Christian Heilmann

⚡️Help me make developer evangelism more measurable!

Sunday, June 26th, 2011 at 9:38 pm

I am a developer evangelist. I’ve written a handbook about it and I have fought and lived for the role for a long time. I think it is very important for a company to have a person that understands tech and translates it into understandable content for everyone out there. It is also important to have that person to be the mediator between the tech and non-tech people in the company.

I am also my biggest critic – I record all my talks and listen to myself later on cringing when I find things I can improve. This is the reason why I want to ask you for help to make my (and more and more others) job to be more accountable.

Right now being a developer evangelism means you do a lot of good but it is hard to measure what you did. Of course there are low hanging fruit when it comes to measuring the success of talks for example:

  • Collecting Tweets right after a talk – which is tricky as they tend to be very polarised – people either hated or loved it
  • Number of new contacts (business cards) – I know a few companies that have this as a metric. Seems a bit eighties to me and not meaning much unless you also get some good conversation out of the contacts
  • Number of people in the room – might actually be that the other talk in the other track was boring
  • Conference feedback forms/speaker rate (and similar sites) – this suffers from the same issue as tweets, really

Other things can also be measured and should be listed as successes:

  • Partnership with companies met at conferences – getting free accounts to their services for yours
  • Invitations to other speaking gigs – especially hard to get ones
  • Connections with other speakers – getting them as judges for own competitions or to come and speak at your office/events

I’ve been speaking with other people in similar roles and the really interesting thing for us is not the immediate numbers but what impact we had. Sadly enough it is really hard to get information about this. Of course it feels good to have people come up to you directly after a talk or training and thank you for what you did, but what I really want to know is what people did with the info I dished out. Therefore it would be super useful to me if you told me about any of the following things:

  • How have your used things you learned?
    • Have you given an internal training?
    • Is your team now using this technology or product?
    • Did it help your career (did you start using it and found a new job)?
  • Did you re-use some of the material for training or pitching to a client?
  • Have you build and released a product differently after the talk/training? This information would be total killer to get!
  • Did you join developing an open source product? – did the talk get you out of your 9-5 mentality and make you do something different?
  • [your idea here] – in essence I would love to hear how my work has affected you and what you did about it

If we’d get this information it would validate what we do and give us a reason to keep pushing ourselves. Please, share. Thanks!

The best way to tell me about things is by sending a Tweet to @codepo8. You can also contact me on the email in the footer of this blog, or on Facebook. I also hang out on IRC freenode #HTML5 a lot.

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