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What Would You Say You Do Here? Justin Johnson

On February 22nd, Heavybit hosted the SF Marketing to Devs meetup, featuring a panel of Developer Evangelists, Advocates, and Community leaders from Keen IO, Couchbase, Github, Docker, and previously New Relic. The panel was brought together to explore how marketers, community managers, and dev advocates can best work together to create a robust and organic community. Keen’s VP of Developer Advocacy Justin Johnson moderated the panel, and has shared some extended thoughts with us below.


Building communities around products and businesses isn’t a new concept, but until recently the word ‘community’ probably didn’t mean that much to executives at big companies. It may have reminded them of their neighbors, perhaps the 70’s, or a high-five, but it almost certainly didn’t bring visions of an invaluable department in their company.

Well, times they are a changin’ – community teams are increasingly common across businesses of all sizes, each experimenting with different approaches. I’m not talking about a single person at a 1,000 person company who hangs out on IRC all day; I’m talking about a team with budget and headcount.

The business world is acknowledging that community is a thing and has begun to recognize its importance, but not everyone seems to fully understand a community team’s purpose, responsibility, and ROI. This uncertainty seems fair because I think we, the collective of community professionals, don’t fully understand these things either. We’re always experimenting and constantly learning from our successes and failures. As we learn, these roles mature along with their importance.

As you can imagine, leaders in these roles have strong opinions on the topic of professional community building that vary greatly. In this panel, I talk with Arun Gupta, Tamao Nakahara, Jono Bacon, and Mano Marks on a range of topics including the power of connecting with individual human beings, favorite tools for organizing your internal and external developer communities, and the importance of knowing how to report to executives. We also touched on the big changes New Relic recently made to their community team.

Check out the video below, view more photos on Flickr, and join the conversation.

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