Erin and Brian are joined by Tessa Kriesel, Head of Platform Developer Relations at Snap, to discuss moving from an individual contributor (IC) to management in developer relations and what makes a successful DevRel team.
Tessa Kriesel is an experienced developer and community leader. With over 14 years of experience, she is a self-taught developer who has focused on open-source development, DevOps, and community growth. She is passionate about engaging developer audiences and drives her efforts from a data-driven campaign perspective.
Tessa takes pride in engaging with her community as a contributor and mentor and has done this for several companies, ranging from startups to tech giants. As a technologist, her goal is to elevate developers’ voices and knowledge in the community. In addition to her work as Head of Platform Developer Relations at Snap, she advises early-stage startups and mentors underrepresented groups. Prior to her current role, Tessa was the Director of Advocacy & Community at Lacework, Developer Community at Twitter, and Developer Outreach Manager at Pantheon—to name a few.
Erin Mikail Staples is a very online individual passionate about facilitating better connections online and off. She’s forever thinking about how we can communicate, educate and elevate others through collaborative experiences.
Currently, Erin builds community and thinks about the philosophy and tooling of the community and developer advocate world. Much of her day is spent empowering individuals to build, foster, and embrace healthy communities. Outside of her day-job, Erin is a comedian, graduate technical advisor, no-code content creator, triathlete, avid reader, and cat parent.
Most importantly, she believes in the power of being unabashedly “into things” and works to help friends, strangers, colleagues, community builders, students, and whoever else might cross her path find their thing.
Brian Rinaldi is a Developer Experience Engineer at LaunchDarkly. Brian has worked for a decade focused on developer community and developer relations at companies like Progress Software and Adobe. Brian has been a developer for over 20 years, working with front-end and back-end technologies mostly focused on the web. He is heavily involved in the community including running developer meetups and events via CFE.dev and serving on the board of and organizing meetups for Orlando Devs. serves as the editor of the Jamstacked newsletter.
Brian Rinaldi 0:00
So hello, everybody. Thank you all for joining us. I’m like, I’m excited to see people already here. And this okay, this has me super excited results says that we are her favorite stream and favorite streamers that just makes that made my day.
Erin Mikail Staples 0:20
Yeah, I’m just that’s such a great compliment. Oh my goodness, because I love Rizell’s streams and I always try to get through stream so I’m like, Okay, I’m gonna go cry now.
Brian Rinaldi 0:35
So, quick introductions for those folks who haven’t joined us before. I’m Brian Rinaldi. I’m a developer experience engineer at LaunchDarkly. And over here, well, that way Erin. Introduce yourself.
Erin Mikail Staples 0:50
Hi, I’m Erin. I am a senior developer, community advocate Human Signal which is the company behind label studio.
Brian Rinaldi 0:58
And we are really excited to be joined by Tessa, how do i pronounce your last name? I should have asked this before.
Tessa Kriesel 1:10
It’s Kriesel. And I always tell people, it doesn’t matter because it’s my married last name anyways.
Erin Mikail Staples 1:17
I’m gonna start telling my husband that I’m gonna be like, you know, I didn’t marry into the Staples fortune. So say it how you want it doesn’t doesn’t bother me.
Brian Rinaldi 1:29
So So Tessa you run DevRel? At Snapchat?
Tessa Kriesel 1:33
Yeah, I can, I can introduce myself if you’d like. So I’m Tessa Kriesel. I am head of platform developer relations over at Snapchat.
Brian Rinaldi 1:42
Awesome. So as usual, we usually start kind of talking to our guests about their career path. You know how they ended up in devRel, to begin with? I think it’s a great topic, because you know, the whole idea of this show is that there’s different paths, both into DevRel and in DevRel. So we’d love to hear like how people kind of got their start. So let you tell yours.
Tessa Kriesel 2:10
Yeah, definitely. So I am a developer by trade. But that was really definitely something that was like a self taught skill for me. And so when I started diving into that, it was funny, because the very first project that I worked on that I wanted to build was a Guitar Hero community where people could play tournament games against each other, which you couldn’t do as much back then. Fun fact, I actually got like, recognized by Activision. And all of our tournaments were like, listed in their forum, it was the coolest thing. But in doing that, I realized I was essentially building a community, right, I was bringing these Guitar Hero people together so that we can all play together and enjoy a similar hobby. And so just kind of looking back, it’s like, I’ve really been in this community space for a long time. But I’m very extroverted, as probably Aaron knows, and many other folks who might be around in the in the chat. And so I was always the developer that was talking to clients, right? I was the one that was talking about what are the use cases? Do we really need to dive in that deep? Like, how can we build out this, what you’re looking for, and so kind of mostly on that web dev side fall, it fell into the open source space, and I ended up doing a lot of coding, like education. So I got involved with an organization called Girl Develop It, I think, probably a lot of us have heard about it nationwide organization. They asked me or I volunteered to teach a class, I ended up starting to teach classes. And now I’ve taught like, I think it’s over like 300 women to code which I’m super proud of number. Yeah, I’m getting to the point here. So as I did that, I really had this great experience with public speaking and reaching out and networking and building that up, because I got to know all these different, you know, women who are looking to code, but we also got to, like hang out with all the different sponsors that had us at their venues or at their businesses. Long story short, I really enjoyed doing that I found a role I had been looking for a new opportunity, I found a role at a company and they were looking for a agency and community engineer is what the title was. So I think all of us can probably sit here and process and be like, Oh, that’s probably a Developer Advocate, which it was. And so I applied for this role. Essentially, it was a lot of teaching, a lot of training, a lot of outreach, spending time at events, pretty much all the awesome DevRel things that all of us do. And I was like, that is my jam. Like, I would love to do that. I love talking to people. I love being out in that space and doing so. And I stumbled into that role and then later figured out like, Oh, hey, I’ve been doing Dev Rel, and then really it just kind of started to snowball from there really identifying that like, Hey, I’m actually in an industry niche. There’s education out there. There’s other people I can hang out with, and how Hey, turns out like my title is not quite applicable to what I’m doing. So you know, just really starting to kind of dive into that. So the rest is really history because I absolutely fell in love with with DeVol in general.
