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Meet Steve Pousty

Meet Steve Pousty, Associate at DevRel.Agency and founder of Tech Raven Consulting. Learn about his journey, expertise, and passions in our latest blog post.

Welcome to our Q&A-style blog, where we introduce you to the bright minds behind DevRel.Agency. Our team has nearly a century of collective DevRel experience, and we're excited to share our stories with you.

Let’s Meet Steve Pousty

Steve is a dad, partner, son, and founder of Tech Raven Consulting. He can teach you about Data Analysis, Java, Python, PostgreSQL, Microservices, Containers, Kubernetes, and some JavaScript. He has deep subject area expertise in GIS/Spatial, Statistics, and Ecology. Before founding his company, Steve was a developer Advocate for VMware, Crunchy Data, DigitalGlobe, Red Hat, LinkedIn, deCarta, and ESRI. Steve has a Ph.D. in Ecology and can easily be bribed with offers of bird watching or fly fishing. 

With your many years of experience in DevRel, what keeps you working in this field?

I have always been one of those people who gets a big boost out of problem solving and helping people. I also have a pretty strong sense of “fair”, much to the chagrin of my fiance. So, I feel a strong responsibility to help prevent others from experiencing the frustration and difficulties I encounter as an application developer or data scientist. Effective DevRel is the second best way to help developers kick ass and feel productive. The first way is an excellent product/project, and DevRel can help there as well, as long as the product managers and engineers listen to our feedback. 

I got my Ph.D. because I wanted to be a professor. I really enjoy teaching, and being a developer advocate allows me to do it on a regular basis. Giving talks (class lectures), teaching workshops (hands-on labs), and online hands-on material is pretty darn close to being a professor, with the added bonus that  I don’t have to deal with grading. And when I am managing and building DevRel teams it is very much like having graduate students. 

What types of projects do you like to work on/align best with your skill set? 

Given my almost 20 years of hands-on experience with a broad range of technologies, I really enjoy doing our DEFT reports. I get to have some fun and help our clients understand the main problems with their developer onboarding experience. My favorite products and projects are focused on the application and data scientist tier as opposed to the SysOps or DataOps tier. It has been really enjoyable working on the Kubernetes tier and the CNCF ecosystems.  But my two favorites are databases and geospatial technology.  

What trends are you seeing in the tech community, and where do you see DevRel heading in the next few years?

Well of course the big one right now is “AI”. I put AI in quotes because we really don’t have AI right now. What we do have really good machine learning models that figure out language and how it fits together. It is amazing to have a chat with a knowledge base or, for those of us with difficulties, writing to have the equivalent of a “writing calculator”.  It’s interesting right now because it is both extremely over-hyped (thanks, Silicon Valley bros) and not being used for some of its more interesting capabilities. I think this technology presents a two-fold challenge for DevRel:

  1. AI is guaranteed to be wrong some of the time, it’s just the nature of statistical inference. This is why I prefer when, rather than saying it will replace humans, people say it augments humans. Between it being wrong and often feeling “AI generated” this content will be flooding the market. For DevRel, we are going to be grappling with miscommunication in the marketplace and the slew of new ”AI enhanced” products for reaching our community. I feel there is going to be quite a bit of BS and snake oil ahead.

  2. The other challenge is going to be keeping an authentic relationship with our community. Developer’s bullshit/”written by AI” meter will be on high alert, making them even more suspicious of content produced. How do we keep our users engaged and open to education in a world flooded with computer-generated content?

What hobbies/interests do you have outside of work? 

I have  a bunch! Woodworking. I have built a couple of low quality pieces of furniture around the house. Fly fishing. I belong to my local fly fishing club and sometimes go surf fly fishing or take a little boat out on lakes around here. A problem with living in California is there is not much fresh water and a whole bunch of people who want to fish. I also really enjoy nature photography. I am headed to Iceland this summer on a photo bird tour - BUCKET LIST. Can you say PUFFINS!!! Hiking with my fiance and our 2 dogs. Oh right, I am also a big fan of video gaming and enjoy FPS even though my reflexes aren’t what they used to be. I have met interesting people through online gaming, some of whom have turned into good friends. 

What is your favorite/most rewarding part of being a DevRel practitioner? Tell us the most interesting (story) experience working in the DevRel / developers?

My favorite experience is when a developer comes up to me after a talk or after using some documentation I wrote to tell me how much I helped them. My favorite was when I was at Red Hat working on OpenShift. Red Hat has a very large documentation team but they were mostly focused on long form documentation, i.e. big pdfs. They also had more experience writing for ops people than application developers. There was a hole in our DevRel experience for a good Getting Started, especially for all the languages we supported. This was so frustrating to me that I asked my manager if I could create some, and if they were good, the team could port to the other languages. I did the Java and Python ones, and the rest of the languages were done by the team. I was at the Red Hat Summit, and the lead engineer on Openshift came up to me. He says “Do you know who did that Python Getting Started, it was absolutely exactly what I wanted. Enough information to get me going but not too much to be a burden.” That was a top DevRel moment for me!

Need help identifying friction in your Developers’ Journey or smoothing out your Documentation so you can better communicate with your developer audience? Connect with Steve on LinkedIn.


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