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Highlights in DevOps and Open Source from the Future Developer Summit | Day 1

Updated: Feb 23, 2021

by Stathis Georgakopoulos

The Future Developer Summit returns in 2021 with 4 bite-sized events and a new theme: DevRel, the next day. Discover more.

Back in September, we hosted our first-ever online Future Developer Summit. The idea was simple: the Future Developer Summit is a community of industry leaders who come together to debate best practises, learn and optimise their strategies, but instead of the community-favourite physical event, this year, it would be online.

The 2020 Future Developer Summit was built around two key themes: Open Source and DevOps, bringing together a powerful lineup of speakers to share their experiences over 2 days. This time we also revised the attendance criteria so the event was practically open to anyone in the DevRel Community.

Andreas Constantinou, the CEO of SlashData kicked off Day 1, sharing some key insights from our developer research. One big highlight?

There are 21.3 million developers in the world

BTW you can stay up-to-date with the latest number of developers on the Developer Population Calculator.

How does a traditional company build an open-source collaboration culture?

Nithya Ruff (Executive Director OPSO, Comcast) took the stage for the opening keynote, to walk us through on how a “traditional” enterprise like Comcast, went on to be a software company. Here are some highlights:

  • Software is not eating the world. Software is eating the enterprise

  • Customers expect a lot more from brands today, way more than a website. They want to engage and a more intuitive and easy experience. All companies are being turned into digital companies.

  • Companies can’t survive without a digital strategy, especially in a pandemic where everyone is focusing on their online strategy.

  • Our software development company was built separately from the parent company to allow software culture to thrive

  • Our biggest challenges moving forward from an Open Source perspective:

    • Developers have to move past coding - using and working with Open Source - they also need to have good communication skills, collaborating, community-building skills, knowing how to influence internal and external parties to accept your contribution.

    • With Open Source, there is a different way of onboarding talents. Developers who contribute can become great candidates for your company.

    • Working with middle managers who have things to deliver and often don’t have time to make change happen. We’ve had to convince them why it is important to upstream contributions and engage with Open Source

    • Reducing legal processes and other friction for developers this is where our DevRel and advocates team did their best work

    • 3 things Nithya looks forward to:

      • Developer happiness & productivity

      • External contributions

      • Speed and scale of innovation

What are the latest Open Source trends (according to developers)?

Following Nithya’s opening keynote, SlashData Data Storyteller Jed Stephens presented the latest trends in Open Source, based on the developers’ responses surveyed by SlashData.

Here are they:

  • Developers expect from companies full documentation on how to use open-source software and products (41%), support and contribution to communities (38%) and support on APIs built on top of software they have contributed to (34%)

  • Professional developers are more demanding from companies

  • Documentation is where companies underperform, with Mozilla, Red Hat and Google leading the way in terms of satisfaction scores

  • The two main aspects that developers value in Open Source Software are collaboration (48%) and continuous support (44%)

  • Open Source software is valued much more by professional and enterprise developers

  • Open Source software is not valued equally across all geographies, with key differences between North America and Western Europe and between South and East Asia

  • South Asia is an Open Source hotspot to keep a watch on, while North America may cool

After a short networking break where event attendees had a chance to meet and talk, it was time for the lightning talks, moderated by Jono Bacon (Author and Founder at Jono Bacon Consulting) featuring Grace Francisco (VP, Global Developer Relations & Education at MongoDB), Satya Singh (Principal Product Manager - Platform & Marketplaces at Expedia) and Anni Lai (Head of Open Source Operations and Marketing, Cloud at Futurewei).

Is community in the centre of everything? From commercial to Open Source?

That’s the question Grace Francisco took to answer, offering some real-life case studies and success stories. Some key points from her talk:

  • WildAid: How it turned from pen and paper to an online database and then the community helped make it even better

  • Go where developers are

  • Documentation is really important. It is what developers need

  • Hiring technical writers is a challenge because they need hands-on engineering experience and the ability to write in a way that helps move people through their learning process

Developer Evangelism using Inner Sourcing

Satya Singh took over to introduce us to Inner source, its relation with Open Source and how it can help Developer Evangelism:

  • Open source and InnerSource terms are similar and share common tools, yet their realities are quite different

  • InnerSource is subject to more complex trade-offs such as trading off risk between coherent system design and business velocity

  • Effective InnerSourcing depends on a growth mindset and is a wonderful opportunity for every tech organisation

  • Attempting to scale InnerSourcing too rapidly runs the risk of degrading system designs, business stability, velocity and developer happiness.

  • When you change your architecture, your ownership model must change with it

What’s the importance of diversity and inclusion in Open Source?