Brian Rinaldi 4:58
That’s amazing. So So you’ve been In Dev Rel for how many years about?
Tessa Kriesel 5:04
um, 2017 no 2016 ish, I think is when I started. So I would say like seven is that seven? Wow, that’s a long time. That’s like almost seven years now. Yeah, it’s been a bit. Yeah.
Erin Mikail Staples 5:15
Like Tessa’s actually were one of the first people I reached out to, and I was moving more into that space, because I was just like, Oh, my goodness, I love the work that we’re doing. And coincidentally, we were both in ecommerce, which is like, Yep, yeah. And we were both like, Oh, my goodness, I don’t think this is it. But yeah, I mean, I still remember like reaching out to you just being like, I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m now in this open source, community lead, and I wasn’t product, please help. So I think one of the things you said like teaching a lot of education, I’ve always really admired that about you of like, how willing you are to share what you know, and share more about even the process good, bad or indifferent. I think that’s just a really amazing trait that you have. So I’m excited to kind of get to share that with more.
Speaker 3 6:01
Oh, that is so nice of you to say, well, I, I came from a background of like, I’m not properly educated. I’m completely self taught and everything that I know how to do. And I think when you go through that you realize how difficult it is. If I can save anyone, any amount of time, like that’s my kind of MO is like how can I help others so they don’t have to go through all the hard work I had to go through.
Brian Rinaldi 6:23
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. my education was in history. I have a degree in history.
Erin Mikail Staples 6:32
That’s cool, though. Like, we all come from different places, right? That’s the difference. I was gonna say I don’t I’m like trying to do a quick I’m doing the mental math in my head. Like, how many like I think most of the people in that have been guessing the general was podcast, like, don’t have CS degree in this talk? Almost. Oh, cool. Yeah. Like, mine is in communications. And I know, Marius was, hers is in journalism, as well. So
Brian Rinaldi 6:59
it’s funny that you bring this up, because, because when I see some job listings, like and stuff lately, a lot of them do actually say, you know, CS degree, sometimes they’ll say, or equivalent experience, but I’m like, even I mean, I’ve been in dev for a long time. And I’d say probably a majority, if not a significant majority, like are don’t have a CS degree in their background, right? Because, you know, the job is, it’s not I mean, okay, and to speak for myself, it’s not that hard of coding. I mean, I’m like, I’m not good. It’s, it’s I code real stuff. But it’s like, I never have to actually like worry about this is this getting deployed? Like to build, I built a cool demo, it works right now. And that’s, that’s like, you know, so it’s not that like deepest of technical stuff all the time. But it is a lot of like speaking and, you know, writing and things that like, I think kind of your that blended background kind of leads to right.
Erin Mikail Staples 8:03
So one thing I’d be curious to hear from Tessa, because I know, this is something that I actually dealt with this year, because I, you know, coming from non technical background, I learned the only formal education I had in coding was a semester of data journalism in Python. So take it for, like, asked me a lot about matplotlib. And I can make some pretty charts. But like, but that was all I was, like, I know how to query an API, put it into charts, and maybe filter clean up some data, but we weren’t doing anything massive. Um, I was actually rejected a lot, because I didn’t have a formal educated background in CS, but I and then I had this job, which is in machine learning, and I don’t have a machine learning backgrounds and the job most recently, and I know, kind of knowing your history, a little bit more test, moving a snapshot, you’re on the AR VR side a little bit now. It was there. And I think for me, it was actually an advantage being fresh and new to the tutorials, especially with my target. My target user adoption for my job is entry level people. Yeah, how do I do it for the first time, like that means a lot of my days teaching Docker, like Docker was like, alright, write a really good tutorial that has how to use Docker. And but I don’t know that that would be as effective if I was an established developer who’d been using this for years, were using these processes and tools, like, every day, it’s like, Alright, what do I Google first? And I’m curious, same thing.
Tessa Kriesel 9:22
Yeah, you know, it can go both ways, right? Because I will say the first role that I had, I was when I was a web developer. Previous to getting into dev rel, I was hyper focused on open source, and it was mostly in WordPress. Before that. I’d been some Drupal and some Joomla. And my direct role right before getting into DevRel was actually at General Mills. And I did all the open source web development on our WordPress platform. So like Nature’s Valley at the time was like a WordPress site, just a few kind of off brands. And so those are the sites that I managed over there. And so I will say that coming into my first ever role and knowing tons and tons about WordPress and the open source As community was actually incredibly valuable because of their product, so their product was a infrastructure, essentially, that was already set up to be as optimized as possible for WordPress. And as a dev, when you know what you don’t have in WordPress, it was like, This is so good, right. And so it was great that I could relate to that content and understand, hey, this is what they’re looking for. Here’s why our product is so awesome. But that’s when I was a developer advocate, right. And so in that space, I really was talking to those folks and needed that kind of information to be able to share. However, I’ve also been in roles like today in at snap, like, I have no idea, all the things in AR that I could possibly know, right, it is definitely a learning experience. But I will say in some of the other kinds of roles in between is that it is really nice to not have experience in a certain thing. Because then you can come back to that beginner like mindset, because you’re a beginner, right? And you’re like, Okay, I have to learn exactly what my users need to learn. And so I can understand and relate to them, you’re going to write better documentation, you’re going to have better demos, because they’re going to be more thorough as you’re learning things. So I think there’s kind of this, like, give and take, it just really depends on your comfort level. In my opinion, do you feel like learning something new? Which in my older age, I’m telling you right now, I’m kind of sick of learning new things, admittedly. But is it something that you love? Right? Is there a passion? Is there something you want to say? Like I absolutely love open source? And I don’t get to do tons with open source today. But I’ve been finding ways like how can we get involved in some open source goodness, Ben still have it as a part of my job, I get to do this really cool cutting edge technology that I’m really excited about also. So I think it really can kind of go back and forth.
