@devrel: a Summit with a Slack Integration

Ever heard the term DevRel and wondered what the heck it meant? In our line of work at Catchy we are all about building stronger developer relations so when the DevRel Summit was coming to Seattle, I had to attend. From start to finish the summit was well organized, interactive, and informative. Everyone left with a better understanding of how to manage relationships within the developer community.

The interactivity started the day before the event when I received an invite to the DevRel Summit team on Slack. This was the first time I received a Slack invite outside of work so I was intrigued. After signing in, I began receiving notifications from people introducing themselves and getting to know each other before the event.

I arrived at Galvanize and entered a room set up for about 60 attendees. After a brief welcome and icebreaker from Galvanize Evangelist and host Lee Ngo we jumped right into the sessions.

Instead of having traditional Q&A sessions, each speaker topic had a dedicated Slack channel where attendees could slack their burning questions and thoughts. The hosts and attendees kept the slack channel active by posting questions and responding to each other. The incorporation of Slack made for a truly virtual and interactive day.

The speaker lineup was a mixture of developers, evangelists, and marketers. I’m not sure if it was intentional but over half the speakers were female and a running theme was inclusion in development. The main highlight from the morning was that Evangelists are perfectly situated between marketing and development. They are promoters and representatives of the company they work for who can speak dev and participate in building technology.

At 1pm we broke for lunch with another icebreaker. The room was divided into 8 teams where each came up with a product and pitched it to the group. The products and pitches were hilarious and probably best kept in the room… I will say that based on Slack votes, team Synergy Pandas was the clear winner.

After lunch Cynthia Tee led a panel dedicated to inclusion. The panelists shared stories that reminded us that the development demographic is changing. It’s no longer predominantly white males and it’s up to everyone in the community to set a new standard.

The day rounded out with presenters who were non-technical but worked in developer relations, at this point my ears perked up as I was able to relate. Each presenter had a clear love for technology and helping others to be successful.

The final icebreaker was a riveting game of rock paper scissors – there was only one winner so the bar opened shortly after for the the rest of the room to drown their sorrows. With drinks in hand there were two final panel sessions hosted by Caroline Lewko from WIP Factory and a sponsor of the summit.

By the end some of the attendees had left, new ones had joined, and some diehards were there all day. We wrapped up with a group picture and then off to happy hour. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the after party but I can imagine the conversations kept going and more developer relations were made.

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