Template Letter Requesting Approval to Attend a Developer Conference

Conferences are, and have always been, a mainstay of developer outreach and marketing. Developers like conferences, especially those with a lot of meaty technical sessions by the engineers that build the technology. Key benefits for attending developer conferences include the technical sessions by developers who know great tips and techniques. Developers attending conferences also mention the social aspects of a conference: the networking, social interaction, and discussion with other developers. Sometimes developers need to send their manager a “Conference Approval Letter”.

Most conferences are put on by vendors and concentrate on that vendor’s technology, platform, service, device, etc. You might think that conferences would only be put on by very large companies with breadth and depth to provide a full schedule of keynotes and sessions. Smaller companies might put on conferences that are shorter and with less sessions. Some companies will partner with a non-competing company to put on a conference. Other companies will piggy-back a conference on a larger industry event. In any case, developers attend conferences, and most attend more than two per year.

One of the conference to-do items that I’ve used in the past is to provide potential attendees with a template letter they can customize to convince their manager to allow them to attend the conference. The letter includes information about the event, what attendees will learn, what best practices and ideas will be brought back, what contacts will be made, and how attending will help their company, employees, products and customers.

As an example of what a request to attend a conference template letter might look like, I have created a sample email/letter/memo for our upcoming 13th Annual Evans Data Developer Relations Conference.

Conference Approval Letter

Template Email/Letter/Memo Requesting Approval to Attend a Conference

 

Here is a draft email/letter/memo you can use to request approval to attend the 13th Annual Evans Data Developer Relations Conference, March 27 & 28, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Palo Alto, California

Subject: Request for Authorization to attend the 13th Annual Evans Data Developer Relations Conference

I would like your approval for me to attend the 13th Annual Evans Data Developer Relations Conference, March 27 & 28, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Palo Alto, California. The conference features two days of keynotes and sessions by leading executives and directors of Developer Relations and Advocacy programs for top technology companies in the world. This is a conference unlike any other, developer relations experts from leading companies in the software, telecom and web markets will come together to discuss best practices and reveal the techniques behind their success!

At the conference I will learn developer outreach best practices, tips & advice, and other aspects of running a world class developer relations program from the business side (program ROI, the connection between developer programs and company revenue, budgeting for/costs of developer programs, how to get an organization’s commitment of internal resources, etc.) to the marketing side (techniques for recruitment, awareness tactics, community loyalty building programs, legal/privacy and global privacy considerations, conducting a privacy audit, internationalizing a US-based developer program, etc.), and much more.

During the conference I will have ample opportunity to network with top developer relations program managers, ask specific questions that can help our developer outreach plans and learn “The Art of Evangelism” from Guy Kawasaki, the chief evangelist of Canva, board of trustees member of the Wikimedia Foundation, a brand ambassador for Mercedes Benz USA, executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley) and former chief evangelist of Apple.

Who will be attend:

  • VPs, CTOs, and CEOs
  • Business Development Managers & Directors
  • Managers & Directors of Developer Programs
  • Product Marketing Managers & Directors
  • Marketing Managers
  • Technology & Developer Evangelists
  • Products Managers
  • Research Managers
  • Corporate Communications Managers
  • Heads of Developer Marketing

 

If you approve my attendance before December 31, 2016 I can take advantage of the super early bird pricing and save our company $400. If you approve before January 31, 2017 I can save $300 on the full conference price of $1295.

Thank you in advance for considering this opportunity for me to attend this unique conference. Please let me know if you need additional information about the conference. You can find additional information, conference schedule, speaker list and companies planning to attend on the conference web site at https://evansdata.com/drc/2017/

I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

PS: There is also a pre-conference Developer Relations Boot Camp that can additionally prepare me for the two day conference. The Evans Data Corporation’s Developer Relations Boot Camp provides a solid foundation on which I can build or enhance our developer program. Concentrated sessions in this one-day instructional program provide the insight and actionable information I can use to build our brand and establish strong relationships with our developer community.

