Parallelizing Yourself: Building Trust With Lots of People at the Same Time

Scaling Trust with DevRel, Pt. 2

Parallel parking, get it? Get it?

OK, so we’re starting to form personal relationships, a couple anyway. How do we scale our DevRel efforts from here? The next step is to increase the opportunities to meet new people.

This is part 2 of a series.

The best way to meet more people, as any backend dev worth their salt will tell you, is to parallelize. This means getting in from of as many people as you can, and addressing them at the same time. But all those people have different needs, and different values, and maybe even they have better things to be doing with their time. We can’t possible give them all personalized advice or whatever, not without boring everyone else to tears and driving them out of the room.

This is why we do “talks”.

A talk, when we approach this technique from the point of view of building trust, is generalized, yet in-depth, advice with wide appeal. The desired outcome of a talk is to make as many people in the room trust you as much as can be managed, in virtue of having been help to them. It’s like having a one-on-one discussion with everyone except that you have those conversations all at the same time. Obviously, this parallelism will dilute the effectiveness of the relationship-building aspect, but this is just a first step.

Because, secondarily, the content of the talk will hopefully encourage a manageable number of the listeners approach you to deepen that nascent relationship. You will be tempted to brush them off, as giving a talk is extremely exhausting. But in fact finding people want to approach you is really fucking hard. There is a good chance that these people are future ambassadors (see below). Take advantage of the moment.

Workshops are similar to talks, in that you are addressing a room, but typically you will be going for longer, in more depth, and interactive with many if not all of the participants directly over the course of the event to help them succeed. Also what you are offering is a little different, a little more personal — you aren’t just arming them with sage advice, you are giving them the giddy sense of accomplishment. Ideally.

Workshops are therefore even more exhausting, but also proportionally more rewarding in that the relationships built are that much stronger. I personally find workshops the most effective tool in the DevRel tool belt, and I aim to say a great deal more about them in a future post. Watch this space.

You’ve been reading Part 2 in an ever-increasingly mis-conceived trilogy of posts on scaling trust with Developer Relations.

Next, in Part 3 (not yet up), we’re going to talk about scaling trust with pizza.

If you’re just joining us, however, you’ll want to head back to the intro and find your way from there 🤗

Who am I? Hi! I’m D.E. Goodman-Wilson, and I’m the head of developer relations at Sqreen. We give your web application the ability to defend itself against attacks. You should try it out.