Developer Advocacy
I messed up and I’m going to get fired
David G Simmons shares the reality, including potential upsides, of making mistakes.

  • Words used frequently in DevRel
    • Endeavour
    • Empathy
    • Sympathy
    • Understanding
  • What is imposter syndrome --
    • Feeling where we don’t know enough.
    • We don’t have the answers. So what are we doing here?
  • This talk is about mistakes and making massive mistakes.
  • How do we develop empathy and understanding for our users and for our communities and the people around us?
    • Do it by making mistakes and we do it by making mistakes in public
  • You don’t have to make a massive mistake like the one you’re about to hear about in public. You can make small ones.
  • Larger DevRel lessons
    • Your users are embarrassed to ask stupid questions.
    • Bringing a sense of compassion and empathy into the community.
    • Spending Privilege

Few common words used in/part of every day--DevRel
  • Endeavour
  • Empathy
    • Ability to understand and share the feelings of another
    • From DevRel perspective -- understanding where our developers are coming from, what they are going through.
  • Sympathy
    • Feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.
  • Understanding
    • Fails to come without empathy -- one needs empathy to understand someone
    • From DevRel perspective -- empathize with our users, we understand what they’re going through.

  • This talk is about mistakes and making massive mistakes.
  • Even small mistakes can reinforce invalid Imposter Syndrome.
    • I don’t know what I’m doing here. I just made this massive mistake. I have no idea what I’m doing.
    • And if I hide that mistake, then I get stuck with it, I’m embarrassed and I have shame about it. And now I feel like somebody’s going to find out about it. And when they find out about it,
    • Then they’re going to know I’m an imposter and it feeds on itself.

  • We make it okay for others to make mistakes around us.
  • You don’t have to make a massive mistake like the one you’re about to hear about in public. You can make small ones.
  • When you make your mistakes and you admit your mistakes than other people around,
  • “He’s supposed to know what he’s doing and he did that stupid thing -- So must be okay for me to do that stupid thing or to ask this stupid question.”
  • Our community and our users don’t make mistakes like this every day but they take this kind of risk every day.
  • Every time they ask a question in our community.
    • They’re taking a risk.
    • They’re saying, “I don’t know this, and maybe I should.”
    • How we react to that, and how the rest of the community reacts to that is really important in how that community functions.

  • “You got this”
  • “We’re here for you”
  • “Thank you for sharing this, this was amazing”.
  • “I couldn’t help but cringe or I couldn’t help but laugh, but this helped me in some way”.

Feel what they feel -
  • Your users are embarrassed to ask stupid questions
    • Everybody is embarrassed to ask a stupid question.
    • People will preface the question by saying, “this is a really stupid question” but no question’s stupid. Everybody starts somewhere.
    • And they feel like imposters for not already knowing the answer.
    • And so making it okay to ask those questions is really important for the health of our community.
  • Bringing the sense of compassion and empathy into the community
“I have no idea, but I can go find out for you”. I can connect you to somebody that does. That’s not as somebody says, this is a stupid question. But, that’s not a stupid question. Here’s an answer. Or here’s a person that could answer."
  • -- by you making mistakes and sharing in public, people feeling the imposter syndrome start feeling, it’s okay for them to make mistakes too.
    • Your community will support you
    • Your users will respect you
    • They start feeling empowered to do the same
‌“The courage to share your vulnerabilities and mistakes often prompts more people to do the same magnifies your impact.”-- Laura Santamaria

  • Some of us have more than others. And it’s important to remember that some of us have more than others.
  • Not everybody can do this.
    • Underrepresented minorities, women, people of colour, make this a mistake in public, they may end up getting fired for it.
  • And the ones who have the privilege…. Need to start spending it, hoping to be able to make it easier and less career-ending for other people.

Pie Analogy
  • Use this pie analogy because it’s not a pie that there’s only a certain amount of.
    • Get a pie every day. And your job with that pie is to go home at the end of the day to end my day with no more pie.
    • You need to get rid of it. Because guess what, tomorrow you’ll get another one.
So, live-tweet your mistakes. Live, if you’re going to do it, do it all. Don’t just tweet the good parts. Don’t just leave, live the good parts out loud. Live the whole thing out loud. -- David G Simmons
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On this page
Imposter syndrome?
How we develop “those” qualities
Your community has your back
Larger DevRel lesson
Spending Privilege