DevRelCon San Francisco 2016 retrospective


DevRelCon San Francisco 2016 crowd shot

DevRelCon San Francisco 2016 crowd shot

April 16th 2016 was a beautifully sunny Saturday in San Francisco. For 140 developer relations, developer marketing and other tech professionals, it was also a day of learning, community and friendship at DevRelCon San Francisco 2016.

The intention behind DevRelCon was always to create an event by developer advocates for developer advocates. What could we share with each other that we’d learnt from doing the job? Not only that but could we take the time to build a community of our own, in between the weekends at hackathons, the early morning flights and the evening meet-ups?

Tamao and Arun in the Bay area, and me working evenings from home in the UK, began discussing a San Francisco DevRelCon towards the end of 2015. With the help of many others, all of us volunteers, we put together an event that we hope was useful in sharing knowledge and forming new friendships.

The programme

Pretty much every conference organiser will report that it’s hard to choose just a handful of talks from those submitted. In our case, we’d received more than a day’s worth of talk submissions from people who are synonmous with building developer communities and it took hours of Skype calls, Google Hangouts and Facetime calls (no platform bias for us) to find a way to fit such relevant, well crafted talks into a single day.

In keeping with the London event, we chose to mix longer and shorter talks, as well as creating themed blocks throughout the day. It was also important to me that we have a single track event: this was as much about a shared experience and getting to know new people as it was listening to the talks.

On the day itself, the talks were packed with practical advice and lots of good humour. Thank you so much to our, frankly, industry-leading speakers. I learnt a huge amount and I can’t wait to relive it as we release the videos over the next few weeks.

So, thank you Josh Marinacci, Tim Falls, Adam FitzGerald, Justin Kestelyn, Adam DuVander, Grace Francisco, Christian Heilmann, Bear Douglas, Brandon West, Greg Poirier, Baruch Sadogursky, Roman Shaposhnik, Jade Wang and Rob Spectre!

The practical aspects

DevRelCon San Francisco wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been a team effort.

Of course, my own thanks go to Tamao, Nilay and Arun. And our team of volunteers made sure that everyone was fed, had a drink and knew where to go: thank you to you all.

As a volunteer event, DevRelCon wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our sponsors. Microsoft were early supporters, in providing the venue, and Twilio resumed their role from London as Platinum sponsor. mParticle made sure that everyone had more than enough at lunch, Intuit, Developer Media and Be My App were Gold sponsors, Amazon Web Services and Hitch were Silver sponsors and Moongift, Atlassian and SendGrid joined us as Bronze sponsors.

Both SendGrid and Keen IO covered the bill at the after-after party!

Without their help, we couldn’t have organised DevRelCon in the way we did and ticket prices certainly would have been higher.

Our community sponsors helped us to spread the word, so thanks to O’Reilly, Heavybit and Women Who Code. Special thanks go to Silicon Valley Code Camp for practical advice and support.

The future

The conversation continues! If you’re in the Bay area, you should take a look at the two local developer relations meet-up groups:

The London DevRelCon for 2016 is in planning right now: keep reading this blog for details! As for San Francisco, we’ll take account of all your feedback and then work with the local community to start planning the 2017 event!

Thanks again to everyone who came, spoke, sponsored and helped in any other way to make DevRelCon San Francisco 2016 a special day!

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