Selling Pizza for Favors: Building Trust Through Delegation to Other People and Food

Scaling Trust with DevRel, Pt. 3

Hire this guy, like right now.

Last time I talked about using talks to parallelize yourself. But talking, while both awesome and necessary, has two drawbacks: First, it’s really hard work to find a speaking gig on a regular schedule. Second, you are in the loop: your physical presence and energy is required for talks to work.

This is part 3 of a series.

Let’s get you out of the loop, and let’s set up something on a regular schedule. Yeah, that’s right: Let’s set up a meetup.

Creating and maintaining a meetup is perhaps a monumental undertaking for smaller organizations (and very difficult for larger ones), and the chance of failure is very high — but when it works, it works very well.

Why does it work? You get the chance every month to engage with a crowd of new people, and more importantly, to re-engage with returning regulars. Just like the relationship your bartender has with you, the repeated encounters allow you to deepen many relationships in one go.

The other compelling aspect of meetups is that the value you offer attendees is not wisdom from your own rapidly dwindling font, but a never-ending stream of helpful and actionable advice from a changing, ever-fresh variety of sources, as well as the chance for the speakers and the attendees to forge new, profitable relationships with each other. You get to play matchmaker, and people like that. When it works. And is opt-in. Which meetups are. So there.

Why is it hard work? Why do meetups so often fail? If you’re asking, it’s because you’ve never tried. A week of coasting on the previous meeting’s success, two weeks of frantic searching for speakers, sponsors, a venue, catering. One week of pleading with your friends to maybe come fill a slot with a last minute talk, oh thank god you have a place, crap you forgot the food you’ll just order some pizza and call it a night. Oh crap, it’s this week, we need to promote it on Twitter, why isn’t anyone RSVPing, we need to get more people to attend. And you have a day job too…yeah, it’s easy for this kind of enterprise to fall flat on its face.

But these techniques — talking and workshopping and meeting — still have their limits. You can only meaningfully connect with an audience of a certain size at a time, and, more to the point, human psychology puts an upper limit on the number of social relationships you can reliably maintain. This is where trust surrogates and ambassadors allow you to scale to the next level.


In the next episode, we’re going to transcend the need for actual face-to-face conversations using dead trees and spinning magnetic fields.

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 @DEGoodmanWilson, 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.