So I’ve had a few folks who apparently liked my developer relations (DevRel) analogy that JJ Asghar outed for me at our panel on community building for GAN and Orbit for SXSW this year. So, since folks are asking, I'm replicating it here:
So imagine your company is a bed and breakfast in a quaint little town. Your engineering team and product team are all the people keeping things running, from cooking to cleaning to fixing. They work their tails off to make the bed and breakfast a great experience. The sales team is the folks who greet you at the door. They help you find your room, or they seat you at your table. They’re working with your business ops folks to ensure the money is gathered and counted so everyone can keep doing what they’re doing. The marketing team, meanwhile, are the folks making the front porch the most welcoming place to be. They’re maintaining the lawn, keeping the paint sparkling (and shiny compared to the neighbors), and ensuring that anyone who sees the building is drawn to it.
So where’s DevRel in all this? Well, they’re out in the town square five or six blocks away. They’re helping folks find where they’re going, they’re explaining the town’s history to passersby, they’re recommending restaurants to tourists. Oh, and they’re wearing the bed and breakfast’s logo and recommending it as a place to stay or eat with a wink and an “Of course, I’m a bit biased as they ensure I can be out here to help you.” People respond well; they go find the bed and breakfast that this nice, helpful person talked about.
DevRel professionals are out in front of your company, introducing the company to new communities by being the helpers and the teachers and driving a positive association so it’s easier for sales to call out and encourage someone to come in for a glass of sweet tea. People like me are trying to be 2-5 years ahead of where the company is now, laying the groundwork for the company so when it’s time to introduce yourself to a new community, they’re already interested in listening to you. We're making sure everyone has a great experience, one person at a time. Because that's how you win communities' hearts (and their minds will follow when they experience your product, hopefully). As some smarter folks than me said, "It's up to us to ensure they know we're here."
(I originally put this up as a thread on Twitter, in case you want to explore the original.)