Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Kat Cosgrove, and I’m a Staff Developer Advocate at Pulumi. These days I spend most of my time with Kubernetes and DevOps folks, but I used to be a web developer and then an embedded linux engineer. Before all of this tech, I was a bartender and the resident horror expert at an indie video rental store. I still collect horror films, and I still love making drinks for people, but my current fixation is film photography. I live in Seattle with my cats, Espresso and Spookie. Espresso is actually ghostwriting all of my tweets.
What do you feel is the most important part of your job?
Advocating for people who otherwise may not have a voice. That doesn’t just mean like, Pulumi’s current users or whatever – it means people who might be users if we weren’t ignoring some aspect of who they are. That may mean changing the way I talk about our tool and the way I teach people how to use it, or it might mean listening to a complaint about a UI/UX issue and then throwing my weight behind that issue with our engineering team to make sure it gets addressed.
What is something you’re struggling with?
Working in DevRel and a large part of your presence being your personal Twitter account means you don’t really get to “turn off.” There’s this pressure to be “on” all the time, at least to some extent, because you’re always acting as a representative of who you work for and anyone could ask you a random product question at any time. That translates to a feeling that I’m not allowed to have a bad day, because if I do, everyone will see it. Not just my friends, but all of my co-workers and 30k people following me on Twitter. When I didn’t work in DevRel, having a rough day at work meant my immediate teammates would know and maybe my manager, but that was it. It sucks, but you kind of get used to it.
Tell us about a time you were inspired by someone or something in DevRel.
Ugh I’m sure he’s super tired of hearing this, but I’m constantly in awe of the stuff Austin Parker comes up with. It’s not just the Animal Crossing conference, though that was a banger – it’s that he seems to just like… casually come up with all of these weird, over the top ideas without making them feel forced at all, and then he somehow manages to convince companies and the community to come together for it. How do you do that, Austin? All I can do is shitpost.
What’s one change you’d like to see in DevRel?
Developer Advocates tend to burn out really, really quickly. We normally travel a lot, and because we spend so much time around each other in cool cities, we tend to kind of forget that we’re working, and as a result, don’t take as much time off as we should. Y’all, taking your weekend in Bangkok because you flew 18 hours over a Saturday and spent Sunday jetlagged so you can give a talk Monday is not taking time off. That isn’t a free vacation. That’s taking your weekend after you gave it up to your employer in the world’s longest commute. Take a week in Bangkok instead. Your mental health matters, and burnout takes a long time to recover from.