Chatting with Bear Douglas, Director of Developer Relations at Slack

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It’s a fairly uncontroversial statement that Slack has changed the workplace communication space. Over 12 million daily active users can attest to the value of the product and the paradigm shift that it has introduced.

I was lucky enough to chat with Bear Douglas, Director of Developer Relations in order to get a look into how Slack functions internally, both in terms of how they think about meetings and communication — Yes, that includes how Slack uses Slack.

Developer Relations is critical to Slack’s success. There are over 700,000 weekly active apps developed on the platform from smaller independents and mega-corps alike, and Bear and her team are tasked with improving the developer experience for all of them. …


Chatting with Ashley Faus, Content Strategy Lead, Software Teams

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Everyone knows their company is far from perfect, but how do you ensure your team is consistently improving? One common answer to this question is with scheduled feedback or retro sessions.

For those who don’t use Agile methodologies, retros or retrospective meetings are held after every software release to assess and improve the product and process.

Atlassian has created a culture where inefficiencies are continuously identified and improved. One aspect of this culture involves feedback mechanisms to gather subjective and objective information. This means anyone can (and does) speak out about problems.

Ashley Faus, Content Strategy Lead at Atlassian, was kind enough to share her team’s practices for improvement. …


Jessica Webb, Product Marketing Senior Team Lead at Trello

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It’s easy to give lip service to trust and relationships because the results are hard to measure. But what would it look like to build a team that has quadrupled the median retention rate for talent in the technology sector?

Great relationships can translate into more effective teams and employee retention, but the biggest benefit is that it’s more fun to work in a company with great relationships and a strong sense of trust.

I was able to chat with Jessica Webb, Product Marketing Senior Team Lead at Trello, to discuss how they’ve managed to maintain team members for 4+ years in an industry where retention rates are notoriously low. …


How to find alignment in your organization with a source of truth

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Product marketing is a game of influence without authority. It’s one thing to get alignment across a team of your own direct reports, but what do you do when you need cross-functional participation and buy-in from your peers?

In order to answer this question, I caught up with Gaby Izarra, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Webflow, one of the fastest-moving product teams in Silicon Valley to hear how the best cross-functional teams work.

Gaby provided tons of practical advice on:

  • Getting project alignment across the organization
  • Bringing out the creativity in diverse teams
  • How to get people excited about projects
  • How she runs product launches right down to the document…

Predictions and business ideas to steal

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Photo by Utsav Srestha on Unsplash

Around this time last year, I distinctly remember thinking that newsletters were blowing up as a form of content consumption. Since that point, it feels like the hype around them has continued to grow exponentially.

Just about every time I go on my Twitter feed, I’m seeing some form of newsletter chatter these days. Substack has made it simple for writers to create newsletters and collect payments. Andreessen Horowitz tossed $15m into the space, which definitely helped get people’s attention. …


My second annual edition of yearly takeaways

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Photo by Ruben Engel on Unsplash

Sometime this morning, I turned 24 years old and casually entered my mid-twenties. This one feels a little bigger than the last few.

Maybe it has to do with everything that’s taken place this year offering some new perspective. Maybe it’s all in my head. Regardless, I’ve done a version of this post for the last two years and I want to keep this going.

I don’t see a ton of people doing this in public, but I’ve found it therapeutic to curate the principles that have been most meaningful to me over the past calendar year. …


My favorite takeaways from Dave Gerhardt’s course

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Photo by Romain Vignes on Unsplash

It’s taken time for me to identify as a marketer. It’s always been a less-than-appealing word to me and definitely wasn’t something that I wanted to do or be. I’m not sure where the turning point was, but sometime over the past few months, that changed.

One of the more helpful resources while picking this stuff up has been Dave Gerhardt’s Patreon. Dave is currently the CMO of an eCommerce startup called Privy and before that, he was the VP of Marketing at Drift.

A few weeks ago, he released a short video course on copywriting called The 10 Laws of Copywriting. There was a ton of good stuff in the course, so in the interest of sharing, this post offers my notes on the content along with some follow-up commentary. …


How to acquire and activate new users

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Photo by JK on Unsplash

The way you welcome people into your product will make or break the experience for them. It doesn’t matter if you have the best offering ever — If your onboarding falls short, everything else will as well.

In this post, I’ll lay out what I’ve picked up while working on our onboarding flow at Hugo and how you can use these principles to improve your own product. My views on this subject are largely aggregated from a bunch of other helpful resources:

DEFINING ONBOARDING

Terms like “onboarding” seem pretty straightforward, but people tend to use them to mean a wide array of different things. My favorite definition is a bit broader than…


How Edelman, the world’s largest public relations and marketing consultancy firm, quickly stands up teams to handle crises

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You don’t need a pandemic or natural disaster to face a crisis as an organization. Unexpected events happen, and sometimes you need a rapid response.

In fact, the skills needed for rapid response translate well to a lot of projects. Even in “normal” times, every industry is bombarded by rapid environmental, competitive, and technological change. If you aren’t moving quickly, you are falling behind.

Some of the best-trained crisis management experts come from the media and communications industry. News spreads instantaneously, especially bad news. …


If there was one thing you could improve on your team, what would it be?

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Photo by Sharosh Rajasekher on Unsplash

If there was one thing you could improve on your team, what would it be? Most common answers to this question aren’t around ability or leadership. Instead, they tend to focus on a lack of alignment and information. These were difficult areas to get right before the shift to remote work and have only gotten more challenging since.

We have experimented with all sorts of approaches for keeping our team aligned and informed at Hugo. It took time, but eventually, we came to a realization: If you want to understand what’s going on inside a company, you need to start with the source of those action items, brainstorming sessions, and user insights. …

About

Conor Dewey

Growth at Hugo. Previously data science at Squarespace. Writing here now: www.conordewey.com

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