Brian Rinaldi 11:42
Yeah, I mean, yeah, I agree with that. Totally. I think I came in with a lot of experience, but, but I feel like number one part of the job is always learning new things. So I always feel like, you know, I’m a new bit of whatever it is that I’m I’m doing, you know, even to the point like right now, I’m trying to, like have a session next week. And I’m like, I gotta learn this. But, but I also feel like, even in the things that I don’t know, I think one of the skills that a really good DevRel has is the ability, even if they know a topic really well, like, I didn’t know our product really well, when I join at this point, I do know it really well. But I, I feel like I’ve built up a good skill at it kind of putting myself in the mindset of somebody who doesn’t know it, have like, kind of going into it like just, you know, kind of questioning each little bit in in not not necessarily making assumptions about what I know. I mean, it’s, it’s hard to know, when you’re making assumptions, but I think I’m good at trying to, like, cut those out. And I think there’s a lot of other people who can do that you can be skilled in something, and still still trying to kind of come at it with fresh eyes.
Erin Mikail Staples 13:03
Yeah, I’m curious. Go ahead Tessa.
Speaker 3 13:07
I was gonna say like educators, right? Like, we see a lot of like educators and teachers and professors that come into DevRel. And I think that’s why right, it’s like, they’re very good at identifying where it’s like, Hey, I don’t know, I know this thing. But like, others might not know it. And so I think that’s a great, great example, right? Of those folks kind of joining DevRel sorry,
Erin Mikail Staples 13:25
You’re a good um, because like, actually, education is like a great topic. So perfect segue, everybody we plan that case, you’re listening. We planned all of that perfect transitions. Definitely never screw up or perfect. Just Kidding, kidding. But um, one of the things that I am always really curious about I’ve been in IC, my entire career, I’m kind of I had one rule, or I had a report, unless it’s an academia, my academia role, I’m very much more of that manager mentor role. And one thing that I’m really curious about and like, is something like I’m a senior level, really trying to work to make that progression to staff level is a goal of mine, and how, like, for me, we have a couple of like, I pairs, sometimes with our CTO and my manager, and we have a data scientist in residence that I paired with to just level up my skill set. How do you build like, or focus on what skill to develop, especially knowing that dev rel? Like, right now, like, I know that my weaknesses is the technical side, just because, hey, I’m new to machine learning. Yeah. But talks. I feel like I don’t need that much practice. And and that’s been a strong suit of mine. Yeah,
Tessa Kriesel 14:35
That’s a super great question. Recognize that too. So there’s kind of different ways to look at this right, is that when I look at leveling up, it’s more about thinking about the impact that you’re making to the company and less about your exact technical skills. So like, if you’re new in machine learning, like that doesn’t mean you can’t be a staff like developer community advocate or developer advocate or kind of whatever that kind of leveling or that title is that You’re looking for, it’s more about how do you actually contribute back to that company? And what does that look like on that level? And so what I would recommend are, you know, kind of moving from that shift over to staff or in that case, like, you know, after staff is sort of like that manager level, and maybe you’re not managing people, but you’re managing programs, you’re managing projects. So you’re managing initiatives, right, and you can still be a manager without managing people. Is that really looking and making sure that people are seeing the impact that you’re making? And so if you are, there’s actually a really great leveling guide, I’m gonna throw that in here right now that Bear Douglas wrote, when she’s at Slack still, but for slack, it’s out on the interwebs. I’m not sure if it’s still in a Slack blog or not. But if you type in like Bear, Douglas, Developer Relations leveling guide, she did a fabulous job of explaining the differences between kind of manager staff and the manager into director. And really, it’s about kind of that impact. And so if you can find ways to say, hey, here is instances where I’ve impacted the company, more than are impacted, you know, my team impacted, the wider team impacted, my manager impacted their manager, with whatever sort of programs that you’ve been working with, that’s where you’re going to get the biggest, I guess, kind of like, bang for my bang for your buck, like keeps coming in my brain. But that’s not quite what I mean, but really, where you’re gonna get the most attention, right is if you’re able to pull together and show that impact that you’ve made, versus the skills that you have, because the skills you have, you can always improve, right? If you’re, we can find books, we can find courses, we can find presentations. But if we’re not able to communicate how well we’re working, and what we can get done, then that’s where that gap can be. And a lot of times people are very qualified at getting leveled up. It’s just that either A, maybe their manager isn’t advocating for them or be maybe they’re not able to communicate the impact of their work.
Erin Mikail Staples 16:53
No, I think that’s a great, great point. Because I think I’ve definitely, even my own seminar out myself first, like, I’ve shirked down, and like, even probably only in the last year or so I’ve been comfortable coding in public and in front of doing technical demonstrations, because I was always very, and I’d gotten bad feedback. Before that. I was like, Oh, I’m not the strongest developer. So I shied away so hard. Now I’m like, Look at Worlds, I’m gonna break something and do it live.
Tessa Kriesel 17:18
Good, good. If seeing that, like, obviously builds confidence too. But like, just don’t let that make you feel like you’re not at a staff level, just because they maybe your code isn’t where you want it to be? Because that’s not what it’s about. Right? It’s about much more than that. Yeah,
Brian Rinaldi 17:32
I love that answer that you gave, because I think it gets at an issue we’re facing, like, as developer relations as a, as a group. You know, we briefly talked before we went live, like about how, you know, couple years ago felt like everybody was just loading up on dev rel, you know, you had huge teams, and every company like often their first non engineering hire is Dev Rel, and then now we’re seeing kind of a really sharp pullback on that. But I think part of that is, is about how we define the role. And that, you know, back when, when we were over invested, arguably, in DevRel, I think there was a lot of people who, like were paid to just kind of be known, like, you know, that. And, and but they weren’t necessarily their job wasn’t focused on the value back to the company. I’m not like, I mean, I’m not criticizing that, like a lot of companies were looking for that. They were like, oh, you know, let me see how many Twitter followers they have? And how much this you know, and it wasn’t. So they hired people who weren’t, who were already had a huge presence on social and things like that. And then, you know, and we’re very active in that stuff. And then I think, you know, a year later, they’re like, Well, what are you doing for us when they weren’t hired for that they were hired for the purpose of just kind of being who they were. Yeah, exactly. And so I think now we’re at a point where we’re now having to be like, Okay, what, what are we doing? Like, all of these, all of our roles have to be like, what, how are we? What contributing back to the company? What does the activities we’re doing? How do they impact the bottom line? Yeah.
