Developer Relations Program Spotlight: Uber

Each Developer Relations Program Spotlight blog post highlights the many aspects of a company’s developer outreach activities. Included in a spotlight is some background information about the program, one or more program team members, a question/answer about the features and benefits of the program and an “At-a-Glance” checklist of top program offerings. This time I shine the spotlight on the Uber Developer Relations Program.

Adam Rogal

Head of Engineering, Developer Platform, Uber

adam rogal   Uber_Logobit_Digital_black

Fusing Developer Relations and Platform Engineering

At last year’s Evans Data Developer Relations Conference (2016), Adam gave a great presentation, “Going from 0 to 60 by fusing developer relations and platform engineering”, at the 2016 Evans Data Developer Relations Conference in Palo Alto. One of the unique aspects of the Uber developer program is that it fuses together developer relations and platform engineering inside one organization. Uber released their first API for developers in 2014.

Uber’s platform mission is “Build Moving Experiences”.

  • “Build” involves working with developers, forging partnerships and providing tools. The Uber cultural value is to “Let Builders Build”!
  • “Moving Experiences” results in products that bring job, getting people from A to B, provides features for people while they move, makes daily life easier and saving time and money. The Uber cultural value is to “Make Magic”!

Adam presented a slide with many well-known global brand name logos saying “Today, leading brands elevate their experience with Uber”. Adam went on to showcase some of Uber’s APIs and how developers are creating innovative applications that do more than just get the rider from point A to point B. He also gave some suggestions for additional value added features that companies and developers could add to enhance each trip.

At Uber engineering and developer advocacy are joined to integrate the platform, features and SDKs.

UberDrc2016Preso Figure 1

Adam highlighted the synergy of his team’s integration of developer relations and engineering with the phrase, “Enable magical moments through the API”. The closeness allows for features to be provided, developer feedback to come straight into engineering and SDK development to continue in real time.

Developer advocacy ensures that every developer is aware of the Uber API and that the platform direction is aligned with developer needs.

The bi-directional flow follows the following flows:

UberDrc2016Preso Figure 2UberDrc2016Preso Figure 3

You will find many of the Developer Relations Conference 2016 presentations on the DevRelate community at

This year, Adam is giving a keynote presentation at the 13th Annual Evans Data Developer Relations Conference, March 27-28 in Palo Alto California. “Evolution of a Developer Platform: An Inside-Out Journey”. Join this keynote session for an introspective look at the evolution of the Uber Developer Platform from its inception to today. Find out what worked, what didn’t and lessons learned along the way.

Bio: Adam Rogal is the head of engineering of Uber’s Developer Platform. Uber’s mission is a simple one – transportation as reliable as running water, everywhere, for everyone. Uber’s Developer Platform believes in that same principle, ensuring its APIs are available to everyone, everywhere. Preiously, Adam lead developer relations for publisher ads products at Google, enabling countless developers to monetize their passion, hobbies, and business.


Uber Spotlight Q&A

1. What are the benefits of having the developer evangelism and engineering teams in one organization and are there any negatives of work on more problems because of that alignmentWe experienced a variety of benefits from this model.

For one, the ownership dynamics change radically; Developer Advocacy is empowered to make improvements to products like the SDKs, Docs and Developer Tools. The feedback loop between external developers and the engineering teams is also dramatically tighter. Feedback and bug reports from the community get turned into actions and improvements quickly. Last but not least, it improves the culture of both teams since they learn from each other.

For instance, post-mortems are required for all support requests handled by Developer Advocates who answer two important questions to improve the developer experience: (1) what did we learn from this request? and (2) what was done to prevent a similar question in the future? On the other side, Engineering is more encouraged to think about the impact of their work on developers and make decisions to build the best possible experience for their customers.

2. Your talk showed how you uniquely combine engineering and developer relations into one team. How does your team integrate with other parts of Uber – development, sales, web, marketing, partner programs, etc.?