The combination of an experienced boot camp faculty and Evans Data developer research will guide:

  • Careful consideration regarding the reasons why developers seek out and participate in developer programs
  • The most effective means of reaching out to them
  • How you can leverage social media to greatest effect.

 

At the end of the day I will leave with a certificate of completion as well as the knowledge and confidence to create, enhance and run a world class developer program.

 

Other “need to convince your boss?” example conference template letters

Here are a few additional examples of template letters that conferences have provided for their target attendees.

 

Do you have developer conference manager approval template letters?

If you have your own template manager approval letters that you provide to your program members, send me an email with the link or text.

David I Facebook Avatar

David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
davidi@evansdata.com
Blog: https://www.devrelate.com/blog/
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidi99/

Webinar – Feb 22 & 23: Learn the “Secret Sauce” of Developer Relations Programs

To be competitive in today’s interconnected world, companies need to publish APIs and cultivate a developer community to access and use them. Fostering a vibrant developer community that uses your APIs and enhances your platform, service, and device is an essential aspect of today’s developer relations programs. Developer Relations programs use their own “Secret Sauce” to ensure that their program members stay engaged, educated, and empowered.

In my role as VP of Developer Communities at Evans Data, I explore the offerings of many developer relations programs. Using a subset of a larger developer program checklist, I quickly research a company’s developer relations program features, digital assets, SDKs/APIs, social outreach, activity flow and other aspects. This first step leads to a deeper investigation of the features and benefits of the developer program supported by the years of developer research data gathered by Evans Data.

For the DevRelate community and academy, I’m developing a series of developer relations program spotlights which highlight companies that are achieving high levels of business success and significant developer communities. These spotlights provide a high level overview of the program, core challenges, key differentiators and best practices that are being implemented.

Taking into account that each platform, device, service, framework, tool, and product can vary greatly when it comes to the secret sauce, the ultimate goal of these spotlight articles is to help advance developer program best practices, increase developer engagement, and enhance each company’s industry leadership.

This webinar takes a look at several Developer Relation Spotlights that are being developed. You can see more developer relations program presentations at the upcoming 13th Annual Evans Data Developer Relations Conference and Boot Camp on March 26-28, 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Palo Alto California. Members of the DevRelate developer relations community and academy (it’s free to join) can also view presentation slide decks from the 2016 Developer Relations Conference.

Secret Sauce

Webinar Dates/Times

The webinar repeat on multiple days and times. Choose the date and time that fits your schedule.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

  • 7am PST (Santa Cruz) | 9am CST (Chicago) | 10am EST (New York) | 3pm GMT (London) | 4pm CET (Frankfurt)
  • 10am PST (Santa Cruz) | 12noon CST (Chicago) | 1pm EST (New York) | 6pm GMT (London) | 7pm CET (Frankfurt)
  • 5pm PST (Santa Cruz) | 9am CST (Beijing Feb 23) | 12noon AEDT (Sydney Feb 23)

 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

  • 7am PST (Santa Cruz) | 9am CST (Chicago) | 10am EST (New York) | 3pm GMT (London) |  4pm CET (Frankfurt)
  • 10am PST (Santa Cruz) | 12noon CST (Chicago) | 1pm EST (New York) | 6pm GMT (London) | 7pm CET (Frankfurt)
  • 1pm PST (Santa Cruz) | 3pm CST (Chicago) | 4pm EST (New York)

Register Now to Reserve your Seat!

 

Agenda

  1. Introduction to the DevRelate Community
  2. Developer Program “At-a-Glance” Checklist
  3. Developer Relations Program Spotlights
  4. Evans Data Developer Relations Conference, March 26-28, 2017
  5. Q&A

Who Should Attend

  • Managers & Directors of Developer Programs
  • Technology & Developer Evangelists
  • Business Development Managers & Directors
  • Product Marketing Managers & Directors
  • Marketing Managers
  • Product Managers
  • Research Managers
  • Corporate Communications Managers
  • Heads of Developer Marketing
  • ANYONE who deals with developers!