Erin Mikail Staples 19:22
And I think there’s this actually, I’m gonna steal what Matt Stratton has kind of always mentioned to me is like, you know, don’t be afraid to do do the capitalism you’re willing to do. And be like, I love him. I love him. Yeah, same. And so because I was having this dichotomy of, you know, I started to my side project and comedy kind of started to take off a little bit, but it meant that my Twitter feed was like, half come to the show. I’m doing this comedy show. I’m doing this thing and then it was coming to look at this other thing I’m doing for my day job, which, when you’re doing it, this is the first time I’ve really felt this in my career. It’s like I’m doing two very different things. And my audience is two very different people, by most people in the comedy world do not care, anything where they go, I went to your talk, and it went over my head clippings there. And I’m like, Thank you, or there, I get the is that professional? And I’m like, It’s my profile. Get off if you don’t like it. Yeah. But I think that hiring as an influencer, or the hiring for their influencer status, or for the Creator, status is a is a challenge. And I mean, sometimes I wonder if the people who are hired for the purpose, are they happy as well?
Tessa Kriesel 20:33
No, probably not.
Erin Mikail Staples 20:34
I don’t think I would be.
Tessa Kriesel 20:36
No, yeah, I have so many opinions on this. And I think like a lot of really, Erin, you’ve probably seen it before. But I’ve like reiterated how important it is not to hire someone for their social presence. Because like that can change, right. And that’s a person that’s their personal life. So when I come to work, like, my Twitter account is not owned by snap, the snap Twitter account that I helped contribute to absolutely, that’s owned by snap, right. If I go to a conference, and I speak and someone follows me, they might follow me if I go to a different role, right. And it’s not necessarily that owned platform. And I think on top of it, like, what is that really going to get you you’re I mean, not very many developers are gonna go do something just because you’re famous and you work at a company, they might have some intrigue, right? Like, well, what is that thing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to instantly like sign up for that tool or that product or what have you. It just means that you know, you’ve just got to face that is able to talk about about your brand. I will say Brian, like going back to kind of that time, right? I was doing a lot of consulting when they were at that time. And so it was interesting that people that I would see both on both sides, right companies who are hiring, and you know, people who are looking, and it was just the folks who did hire for kind of, you know, the fame or the followers didn’t know why they were hiring someone in most cases, it was like, Hey, I just need a DevRel person, cuz that’s what everybody needs. And it was like, Well, yes, you do need a dev rel person. If you’re targeting developers, I firmly believe that, but not because they’re famous, but because they can relate and understand your users and bring that back to you. And make sure that you’re serving them in the best way possible and supporting them. And so, yeah, there’s just so much that goes into that. And really, it’s back to that impact, right? Like, everything comes back to that, like, what’s the impact that you’re driving? And can can we do that correctly so that our industry isn’t looks looked upon? Like we’re just a bunch of famous people, although really, hardly any of us are admittedly
Brian Rinaldi 22:33
On a small scale, some people…The only one I think of us has actually been in the in the New York Times recently. So true that yeah,
Erin Mikail Staples 22:45
sorry. All right. Yeah, I’m gonna say that, like, and the thing is, is I’m glad my company does not hire me for that. Because, again, I would I even think about it because like, right, like, maybe irritated that might I listed as a comedian not.
Tessa Kriesel 23:01
It’s you write like, there, there needs to be a line between like work and personal life, it’s, it has to be drawn somewhere.
Brian Rinaldi 23:10
I agree. I actually have. I’ve got to say, like, in retrospect, I’m slightly grateful to Elon for breaking Twitter, because it allowed me to kind of quit in and like that was felt like it was part of like, a required part of my role before. And I feel like, I mean, maybe, maybe I’m just lucky. And I have the kind of privilege of being able to be like, you know, screw Twitter. I don’t care about my social presence as much. This I think, was where you and I are having this conversation right now.
Erin Mikail Staples 23:45
It’s because we were talking about the brand and we’re kind of messaging and talking about the the I don’t want to say generational because I don’t think that’s generation also, I feel like that sounds very like boomers being like millennials, you can’t buy a house. Because avocado toast but rather, it was an era like I don’t have an engineering background. I’d never was an engineer myself. I I largely actually tested like when I first reached out to you is largely when I was building my very first baby online audience. But it was a lot of me realizing I don’t really like Product Management. I don’t know what that next thing quite is yet. What does it look like to be open source developer developer advocacy, community builder, and we’re starting to figure it out. very shaky, but I think of it like it doesn’t matter how many followers it’s how you use the follows like when Instagram is huge flashback. I used to work at an agency years ago, and we it was like, Don’t ever buy Instagram accounts, but like post three times a day and do that. And there is in you know, I’ve had many conversations this week on YouTube shorts versus reels and is it relevant for growth, but and I think at the end of the day, we can all these platforms, they don’t matter if we just are scheduling and walking away like you’re not building relationships, you’re not talking to it. But I feel the younger, newer, fresher people, like there’s more pressure to feel like you have to be online.
