1h 9 min

How To Build a Thriving Developer Community with SJ Morris Masters of Community with David Spinks

    • Marketing

In this episode of Masters of Community, we speak with SJ Morris, Senior Manager, Developer Community at HubSpot. Our host, David Spinks, VP of Community at Bevy and Co-Founder of CMX, moderated the conversation.

For the past fifteen years, SJ has been growing and nurturing developer communities at various stages of growth, like Context IO, Keen IO, Shopify, Intel, and Mailchimp. Now, she leads Hubspot's broader developer community strategies.

Today, SJ shares what she's learned from working with these brands and the differences between the different kinds of developer communities that she's built. She also talks about how to get started in a community role, DEIB in building developer communities, and the balance of community capitalism.

Who is this episode for? Community builders, community managers, community leaders, developers, and developers advocates.

Timestamps:
(00:49) - Intro to SJ and her experience with developer communities
(12:31) - Building a community from the ground up versus managing an existing one
(16:55) - The difference between a developer community program and a developer advocacy program
(19:06) - Setting up a healthy developer community based on context and the company
(24:28) - How the developer community program at HubSpot stands out
(28:18) - Why the community team should be the guiding light
(35:00) - Auditing and improving a developer community program
(48:33) - Working in a community in the world of capitalism
(52:46) - Investing in DEIB in developer ecosystems
(59:03) - Rapid-fire questions

Notable Quotes:
“The first question you need to ask is: does the developer community even make sense for this company?"

“I feel like the community strategy is more about enabling developers to connect with each other, creating the spaces and clear pathways for that to happen. But, also understand what are the actions that you want to see developers taking in your community to get them more value and to bring more value back to the company.”

“When the customer is the driver of the narrative, it's very hard to plug developers into that. But I think once you find that sweet spot and start to tell stories about how developers are impacting our customer's businesses, they love that too.”

“I think community plays a big role in making things more equitable across the company because you're representing a good experience and a good journey for anyone in the community”

Answers to rapid-fire questions:
What's your favorite book to gift or recommend to others?
The Business Value of Developer Relations by Mary Thengvall

What's a community product you wish existed?
Slack for communities.

Who in the world of the community would you most like to take to lunch?
Evan Hamilton, Director, Community and Customer Experience at Reddit

What habit has had the most positive impact on your life?
I think the habit of knowing when I'm done for maybe not the day, but at least for the hour. And just like slapping that laptop closed, stepping away, getting a break, drinking a glass of water.

What's the weirdest community you've ever been a part of?
So, I don't know if this is weird, but the way I kind of went about it was weird. So this is like 2002. I had been in love with pugs my whole life and I never had one. So I established the Montreal pug meetup group.

What's one community engagement, tactic, or conversation starter that you like to use in your communities?
“Where are you from?”

If you could condense all of your life lessons into one Twitter-sized piece of advice to the rest of the world on how to live, what would that advice be?
Care less about the things that you don't need to care about as much. Care about what matters because you only live once.

In this episode of Masters of Community, we speak with SJ Morris, Senior Manager, Developer Community at HubSpot. Our host, David Spinks, VP of Community at Bevy and Co-Founder of CMX, moderated the conversation.

For the past fifteen years, SJ has been growing and nurturing developer communities at various stages of growth, like Context IO, Keen IO, Shopify, Intel, and Mailchimp. Now, she leads Hubspot's broader developer community strategies.

Today, SJ shares what she's learned from working with these brands and the differences between the different kinds of developer communities that she's built. She also talks about how to get started in a community role, DEIB in building developer communities, and the balance of community capitalism.

Who is this episode for? Community builders, community managers, community leaders, developers, and developers advocates.

Timestamps:
(00:49) - Intro to SJ and her experience with developer communities
(12:31) - Building a community from the ground up versus managing an existing one
(16:55) - The difference between a developer community program and a developer advocacy program
(19:06) - Setting up a healthy developer community based on context and the company
(24:28) - How the developer community program at HubSpot stands out
(28:18) - Why the community team should be the guiding light
(35:00) - Auditing and improving a developer community program
(48:33) - Working in a community in the world of capitalism
(52:46) - Investing in DEIB in developer ecosystems
(59:03) - Rapid-fire questions

Notable Quotes:
“The first question you need to ask is: does the developer community even make sense for this company?"

“I feel like the community strategy is more about enabling developers to connect with each other, creating the spaces and clear pathways for that to happen. But, also understand what are the actions that you want to see developers taking in your community to get them more value and to bring more value back to the company.”

“When the customer is the driver of the narrative, it's very hard to plug developers into that. But I think once you find that sweet spot and start to tell stories about how developers are impacting our customer's businesses, they love that too.”

“I think community plays a big role in making things more equitable across the company because you're representing a good experience and a good journey for anyone in the community”

Answers to rapid-fire questions:
What's your favorite book to gift or recommend to others?
The Business Value of Developer Relations by Mary Thengvall

What's a community product you wish existed?
Slack for communities.

Who in the world of the community would you most like to take to lunch?
Evan Hamilton, Director, Community and Customer Experience at Reddit

What habit has had the most positive impact on your life?
I think the habit of knowing when I'm done for maybe not the day, but at least for the hour. And just like slapping that laptop closed, stepping away, getting a break, drinking a glass of water.

What's the weirdest community you've ever been a part of?
So, I don't know if this is weird, but the way I kind of went about it was weird. So this is like 2002. I had been in love with pugs my whole life and I never had one. So I established the Montreal pug meetup group.

What's one community engagement, tactic, or conversation starter that you like to use in your communities?
“Where are you from?”

If you could condense all of your life lessons into one Twitter-sized piece of advice to the rest of the world on how to live, what would that advice be?
Care less about the things that you don't need to care about as much. Care about what matters because you only live once.

1h 9 min