Webinar Registration Link

Note: The webinars repeat on multiple days and times. Choose the date and time that fits your schedule.
Register Now

 

Presenter

David I Facebook Avatar

David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
davidi@evansdata.com
Blog: https://www.devrelate.com/blog/
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidi99/

 

 

Developer Surveys: Incentives and Best Practices

A Developer Surveys question was asked by an attendee at my recent DevRelate webinar, “Developer Relations Best Practices and Tools of the Trade“. My question is, how do you get people to answer your surveys? What groups of developers are you targeting and how do you do it?

Developers to Target for a Survey

What groups of developers should you target? The answer to this question depends on what your product, platform and service you are providing and the developers you are looking to target. Are you looking for open source developers, enterprise developers, ISVs, OEMs, hobbyists, etc? Is there a specific global region or country list where you want to survey developers. Looking at the Evans Data global development research reports and developer panel you’ll see the developer segment list as: Commercial (ISVs), Custom (SI/VAR), In-house Corporate, Scientific, OEM and Other. For job titles you’ll see: Programmers/Software Developers, Software Architects, Systems Analysts, Project or Product Managers, CIOs, CTOs, MIS Management, and Others.

Developer Surveys

The Developer Panel That Evans Data Uses for Surveys

When conducting demand-side primary research it becomes important to recruit the participants (or samples) from sources that are as unbiased as possible. During the years that EDC has been recruiting developers to participate in surveys this ideal has continuously been foremost in our efforts. Consequently, though we have used over 100 different individual sources for recruiting,the following principles are strictly adhered to and consistently applied:

  • No vendor lists have ever been used in EDC subscription surveys and none have ever been added to the panel
  • No platform-specific lists have ever been used in any EDC general subscription surveys and none have ever been added to the general panel
  • No language-specific lists have ever been used in any EDC subscriptions surveys and none have ever been added to the panel

In this way we provide the most eclectic and unbiased sample available anywhere. With thousands of developers chosen in a deliberately unbiased way from a wide variety of neutral lists, our data truly provides in-depth looks at representative samples of the developer population.

You can learn more about the Evans Data Developer Panel on the Panel Profile page. You can find out more about Evans Data’s Research and Developer Panel at “DevRelate Webinar Replay: Driving Your Business Success via Developer Research“. Note: you need to join the DevRelate program (membership is free) to watch the webinar replay and download the slides!

Incentives to Get More Responses for your Developer Surveys

There are several ways to provide incentives for developers to answer surveys (my answers are not meant to be a single choice, you could use a combination of incentives).

  1. Offer incentives – for completely/correctly/seriously filled out surveys provide points to show badges/ranking for survey takers (points can be accumulated to purchase gifts and other items), cash (check), gift cards/certificate, physical prizes, free download of a report, eBook or tool. Mailing cash/prize incentives costs more money but might be worth the cost for really important surveys.
  2. Levels of incentives – Have a certain incentive if the devleoper takes the survey right away, have lesser points/prizes if you have to remind the developer.
  3. Offer to share the results (anonymized) with all survey takers.
  4. On the survey – get right to the questions without a lot of introduction info or marketing
  5. Offer a free or discount on your product/service for developers who take your survey
  6. Offer to make a donation to a charity (old programmers home?) in the name of the developers who fill out your surveys

Developer Survey Best Practices

Here are a few best practices that we use at Evans Data.

  1. Include a space in the survey where the developer can nominate another developer to join your developer survey membership. This will get you additional current and future survey takers.
  2. Make sure your surveys are not too long. At Evans Data we’ve found the sweet spot for survey duration to be 10-15 minutes regardless of the number or complexity of the questions.
  3. Mix up the types of answers – Yes/No, Multi-Choice, Fill In, Forced Ranking, One per column, One per row, etc. This helps ensure that survey respondents don’t go quickly through the questions and choose patterns of answers to fill out the survey and get the incentive.
  4. Include qualifying questions up front in your survey to make sure the survey is filled out by the right target audience.
  5. Between Evans Data surveys, we put up a series of single cool/interesting polling questions to keep our developer panel active and engaged. We give panel members the results in real time. We also create infographics for some of the quick polls for panel members to see.
  6. For categorical, Yes/No, True.False and choose from a list based question with answers, randomize the answer choices.