We operate as a true platform team, even internally. To do this, we provide services and technology substrates to internal Uber teams to use if and when they build products for developers. Just like an API, we have defined an interface and SLAs for interactions with internal teams. We help teams to understand the benefits of an external API and we provide guidance throughout the development journey of new APIs. We intend to ramp this up further with internal talks and advocacy programs as well.

3. How many developers are in the Uber developer program?

We have a few dozen people on the team. The platform powers thousands of companies using Uber’s API, ranging from multinational corporations to city transit planners to dorm-room startups.

4. How many applications have been created using the Uber SDKs/APIs?

Check out our showcases for examples of great integrations. We’re not necessarily looking for quantity so much as quality. We try to provide tools that encourage developers to think about the future and make creative leaps.

5. How has developer outreach positively impacted Uber’s business: revenue, customer satisfaction, partnerships, etc.? Can you share some statistics?

We broadly think of the Developer Platform as a way to enable third party developers to leverage Uber’s capabilities as a starting place for their own innovation and positive disruption. If we can help developers be successful with our tools then, as a contributor to that success, Uber benefits in innumerable ways.

6. Do you track any data about return on investment on the cost of doing developer relations and what it means to the Uber’s business?

Here at Uber, we like to have big bets. This means that we’re willing to take a longer-term-view on some of the activities we’re engaged in.

But, it’s important we have wins along the way. For example, when we go to events, we expect to onboard some new developers to our platform, which we measure by website visitors, new apps, and time to first sandbox and production call.

7. Did you have any challenges or issues in getting buy-in from Uber – to have the developer program number one and number two having it integrated as part of platform engineering

Our leaders strongly believe in the power of open developer ecosystems. They’ve been very supportive and have even encouraged us to think bigger.

8. Are there any other key performance indicators statistics that you track and provide to Uber management to keep them informed and supporting how the developer program is doing?

There are some short-term tactical numbers we pay attention to like Trips and Bookings. But there are also early indicators of longer-term success like our NPS and developer engagement.

9. Is there anything else that you’d like to add about the Uber program its uniqueness and where do you see developer relations and developer outreach going in the future?

We enable developers to, with just a few API calls, add a little bit of the real world into their virtual products. Bits to atoms..
The great developer platforms today all provide unique features during key moments in a user’s life. Amazon Echo or Google Home are with you at home. Facebook Messenger is there to help you chat with friends. Slack helps you collaborate with your colleagues. Uber is there with you while you travel from A to B. We believe there’s a lot of opportunity here for Developers of all sizes to elevate and differentiate their apps with features and trip context from Uber. We’re just at the beginning.

About the DevRelate Developer Relations Program Spotlights

In today’s interconnected world, companies in all industries need to publish APIs and cultivate a developer community to access and use them. To be competitive today, attracting and supporting developers is essential. The key to cultivating a vibrant developer community that uses your APIs and supports your platform is a good developer relations program.As part of the Evans Data DevRelate community, David I is creating a series of developer relations program spotlights highlighting companies that are reaching out to developers to achieve higher levels of business success. In collaboration with the leader of a company’s developer program, these spotlight articles will help advance developer program best practices, increase developer successes and enhance each company’s industry leadership.If you want to have David I create a developer spotlight article for your company, contact me at

Evans Data Developer Relations Conference 2017 – March 27-28 – Palo Alto, CA

The 13th annual Evans Data Developer Relations Conference (DRC2017) will take place on March 27 & 28 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Palo Alto California. This conference is an event unlike any other, where developer relations experts from leading companies in the software, hardware, telecom and web markets come together to discuss best practices and reveal the techniques behind their success! Topics will cover all aspects of developer relations, ranging 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. Whether you are starting a new developer relations program or building on a current one, you deserve all of the help you can get – and this is the place to get it!