Anni Lai had the third lightning talk on this session and focused her talk around a critical issue in any community: inclusion and diversity. Some highlights:

  • Value of a more inclusive Open Source community: bigger resource pool, different perspectives, skills and knowledge, increased creativity and innovation, higher community engagement, better decision making and productivity, faster problem-solving and time-to-value and an overall happier community.

  • Collaboration between strangers is one of the Open Source’s most remarkable aspects: Strive to build a global community where everyone feels welcome to participate and contribute

Like what you read so far? Don’t miss the 2021 Future Developer Summit. You can request your invite here.

Step up your DevRel game!

How about spot-on tips from industry leaders on how to evolve into a better DevRel professional? This panel discussion featured Katherine Miller (Global Lead, Cloud Developer Events program at Google), Leandro Margulis (VP, Developer Relations at UnifyID), Pablo Fraile (Director of Developer Ecosystems at ARM) and was hosted by Richard Muir (Data Journalist at SlashData). What else these professionals have in common except leading the industry and being in this panel discussion? They have each authored a chapter on Developer Marketing & Relations: The Essential Guide (3rd Edition).

Here are some tips they shared during the panel discussion:

Katherine Miller

  • Focus on grassroots, empower developers and work hand-in-hand with them

  • Online events are more accessible in 2020, but the focus isn’t there. Make sure you share and communicate a clear purpose and increase human interactivity to get people to engage with your event

Leandro Margulis

  • To understand inclusivity, you need to understand the personas: who is a developer, how they are evolving

  • Make sure you have a welcome pack when someone joins your community

  • You can have the same developer wearing different hats. Be their partner throughout their development journey, and give them the tools to succeed

Pablo Fraile

  • Building an inclusive community starts by building a kind, respectful and humane community. Don’t tolerate the behaviour that puts off people from contributing

  • To build a solid community, your best bet is to work with industry partners to connect with developers

After sharing the tips, it was time for the second Lightning Talks session, featuring Patrick Chanezon (GM, Cloud Developer Advocacy at Microsoft), Mark Lavi (DevOps and Automation Solutions Architect at Nutanix) and Duane O'Brien (Head of Open Source at

Open Source and Open Standards in the platform game

Patrick Chanezon was the first to kick-off the session, talking about the platform game. Some key takeaways:

  • OpenSocial is an excellent case study of failing to establish a successful platform relying on Open Source standards

  • Played the game wrong: the real fight was at UX, not DeX (API), we should have focused on users not developers and DevRel must be scaled up after there is a product

  • Pick your business model: Enterprise licenses are slow to get to revenue while SaaS subscriptions are attractive

What is DevOpsRel?

Mark Lavi then took over to discuss DevOps, DevRel and introduce us to a new role: DevOpsRel. Here are some key points:

  • We failed at our first DevRel effort because we didn’t have API documentation and tutorials

  • Software developers were a niche audience for us, so we hired an advocate to refocus the audience on Operations and DevOps

  • Improve the engagement continuously, try new ideas and use the metrics to adjust

  • Digital transformation requires shared responsibility to align developers, testers and operators and bring them closer to deliver customer value. DevOps is a culture along with tools and methods to bridge theses divides

  • These are the DevOpsRel goals, by each audience segment

    • Developers - Invisible operations

    • DevOps - Reduce friction

    • Operators - Invisible infrastructure

    • Business - Continuous operations

  • Evolution to DevOpsRel expands the audience and improves the operator experience as DevRel programs help provide software automation, packaging, testing, security and performance

FOSS Free/Open Source Software

Duane O’Brien followed to talk about the FOSS and the FOSS Fund:

  • The FOSS Fund - employees nominate eligible OS projects, contributors vote on projects and winning projects receive $10,000

  • Goals of FOSS fund: show leadership in Open Source sustainability, expose hidden dependencies and flatten the distribution of support

  • Biggest opportunities: collaboration on FOSS ecosystem funding and investigation of project vs people funding

It was time to close the day, but not before we’ve had our closing keynote, which Mike Milinkovich (Executive Director at Eclipse Foundation) took to deliver.

Community driven innovation?

No better way to close such a rich day but discuss how open source community drives innovation. Here are the key takeaways from the closing keynote:

  • Open Source makes up 80-90% of applications

  • Open Source participation is surging

  • Open Source enables people to come together to build things that others find helpful and useful and also enables collaboration at scale, community-led open innovation and community-driven adoption and an open ecosystem

  • Culture is key to creating and sustaining communities: focus on core values, ceremony and celebration

  • Clear goals, shared purpose, effective communication, learning opportunities, respect and fairness and people are what makes a strong culture.

The key learnings on Day 2 continue here. You can subscribe to the DevRelX newsletter and be notified for all new updates and industry news.


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