‘Tis the season for unseasonably beautiful weather here in upstate NY. After a light dusting of snow on April 30, it’s been 85-90 degrees for the past couple of days. Fantastic weather for sitting outside and getting the kayak out on the water...and also the season for many developers to ignore all of that nature stuff - and instead to be glued to their computer screens.
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‘Tis the season for developer conferences! If you are new to tech, you may not realize that these are the big events that all the big tech companies like to hold to keep their developer ecosystem engaged. Yesterday, Google I/O finished and Snap hosted a Partner Summit. Microsoft Build is next week and Facebook’s F8 is coming in early June. Airbnb is even getting in the game with a ‘big announcement’ coming on Mon May 24, just to name a few.
So what is a developer ecosystem, you ask? Well, I like this definition from AppDirect: “A developer ecosystem is a community of developers, providers, and other stakeholders—as well as the software and services that they offer—that enhance the value of a digital platform.” The term developers often refers to individuals or super small shops, while larger companies are partners or providers. Of course, there is never a clear delineation but this may help clarify.
The bigger question is why should I care about developer conferences? I’ll highlight three main reasons here. First, you can get to know how a company thinks about the future of tech for their org. I loved attending I/O at Google. It was a ton of fun as the launch energy vibrated through the halls and cafes. For many engineers who toil in the shadows, I/O is a time where they get to giddily show off the cool new thing to the world. Sometimes it’s a new API announcement like this one from Square. Sometimes it’s a paradigm-shifting way to have remote meetings (like Google’s Project Starline.)
Second, you can also compare company trajectories with different technologies. Google’s Starline is a ‘magic window’ that allows users to feel like they are in the same room with the other person, even if they are thousands of miles away. It utilized computer vision, spatial audio, and real-time compression techniques to ensure a seamless experience for users, and could revolutionize how we use augmented reality for meetings. Visionary and technically brilliant (reminds me of old-school Demolition Man), but it’s pretty darn experimental and expensive at this stage. Snap made a similar announcement aimed at developers to build on Spectacles, their augmented reality glasses. All the images from the Partner Summit are showing ways for remote individuals to be in the same room for meetings or for fun. While Snap’s announcement isn’t as revolutionary as Google’s, they are both heading in similar directions, with Snap offering a more timely and lower cost solution.
Third, nurturing the developer ecosystem is often highly connected to a company’s user/customer acquisition and retention strategy as well as helping accelerate innovation. Developers sometimes build the new, shiny or more functional add-ons that your users might want or need. Partners often extend your ability to implement products and services, especially at the small business level. With the $33B acquisitions of LinkedIn and Github, Microsoft skipped over some of the external ecosystem development to bring two huge and important talent and developer ecosystems in-house and under its wing.
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There are a plethora of listicles out there that rate “the best” companies. While you shouldn’t assume that a company on any list is best for you, these lists can be very helpful for discovery. You can use them to identify new companies to check out, and to pinpoint your personalized set of ‘best company criteria.’ They come out all year long and tech companies are prominently featured in all of these lists.
Here is a list of 10 ‘best company’ lists that I have found valuable for job seekers:
- (1) Fast Company focuses on innovation: Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies of 2021
- LinkedIn has two great lists to review:
- (4) For students & recent graduates, Universum does a survey of top employers, as rated by students: World's Most Attractive Employers | 2020
- (5) Wealthfront puts out a yearly list of career-launching pre-IPO companies. I like how they revisit the list each year to tell you which companies IPO’d, were acquired, or fell off the list.
- (6-8) TheMuse is continually putting out articles that highlight various partner companies (33 Mission-Driven Companies to Work For, 30 Companies Hiring in May 2021, Companies Hiring Remote Workers Now)
- (9) Are you someone who is looking for companies that care about diversity? This list highlights 19 companies that are connecting employers to diverse pools of talent.
- (10+) The BuiltIn network is a great source of location-specific lists, whether you want to work in NYC, Boston, LA or Austin.
- As you review these lists, try to identify what keywords or phrases resonate with you, and write them down. This will help you build up a list of criteria that is important to you to have at your next company.
- Product Manager, Notifications, ThredUp
- Chief of Staff, Finix
- Sr Product Marketing Manager, Pendo
- Product Support Manager, Strategy & Operations, Figma
- Data Strategy Associate, Two Sigma
- Corporate Development and Strategy Associate, Twitter
- Women in Product event May 25-27, Facebook
No newsletter referencing developers is complete without a good cat reference: Cats Take 'If I Fits I Sits' Seriously, Even If The Space Is Just An Illusion
Send me your questions! Do you have a tech topic you'd like me to explore further? Or maybe a career or job search question you'd like me to address? Hit reply to let me know!
Bye for now,
PS Big news coming soon...stay tuned for the newsletter on Jun 4!