DX Tips: The DevTools Magazine

DX Tips: The DevTools Magazine

Bill Nye, the DevRel Guy

The Case for using Props in DevRel, from AWS' Justin Garrison

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swyx
·Jul 23, 2022·

2 min read

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In our Twitter Space today about DevRel content strategy, we were chatting with Justin Garrison (devrel at AWS) on his video content strategy:

We shifted into native YouTube content for the couple years during the pandemic... and then I did 10 short videos and I got more views on the short videos that we got in 2 years of the other existing content.

That series was called Container Shorts, which look like this:

Then I realized that Justin does something very differently from most developer content creators:

He uses props.

Then I realized that this is a pattern Justin does. Here he is doing an entire talk sitting on an AWS Snowball:

Most notably, if you watch the video from the start, he starts the talk sitting on the Snowball BUT NOT TALKING ABOUT IT ALL until about 6 minutes into the video. Because it is so unusual for a speaker to sit down on an unexplained box while speaking, my attention was held for the entire time, with the inherent unanswered question: WHAT'S IN THE BOX?

And then he stands up and starts moving them around and you cannot take your eyes away. That's a real machine? It's like a 16xl? 42 terabytes of storage? and you're just manhandling them around on stage?

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At one point to illustrate resilience, he actually knocks these expensive AWS Snowball machines over on stage.

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Completely unnecessary.

Totally captivating.

Back to Justin on our Twitter Space:

"I always like to teach the way I like to learn... and I grew up watching Bill Nye the Science Guy, and I loved his content because it was so extreme and weird with lots of props and visual aids. So I just do that - I look around the room for something that can represent the thing that I want to teach people, and I take that to my backyard and film it."

Props. Who woulda thunk it? Maybe we could all get DevRel ideas from Bill Nye.

P.S. He had other tips to share:

  • Most of his short video views came from reposting to LinkedIn, not TikTok or YouTube.
  • Having people ask their own questions is better than giving them answers.

You can listen to the rest of our DevRel space here.

 
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