Tessa Kriesel 25:11
I actually agree with that, which is really sad. Because like that pressure is like, if that’s not something you want to do to put your life out there, whether personally or professionally, it’s not something that you feel like you should absolutely have to do. You know, kind of speaking back to like Twitter and being able to walk away. I mean, definitely, there’s, there’s probably like a bit of privilege when you’re able to do that and kind of step away from an audience that you’ve created. But like, I think I have, like 8000 followers, and I wouldn’t, by any means, say that I have a lot of followers, it took me a very, very long time to get those 8000 followers. But you know, I think it’s, I still feel like if I have engagement and outreach, like it’s still successful, minus all the latest things, right, just in general, it’s still successful, because it’s all about like going to where those developers are at, right? Like, where are they spending time and it doesn’t have to be Twitter, it doesn’t have to be some of the social platforms, it’s just finding where your audience is, and finding the way that works for you. And if you’re not a Twitter person, then that’s not where you’re gonna do it out. You can do it in other different communities that, you know, are more your style.
Brian Rinaldi 26:12
Yeah, I will say like it did. Twitter did was an important part of building a lot of my initial. So I could see how, from, like, if I’m new into the industry, like, you know, not having a single place, because I mean, even even with I mean, I think developers are still largely on Twitter, but I, but I also feel like it’s now they’re all over the place. It’s not like there’s not an easy place. I can say like, Oh, before it was go to Twitter, they’re all there like least in the US and Europe, right. You know, and now it’s like, where are they? I mean, they’re, they’re on Twitter, they’re on Mastodon, they’re on blue sky, maybe less. So threads. But like, you know, there’s just kind of all over the place split up. But I do think, like, it still was like, you needed someplace to kind of make some of those connections. That’s where I met a lot of the people in the industry that I got to know, you know, it wasn’t, I would say it probably was less important in terms of like, my outreach and of like, promoting whatever company I was working for, and more important for me, and the connections I made in the industry, like, via Twitter. And yeah, I don’t I don’t know, I don’t know, if I’m starting out like where do you go now? I don’t know. I mean, probably still Twitter. But if you can stomach being on Twitter, which, you know, I can’t, but I mean, it’s just like, I get why people are there. It’s still still…
Erin Mikail Staples 27:43
Yeah, I mean, hold on, I’m gonna actually maybe reverse my take strong opinions held loosely in this household right here. And I was like, going on a rant about like, you have to be online. But then I’m like, I’m sitting here. And it’s Brian’s talking. I’m thinking of my early experiences that made me not think I want to be in community. But think that I want to be working in the inner I knew I wanted to be on the internet in some form. And y’all I’ve been a member of geocaching dot coms forum for over 15 years now and get good. And have maintained that or I think of, there’s a USA Swimming forum that they used to have, but I spent way too much time on or I learned how to style things on the internet, because of my Tumblr blog and my MySpace blog, and I am still an active member of The Sims custom content forum and logged in within the last week. So it’s not that these are my all my experiences, but like I and maybe like I know, this is like very, like there’s a small range of there’s actually like a New Yorker article in The Atlantic article about this, but I very much like my teenage years were prime days of Tumblr. So it was everybody was on Tumblr after school and like you’re pinging and poking. And I’m still on Tumblr, like, great platform. But yeah, I was later to Twitter. And I was super late to Instagram. I actually remember my like, junior year of college getting an Instagram or something like that, because it was I didn’t, I wasn’t on it, because I wasn’t interested in frat parties in college.
Tessa Kriesel 29:20
I will say like, I’ve definitely had some like self reflection on that too. Because like, I feel like most of my audience if I’m approaching DevRel, folks, so I’m pulling together a developer relations strategy like kind of course ebook right now. And I’ve been working on it throughout my maternity leave and excited to get it out there. Right. And then kind of some of this Twitter stuff happened and I like took a step back and I was like, shoot, like, my entire like, market is on Twitter. And it isn’t right. I just had to like start thinking about okay, I do have, you know, 1000 subscribers like I can reach out to them. I’ve got other channel channels. I can I can definitely outreach to, you know, there’s several communities, there’s the slack groups, whatever but it is so easy. I don’t know if easy is maybe the right word, but it is easy right? To just have something and to invest in it and to be like, Okay, this is just where I’m going to do it, because most people were on Twitter that I think would be my audience for what I’m building, and then have to like, you know, crisis, right? Like, where do I go and market this? And how do I shift them?
Erin Mikail Staples 30:17
But I don’t know if that’s a bad thing. Like, I know, it’s, yeah, it’s like, it’s a good thing. Yeah, I was gonna say it’s a very good thing. But like, also, like, we’ve all seen the crappy ads, like we’ve all we can all say it when it comes to, like, trying to like that’s I installed threads. And I was like, I frickin hate threads, because I feel like I’m just getting ads on there. And this also tells me, like, follow too many meme accounts that are making merch on Instagram. But that all being said, like, I don’t want that I’m actually very clear. This is in hypotheticals. I am not an expert in SEO. And I’ll be the first to tell you my you know, my limited about, but what does SEO gonna look like in three years?
Tessa Kriesel 30:53
Yeah, well, Twitter’s pulled from Google results. Now, I don’t know if you all noticed that. So it’s like, I don’t know. That’s a good call, like, what is it going to look like? I have a whole tangent on SEO do.
Erin Mikail Staples 31:04
We were talking about?
Brian Rinaldi 31:06
I want to hear your opinions on SEO go for it.
