps in your DevRel strategy and alignment to business goals, let our team of experts conduct an in-depth assessment. We can review your existing program, identify improvement opportunities, and provide strategic recommendations tailored to your key objectives.

2024 promises major shifts in developer relations, according to our recent outlook. Economic conditions will pressure teams to justify value through attribution modeling and monetization. Educational products and personalized experiences will gain priority to help secure scarce technical talent. Channels will integrate into full lifecycle journeys.

To align with and thrive within this evolving landscape, DevRel teams should proactively hone strategies initiated in 2023.

Here are 8 ways to prepare your team for 2024 success:

1. Quantify Value Through Data and Analytics

Begin rigorously tracking engagement rates, conversion metrics, and attribution modeling. Set ROI goals and continuously monitor performance. Become fluent communicating impact and value via hard data. This skill will be critical as executive scrutiny increases.

2. Explore Revenue Generation Opportunities

Look for ways to turn engaged community members into paid users or subscribers. Develop premium membership levels with exclusive perks and early access. Form commercial partnerships with complementary platforms. Balance monetization carefully to avoid alienating your community. Start pilots in 2023 to refine profitable community offerings.

3. Build Educational Products and Accreditation

Audit your educational resources and programs. Look for gaps where new courses, certifications or accreditations could skill up developers while positioning your brand as a career accelerator. Explore partnerships with coding schools to co-develop credentialed curriculum. Education strengthens retention and provides monetization avenues.

4. Localize Content and Personalize Outreach

Audit the geographic and persona distribution of your community. Identify underserved segments needing localized content and outreach. Pilot translating materials into new languages and optimizing them for key global markets. Develop targeted nurture campaigns relevant to distinct user journeys and interests. Personalized, localized experiences boost engagement.

5. Map Full Journey Pathways

Work cross-functionally to chart complete developer journeys from initial awareness through loyal retention. Look for gaps where additional touchpoints are needed across the funnel. Plan integrated content sequencing and automation to progress developers through successive stages of value delivery. Well-orchestrated journeys will be essential.

6. Continuously Evaluate and Optimize Processes

Inventory all ongoing programs, workflows, tools and systems powering your DevRel operations. Assess their scalability as your team and community grow. Identify bottlenecks and needed upgrades. Systematize processes where possible to boost consistency and free team bandwidth. Efficient foundations sustain rapid growth.

7. Cultivate Community Leaders

Find standout community members who could become mentors, moderators or advocates. Profile them, share their work, and provide opportunities to contribute. Develop ambassador and champion programs to give leaders recognition and ownership. Empowered leaders multiply the reach and impact of your team.

8. Stay Grounded in Your Purpose

Remind your team regularly why DevRel exists – to serve developers and represent their needs. Rousing speeches and reflections on past community victories reunite teams to higher purposes beyond tactics. Establish or update vision statements orienting efforts around developer goals. As strategies shift in 2024, purpose will be the North Star.

The coming years promise to be ones of change, adaptation and expanded impact for developer relations. Those who prepared in 2023 will best position themselves to provide value amidst uncertainty. Keep the Developer’s interests first, and the path forward will reveal itself.

I have decided to make my Developer Relations (DevRel) course on Udemy available for FREE. This initiative is not just about offering a free course; it’s a revolution in the way we approach learning and professional development in the tech industry. The implications of this offer are profound, touching on aspects of accessibility, community building, and the future of tech expertise.

Why This Free Course Offer is a Big Deal

1. Democratizing Tech Education: Traditionally, high-quality tech courses come with a price tag, often making them inaccessible to a vast population. By offering the DevRel course for free on Udemy, I am breaking down financial barriers, allowing anyone with internet access to learn vital skills in a growing field. This move democratizes education, providing equal opportunities for learning and advancement.

2. Filling the Skills Gap: There’s a burgeoning demand for skilled DevRel professionals who can effectively bridge the gap between developers and businesses. This course aims to fill that gap by equipping learners with the necessary skills to manage and grow developer communities, a critical aspect in today’s tech-centric world.

3. Enhancing Organizational Capabilities: Organizations stand to benefit significantly from this initiative. With more trained DevRel professionals in the market, companies can better engage with their developer communities, leading to improved product development, faster innovation, and stronger community ties.

The Course Content and Its Impact

The DevRel course on Udemy covers a range of topics essential for anyone looking to excel in this field. From understanding the developer ecosystem to learning effective communication and community engagement strategies, the course offers a comprehensive curriculum designed to equip learners with practical, real-world skills.

Moreover, the course is structured to cater to both beginners and those with some experience in tech, making it widely accessible. The interactive format, including case studies, real-world examples, and hands-on projects, ensures an engaging and effective learning experience.

Building a Community of Learners

One of the most significant impacts of this free course offer is the creation of a vibrant, diverse community of learners. Individuals from various backgrounds, with different levels of experience, come together to learn and grow. This melting pot of perspectives enriches the learning experience and fosters a supportive network of professionals who can collaborate and innovate in the field.

Long-Term Implications for the Tech Industry

The long-term implications of this initiative are substantial. By empowering a wide range of individuals with critical DevRel skills, Udemy is contributing to the evolution of the tech industry. A more skilled workforce leads to better products, more innovative solutions, and a healthier, more inclusive tech ecosystem.


