Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people have attended events that were turned into digital functions to make up for the inability to meet in person. These events had varying success, but as the months in 2020 and 2021 rolled along, attendees began to express fatigue with hours-long Zoom speeches or digital breakout rooms that lacked the personal touch and camaraderie of the in-person events they were replacing.
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The dissatisfaction with digital events in the developer community was palpable, according to daily.dev co-founder and CEO Nimrod Kramer, who teamed up with the company’s CTO Ido Shamun to come up with something better. Kramer and Shamun created daily.dev as a way to help software developers stay updated on the latest programming news, and the event series seemed like a natural extension of their efforts.
Google Registry Team’s Christina Yeh recently named the site on her list of 21 websites and apps to make your 2021 better as sites that make development “a breeze,” and the site has an audience of more than 70,000 developers who view the content or have added the browser extension.
“We had several ideas and we decided to first interview people in our community. What we saw is that people are actually sick of online events, and it actually became a burden for people. They didn’t want to attend, and we began to dig even deeper to understand why. People said there are some good events, but they’re not consistent or just one-offs. The second problem was quality. Some events are consistent but lack quality,” Kramer said in an interview.
“By the time you realize you wasted your time, it’s already too late. The events that are really high quality are usually being hosted by a big tech company, and usually those companies tend to just promote their own products and explain how to work better with our own products.”
From there, daily.dev’s event series was born, with Kramer and Shamun looking to provide the developer community with a tailored series of monthly discussions and roundtables akin to popular TED talks but tailored to the company’s specific audience.
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Since February, the company has held monthly events featuring experts like David Price, co-founder at RedwoodJS; Sam Saccone, staff software engineer at Google; and Ben Lesh, software engineer at Citadel and the author of RxJS.
Kramer explained that he and Shamun wanted to create consistent, high-quality events that were not bound to specific technologies or companies. They were insistent that the events be provided for free and be open to the entire developer community, akin to a monthly watering hole for developers across the world.
So far, the events have focused on topics related to open source, web development and career advice. But Kramer said they are crowdsourcing topics on a range of issues ranging from artificial intelligence to no-code.
Kramer said they were skeptical of how many people would show up and got around 1,500 RSVPs, which was large for them because they only promoted it within their community. The first event brought in more than 7,000 developers and was livestreamed on YouTube.
Kramer also said it was important to him and Shamun that they seek out a diverse set of speakers, noting that many of the events they previously attended were almost always featuring speakers who were white men from California.
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Kramer has sought to bring on more women and developers from countries outside of the United States as speakers to highlight the diversity of the community.
“We want to give the stage for also a little bit less well-known speakers. We want to see female speakers. We want to see other ethnic groups joining us. We’re trying to give some priority in that sense because it is very important for us to give the stage and give the exposure to everyone,” Kramer said.
“We have a very diverse audience so we want to have diverse speakers. We have attendees from the United States, India and Europe. The audience is worldwide, so we have had to tailor the times so that people on the West Coast of the United States, East Coast, Europe, Middle East and others can join.”
The massive audience gave both the confidence to continue with the effort and plan more events. There will be events on April 27 and May 25. Kramer said people have begun to reach out to speak at their events, providing validation for their idea.
“I’m talking about people in very influential positions within big tech companies and people running huge open source libraries like node.js,” Kramer said.
“We have this new movement that started to happen, and we’re super excited about it. People are joining the movement, and hopefully it’s going to get bigger and bigger.”