Tessa Kriesel 31:09
Well, it’s more about like community platforms, because I think everyone, it’s actually more of like close to home at work tangent because some folks started using discord, which I think is really great, right? Like discord slack. Some of those platforms are really great, because you can get people where they’re already at, they’re already on Discord. They’re already on slack for work, whatever it is that they’re doing. But the problem is, is that there is no search engine value to either of those platforms, because behind the login wall, and same with all the other communities that are behind the login wall. And so I think that it is interesting to just think about what SEO is going to look like, and kind of what that interest is. But my rant is basically like don’t use platforms that aren’t public. Because if you’re putting all that content and all that copy in, like, hey, how do you do this? How do you do that? Here’s the answer to that. Like, if you’re putting all that behind a login wall, then like all of that valuable information is just poof, gone. The Internet can’t find you. They can’t find your product if you try to search for it, because it’s all kind of hidden in that space. So anyways, that was a tangent from SEO. But
Brian Rinaldi 32:05
yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, and now, now that there’s all these API’s reached, because Twitter is not the only one I heard, was it that somebody else today was like, and there’s a read, it says API restrictions. And so like, what used to be platforms where you could get some of that SEO boost by like, posting something, I think are starting to go away. But maybe it goes back to back in the day when I started, like, you know, it was like, okay, my blog was actually a big deal for the company, because I’d just post stuff. And I’d like, Oh, I’ll repost on my blog. And it’s like, you know, and that would actually get some SEO boosts. Yeah, so you know, there, I could include the links and everything, and it’s public. So, you know, I’m all for blogs coming back. Other than the fact that I just, I’m terrible about blogging on my own blog, but, but I’m for them all coming back.
Erin Mikail Staples 33:02
I’m pretty sure that as soon as like, I had full intentions of updating my website this week, and actually, because I’m tested over here, Speaker page, I was like, I’m gonna do that. And I promptly fell asleep.
Tessa Kriesel 33:18
I will say that that is it’s a really good cheat. Like for anyone, especially like in DevRel, if anyone’s listening is I have like a speaker page, although my websites down right now because I moved on my domain names. And they like stripped all my DNS records. So like, I have a lot of work to do to go fix all my DNS records. That’s been a nightmare. Anyways, I’ll digress from that. But long story short, yeah, I have a speaker page and you can get my bio you can download my headshots, you can see my past speaking experience, you can look at videos and it’s so nice because we get those requests all the time. Like if you’re on a podcast or if you’re speaking it’s like can you send your your headshot, your bio your title, things like that. And it’s like here we go. It’s just all right there you can just go grab what you need.
Brian Rinaldi 33:54
Um, I’ve been meaning to do that and I for I mean, I’ve been at this for years you’d think I would have done that I haven’t you know, my blog is like my blog is is you know that old saying about like the cabinets in the carpenters house kind of thing. Like I don’t forget the exact thing but like, that’s my blog is like, it’s like, okay, by time I get time to do is like, should I fix this? I know I need to fix this. But you know, yeah, anyway,
Erin Mikail Staples 34:25
um, that reminds me kind of what you talked on there of like, going down the kind of thing that I don’t want to say growth hack because I don’t like the term but you know, growing yourself as a liberal and great at creating awareness. I actually got into LinkedIn common thread about word instead of Twitter so it’s never like I’m like in the LinkedIn comment section of someone’s comments. I was seeing people wondering if to progress their growth a is talks or talks podcast, giving presentations still relevant, or if you’re like an introvert, is that totally okay. From a management and team building perspective, but also be what should you consider or when getting on a talk or whatnot? And how do you measure that boost for your organization?
Tessa Kriesel 35:07
Alright, so two different topics, you might have to remind me the second one. So first one, you know, you had kind of mentioned like, if you’re an introvert or like your talks successful, like, is that how you grow your presence? Kind of, like you said, growth hacking? I think that it can be one way, right. And I think that there’s just a variety of different ways that you can do that. I think that giving talks, though, is really, it is really nice to the people who are comfortable doing it, because it can be scary, like wicked scary if it’s something you’ve never done before. And I personally believe that several can be done without events, it can be done without presentations like that it can be done without that kind of all the travel, right. It can be done in a variety of different content forms. I, honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever delivered a dev rel content focused talk. In person ever. I feel I just like I’m trying to think through this. I don’t think I have, I think I’ve done a couple of like webinar talks. But like, I will say that, like I have built up an audience in general. And it’s been through other forms of content. It’s been through templates. It’s been through, like, blog post copy, it’s been through tweet threads, where I’m like, boom, here’s my opinion on a whole bunch of stuff, right. And I think that everyone has like their niche of how they want to do stuff. And I that is the one thing that I really just kind of get down on what’s several is that folks feel like they need to be public speakers. And it’s like, you absolutely do not need to be a public speaker to find success in DevRel. And to grow your reputation in that way.
Brian Rinaldi 36:37
Yeah, I I definitely agree with that. I think that’s part of even the, like, the ish part of DevRel(ish) is that there’s so many different, like, versions of what a dev rel can be. You know, I’ve, I still give talks, because everyone’s no other companies like, oh, it’s important. And then it’s like, oh, no, we’re tightening our belt. It’s not important. But so you know, and of course, those always happens, like you submit six months in advance. And then six months later, they’re like, oh, it’s not really important. We were cutting the budgets and travel and stuff. You’re like, I committed to this, because you said it was important six months ago, and I got sidetracked there. But my point is, I think, I do think there’s diminishing value of the talks. Because it’s just one of these things like you can’t really control. I find like, if I’m giving a talk at a conference that we are sponsoring, then it’s actually i The value is I’m working the table, I’m doing stuff like, it’s not even my session, my session is probably not that valuable, ultimately, because I can’t control how many people show up, maybe it’s 10. Maybe it’s 50? I don’t know, it depends on a whole number of factors that are completely out of my control. But like I can, I can almost be certain that a blog post or a YouTube video on our YouTube channel or things like that, will get a lot of views. You know, and, and have a lot more potential impact than a random talk at a random conference.