There are many articles written by survey tool vendors giving guidance about best practices. Go to their sites for additional information or use Google search for survey tools and best practices.

What do you use for your Developer Relations Surveys?

Send me an email if you use specific survey tools and services. If you have your own best practices that work for your incentives and best practices, pass them along and I will use them in future blog posts and webinars.

David I Facebook Avatar

David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
davidi@evansdata.com
Blog: https://www.devrelate.com/blog/
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidi99/

 

What priorities should I focus on if my DevRel resources are limited?

I love doing webinars and hearing from attendees in the Q&A part of the event. It’s also great to receive emails after the webinar ends. During the webinar I can give quick answers for the questions and point attendees to additional sources of information. After the webinar I can do additional thinking and research to provide a more expansive response. Last week during my “Developer Relations Best Practices and Tools of the Trade” webinar, I was asked a wonderful question. The question was “If my resources are limited, what priorities should I focus on?”

 

activities

Limited Resources? Activities that Won’t Take Long

When you have a small developer relations staff and/or budget you should look for the things you can do to communicate and grow your developer membership program. Here are some of my thoughts about the content and activities that you should consider.

  1. Write short blog posts with technology/product tips, tricks and how to(s). These don’t cost money and if you keep them short, you won’t have to spend a lot of time.
  2. Tweet news/tips to your developers and to the developer community
  3. Use Facebook Live/Video to put up short videos where you talk about your products/services/APIs – use your smartphone and just be yourself every day. Developers will love hearing from you, seeing you and also seeing something you are doing – showing a product/demo/solution quickly.
  4. Have your community members also share their videos, articles, tips/tricks – give them points/discounts if they help you with content.
  5. Automate as much as you can with programming/systems/tools – very important when you don’t have a large staff – that’s why I use Buffer for my Social media with the plugins it has for Chrome/FireFox/etc browsers -when I see an interesting article or finish a blog post – I can quickly post it everywhere.
  6. Build automated response systems for questions and emails coming from developers – this might take a little more work/development – to use Machine Leaning, Deep Learning and Bot technologies to handle the volume of email and forum posts from developers and give them answers and tips – leaving your team time to handle the tough inquiries.
  7. Provide bug tracking and workaround infrastructure – Atlassian Jira for example, allow your members to post bugs, post workarounds, post proposed fixes – they will help share the load to get better quality into your product/service.
  8. Allow your community members to add comments/content to your online documentation/wiki. Some worry about polluting the documentation – so you may set up the system (something like MediaWiki for example) to allow proposed comments/edits/additions/code/fixes and have someone review before including – make sure to have the member assure you that they are giving you the content and that they haven’t copied if from copyrighted materials (via the submission form).
  9. When you think you have automated as much as possible – then look at those things that are left and try to automate them as well.
  10. Create an MVP (Most Valuable Professionals), Community Leaders team to extend the # of devrel team members you have. Intel has their black belt members, Microsoft has their MVP program, Google has advocates, etc.
  11. When your engineering team is too busy to help, find ways to make it easy for them to help. For example, when I am doing webinars or technical sessions, rather than have the engineers prepare their own presentations, I would buy them lunch (they have to eat) and record a conversation with them and use it in the session or transcribe it into a document/slide deck.
  12. Have programming contests by your members to build apps using your products/services – give electronic based prizes – you’ll get more sample apps built or at least you’ll have apps stories to write about if members don’t want to give you their apps.
  13. Engage students/interns to help you – they don’t cost much (sometimes $zero if they get school/college credit) and can help with some of the work you need to get done and they also gain experience working with a company, it’s products/services/APIs.
  14. Interview your customers to create case studies and success stories. Record the interview and provide it for members. Transcribe the conversations to create documents for your developer/product web site – programmers talking to programmers about what they built, how they built it, what they learned, what more they want to do.

