Japan is a significant nation for developer relations. Local Japanese firms are embracing devrel both at home and abroad, while foreign companies such as Microsoft, IBM and Stripe are building developer relations teams in Japan.
On July 31st, DevRelCon Tokyo brought together local software developers and devrel practitioners with devrel people from across the world in Japan’s first developer relations conference. With 22 speakers, 150 registered attendees and 18 sponsors, the conference was a great insight into developer relations, developer marketing and developer experience in Japan.
The day opened with GitHub’s John Britton presenting his SCOOP methodology for developer relations strategy. That set the tone well for a day in which talks covered both the highly practical – such as Mel Seckington’s The Art of Slide Design – and the strategic, such as Brandon West‘s talk on the history of developer relations.
Later in the day, several talks summarised another theme of the conference: explaining developer relations in the context of Japanese work culture. Shohei Oda, of MKI, discussed the Japanese emphasis on systems integrators, as opposed to companies hiring in-house engineers, and how that affects developer relations in Japan. Microsoft’s Katsura Ito spoke about how she helped build the first developer evangelism team in Japan during her time at IBM and IBM made another appearance when IBM BlueHub’s Yusuke Morizumi made the case that software developers might have a similar transformational affect on Japan as the Samurai in the Meiji era.
Thanks to venue sponsor Cybozu, this was the highest DevRelCon so far, being on the 27th floor of the Nihonbashi Tower. The views across Tokyo provided an amazing backdrop to the coffee and lunch breaks. And, as with all DevRelCon events, those breaks were just as important as the talks themselves in bringing attendees together to make new friends and meet familiar faces.
Kudos must go to Atsushi and Kayoko of event organisers Moongift, along with volunteers from the Tokyo DevRel Meet-up community. They hosted an event that remained true to the spirit of DevRelCon and brought together people from across the world to better understand developer relations and, especially, devrel in the context of Japan.
Plans are already being made for DevRelCon Tokyo 2018. Keep an eye on the DevRel blog for details of the call for papers. Before then, join us at DevRelCon London on December 6th for developer relations, developer marketing and developer experience!
Group photo by Kansuke; used with permission.
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