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  • Writer's pictureStathis Georgakopoulos

Developer-led business growth: Highlights from Future Developer Summit Episode 2

What does “developer-led growth” mean?

This question and most importantly, its answers were the central theme of the Future Developer Summit Episode 2 event. In this post, we’ll be going through the highlights, while we’re all warming up for the upcoming Episode 3. If you want to look into the highlights of episode 1, read about them here. You can also watch all 2021 sessions.

Andreas Constantinou, the CEO of SlashData kicked off the event, sharing some key insights from our developer research and setting the tone on the topics to be addressed.

Panel Discussion | Developer-led growth

Andreas went on to introduce to the event’s attendees the industry panel members:

  • Tyler Jewell, Managing Director at Dell Technologies Capital

  • Kimberlee Archer, Head Of Global Marketing - Augmented Reality & Camera at Snap Inc.

  • Patrick Chanezon, GM, Cloud Developer Advocacy at Microsoft

  • Emilio Salvador, PM, Cloud Developer Advocacy at Google

Here are the topics discussed.

We have noticed several new audiences appearing. Which are they?

Developers’ roles used to be very specific. How has the developer audience changed?

For AR and VR, we see that both “developer” and “creator” mean the same thing. We have people who are very artistic and are using no-code and low-code tools. At the same time, we see experienced developers creating amazing designs. Self-identification is our biggest struggle. We see people who identify as “creative technologists” and can both code and design. My approach is to understand the span of the skillset and provide the tools and resources that are helpful. - Kimberlee

Who are citizen developers? They are low-code platform users who are working in a business, need to automate some functions of their business and are therefore leveraging no-code and low-code platforms. We also see fusion teams emerging. Fusion teams are teams within organisations where pro devs are working with other members of the business, who use no/low code tools to create solutions and apps that businesses need today. 84% of the organisations have built at least one fusion team over the past years. This is growth that is led by software adoption, but not “traditional” developers but no/low code. - Patrick

At Google we are trying to use the term “developer” in a different way. We used to call our audience “technical practitioners”, thinking of people who use an IDE and write code with a very specific background. We don’t think that’s the case anymore. We see anyone who uses technology to solve business problems as a developer. Data scientists are developers. Some of the terms we used in the past are no more applicable, as some carry a lot of weight. We look at people who use technology to push the business forward. - Emilio

There is a trend towards a class of people who are “technologists” or “engineers” and are increasingly calling themselves “developers”. They use a specific “language” and use developer-focused tools and interact with their peers. Much like a developer would do. - Tyler

How do these new audiences self identify?

Trying to define your audience is challenging, as we already saw. But how do these audiences self-identify?

We see people who identify as “creative technologists” and can do a bit of code and design. My approach is to understand the span of the skillset and provide the tools and resources that are helpful. - Kimberlee

I’d love to see the industry call them all “creative talent”. The software industry parallel here is to the movie industry. This is a creative industry and the people are focused on bringing their talents to the market. No matter how you see yourself, the industry should look at you as the raw talent. - Tyler

I agree with both Kimberlee and Tyler. I think the industry will move towards something like “creators”. I don’t think that the people who use our platforms self-identify as anything. They don’t really need a label. We build our demos on industry verticals that maybe people are part of. - Patrick

By adding labels and names, we create walls that don’t exist. It’s less about who you are and more about what you are trying to do. - Emilio

How do you communicate with developers?

Professionals in Developer Marketing and DevRel are used to speaking with a specific type of people aka “developers”. How are organisations adapting to these audiences?

We are moving from an app to a platform. We are camera-fist and we are evolving this camera into a platform. At the same time, we see that the audience that was consuming is now transforming into the audience that is creating. We’re taking that creativity and providing them with resources to help them offer a better experience to the community. It’s fascinating to see communities teaching each other and at the same time offering the space for them to interact and create documentation in the way they prefer it: video over text. - Kimberlee

I come from a B2B background where the “demographics” lens doesn’t really apply. There’s currently a shift from MQL (Marketing Qualified Leads) to PQL (Product Qualified Leads). Developers are in the moment. They seek solutions to a problem when they have the problem. Community is really important to them. What we are seeing is product-led growth aka developer-led growth. After discovery and community, you need to get them started and activate them, so they start working with your solution. Then, you scale them up. - Tyler

It was time to pass around the virtual “mic” - Q&A time

How do you provide information to developers?