Developer Relations Conference – Keynote Speakers

DRC2017 keynote speakers include:

Janel Garvin
Evans Data
Janel Garvin Developer Relations Conference Keynote Speaker
Guy Kawasaki
Chief Evangelist
Guy Kawasaki Developer Relations Conference Keynote Speaker
Willie M. Tejada
IBM Chief Developer Advocate
IBM Digital Business Group
Willie Tejada - IBM - Developer Relations Conference
Scott Apeland
Director Developer Program
Scott Apeland, Intel - Developer Relations Conference Keynote Speaker
Thomas Grassl
VP Global Head Developer Relations
Thomas Grassl SAP - Developer Relations Conference Keynote Speaker
Adam Rogal
Head of Engineering, Developer Platform
Adam Rogal Uber - Developer Relations Conference


Who will attend

Attendees come from global, enterprise and industry segments including registrants coming from the top software, hardware, telecom, cloud, IoT, device, brick & mortal, automotive, financial services, Internet and media companies. At the DRC2017 you will network with and learn from

  • 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
  • ANYONE who deals with developers!


Developer Relations Conference Registration is Now Open!

You can take advantage of the Super Early Bird registration pricing for yourself and members of your team. Registration details are available at

Conference Schedule-at-a-Glance

You can view the two days of keynote and breakout sessions on the schedule at a glance page. The session slots also include Hot Topic Roundtables, The Data Game and new for the 2017 conference – “Pitch your Program” Ignite Talks.

Have you ever been or given an Ignite Talk?  Ignite talks are 5 minute talks using 20 slides that advance every 15 seconds. Developer Relations Conference registrants can sign up on advance to take part in this fast paced session. You can find addition information and example ignite talks on the Ignite Talks web site. Presenters will be judged by conference attendees and will win prices.


Developer Relations Boot Camp – Sunday March 26 9am – 4:40pm

The Evans Data Corporation’s Developer Relations Boot Camp provides a solid foundation on which you can build or enhance your developer program. Concentrated sessions in this one-day instructional program provide the insight and actionable information you can use to build your brand and establish strong relationships with your 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 contribute to 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 you will leave with a certificate of completion as well as the knowledge and confidence to create, enhance and run a world class developer program.

You can register for the Boot Camp or add it to your developer relations conference registration –


See you next March!

David I - Developer Relations Conference
David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99



Who Doesn’t Have a Developer Outreach Program?

I am amazed how many companies have a developer outreach program. We used to think that only the technology, software and hardware companies had a developer relations program. To be competitive today, every company, regardless of which industry segment they belong to, sees that it is essential to attract and support developers. How do you know if a company has a developer program? I use a simple algorithm: replace the “www.” in  a company’s web site with the text “developer.”, “developers.” or “api.” and see if you get to their developer portal. Another way is to use a search engine and put their company name and the words “developer and program” and see what shows up in the search results. You can also check out API sites like Mashery and Programmable Web to gain insights into companies/competitors that have developer portals.

Another way to find some of the industry leading companies that have developer relations programs is to go to the Evans Data Developer Relations Conference web page and see the list of sponsoring companies. Since I am also a developer, the final trick I use to find developer outreach programs is to take the Fortune 500, Forbes Global 2000 and other lists and write a program to find which of these leading companies have a developer relations program. Here is a list of a few (of the many) companies with developer outreach programs:


  • Apple
  • Walmart (Walmark Labs)
  • General Motors
  • Ford Motor
  • AT&T
  • Verizon Communications
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • IBM
  • Home Depot
  • Microsoft
  • Target
  • Walgreen Co.
  • Google
  • Intel
  • Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • Best Buy Co., Inc.
  • FedEx
  • Humana
  • Honeywell
  • Deere & Company
  • Oracle Corporation
  • American Express Company
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.
  • The Allstate Corporation
  • Qualcomm Incorporated
  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • Facebook
  • Philips
  • Uber
  • DocuSign
  • SAP
  • Blackberry
  • Hitachi Data Systems
  • Adobe
  • Autodesk
  • VMWare
  • Twitter
  • ebay
  • Thomson Reuters
  • PayPal


Developer OutReach Program – How to Find Your Peers

To interact with other leading developer relations professionals you can:

  • Join the DevRelate Online Community and Academy for Developer Relations Professionals
  • Attend the 2017 conference in Spring 2017 (additional details coming soon)


If you want to find out additonal ways to help your company reach out to developers, send me an email and I will help you and your company.