Tessa Kriesel 38:16
Yeah, I mean, I will say one kind of caveat to add is that the nice thing about it as a yes, if you have a booth, because then it’s like, hey, they can come talk to you, it feels approachable, you are a speaker, they can be like, Oh, hey, I saw your talk. And I thought it was great or whatever, which really helps folks who don’t like to approach other people. But I do think that, you know, kind of thinking, getting rid of my brothers and Franklin with me, I’m just gonna leave it at that long story short, so we can can be valuable
Erin Mikail Staples 38:43
that, um, but other side of that I think of hallway tracks are super important. But also yes, I think picking the right places to be in. Yes. I mean, we’ve all given a talk or an opportunity to really like, I am actually very distinctly remembering a recent, you know, event that I worked on a couple weeks back now. And it was just like a little meetup thing. And they asked me to give a demo and what the, what the target was communicated to me from our external parties was different than the actual audience. So I was like, Oh, these people are gonna be very technical. And then I got it and I was like, I am glad I have one on one slides prepped, and from another talk, I’m gonna go recycle those and we’re gonna go back in this land right now because I can tell I’m getting glazed over eyes and yeah, that’s not the goal. Yeah.
Brian Rinaldi 39:33
I think you’re right though. The hallway. I you know, I’m not saying they’re not important. I’m just saying like, it’s there are a number of ways you can have a big impact. I still think it’s worthwhile, like the hallway track is worthwhile. I’ve met a lot of made a lot of connections, even when we’re not sponsoring events that I think ultimately could be important or it can have been important for companies I’ve worked for it. Or even just being able to scout out which events we want to sponsor because sometimes it’s It’s hard to know. It’s like, well, if I’ve been there, I could tell you, Oh, this is a great event, that’s not a great event, etc. So those kinds of things like are all value you can bring back. But just to, to your point, Tessa, that there are a lot of ways you can have a huge impact as a demo without necessarily going out of speaking.
Tessa Kriesel 40:20
Yeah, but speaking can be it too, right? It just depends on what your business is looking for in your audience and the targets and the conferences available to you. Like in AR, there’s only a couple of conferences available to me. So like, I can’t take events and make that a big part of my strategy, because it’s just they’re not there. And that people aren’t there. And that hasn’t been built up yet. So Aaron, there’s like a second part to the question. I think it was like growth, like, how do we track the success of that stuff?
Erin Mikail Staples 40:43
Yeah. Like, how do you think about the growth of these? Or like, what do you measure for? Is it I think, the developer qualified leads that we hear a lot of, or are we doing more of a? And actually, this reminds me like, I know, we’re kind of coming up on our time here. But curious even to know, like, from your perspective, what are your KPIs that you would consider as a manager in this space?
Tessa Kriesel 41:03
Yeah, definitely. Well, kind of KPIs really, always come back to what the company is after, right? And so like, you always want to kind of bring that back. So why don’t I talk about the first one that will come back to like the KPIs thing. So tracking some of those metrics, when you’re an event that is something that’s actually really difficult to do, it is quite hard to have a session and be able to track like, who was in my session, what’s the headcount, one little tip that I like to do is I will turn around and I’ll take a selfie, right? Like, I don’t actually take selfies of myself all that often, unless I’m, like, look at my cute puppy, or look at my cow. But I’ll take a selfie. And then it’s like, they don’t think anything of it. But behind me, I can get a headcount of all people in my session, right? So I tried to make sure that I can see all the seeds, can I go back and actually count how many people were in there? Or are mentally like, try to count if it’s a smaller conference? Oh, there’s 50 people in the room for my session, and then I’ll report back on that. But the thing about reporting is that I think that those are just like vanity numbers, it doesn’t really matter who’s in my session, if nobody takes the next step, right. And it doesn’t matter how many people read your blog posts unless they take the next step. So what I track is what I call a call to action, like, what is the call to action that I want the users to take? And so if it’s a presentation, or I’m doing a conference session, it’ll be like, you know, maybe download my slides at this Bitly URL, or maybe it’s something that’s going to get them to like engage, right, give me your email, give me your information, tweet about something, just really try to like drive some path where there is metrics, and on Bitly, you can actually track the visits, right? So you can say, who went to my slide deck, it was a Bitly URL, okay, these people actually grabbed the slide deck, because the slide deck has a link that’s gonna go take him to sign up, or do I have a coupon code in there that they use to go sign up for a product that I can attribute back to myself? And so honestly, I think that’s why the metrics conversation is just all over the place all the time and DevRel, because it’s thinking about, and a lot of people are like, oh, let’s just look at views. I got X number of views. And it’s like, that doesn’t really matter, though. What did those views get you at the end? And so events, it’s like figuring out who’s in that session, but did they get to your actual bookmarks? Did they come and visit your booth? Do you have leads, I will actually, like, I feel like a like a bit like a salesperson, sometimes when I go to these events, because I’ll actually try to like get contact information or all like, stalk them on LinkedIn, I’ll follow them immediately on social, like, they’ll try to do something so that a, they remember me and that like I remember them. And so then I can attribute that back. And so there’s just so much that can come into that. But at the end of the day, it you really have to think about what impact did that thing drive? And did you track the impact of that? Yeah. Does that make sense? Yeah, no, I
Brian Rinaldi 43:49
think that was absolutely.
Erin Mikail Staples 43:52
I’m like sketching out on my little like screen on like, remember this for next things have like, a flowchart of all these things. Because I was like, I need to write this down before I don’t.
Tessa Kriesel 44:00
But I’ll hit me up next time you’re doing it and we can like work through it. That’s I absolutely love doing that. If anyone is on a call, and they’re like, how do I check something hit me up on Twitter, because it’s just like, it’s fun to sit there and troubleshoot like I did this. And here’s like, what I have, but like, what’s the impact that I’m actually going to report. And like I said earlier on before kind of jumped on this call, like we were talking about Dev Rel and whatever else kind of sort of, I don’t want to say died off, but the roles are definitely decreasing with the economic market. And I do personally feel it’s a lot of impact reporting. And it’s hard because a lot of folks just run to, hey, I have this many views. I had someone who I actually work with you to several teams at snap, and I was in a one on one with him. And he’s like, I get to go to DevRelCon this year. I’m so excited. He’s like, What should I think about and what should I like consider and I’m like, go to sessions for managers figure out how to report your impact. If there’s a session that’s like that, like it’s a conversation that constantly comes up, but as a contributor, if you can report and figure out the metrics that actually matter. Then you’re going to be much more successful and hopefully none of us are getting laid off in our different roles when we’re able to do that.
