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Why should your company be in technology communities?

My participation in technology communities over the last 3 years, lead me to notice that it’s always tricky to show to companies which don’t interact with this technology ecosystem, how beneficial it is for them to get involved. Many people (developers or not) struggle within their companies, trying to show how much they could benefit from this.

This concern increases when we are organizing an event. Sometimes it’s a rather lonely fight, depending on where it’s fought.

Recently I saw this thread (in Portuguese), where Cassio tagged a number of people, asking for arguments to convince his company to support events. There were many and excellent answers. I decided to put them all together, in a way that I could detail them and trying to gather them into a good document for you to show to your company whenever you need good arguments.

Let’s go…

Reasons to join communities

1. Who is not seen, is not remembered

The old adage applies here as well. Participating in events brings your company to the minds of the people who are there. And not only potential future employees, but customers too! Companies that have problems and deadlines will be there whether they are looking for solutions, partners or… you! This also means lower recruitment and selection costs, since people who see your company moving around in the community media will also remember it when it comes to apply for new opportunities.

Comment of Renato Oliveira of the Labcodes, a reference company in community participation

I agree with everything up there, but I just wanted to give MORE emphasis on sustainability. A company needs money getting in and people to perform tasks. Depending on your business you can get clients in communities, if not, at least networking

2. People seek places where they can learn

Nowadays, human resources are surely the greatest asset of a company. And with the shortage of developers, it’s highly interesting that companies prove to be a cool place to work. But cool not in the sense of puffs and video games, but as a place that has excellent professionals and relevant challenges. Nowadays, people are looking for places where they can grow, develop and have space to do so. Companies that are always at the top of the list where people want to work are present at events. Those companies have people of the highest level speaking and are always encouraging their employees to attend events. Why? Because spaces of knowledge exchange are spaces of growth :)

3. It’s not easy to find good developers

As we talked about in item 2: Human resources are the greatest asset of a company and are scarce assets. If you want to meet good developers or people with high potential, events are the perfect place. How many people do you know spend their nights and weekends studying? People who “spend” their time, their weekend, their night or their money have willpower, they are interested, and at the very least, they have something different. Look at this audience!

1) By investing in communities you probably you’ll be helping to train people who may work with you in the future. And the best: usually people who come from the community have a lot of desire to teach, which is a great profile to have in the company. 2) That’s when the things add up: Just start medium / long term planning.

4. It is a training

There is so much going on in an event. It is a place of much knowledge. Different technologies, people explaining useful things. Sometimes the solution to your problem is in a lecture, sometimes it is in a hallway conversation. Eventually you will meet THAT person who will help you in your huge problem.

The company needs people to perform tasks. Training costs are high. It’s great when people arrive in your company knowing what is needed to comply with the tasks

5. Help for day-to-day tools

There is a good chance that you work using (or doing) open-source projects. The developers of these projects are in the events! It’s your chance to clarify that doubt, or contribute to create the new feature that will help you. If your project is open, it’s the perfect time to get people to help you!

“A company that supports open source events draws attention to its own projects and increases the chances of receiving contribution from codes”

The technological world changes daily and it is extremely difficult to stay updated with market trends. Being present in the community allows you to see what are the main trends, the emerging technology issues and what you should know before choosing your next project.

That leads to another point: not just technical people should attend these events, but directors and managers as well. Keeping up-to-date on the market, whether in technology or in general trends, is of fundamental importance so that companies do not lose momentum and become obsolete.

Bonus: Help who helps you ❤

Wonderful words from Filipe from Vinta, another company which is an example of community participation

“Besides marketing and recruitment I consider very important the moral issue. If you benefit from open source {in my opinion} it is more than fair that you reciprocate what you have won. Preferably, sponsoring the projects you use directly."

How to join the community? Spoiler: Not everything is money;)

Plenty of reasons, right!? Cool, now that you already want to participate, let’s talk about how to do this? First thing: when we talk about joining the community we do not mean just giving money, okay? Yes, most of the time it involves money, but it is not limited to that. As I see it, there are some ways to join the community. Let’s talk about them in detail:

Events Sponsoring

Yes, in this case I’m talking about money. Events do not stand alone and many are carried by volunteers who don’t get a penny for it. Events sponsoring may happen in many scales: there are large sponsorships (with thousands of $) and there are sponsorships for local and regional events (which can range from tens to hundreds of $). No matter how much you can help, sponsoring is a great way to support an event. And the cool thing is that you do not necessarily have to give cash! You can pay directly one of the event’s supplier, facilitating the process this way.

Usually sponsorship comes with clear counterparts: your name on the website, on the shirt or banner, announced at the opening of the event or as the host of an exclusive talk/lecture.

Receiving events

You can receive events in your company! Offer your space. If it is small it may house a coding dojo, if it is big it can give room to a more robust encounter. What can you offer? Space? Great! An interesting talk? Nice! A coffee break to generate that networking? Perfect! You do not have a clear counterpart here, but it’s a good way to show what you have of interesting in your business!

Encourage your employees to speak and attend events

This statement says it all: encourage your employees! Allow them to go to events without fear of being charged for absences. Encourage them to share what they have learned or to teach through a tutorial, a technology you use.

The ideal is to have a policy of paying some (or all) costs of the event, especially if your employee has a talk/tutorial accepted in the event. Think that person had to go through a whole selection process to have his/her content accepted and will tell many people about what you are doing!

Open the code that don’t have a business rules

If you use some open-source project, you already understand the value of it. Whether it’s Django, React or Rails, if you use it, it’s probably because it plays an important role for you. Not to mention the countless smaller projects that surround large projects. Well, you should do it too. If you use open source, please return open source to the community. Of course, we are not talking about the codes that contain business rules, but the tool that you used to solve a technical problem or that made life easier along the way.


Thanks to Renato, Filipe, Mário Sérgio and Otávio for their help and comments while writing this text ❤

Thanks to Vera for helping me translating this post ❤