PJ Hagerty, Founder & Chief Community Officer, DevRelate.io tells us about developer and community relations as a service.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
PJ Hagerty: We are doing well! My family and I have managed to get our first vaccines, and we are on the road to a return to normalcy.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded DevRelate.io.
PJ Hagerty: DevRelate.io was founded in 2017 when I saw a need to service smaller startups with Developer and Community Relations as a Service. Large companies can afford to employ a Developer Advocate or a Community Manager – even a team of DevRel professionals. Smaller startups and SMBs can’t do that but still have a need to interact with the communities they are a part of.
How does DevRelate.io innovate?
PJ Hagerty: DevRelate created the model for Developer Relations as a Service. We elevated the idea of contract DevRel and moved into a bureau concept, making it easier for our customers to iterate on their community activities. Later in 2021, we are also planning to expand into building DevRel tools for teams of all sizes.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
PJ Hagerty: With the advent of the pandemic, we needed to make a quick change. Many of our activities circled around events, and that was no longer viable. We made the switch to producing developer and community-focused content, and our customers based adjusted along with us. We also rolled quickly with speaking engagement and strategies for virtual events.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
PJ Hagerty: We did make some difficult choices, had to tighten the belt for a bit, but we learned it’s possible to reach an audience, a community, even without being able to meet with them face to face.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
PJ Hagerty: Many of the tools we use are fairly common – spreadsheets for tracking, Wave and Stripe for invoicing and bill payment, Mattermost for internal communications.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
PJ Hagerty: We don’t really have many competitors. We started with a unique concept looking to create a space more than to disrupt an existing space. We continue to build on those ideas in order to stay innovative. This goes back to our extension of building software to help DevRel and conference organizers moving forward.
Your final thoughts?
PJ Hagerty: You can never expect the community to come to you. You need to move toward the community. We’ve held this to be the most important tenet of Developer and Community Relations throughout everything we do and plan to continue doing so with patience and humility as we move forward.
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