David I –

Developer Outreach - DevRelate



Developer Relations program At-a-Glance Checklist

Does your developer relations program have the features that developers are looking forward? At this year’s Evans Data Developer Relations Conference I presented a checklist of program features that every company’s developer outreach program should include. As part of that checklist, I have also created a draft “At-a-Glance” short form checklist based on the major features every program should include.

Developer Outreach At-a-Glance Checklist

This “at-a-glance” checklist was created to give a quick look format to some of the key developer program features. The choices included match the results of recent Evans Data developer research. A majority of developers listed many of the following areas as key to their success in using the APIs and services of a company’s developer program.

  • SDK(s)/API(s) Offered: Yes/No
  • Programming languages supported: Java, C/C++, C#, JavaScript, Python, …
  • Code/Samples Repository: proprietary, GitHub, SourceForge, BitBucket, …
  • Platforms/OS supported: Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, …
  • Level of Developer Access to Company team members: Products/Services/Engineers
  • Content/Knowledge provided: articles, tutorials, documentation, videos, blogs, webinars
  • Social Networks leveraged: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, G+, …
  • Answers: Question/Answer section, Stack Overflow activity level, FAQs
  • Developer Forums/Newsgroups: Yes/No
  • Spoken languages supported: English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, …
  • Partner Program: Yes / No
  • Developer Support: Free/Paid, Email/Phone
  • Developer Program Cost: Free /Paid
  • Events/Activities: conferences, trade shows, hackathons, meetups, …

This is a draft At-a-Glance checklist

I look forward to feedback from the DevRelate community for these items and any additional features or items to consider removing.

David I

VP of Developer Communities

davidi at


Evans Data Developer Relations Conference 2016 – Interviews

Several of the Developer Relations Conference 2016 presenters were recorded discussing the importance of developer programs and outreach. You can find links to the short interview videos on the DevRelate site. The interviews and other videos are also available on the DevRelate YouTube channel.

DevRelate DRC 2016 Interviews

Those interviewed include:

  • Scott Burnell, Ford – Global Lead, Business Development & Partner Management
  • Marc Naddell, MediaTek – Vice President of Ecosystems
  • Larry McDonough, VMware – Director Product Management
  • Gina Poole, IBM – Vice President, Worldwide Developer Digital Engagement
  • David Intersimone “David I”, Embarcardero – VP, Developer Relations and Chief Evangelist (before I joined Evans Data)

Scott Burnell - Ford - Interview Marc Naddell - MediaTek - Interview Larry McDonough - VMWare - Interview Gina Poole - IBM - Interview David Intersimone - Embarcadero - Interview

What we talk about in the Videos

Each of us talked about background, our path to developer relations, developer marketing, and evangelism.
During the discussion, we talked about the fun, opportunities and challenges in creating and growing a developer program. It is important to stay on top of the latest developer technology trends and requirements. We each stressed the importance of gaining developer program buy in with the stakeholders inside their companies. One of the effective best practices for cultivating a thriving developer ecosystem is leveraging the technology experts inside your company. Engage the technical teams inside your company to take part in the continuing conversation with developers.

Share your Developer Program Stories

I’d love to hear from fellow developer program professionals. Contact me and share your stories, best practices, words of wisdom, what works and what doesn’t. If you want to take part in a future DevRelate webinar series talking about the real world of developer relations, your stories will be a great starting point.

Register for the 2017 Developer Relations Conference

David Intersimone “David I”
Vice President of Developer Communities
Evans Data Corporation
Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Phone: +1.831.425.8451
Email: davidi at
Skype: davidi99
Twitter: @davidi99