How to build Developer Communities
“working on stuff that matters” > hope that’s what you’re planning!
Last ten years about emergence of open source
Next ten years about emergence of open data
Crowded and more competitive landscape
Need to work harder to create communities that can reach their full potential.
When I think of the best communities, I think of these guys
Fantastic range of qualities
Effective (individually and collectively), like to challenge each other
About the ride as much as about the destination
If you want your community to be this good, you’ve got to attract the right people.
How? Understand their motives.
I’m going to talk about what it is that motivates developers, why they would bother, we can then align our product
or service to meet their interest
Learn and study new skills
In a recent survey, open source developers were asked to explain their motives for joining.
Top answer: 79% said “to learn and study new skills”
Next highest answer: “to share my knowledge and skills”: help others learn.
Establishing credibility in their peer group.
Create a better alternative
Motive: Create a better alternative. But don’t second guess what this might be!
Firefox - Building a better browser? Or supporting open video formats?
Wikipedia - general collaboration? Or speciﬁcally building an encyclopaedia?
Wordpress - Building a blogging tool? Or simply a lightweight CMS?
Build something cool!
Motive: Build something cool. Be creative.
People get pleasure from sharing cool stuff.
Just look at Boing Boing!
Help other people
Motive: Altruism. Examples: School of Everything, theyworkforyou.com, rewiredstate.
I’m working with developers to open up NHS data and there’s a lot of interest in this.
How will YOU support this?
Response: How should this manifest itself? How does your project structure support this? How does your product
Help them share
Response: Develop a space for sharing and improving
Help developers ﬁnd each other (and each other’s work), then get the hell out of the way
BBC Backstage does this really well.
Carrot analogy doesn’t hold...
Help them be creative
Response: Offer something multi-sided, open, creative....
Something cool, fun, useful - inspire the same creative urges that people get playing with meccano or lego
Help them evaluate the product
Response: Whatever they want to do, they need to be able to see whether they can do it quickly. Fire Eagle,
Twitter good examples.
Consider your behaviour
Response: Adopt appropriate behaviour
Words of alpha geek Paul Downey...stay cool, don’t dictate
By inviting them in, you’ve given them a controlling stake
Change your company
Response: Develop evolved, enlightened marketing process
Challenge internal preconceptions - use the right language
managing / exploiting / owning = bad
support / inﬂuence / help = good
None of those motives mentioned money!
Prepare for change
Response: Prepare for response. Create feedback loops. Be transparent. Explain your decision making process,
Read this book
Eric S.Raymond - stories from the inside, understand how to scale
Follow on Twitter
Follow these people on Twitter
•“Hackers” by adactio
•“Beichtstuhl - confession booth” by Ela2007
•“Why Bother” by Kables
•“Hooray” by Zach_ManchesterUK (heh, Iain Farrell’s idea)
•“Help” by LiminalMike
•“Sharing” by ryancr
•“Victorinox "Swiss Army Knife" Climber” by capcase
•“Standeace” by psd
•“Evolution - The Ride” by kevindooley
•“My Listening Ears” by niclindh
•“Happy Hippy. Blue Meanie.” by World of Oddy