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Category Archives: Community

WHY is a Hackathon?

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A question often asked: What is a Hackathon? Google’s definition (above) is more or less accurate. Wikipedia says it is an “event in which computer programmers and others…including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects. Occasionally, there is a hardware component as well.” Also fairly well stated. Nick was able to explain hackathons to his parents in a pretty easy to understand way. And our friend Jon at Twilio educated us on their history and evolution. “What,” to me, is not the best way to ask the question. Inquiring Outside the Box Rather than explain a hackathon in terms of “what?” it may be better explained by answering “why?”

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Tips to Embrace Your Developer Community

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Despite being a fairly young company, SendGrid has a long tradition of working directly with our community. Director of Developer Relations Tim Falls was among the first employees and had the title of “community guy” for much of his tenure. The developer evangelists have written many blog posts about community and they boil down to these three tips. It’s About the People A community is made of people. Perhaps that’s obvious. Even within a developer community, there are many types of people. To embrace this community, you have to care about the people and your relationship with them. You Don’t

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Long Live the Informal Hackathon

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The Major League Hackathons–Penn Apps, MHacks, BoilerMake, and HackTech–are great. Go to these. But go to the small hackathons, too. Good things come from the small, informal hackathons. And you can even easily organize one yourself. The very first hackathon was small. I’m stating the obvious, but hackathons did not start as large organized events with multiple sponsors. They started as informal get-togethers. People like you, the makers and creators, got together to create something cool. Where to Start Hold informal hackathons. Get a handful of friends, pick a venue like your co-working space or apartment, and pitch in for

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How I Evaluate A Developer Evangelist Candidate

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Interviewing a developer evangelist is tricky because there’s a variety of hard and soft skills required. An evangelist has to be a strong developer, but also has to wear many other hats, work horizontally across departments, and be an engaging and helpful participant at events. If you’re wondering what the day-to-day duties of an evangelist might look like, check out the blog post I wrote after my first year as an evangelist. Standout Qualities I don’t give candidates an engineering test. I don’t care if they know which sorting algorithm is the fastest and I’m not going to ask someone

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Developer Relations in 2013: Expanded Team and Presence

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’Tis the season to remember. When we all reminisce about the year gone by, celebrate the wins, and appreciate and (most importantly) learn from the losses. We experienced a bit of everything in 2013. In case you missed any of the fun, here’s a recap. People First Developer Relations at SendGrid was born in April 2011, when I delivered a proposal to our executive team and received their blessing to build a team. We ended 2011 with three team members. In 2012, we added three more and doubled in size. We opened 2013 with a team of six and will

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How I Organized Puerto Rico’s First Hackathon

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About a year ago I was celebrating the very first hackathon hosted in my little island, Puerto Rico. At the time I didn’t work at SendGrid, but I was very much into hackathons. You might say I became obsessed with hackathons after seeing the dynamic in Battle of the Braces. The startup community in Puerto Rico is small, but growing steadily. Therefore I wanted to put my little grain of sand in the community. I partnered with  Ramphis Castro, a local entrepreneur. With barely two or three weeks of anticipation we got the word out in the different college campuses

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What Makes Me a Developer Evangelist?

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What makes a Developer Evangelist, to some, may be a slightly redundant question.  I’m sure a few of my fellow Evangelists would agree, but is it really? The Developer Evangelist role came about a few years back, pioneered by a select group of popular API-Providing companies. Originally, this role came to fruition in North America, but gradually, spread its excellency into Europe, and even today is still growing exponentially. I’m not here to talk about the history of devangelism. I’m not writing about “What makes a Developer Evangelist,” I’m writing about “What makes me a Developer Evangelist.” I’m Robin Johnson, SendGrid’s newest

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