My decision to offer my Udemy Developer Relations course for free is a testament to my commitment to education and community development. It is a significant step towards creating a more inclusive, skilled, and engaged tech community. This initiative is not just about offering free education; it’s about opening doors, breaking down barriers, and paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive future in technology. As more individuals take advantage of this opportunity, we can expect to see a ripple effect of positive change throughout the tech industry and beyond.

2023 DevRel Review

2023 saw developer relations continue maturing into a strategic capability, though not without some lingering pandemic impacts.

Many teams settled into hybrid engagement models balancing offline and virtual experiences. In-person events reemerged, but digital reach expanded through live streams and recordings. Omnichannel strategies became the norm.

Developer recruitment and retention was more critical than ever amidst the ongoing talent shortage. DevRel played a key role nurturing talent pipelines through community building and education initiatives.

Developer experience excellence emerged as a competitive differentiator. DevRel’s insights into developer needs shaped product improvements and premium DX offerings.

Despite some economic uncertainty, most companies sustained or expanded DevRel capacity, recognizing its ability to boost efficiency and leverage community. Automation assisted some teams in “doing more with less”.

In 2023, DevRel solidified as a valued strategic capability bringing the voice of developer into critical decisions.

2024 DevRel Outlook

In 2024 and beyond, five key trends will influence DevRel:

  1. Deeper analytics rigor: With tighter budgets looming, DevRel will need to showcase hard ROI through goal setting, attribution modeling, and reporting.
  2. Greater focus on monetization: Conversion to paid offerings, monitored usage tiers, and commercial partnerships will help monetize high-value community members.
  3. Expanded educational products: As recruiting talent gets costlier, DevRel will develop educational products, certifications and accreditations to cultivate talent pipelines.
  4. Localization and personalization: More segmentation and translation will aim to boost relevance for distinct global personas and sub-communities.
  5. Multi-channel journeys: Individual channels will integrate into full lifecycle journeys with coordinated messaging and progressive levels of engagement.

Underlying these shifts, empathy, creativity and technical advocacy remain DevRel’s purpose. But increased rigor and monetization will propel the function to deliver greater strategic business impact.

Beyond Tactics: Culture and Mindset

As always, culture and mindset are ultimately more important than tactical trends for exemplary DevRel:

  • Stay member-focused – help developers achieve their goals, not vanity metrics.
  • Build authentic human connections through care and listening.
  • Advocate internally for the needs of community members.
  • Exhibit grit and passion, especially in challenging times.
  • Take creative risks to delight community members.

Keeping these timeless principles central will help DevRel teams continue providing value in 2024 and beyond, regardless of technological and economic fluctuations.

Previous articles explored tactical methodologies for customer-centric technology development – from design thinking to data analytics. But enacting these practices at scale requires instilling cultural values across teams and organizations. Developing a collective ethos of customer focus and continuous improvement transforms one-off tactics into institutionalized excellence.

Cultivating a Customer Mindset

A customer-centered culture starts with habits of thought:

  • Empathy – developers strive to deeply understand user struggles and goals.
  • Responsiveness – customer feedback guides development priorities and roadmaps.
  • Ownership – teams feel collective accountability for customer outcomes.
  • Obsession – customer experience metrics drive decisions large and small.

Technology leaders reinforce these mental models by role modeling customer curiosity, inviting customer conversations, and sharing stories of customer impact.

Upholding Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement stems from unsatisfied aspirations rather than complacency:

  • High standards demand excellent customer experiences drive development, not just features.
  • Healthy impatience hastens iterating based on customer data and user testing insights.
  • Courage to be self-critical confronts the gaps between goals and reality.
  • Commitment to resilience rebounds quickly from setbacks or failures.

Leaders encourage continuous improvement by celebrating customer-focused victories, providing coaching during challenges, and offering teams autonomy to rethink solutions.

Operationalizing Culture

Tactical initiatives manifest cultural principles:

  • Embedding customer advisory panels, user research, and usability testing into development cycles.
  • Incentivizing cross-team collaboration on improving customer journeys.
  • Allocating resources for ongoing optimization guided by analytics.
  • Defining and tracking precise customer experience metrics and goals.
  • Dedicating staff to gather and analyze voice-of-customer data.
  • Publishing customer stories to inspire workers to build for real human outcomes.

When enshrined into operations, cultural values compound into formidable capabilities.

Examples of Customer-Focused Cultures

Amazon’s Leadership Principles stress customer obsession, ownership, bias for action, and continuous innovation. This foundation empowers bold customer-aligned innovation.

Apple design guru Jony Ive called Steve Jobs “utterly focused on the user experience.” This vision spawned Apple’s excellence crafting technology with human elegance.

The Ritz Carlton’s credo describes employees as “ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” This peer-to-peer respect nurtures service excellence.

Supporting Cultural Change

Technology leaders seeking cultural transformation must model desired mindsets and practices. Additional tips include:

  • Hire and reward based on customer-centered competencies beyond pure technical skill.
  • Craft inspiration vision statements, mission declarations, and values featuring users.
  • Tell authentic stories highlighting how culture enabled customer impact.
  • Define cultural standards, reinforce them, and coach those who fall short.
  • Realign processes and policies around customer-centric goals.
  • Celebrate employee acts of empathy, creativity, and improvement with recognition.

With devoted persistence, leaders can shape company cultures where customer focus self-perpetuates. The ultimate technology innovation springs from cultural innovation.