We Thought We Were Going to Run a DevGuild Conference on AI
Every year, I have the opportunity to work with our veteran partner team and our incredible developer community, which includes more than 600 advisors and over 70 leading devtool startups to program our DevGuild conferences. In the past, our programs have been filled with industry-leading founders and operators focused on important dev-first topics including open source, incident response, and developer-first go-to-market–to help developer-first startups solve their unique challenges. Heavybit is the leading investor in developer-first startups, and what gets us out of bed every morning is finding new ways to advocate for developers to improve not just their day-to-day work, but their lives in general.
You’ve probably noticed that all anyone seems to be talking about is AI, so it may not come as a shock that we set out to build a DevGuild focused on the intersection of AI and software engineering. In particular, AI seems poised to completely change what it means to be a software developer, and in doing so, AI will increase the number of developers like no technology has before. There are now AI tools that not only code alongside you as a pair programmer, but also help you debug, test, and document–all important tasks that developers were previously expected to work through more or less on their own. The future is bright, but also uncertain, and a little scary.
Where is all this headed? What will this new technology actually mean for individual developers, and long-term, how will it affect their roles, and their careers?
What Happened: Lots of Questions, Very Few Answers
As we’ve done a dozen times before, Heavybit’s platform team set out to secure venues, source speakers, and craft an engaging story for our audience. But as we explored potential topics and speakers, it became clear that we were in a moment that required a different approach.
Previously, we’ve featured 20-year veterans in security, enterprise product development, and community-building. However, we realized there are far fewer veterans with experience putting this sort of work in AI into production. Yes, there are absolutely pioneers that have helped develop the first versions of ML and NLP models, and we’re grateful they’ve blazed the trail for us. As one community member recently put it, while developers' experiments with AI tools have them convinced of their incredibly exciting potential, how much of this space is actually “production-ready”? So we decided that a traditional conference might not do justice to a subject that is very broad, wildly consequential, and in a constant, chaotic state of change.
What We Decided: Another AI Conference Doesn’t Make Sense
So, I’m excited to announce that we’re fine-tuning our own event model. Our goal is to take advantage of the moment we’re in now–a time where there is an explosion of questions, and very few answers. When no one is actually an “expert” or a “veteran” on the topic of AI for developers.
That’s our opportunity. You’ve probably spoken with your colleagues, friendly customers, investors, and other people in your circle about how you’ve been tinkering with AI. Maybe you’ve heard some interesting ideas from others. Every one of us is at a different point in our journey, and every one of us has learned at least some of what works, what doesn’t seem to work, and has identified new opportunities to potentially get more out of AI.
Our goal is to scale beyond anecdotal stories. We want to harness the collective intelligence of the developer community and make it available for everyone.
Coming Soon: DevGuild: AI Summit
So, rather than hold a traditional conference, Heavbit is organizing a summit event for the members of our community–our friends, founders, and extended dev-first family working in and around software development. We’re seeking to assemble a variety of voices and perspectives, from established enterprises to early-stage startups, to help us collect everything that can be learned from what we’ve all heard, seen, experienced, and built.
At DevGuild: AI Summit on October 19 in San Francisco, we’ll be inviting select members of our community to discuss and document their findings in a safe, confidential, judgment-free environment devoted to helping us all make sense of what AI means for developers today, and where this is all headed.
Why We Want You to Attend (and What You’ll Get Out of It)
We want you to be part of this event to help us chart that course for developers. We’re looking for people who care deeply not just about day-to-day coding, but also about the new friction that AI is introducing between open source and proprietary software, whether existing copyright and authorship laws are capable of responding to this moment, the emergence of intelligent agents that can enhance, document, and test code in real time, and how the best among us will solve the unprecedented challenges of securing this new generation of tools and services.
We’ll be looking to compile your insights and learnings into a full set of recommendations and best practices we can craft together and share with developers everywhere–to inform, shape, and guide the future of development in the age of AI.