Tooling your way to a great DevRel Team

Christiano Betta talks about the importance of creating different tools and collecting metrics, especially for startups helping them grow more with a small team!
Christiano Betta (Braintree - PayPal) - DevRelCon London 2015


  • Understanding different programs at Paypal
    • There were developed gradually over time and not at once
  • Internal tools help the Developer Advocates be in sync with the latest technology by getting them to build projects
  • Building tools is especially beneficial for startups - do more with fewer people
  • Collecting metrics is a great way to increase the efficiency
  • Someone from the team should be in charge of what data needs to be collected and what tools need to be built around it.


Programs at Paypal

  • BattleHack - Themed Hackathon (Winners go to San Jose!)
  • Commerce Factory - Meetup Series of tech-focused talks on commerce
  • Startup Blueprint - Startups get free processing for the first 18 months
  • Start Tank - Free office space to 6 startups for 6 months
  • Braintree_Talks - Talks series
  • Did not start at once, created all these overtime
"We should create internal tools and services, and external-facing properties, in order to help the team deliver more, faster, and better than before."

Why create internal tools?

  • To stay sharp your skills need training
  • Going and meeting tons of developers every day, you need to keep up with the technology.
  • You can't stay up to date if you don't have some projects to work on.
  • Get to play with a lot of new tech
  • As the team grows, you need to do more with the same people every year - increasing efficiency.
  • Eliminate the repetitive tasks and simplify the process
  • It is important especially for startups to build side projects - tools that simplify the process to do more
    • Slack - It was a side project build to help people at Flikr communicate effectively

Tools created for different PayPal Programs


  • Made a whole ticketing system with metrics that helped effectively to get the engagement rates of the audience.
    • This was extremely useful for the operations team that ran hackathons
    • Knew metrics for each city to target catering necessary stuff to avoid overselling or underselling the event
  • Check-in system was very useful to know how many actually attended the event
    • Eg.: For the first year had customized badges for everyone but 50% badges were never picked up
      • These were expensive
      • So came up with a solution of printing with transparent labels
      • Saved a lot of cost for the event!
  • Started collecting information about each Hack being developed at the hackathon.
    • Analysed which product was being used in which hack.
    • Got to know how many people were interested in the technology.
    • Shared the information with the partners as well and it was extremely useful.
  • Clock, twitter wall etc were developed to encourage participants getting engaged with social media

Startup Blueprint

  • Developed a customised CRM tool to keep track of everything
  • Initially used a spreadsheet which became messy to converted it into a simple tool for everyone to use

Commerce Factory

  • Made a ton of sample code repositories to standardize the experience of the tech talks

Other tools

  • URL Shorteners
  • Sharktank apps
  • Metrics for iOS and Android
  • Hubot
  • Code of Conduct for the hackathon

Why does this matter?

  • If you're a startup, increasing the workforce is not the best way to increase efficiency
    • With the same number of people in the team, they noticed
      • 195% increase in tickets
      • 223% increase in attendance
      • ~115% of confirmed attendance
      • ~65% of attendance presented
        • 934 hacks being presented
        • 487 of them were unique
        • Got to know the most popular languages and tools being used at the hackathons
    • Doubled the number of events each year, with not so significant increase in hires
      • This is because they were able to do more with the same people each year.
  • Someone from the team should be in charge of strategising how to collect this data and how to build tools to help collect this data effectively.