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Solve problems - developer marketing with Julie Reboul Episode 8

Solve problems - developer marketing with Julie Reboul

Julie Reboul is a Senior Developer Marketing Manager at Algolia. Algolia is an AI-powered search and discovery platform for dynamic experiences. Julie has also previously worked with companies such as Microsoft, Twitter, and Orange.

· 13:40


Hi everyone. This is Jack from BitReach. You're listening to Scaling DevTools. The show that investigates how DevTools go from zero to one. I'm joined today by Julie Reboul. Julie is a Senior Developer Marketing Manager at Algolia where she's worked for five years and has previously worked with companies such as Microsoft, Twitter, and Orange. Julie has a ton of experience. So I am very excited to speak with her. Great to have you here Julie.

Julie: Thank you for having me.

Jack: Julie, could you tell us a bit about the kinds of things that you're working on at Algolia?

Julie: Yes. So my role is developer marketing at Algolia. We are search API search and recommendation API. So it means that our product is made for the developers and by developers. And at Algolia. We have, different types of marketing people, marketing employees most of them are doing business marketing because usually, decision makers are more business-oriented personnel while what I'm doing is developer marketing. So what I want to do with the marketing is to sell Algolia to more developers and to showcase the abilities of our products. And so for that, I'm trying to do smart marketing for developers. As we usually say, developers tend to be allergic to marketing. So we want to create things for them that would be useful for them. I think an example I have is, that I'm organizing a podcast called developer experience. It's hosted by one of our staff engineers, Sarah Diane, You should listen to it if you have a chance. And the other example of some activities that are organized, are life coaching sessions. So this is an online event for developers with, of course, code on the screen and really down-to-earth examples of how you can use Algolia plus another API, for example. We have a lot event oriented activities. To get in touch with, the community what I also take care of is our ambassador program. So we have a small amount of ambassadors, like 15 of them, and we take care of them, in a Slack channel. And so the goal is to nurture some champions that have been using Algolia for a while, and to try treat them better than the other and recognize them and show them that we care about them.

Jack: One thing that I have personal experience with is the Algolia community program. One of my friends was an ambassador at Algolia and that's how I first heard about Algolia and it created a lot of trust from my perspective. I'm really curious about how you kind of cultivate that community at Algolia.

Julie: Yeah. So, as I said, this is not such a big community. We wanted to keep it small at first. So the thing is the community is taken care of by me mostly. All by myself, kind of at the moment, we also have Chuck a developer advocate from our team that is helping and walking with them. So those, but at one point we will need to have a multiple helping with this community to be able to nurture them and not let it be just another Slack channel, you know? Maybe I can give you a brief overview of how the team is organized at Algolia. So I'm part of the developer experience team and inside this team, there's developer marketing, which is just me, then there's a developer relations, which is just Chuck but we're hiring three more people to that team. Then we have the documentations team. they are taking care of all the docs. Then we also have programs. So this is natural that last time, and then we also have an engineering part inside this team, which is composed of engineers working on doing demos of could exchange that from, all documentation platform or CLA dev tools of developer hub. And so basically at the moment, I'm really working as a duo with Chuck as a developer advocates, but I think this is the role of a developer marketing person because I'm not a developer first and foremost, I come from a marketing background, but of course, you'll have to be a bit technical, but then developers tend to trust mostly, other developers speaking to them or their technical people. It's really a partnership. And so to come back to this, community program, this is why we are working as a duo with Chuck on this.

Jack: That's really, really interesting. And if you had to kind of describe what you focus on between you and Chuck, what are the things that he does and you do.

Julie: I would describe myself more as a behind-the-scenes person. Like Chuck is more the person speaking on stage. So basically for the life coaching sessions, for example, I'm creating the roadmap for the year of. Upcoming sessions. I'm taking care of the leadership opportunities that we can see from developers, from partners, from our product team. And then, I'm really organizing. So I also take care of the budget. A nice example. In September, I'm organizing our first Algolia developer conference. And so I'm the project manager organizing everything, but then Chuck will of course be a hundred percent, involved in it. What you will do is maybe speak at sessions, be, community moderator, being the face of, Algolia for the events. And then Chuck, he of course works on thing I organize, but you also do those, a lot of things on his own, like he creates blog posts, he creates demos. He works with the product team, depending on the needs from the team.

Jack: That's really, really interesting. You mentioned live coding sessions and there are a lot of kind of live coding developer sessions out there. What do you think, Attracts developers to want to join Algolia's live sessions or developer conferences?

