The Life of a SendGrid Developer Evangelist on the West Coast


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It’s been just over a month since I became a Developer Evangelist at SendGrid, and I’ve now attended 8 events in 5 different cities! At each event I have met a variety of interesting people, including awesome SendGrid advocates, and I’ve learned a great deal about a number of improvements SendGrid can implement in maintaining its top spot in the world of email. What follows is a summary of my adventures over the past month. Enjoy!

Austin Hackday – Austin, Texas – September 12

Austin Hackday

Austin Hackday Swag

My first stop was at the Austin API Hackday, sponsored by SendGrid, Mashery, Hoovers, Twilio, Infochimps & Cloudera, where our gracious host Conjunctured lent their coworking space for some hackity hacking.

There were many cool apps developed over the course of the day; you can find overviews of all the apps here (Twilio’s Summary) and here (InfoChimp’s Summary). The best app that used the SendGrid API was Cop Connection, which won 500,000 SendGrid email credits – that’s a whole lot of email!

GoLabs – Austin, Texas

GoLabs

Steve at GoLabs

While in Austin, I needed a place to get some work done (besides the hotel) and GoLabs was there to save the day. If you are in Austin and need some hacking space, be sure to hit Steve up on Twitter.

IT Expo – Austin, Texas – September 13 – 15

IT Expo

SendGrid at the IT Expo

The last stop in Austin was the IT Expo, where over 8,000 technologists converged. At Rackspace’s booth (awesome people), I gave two presentations over two days, explaining the advantages of SendGrid as an email infrastructure replacement.

BTW, if you host at Rackspace, you can get our Bronze plan (40,000 email/month) for free!

LAMPSig & LAphp – Los Angeles, California – September 17

LAMPSig

LAphp

Back near my home city, I presented a talk to LAMPSig and LAphp about building a scalable email infrastructure. You can check out the slides below:

LAPHP/LAMPSig Talk: Intro to SendGrid – Building a Scalable Email Infrastructure

View more presentations from SendGrid

Twilio Con – San Francisco, California – September 21 – 22

Twilio Con

Twilio Conference Hackathon Winners

First of all, congratulations to Twilio on their first conference – it was a smashing success! SendGrid is proud to have been a leading sponsor!

Our very own Tim Falls was a panelist, speaking on the topic of being an API Community Manager with moderator Shanley Kane, Jason Costa of Twitter and Sara Ford, of Black Duck Software.

Dave McClure, one of our investors, gave a variation of his legendary ‘Startup Metrics for Pirates: AARRR!!!‘ keynote, which was awesome to witness in person.

Startup Metrics for Pirates

View more presentations from Dave McClure

We also enjoyed the Twilio Con Hack Night, where we gave away a $200 Apple Gift card and 500k emails to the best SendGrid integration. While we had some great apps built using our service, but the guys at SportsSignup stole the show with an app that could (and hopefully will) be added to their existing offering as a new feature.

API Hackday SLC – Salt Lake City, Utah – September 24

API Hackday SLC

My next stop was the API Hackday at SLC, which we proudly sponsored along with Kynetx, Zappos, Mashery, SimpleGeo, Twilio and Doba. The fine folks at Neumont University offered up their facilities, which were more than sufficient.

Once again, we witnessed a plethora of cool apps, which Kynetx summed up nicely in their post.

The Grand Prize winner of a $750 Apple Gift card was SendGrid for Salesforce, coming soon to the SalesForce AppExchange! Congrats to Jon Jessup for the win! Annica Burns was also a SendGrid winner with her Sales Genie Sucker Trap, which integrated the SendGrid API into iOS. Congrats on winning your first hackathon prize, Annica!

OCPHP – Fullerton, California – September 28

OCPHP

Back near the SendGrid CA offices, I gave an overview of Symfony 2. I met some fantastic people there and many talented developers. As a result, SendGrid will continue to sponsor OCPHP throughout the rest of the year, along with the OC Drupal group. If you are in Orange County, check them both out!

Business of APIs – San Francisco, California – October 4

The Business of APIs Conference

Next up was the Business of APIs Conference, spectacularly brought to us by our friends at Mashery. I learned a great deal about the powerful impact APIs have had on business as well as a peek into the exciting future.

Here are some of the photos I took, plus check out the Storify.com version of the event below:

Facebook Success Summit – Online – October 5 – 25

Facebook Success Summit

We have enjoyed great success in building a Twitter community where we are able to interact with our customers in new ways. Our hope is to create a similar, collaborative community on Facebook – not just so we can “get more Likes”, but because we want to be accessible wherever our community members want to interact with us. So I’m learning about the current state of Facebook for business at this Internet only conference that runs through the end of the month.

Keep a look out here on the blog (or Twitter/Facebook) for upcoming events. And to those whom I’ve met and not connected with yet, please be patient, I’m still catching up with all of the amazing people I’ve met during the last month. If you need to catch me sooner than later, feel free to reach out at ‘elmer dot thomas at sendgrid dot com’. I look forward to productive and engaging conversations!

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Elmer Thomas is SendGrid's Hacker in Residence. His mission is to help SendGrid live up to its slogan: "Email Delivery. Simplified" by improving the lives of developers, both internally and externally. Via all sorts of hackery, of course. Follow his exploits on Twitter and GitHub.

Elmer Thomas on Twitter
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