 

blackboard-priorities

Top 3 Priorities to Focus On

I could say that you should do all of the above and more. But, if pressed to list three top priorities for content to generate for your developer community, here is my list.

  1. Content – tutorials, quick guides, How To(s), Sample code – “Content is King!”. Ask tyour engineering team to help.
  2. News – keep them up to date on product, API and company news – email newsletters once or twice a month.
  3. Videos – short (3-5 minutes) created by you, your team, engineers and leading community members.

 

Other Ideas and Priorities?

If your Developer Relations program, team and budget are limited, do you have additional advice? Send me an email and I will share them with our DevRelate community of Developer Relations professionals.

David I Facebook Avatar

David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
davidi@evansdata.com
Blog: https://www.devrelate.com/blog/
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidi99/

 

 

DevRelate Webinar Jan 24,25,26: Developer Relations Best Practices and Tools of the Trade

Some of the most crucial elements of a successful developer program surround the awareness, acquisition, and retention of your developers. You have to provide tools, technical information, SDKs, support and create a community website that encourages participation amongst developers in forums, blogs, hackathons, contests and training events through targeted outreach.

It might sound like a tall order but there are methods, techniques, and insights that apply to every program and the tactics used to reach developers that can only come from years of research and experience.

Join us for the “Developer Relations Best Practices and Tools of the Trade” webinar on Jan 24, 25 & 26 – Reserve Your Seat Today!

This DevRelate webinar highlights several developer relations best practices and “tools of the trade” used to facilitate and automate outreach to developers. During the webinar, David I will demonstrate several useful tools and services that he uses to reach out to DevRelate members and developers. This developer relations best practices and tooling webinar content is supported by Evans Data Tactical Developer Marketing (Developer Marketing Patterns and Developer Relations Programs) research results.

Agenda

1) Introduction to Evans Data Developer Marketing Research
2) Developer Relations Best Practices
3) Demonstrations: DevRel Tools of the Trade
4) Q&A

Dates and Times

This webinar is offered six times on January 24 and January 26. Select the date and time that works best for you. Use the pull down date/time box on the GoToWebinar registration page to select the session you want to attend. Register here!

Tuesday (Jan 24)

  • 7am Pacific Time (9am CST, 10am EST, 3pm GMT, 4pm CET)
  • 10am Pacific Time (12pm CST, 1pm EST, 6pm GMT, 7pm CET)
  • 1pm Pacific Time (3pm CST, 4pm EST, 9PM GMT, 10pm CET, 8am Sydney AEDT Jan 25)

 

Wednesday (Jan 25)

  • 4:30pm Pacific Time (6:30pm CST, 7:30pm EST, 12:30am GMT, 1:30am CET, 8:30am Beijing CST Jan 26, 11:30am Sydney AEDT Jan 26)

 

Thursday (Jan 26)

  • 7am Pacific Time (9am CST, 10am EST, 3pm GMT, 4pm CET)
  • 10am Pacific Time (12pm CST, 1pm EST, 6pm GMT, 7pm CET)

 

Presenter

David Intersimone “David I”, Vice President of Developer Communities, Evans Data Corporation

Who Should Attend

  • Managers & Directors of Developer Programs
  • Technology & Developer Evangelists
  • Business Development Managers & Directors
  • Product Marketing Managers & Directors
  • Marketing Managers
  • Corporate Communications Managers
  • Heads of Developer Marketing
  • ANYONE who deals with developers!

The insights provided in this webinar stem from years of experience and the direct input from a global panel of software developers about what works for them and what doesn’t.

Whether you are starting a new developer relations program or enhancing a current one, you deserve all of the help you can get! Register Now!