Dr Mo Haghighi heads up IBM’s Developer Ecosystems Group in Europe. He shared with the DevRelCon London 2018 audience the IBM approach to engaging developers.

 

Transcript

Good afternoon. It’s certainly great to be here. I mean, I’ve had a fantastic conversation and it’s really great to share our experiences with everybody, and I learned a lot actually from this community. My name is Mo Haghighi. I’m heading of Developer Ecosystems in the UK and Ireland.

And today, I’m going to tell you about some of my own experiences and what the team has actually achieved over the past 14 months in the UK and Ireland. So, I mean, like, yesterday, Alex from Nexmo, he shared his own kind of DevRel journey and many people also told us about how they actually got into DevRel. And I’m going to tell you, I basically, I used to work for Sun Microsystems, and it’s great that Simon is also here after me so he’s going to talk about open source and what he’s been doing.

So, basically I started my journey at Sun Microsystems as an ambassador and I was basically trying to inspire developers to get into Java programming language and open source technologies. And I kind of, you know, continue doing that journey for the past 11 years, that was back in 2007. It’s been always a very good experience and it’s really rewarding actually to work with developers and get them excited.

So, in my view, based on my own experiences at various companies, a successful DevRel is about technology-driven approach and also, you know, you’ve got to be brand agnostic, so that’s how we’ve been running things in the UK. If you talk about your own company and your own brand is not going to work out.

When my team basically run kind of workshops and meetups, they don’t talk about IBM, they talk about the technology and that’s how they get developers interested in the technology. And then obviously IBM and our competitors… I don’t want to name anybody like Red Hat, let’s say, they actually come next as a choice, as an option for you. If you want to decide to go with that option, that’s up to you but we talk about technology.

And the next point is about the technology should be open. You shouldn’t try to kind of tie anybody or developers to a certain product. That’s not going to work. Developers have a different psyche as you know. They like to have the choice and they like to test things out and we’ve got to give them time to gain their trust, and that’s really important.

So, try to remember that one. And also whatever examples or Ted Talks or workshops you’re giving them, it’s got to be practical. You can’t just talk about some of these really theoretical, really nice technologies that you can’t actually implement them. Try to focus on the practicality of that talk and topic. And the next point is try to frame it in a way that it encourages collaboration.

So, if that solution or that workshop meetup, whatever you have in mind if that’s basically if you can bring people together, developers together to create a solution, that would work out very well. It just you see the productivity tripled, quadrupled.

And I’ve seen that actually many times. If you’re just talking to individuals that’s actually good enough, but try to make it in a way that encourages collaboration. And the last point is keep it very hands-on and practical. That’s how the UKI team and IBM have been running all these workshops over the past 14 and 16 months. So, a little bit about the team since I mentioned that, we’ve got this amazing team of developer advocates.

We are about to 20 developer advocates in the UK. Some people are working in open source and some people are advocates and most of us are actually based in London. So, we’ve got some of our people right now in Lisbon, those are the crazy guys on the top, there at the web summit and we’ve got some people actually in Germany who just came back.

Just like you know these guys are amazing, they are basically trying to create a very meaningful relationships with developers. So, we are not trying to just say, hey, IBM, IBM, no, that’s not the case. We’re talking about technology most of the time. And we’ve been very successful. So out of all the 10 teams we’ve got around the world, the London team, the UKI team has been the most successful team and these are some of the achievements.

We’ve got a developer community in London only we’ve got more than 12,000 developers on our meetup pages collectively. We’ve actually completed more than 300 events, and we’ve got over 70 partners that we’ve actually worked with them. We either held an event with them or they’re basically part of our community.

Our success is because of our methodology, which we refer to as the IBM developer way and that’s code, content, community, three C’s. Content and community, they’re are quite obvious. I don’t need to go into much details, but the code side is actually very interesting.

If you just give the developers the open source code that’s not really doing much. Basically, we are giving them the solution but we are not trying to inspire their creativity. So, the best approach, in my view, is to focus on the best practices of software engineering, and for that one you’ve got to focus on design patterns, and that’s actually very important. Because using the design patterns, you basically focus on high-level architecture and then developers can actually understand how they can create their own solutions or customize it to their own needs.

And that’s actually a very good way of getting more collaboration happening because they try to find more people to contribute to various elements of that collaboration around design patterns. That’s a formal definition of design patterns is about reusability and solving a problem and is a template, so you’ve got to keep in mind that important point.

So, the core patterns we have in IBM, if you go on developer.ibm.com, they’re basically underlying code architecture and they basically are recipes showing you how you can create a solution from a scratch. These are some of the examples. I’m just cautious of the time, so that’s why I’m going very quickly. So, these are some of the examples. Some of them are very advanced, some of them are very basics and for instance, that one shows you how to create a blockchain app in less than 30 minutes, that’s actually very nice.

And also a very good example is this one, an educational institute, they wanted to create their own chatbot application, but they are very aware of some of the problems that might occur. So, they were actually looking for some solutions and we gave them this really nice pattern and they basically encouraged their community and their high school to create a solution based on that. It basically shows you the design flow.

So, it’s up to you, if you want to replace some of those items, you don’t have to get IBM, you can easily replace them, but it basically shows you the high-level architecture. So, again, that’s inspiring your creativity. The last point, we encourage many, many developers to contribute to call for code, which is an amazing initiative. IBM is one of those partners together with American Red Cross, United Nation Human Rights and Linux Foundation.

And using those core patterns, we actually managed to get a lot of developers, more than 400,000 developers working with us to create solutions for natural disasters. And that was actually a very good way of inspiring collaboration. And this program is going to continue next year and that’s going to be a different theme. So with that one, I’m just going to finish.

Thank you very much. Have a fantastic afternoon.

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Matthew Revell

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Matthew Revell


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