Measurable developer relations with Data Protocol

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AI generated image of developers learning togetherProduct innovation by itself isn’t enough. Like that tree falling in the forest, if developers can’t use your tech, then did it really launch?

For developer educators and others in developer relations, this question isn’t just academic: it’s existential. Tasked with the mission of not only introducing but also convincing developers to embrace and proficiently wield new technologies, we in DevRel and developer education must innovate just as much as our colleagues in product and engineering. When it’s done well, developer education is as much a marketing activity as it is enablement. Our job is not just showcasing a product but selling a future in which the developer’s life is improved by that product.

However, we all face two challenges: an ever growing task list and the fact that ours is only one of many voices among many demanding developer attention. With a plethora of resources at their fingertips and an array of languages, frameworks, and tools to choose from, capturing developer attention requires a step-up in both quality and detail. Developer education is about connection, engagement, and most importantly, understanding the rhythms of the developer psyche.

So, how do DevRel teams and developer educators make sure their tool is not just another tab in a developer’s browser, but a pivotal aspect of their toolkit? The team at Data Protocol believe they have at least one part of the answer.

Repositioning developer as partners

Jake Ward, founder and CEO of Data Protocol, was prompted to act when he came to the conclusion that the tools we’ve been using to educate developers up until this point have been lacking.

“Both developers and DevRel teams have been getting a bad deal. For developers, the way we’ve educated and supported them has been to use tools that were made for other people. Just because a learning management system works well for your finance team, that doesn’t mean it’ll work for developers.

“Then for DevRel teams, this mish mash of tools, channels, and platforms has made attribution almost impossible. And the result of that is talented, hard working DevRel teams––who have been doing the right thing, but in a way that’s not measurable––getting laid off.”

For Jake, it wasn’t just a matter of new tooling. Instead, Jake advocates a shift in how companies view their developer communities. The success of developer tools depends on the ingenuity and hard work of end-user developers; the people building the apps and businesses that ultimately fund the company’s monthly service fees.

Jake’s vision was clear. If your company offers a product for developers, then those developers are not just implementers. They’re partners and they need a relationship that treats them as such.

Moving beyond a cost centre

It’s no secret in DevRel that teams often struggle to communicate their value. In Jake’s view, one cause is that DevRel professionals end up juggling disparate toolkits—community management on one hand, customer management on the other, not forgetting learning management, and more. With so many silos, drawing out the data to measure and understand impact has been difficult, to say the least.

“In recent months, DevRel teams have been decimated inside companies because they’re thought of as cost centres. When we know that it’s not true. They’re driving revenue, they’re driving value.

“Our idea was that if we could put numbers behind this, we could measure engagement at scale.”

So, how does Data Protocol help?

Delivering developer learning at scale

Learning an API or a framework is more hands-on than, for example, an HR person getting to grips with updates to employment law. For Jake, that meant Data Protocol needed to take a new approach.

We’re revolutionising the game with what we’re calling software enabled video.’ It’s not just content; it’s an experience, pulling from the raw, hands-on ways developers truly learn. Imagine recreating the back and forth of sitting beside someone as they show you how to use a new bit of tech. But instead of having to be in-person, it’s accessible at a click. We’re not just delivering information; we’re getting right to the heart of how developers learn.”

Jake is insistent that the experience is (and remains) free for developers to use, but Data Protocol is more than just a platform. The team will also build your learning content to your specifications, enabling DevRel and developer education teams to scale their impact.

“We take your traditional developer docs and make them interactive. So, we deliver courses but with video and interactive code windows embedded. And because any developer tool is a moving target, we also make it easy to make changes as you go. If the parameters on an API call change, for example, we can dip and quickly update that part of the learning materials.”

The Data Protocol team is also developing innovative new ways to meet developer learning needs. A partner can quickly launch a channel on the platform, create a custom experience, or produce short TL;DR videos to keep their community engaged.

Crafting experiences: The new frontier of Developer Relations?

Developers are swamped with choices. But as Jake suggests, perhaps the real game-changer isn’t merely the tool—it’s the end-to-end partnership that developers establish with the vendors and communities who provide those tools. Real innovation isn’t just about making something shiny and new; it’s about the way it’s introduced, adopted, and becomes part of the developer’s universe.

The future of DevRel isn’t just about driving awareness but about creating with developers. In the sprawling digital bazaar, companies like Data Protocol aren’t just setting up stalls; they’re crafting experiences.

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