Julie: I think what we want to do to attract developers is to always give to them and not take from them. So it's not like, Hey, come to see a demo of our product and that's it because I guess it can get boring for some people. And why would they care? Actually, it's not like, Hey, you have an issue. You have a problem here. We can help you fix it. And so come to see this live coding session to, solve your pain points. In less than an hour. So it's more about solving problems and resolving issues than about on product.

Jack: That makes sense. When we spoke last time, you also mentioned to me, that you do co-marketing sometimes, which is something I've not seen a lot of companies do. I'm just curious if you could tell us a little bit about how you do that.

Julie: So basically what co-marketing means is, we Algolia are a company for the developers. Some developers know us, but a lot of them don't know it yet. And we realized that other companies have the same. Struggle. And so what we try to do is to really link to connect with companies that have the same DNA than us, who communicates the same to their database, to their audience. and then we try to develop. So an example is Contentful. So we [00:08:00] work a lot with Contentful and we like to have a locate to develop advocates relationship between the two companies. We have a monthly meeting and then we see what we can do together. So, Hey, yeah, your hosting a podcast. Let's join. Uh, we are both sponsors to that conference. Maybe you can come to our booth and then we do a join demo. So this is something we've been doing. I think the difference with partnership is. Contentful, we have a partner team at Algolia but it's a bit more business oriented. So all partner manager is in touch with the Partner manager at Contentful, but for us it's more developer-to-developer relationships that. We try to be a bit less business, less about the dollars maybe, and more about the content and the community.

Jack: One of the things you mentioned earlier is that you have teams focusing on some specific areas and that you divide up marketing and documentation and all these kinds of different teams, Could you tell us a little bit about the culture, at Algolia there and your team and the kind of teams that you work with?

Julie: I've been at them for about five years now, more than five years. And when I started, I started inside the field marketing team, so events and at the time everything was, in-person and online, but I've always taken care of the developer origins. So in the marketing team, we had, half of the team working. Business events and half of the team working on community events, which was great. But at one point we realized, especially with COVID that, it's not just about the events, but it's also about the content we create and how we gather as a community around those. So my title changed from, marketing to developer marketing. Then during that time I was inside the growth [00:10:00] marketing team because, make sense like developers, they are the people that sign up and they are the people that make the company grow. But now I feel like I'm really where I belong too. Because it's been maybe two months that I'm part of the developer experience team. It's a brand new team that we created. That the one I mentioned earlier, also with the developer marketing repair relations, documentations engineering, and this is much better because we have real collaboration between all the people from the team. So even if it's been five-year-olds I still think, And I still feel that I'm part of a new challenge every time.

Jack: And being at a kind of a fast-growing startup for five years is a long time. Not many people have that experience. So you must have seen a lot of, changes, in Algolia at that time.

Julie: When I started at Algolia, we were around 70 people worldwide. And now we are around 700 people. So it's a huge gap. What I also attended was the opening of a lot of offices When I joined, we only had San Francisco and Paris, and now we have San Francisco, Paris, New York, Atlanta, London, and Bucharest. We have a lot of offices, even in Japan. That's a big difference. Actually. What's quite funny is that the beginning, when I was, when we were 70, we already had a developer relations team of two people. And now we have, Only one person. So what happened is we had, a lot of people coming then leaving, you know, the pace of a fast startup. But so now we decided to rebuild everything from scratch. So it's exciting because I already, so what happened, having developer advocates, which was great. And so now I really want to bootstrap things again.

Jack: That's very exciting, in the five years that you've been there, what do you think Algolia does really well? That's led to the success of Algolia?

Julie: I really think that we are trying to stick as close as possible to the developers. And so even more now it has been like a few years. Starting again to make it a real big priority. I would say a nice example is all documentation. We've always tried to have the best documentation we could have the best documentation we could write. Just so that developers, it's easy for them to use. I think it's a good example because it shows how much we care about developer experience. Even before we had a developer experience team.

Jack: That fits with the experience I've had of Algolia. I think I told you when we first spoke, but I signed up to Algolia and paid as a subscriber to Algolia for one of my previous projects. And it was fantastic. And as mentioned, docs and stuff are brilliant. If anyone's listening and is considering a search, I recommend it.

Julie, I think that's all the questions that I had. Thank you so much for your time.

And if you've enjoyed hearing, what Julie has to say you can follow her on Twitter at Julie Reboul. So that's J U L I E R E B O U L. And, Algolia are hiring developer advocates, so I'm sure you can reach out to Julie. And if you're not signed up to the BitReach newsletter yet you can, uh, sign up at BitReach .io otherwise, I will see you very soon.

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