Brian Rinaldi 45:06
Yeah, I think that definitely helps. So as as Aaron noted earlier, we are running a time and we do have a very important part of the show that we have to get to. Yeah, it’s it’s yes, so
Erin Mikail Staples 45:24
did not let like I shouldn’t fair warning Brian, that one I actually do pick on my own pickles and too, I should not be trusted with puns because I will take them to the extent I knew that when he reached out to me
Brian Rinaldi 45:39
you know, this wasn’t a problem. Hello, we came up I you know, the artists came who came up with all this I told him I’m like, play on relish. So yeah, it worked out perfect. You it turned out when? When I reached out to Aaron that I was not aware that that she pickled her own pickles. So it’s just kind of all synergy. perfect synergy. Speak right, like
Erin Mikail Staples 46:08
Yeah, I’m gonna I’m gonna build a guide and tweet it out. How to launch a successful show. Just always a pickle facts. The end? Yes, everyone.
Brian Rinaldi 46:19
On that note, I had said I would get like a little animation though. Come on, like Erin’s pickle fact, we need like intro music
Erin Mikail Staples 46:30
so it’s like I like
Brian Rinaldi 46:33
maybe the field.
Tessa Kriesel 46:36
There you, go. Yeah, the crunch.
Erin Mikail Staples 46:39
I hope someone if they’re like watching it. You can put that later on. Wow.
Brian Rinaldi 46:44
So what’s today’s pickle fact?
Erin Mikail Staples 46:47
So Tessa mentioned early on today about our love of hamburger pizza, or pickles and pizza. And it was actually invented in August 2019 and is attributed to giant rhinos Pizza Pizza, in Rochester, New York. And the unusual pairing is from her child, or for the brainchild of the employee of the shop, Kathy Sousa. And I apologize for pronouncing that wrong. And her daughter, who suggested it after returning from a pickle festival. They were very concerned and now they make and package a garlic sauce and a slice pickles around the country. But it is attributed to that place in Rochester, New York in 2018.
Tessa Kriesel 47:25
Interesting, so the pick the cheeseburger pizzas that I ate with pickles was like years before that. Yeah, but I suppose I mean, wherever somebody gets the infamous I mean,
Erin Mikail Staples 47:35
we might, you know, hit their SEO. If you’re SEO and you’re at rhinos pizza in New York, then.
Tessa Kriesel 47:43
Yeah, good for you.
Erin Mikail Staples 47:45
I was really googling Where did pickles on pizza come from? And they haven’t in more than one mentioned. So congrats to you SEO because I also do think like now that I’ve read it this 2018 I think I’ve had pickles on pizza before that. Yeah, yeah. Cheese.
Brian Rinaldi 47:59
Pickles on pizza. So
Tessa Kriesel 48:00
Oh, it’s so good. But I also like pineapple on pizza. And people just like shun me for that. So maybe I’m like just to shun pizza eater in general. But no cheese burger.
Erin Mikail Staples 48:09
So good. When you get like pickles on it. There’s got to use like the cheddar cheese. Yeah, no, you’re good. There’s a place in Europe that does a they have like a hot honey pizza. But it hasn’t pineapple on it and prosciutto. prosciutto pineapple, hot honey. And then
Tessa Kriesel 48:24
red pepper. Who? Interesting. That’s an interesting combination. Very into it.
Erin Mikail Staples 48:29
Very into it.
Brian Rinaldi 48:30
All right. Now that now that I’m hungry.
Tessa Kriesel 48:33
I did. I miss lunch today too, because I’ve had so many meetings today. I got right before I got in here. I was like, oh, it’s like almost like well, it’s almost three now. And I’m like, huh, I probably should eat at some point in time. So now I need some cheeseburger pizza in my life. Yeah, well, yeah.
Brian Rinaldi 48:46
10 minutes. Let’s go get cheeseburger pizza.
Tessa Kriesel 48:51
There we go. I didn’t make my own. I have not found any good cheeseburger pizzas. Anywhere. There was a super small town bowling alley that had cheeseburger pizza. And that’s where I fell in love with it. Can’t find it anywhere and nowhere near as good. So I’ll have to figure out how to make.
Brian Rinaldi 49:05
Yeah, I mean, seems like something you can make on your own right?
Erin Mikail Staples 49:08
Oh, totally. I’m sure. Like you make anything on your own.
Tessa Kriesel 49:12
I agree with them.
Erin Mikail Staples 49:13
Just a Will it be good? And will it be quality? You know?
Tessa Kriesel 49:19
I love to cook. So like, I’ll probably end up finding a good way to do it. You know what? I’m going to work on this and then I’ll share the recipe back so y’all can share it on your dev relish channel and people can make cheeseburger pizza. Perfect.
Brian Rinaldi 49:29
Perfect. Yes. All right. I love that idea
Erin Mikail Staples 49:34
for joining us, and thank you for being you and everything.
Tessa Kriesel 49:38
That’s really sweet of you to say thank you for having me and for all of your very kind words.
Brian Rinaldi 49:43
Glad to have you around. Thanks, Tessa. All right, everyone. So just as a kind of programming note. Well, we’ll be back next month. We haven’t set a date but we will be back next month with another episode of DEV relish but just kind of quick things before you all leave tomorrow. Nick Taylor will be hosting our first live coding show on the on a CFE.dev. So he’s going to be coding doing show doing debugging. And then we have a conference coming up. It’s a it’s a one day conference like an afternoon, all about AI, and how its AI and you know, and why they call them the largely MLMs are impacting how we develop software. So that’s coming up at the end of the month again, as always, if all this is free, so just sign up. And, and we’ll see y’all soon. Bye. Awesome. Thank
Erin Mikail Staples 50:37
you. Bye, everyone.