Developers need thought leadership, it’s a fact.
It is for this reason that software application development focused tech vendors often employ futurists, evangelists and advocates.
Computer Weekly Open Source Insider asked DataStax ‘solutions architect / vanguard’ (Ed: wow, that’s a new one) Patrick Callaghan what he thinks it takes to be a good visionary lead in the developer space.
DataStax itself is a data management company with roots in open source — the company is a (if not ‘the’) key contributor to Apache Cassandra.
CW OSI: What do developer relations teams and the advocates that lead them really have to concern themselves with today?
Callaghan: It’s all about engaging the user community as peers and equals.
Developer relations teams have to act as advocates for users within their companies, as well as creating all the content that provides insight into all the innovative work that can be done with software tools over time.
This makes it easier and faster for developers to adopt solutions in the right ways.
CW OSI: How can DevRel teams and evangelists avoid being tarred with the ‘marketing’ brush?
Callaghan: It’s about being truthful on what your product does, how it works, and equally what it can’t be used for.
You are working with engineers – they want to understand how things work, and why different approaches to problems should be considered.
CW OSI: Can you give us an example?
Callaghan: Say you have to cross a river – a bridge and a boat both help you cross the water, but whether you choose one or the other depends on your needs.
Software developers face similar challenges around picking the right tools from cloud databases to software languages for their projects. Making the right choices helps you avoid re-platforming or changing in the near future, so good advice is essential.
You can’t fake that approach.