Welcome to a warm, welcoming, inclusive community. We want to collaborate with you to create a better Developer Relations model that better suits the times.
The idea for Flyless began back in November 2018 in a keynote at DevRelCon in London with a simple exhortation to Fly Less, Write More. The talk was called Sympathy for the DevRel. I talked about the almost intolerable pressure Dev Rel people put themselves under in serving the community. Dev Rel folks are almost by definition empathic, which can cause you to internalise things when criticism happens. You find it hard to say no. You generally spend an absurd amount of time on the road. I wondered whether the people running Dev Rel programs were really applying their resources properly – sacrificing their people at the altar of travel, rather than giving them the space and time to create great engaging content, SDKs, sample apps, and so on.
November 2018 sure feels like a long time ago, doesn’t it? Like a completely different time. Then again early March 2020 feels like a different time. Here we are in April and many of us are a month into lockdown. Some of us are settling into the rhythms of Working From Home. For many of us it’s more a case of Coping From Home.
This seems like as good a time as any to set the foundations of a new way of working, which is better for people, and better for the climate, and which scales better and more inclusively. The word inclusive is so important – the tech industry is more distributed than ever, with incredible, super-energetic hotspots around the world. Check out Nigeria for example – which has some of the most active, open source first, developer communities in the world. But North America and European countries make it super hard for Nigerians to get visas to travel to conferences. This is morally wrong, but also makes no business sense. Why would you shut out the future? Especially in an industry which is supposed to be forward facing? We’re going to need to massively grow developer populations worldwide to meet the challenges we face – which means better education, better engagement and better support.
Which people and companies are using online platforms most effectively to engage with developers, to learn from them? What should the focus of Developer Advocacy, Developer Experience and Developer Relations be? How can we have a richer advocacy conversation between advocates in the field and the engineering teams? With more work online could we build better metrics, and KPIs, to ensure Dev Rel people can do great work, and have better less stressful lives, with more time for their loved ones? Spend more time writing blog posts, more time making videos, more time writing code samples? We hope so.
We believe that existing online platforms can be used more effectively, and new ones will be created to enable people to work together to better understand technologies and platforms: GitHub, Twitch, Twitter, Zoom, Slack, On24, Glitch, Tik Tok, maybe even Fortnite or Animal Crossing. Anywhere where folks can come together to teach each other about tech. Of course learning isn’t the only job to be done- we need to support the social side of Dev Rel. How can we enable serendipitous meetings, where we can bring our whole selves to the party, make new friends and meet new people? All of that matters.
We’re planning FlylessConf, an event to explore the possibilities of a new Dev Rel, one where conferences and meetups still happen, but meeting in person isn’t the default. We also have Flyless Weeklies – an online meetup to discuss the possibilities. We want to share tips and practices, but also support each emotionally in challenging times.
Welcome to Flyless.