Tell us a bit about yourself.
As a developer advocate, I basically consider my job as a technologist and storyteller (like a minstrel without the lute). I’m a person who has problems with moderation. For me it is all or nothing. Binge and purge. Grey is not a colour I wear well. My daily existence is a toss of the coin—one side, fear, the other side, gratitude. I can flip that coin all day long and as a result, I navigate through the world with the excitement and determination of a child. Unfortunately, more often than not, that childlike energy is the maturity level I bring to many circumstances. It is about the prize; it’s about the work. Advocacy is the one thing that determines my success. Logically, I know all of that. I can get exhausted by my own obsession for recognition. It goes deeper than just pride and ego. You can say many bad things about me and they’d all be true — I can be arrogant, abrasive, narcissistic, juvenile, and over-sensitive. But I’m also a person who lives in a perpetual state of change. I have no choice. There is no stasis. If I’m not moving forward, I’m sliding back. The world does not reward mediocrity. If you cannot focus on one thing, you will miss the point of winning because you cannot concentrate.
What do you feel is the most important part of your job?
Empathy, understanding customer, partner or community needs and frustration. I made this one thing my priority and stayed the course. I embedded this into my mind and burnt it into my soul. In today’s increasingly digital business environment, the need to continue honing and upgrading skills is a given. Whether you’re a CTO reimagining a corporate technical strategy or the developer creating systems that bring that plan to life, translate the “people skills” you’ve built through your own unique experience to advance your IT acumen—even if you started out as a hairdresser, like me. Those 15 years behind the chair as a hairdresser taught me that success is 50% technical skills and 50% communication skills. Demonstrating genuine empathy is a true superpower – one that can offer valuable insights that can make difference between a collaboration’s success or failure.
What is something you’re struggling with?
Anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, imposter syndrome…
Tell us about a time you were inspired by someone or something in DevRel.
After an alligator kills and after it eats right after it eats, it gets satisfied and it goes into a state like it’s paralysed. It has had success. When I was in engineering, I felt like I was paralysed. I had success. Success which others I know had not done. I wasn’t hungry anymore…. What did I eat that made me so full that it left me not hungry anymore? Watching various advocates for motivation, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to help people grow, I wanted to help and show people that we all fail, we have times in our lives when things are not great with our work, careers and how this impacts our personal lives.
What’s one change you’d like to see in DevRel?
Developer journey mapping, more written content on successful devrel. It’s critical to listen to your customers’ needs. That’s easy to say but sometimes hard to do. For one thing, people don’t always need something fixed, at least not immediately. Sometimes they just need someone who has been there and done that to look at something with them and share ideas. For another thing, what clients want is not always what they need – and that is not always something they want to hear. Active listening and discussions yield visibility across the client’s “stack,” to translate “I want to look like the latest magazine cover model” or “We need to be more agile” to “I want to feel more confident when I start my new job” or “We need to move all our infrastructure to the cloud.”