Our information is visual. YouTube is our friend and people instinctively go there. Whether it’s a course or a demo, we ask creators to create their own videos and share them with the community. We are currently optimizing documentation for that type of learning: creators prefer video as a primary means of education as well as examples. We are heavily focused on templates. Whatever’s new, we give you a starting point to customise. People prefer to learn from people that are working in the same space. - Kimberlee

The developer audience is growing really fast. What do you think about that?

If you narrow the term “developer” to “software engineer”, I don’t think that the audience has been growing that fast. Because of that lack of growth, and the higher demand for new digital technologies, an opportunity has been created for new solutions that help developers be more productive. Low code and citizen developers opened up doors to groups who want to build automations and enable people who don’t have an engineering background to be part of the creative talent. - Tyler

We’re expecting GenZ to be 30% of the workforce in about 10 years. And this is a generation that is tec- first and its understanding of technology is much better than any other generation. They will prefer less manual labour and more automation and will be offering creative solutions and solving problems. - Kimberlee

Technology’s disappearing. Gen Z doesn’t care about technology. It’s just a tool they use to do their job. At Microsoft Learn, you can study and learn about technology by yourself or with others. About the professional developers Tyler talked about: what we’re looking forward to is having 10x as many developers, which means jumping from [the number of people] who use Visual Studio to those who use Windows. - Patrick

To what extent do you try to avoid “developer” in your products, so you won’t scare off no/low code people?

We started with “creators” and developers did not even bother to look at us, as if our offering was a toy. We have doubled down on the term “developers” to highlight that these are tools you can use to create. However, moving forward, all these people are creators. We need to be sure we service creators and developers and our products not only add value, but they also communicate that they do. - Kimberlee

There’s a wonderful dynamic here. If you are on the marketing side, you want to bring people in and keep them engaged. And terms like “creator” and “disruptor” manage to bring people in. But in the no/low code space, we need people who work behind the scenes and operate and maintain these tools. These are developers. - Tyler

What would you call “developers” in 5 years from now?

Kimberlee: Culture-shifters, creatives that solve problems

Tyler: Transformative Leaders

Emilio: Creators but “developer” carries weight and is not going away anytime soon. Patrick: Creators

You can watch the full panel discussion:

How developers are influencing business decisions

Jack Witkowski, Data Storyteller at SlashData presented the latest data on how developers are involved in decision-making and buying processes. The data shared came from the latest survey wave, presented to an audience for the first time.

Here are some highlights:

  • Developers are voice and key influencers in their organizations. Depending on their experience, their area of development and their role, up to 70% of developers make recommendations and up to 50% are responsible for specification or making the final selection on purchasing tools.

  • In general developers with higher experience have a bigger say and this holds regardless of company size

  • Developers in areas with more complex products or those who require more unique skill sets are more influential

  • There are regional differences and developers in NA and Europe enjoy the largest influence in their companies

  • Highly experienced developers are comparable to product managers. Experienced developers with a lead role in a certain area can be informally even as influential as a CTO.

Episode 3 is coming on October 6. The episode’s theme is “Defining success & metrics” where industry leaders will discuss how they can measure the success of their activities.
It will also feature an industry panel, a trends update on how developers are influencing business decisions and a Masterclass on building effective communications channels with developers.

You can preview the full agenda here:

Episode 3: Defining success and metrics

October 6, 2021 | Time is shown in PT

08:00 Retain or Retrain? Internal DevRel Success

Q3 Developer Trends with Richard Muir, Data Journalist at SlashData

08:20 Defining Success & Metrics

Industry Panel with:

Lori Fraleigh, Principal Group Product Manager, Azure SDKs at Microsoft

Christie Fidura, Director, Global Developer Marketing at Salesforce

Jennifer Hooper, Sr. Director, Developer Marketing, Brand & Content at Armory

Amara Graham, Head of Developer Experience at Camunda

09:00 Networking Breakout / Comfort Break

09:20 Metrics or Intuition? Tracking the value of DevRel*

Master Class with Christina Voskoglou, Sr. Director of Research at SlashData

10:00 Thought Leader Networking*

* Accessible to Thought Leader Pass holders.


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