Category Archives: Community

How You Can Prepare for a Hackathon

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Just showing up at a hackathon and hoping for the best can work out fine. It can also be unfulfilling because you might not get everything out of it that you’d want. That’s where preparing just a little bit ahead of time can make a big difference. This post covers some areas you might not consider, such as adjusting your mindset, setting some goals and understanding which hackathon archetype best describes you. Get Yo’ Mind Right That is, put yourself into the hacker mindset and prime your brain for thinking creatively, efficiently, and adaptively. What’s that mean? Some things are

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From Internal IT to Hacking Robots in Warsaw

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This post comes from Kevin Grablin, IT Operations Engineer and SendGrid’s newest employee ambassador. “How would you like to go to Makerland in Warsaw?” I almost fell off the ski-lift at Eldora when Tim Falls (Director of Developer Relations) offered me the opportunity to fly 5,302 miles to Warsaw Poland to attend the first ever Makerland conference. He was offering me my first chance to play the role of a SendGrid Ambassador and attend an amazing event. It’s important to understand why this was such a huge deal for me, as my role in SendGrid is not that of a

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Productivity Tools for Work-Life Balance

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Working smart is part of any job. As a developer evangelist, I have to play multiple roles, and there are some tools that I always rely on to help me do a better/faster job. Here are some of them, and hopefully they can also be of use to you. Email Tools Boomerang Boomerang for Gmail is a Chrome/Firefox/Safari extension that lets you schedule emails to be sent later, or set reminders. I love this tool and have been using it non-stop since the day I installed. Replying to emails at 1am (not recommended, but it happens) and don’t want to

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How to Survive as a Developer Evangelist

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If you’re here, you already know (roughly) what a developer evangelist is. You know that we’re Globetrotters, Hackers, Hustlers, Teachers, Mentors and Frequent-Flyer Mile Collectors. You have an idea of what a developer evangelist does. If you’re interested in becoming a developer evangelist, good on you. It’s the best job in the world; it truly is. HOWEVER, as you’re sure to find out, it is exhausting. In this post, I’m hoping to help minimise that exhaustion, and help you to avoid the dreaded burn-out. I’m recently back from Paris. I was there for Music Hackday (one of my favourite events),

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Snow Monkeys and SendGrid: A Match Made in Japan

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In December, we launched our partnership with Kozo Keikaku Engineering in Japan. In February, Brandon and I ventured back across the Pacific to visit our friends and jumpstart our involvement with the Tokyo developer community. It was such an amazing experience, I deemed it worthy of some real estate on the blog. Hopefully you’ll find the story as enjoyable as our trip. Hacking across Tokyo Music Hackday Tokyo Once again we joined the MHD crew for a weekend of hacking, which is always music to our ears. It was a packed house with around 200 people in attendance for the

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Gmail’s Spam Feedback Loop: SendGrid’s First-hand Experience

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Dear Gmail Team, Gmail will be 10 years old next month. Congrats! I love the innovations you’ve made over the past decade. Thanks to you, my email is more useful and accessible than it ever was. I’m delighted by the Gmail feedback loop, one of those behind the scenes innovations that regular users won’t notice. Since I am responsible for keeping SendGrid’s email stream clean, I am especially grateful for the helpful data that’s now available to trustworthy email service providers. SendGrid’s anti-spam team has been making effective use of the spam feedback you share. It identifies spammers that other

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Don’t Tell Developers What To Build

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Don’t tell developers what to build–simple advice that should be central to all hackathons. However, it’s all too frequently ignored by hackathon organizers. Hackathons are a time for developers to learn new technology, meet new people, and pick up new skills. As a rule, it’s better for open exploration to have an unstructured environment rather than a highly regulated one. However, organizers often make the mistake of thinking that rules and structure will create a better event that better conforms to their preferred outcome. A developer’s job is to solve problems and get around obstacles. When an organizer tells a

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