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Bear Douglas: Connecting DevRel & Product at Twitter Ted Carstensen

Late last year Heavybit had the pleasure of hosting Bear Douglas, then Twitter’s Developer Advocacy Lead, for a talk on her work connecting the Developer Relations and Product teams at Twitter.

Hear about her explorations into how advocates and evangelists can manage internal conversations to ensure that a community team’s collection of developer feedback gets properly incorporated into product design.

Here are a few key takeaways from her talk:

Are you an Advocate or an Evangelist?

The types of activities that you’re doing day-to-day will define your answer. Phil Leggetter, Head of DevRel at Nexmo, built a handy web tool, the DevRelOMeter, to help you figure this out for yourself. Regardless of where you land on the DevRelOMeter though, Bear’s lessons apply equally – strong and clear communication between Product and DevRel will help you build empathy and lead to a better product offering.

Bring Your Customers Along For The Product Journey

Bear says it best:

If you only listen reactively to what the market wants, it’s hard to predict and put yourself in a good position with your product for 5 years down the line. You have to be forward thinking, you have to be innovating, but it is so important to bring your customers with you along the way.

What are you doing on a regular basis to bring your customers along for your product journey?

Come Bearing Gifts (Sometimes)

Bear suggests mixing in good news with the bad. If you’re only presenting your product team with the bugs and problems that developers are experiencing, it’s only natural that they would start to avoid conversations with your team.

Share customer love with them in addition to the bad stuff. When a customer shares how easy integration was, or how delightful a new dashboard is – share that with the product team!

How To Share The Good Stuff

It’s incredibly important to regularly share customer feedback with your Product team. Sharing the impact of the work that the product team is doing helps build empathy and boost morale. So following on from that last item, how should you go about sharing the good news?

Bear suggests a weekly update that includes customer feedback that focuses on the work your team did the previous week. The feedback can be tweets, excerpts from emails, or forum posts – anything that expresses the impact that that work is having on customers.

Don’t forget to watch the full talk for more insights from Bear.

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