‘Tis the season to make developers happy

published6 months ago
4 min read

Hey there,

‘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.



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!

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