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Cassidy Williams
Cassidy Williams

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AMA with Cassidy Williams, Head of Developer Experience and Education at Remote

Hi there! My name is Cassidy. I'm the Head of Developer Experience and Education at Remote and a Portfolio Partner for Developer Experience at OSS Capital! I'm also a startup advisor and investor, developer experience expert, and meme-maker on the internet. I enjoy building mechanical keyboards, playing music, and teaching in my free time. You should subscribe to my newsletter!

Discussion (16)

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michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

I got 2!

  1. Head of Dev Experience and Education is a seriously cool role! As someone working in education, I'm curious what your favorite way to learn (and teach) is? For instance, do you learn-by-doing, reading, watching videos, listening to podcasts?

  2. What kind of music do you like to play? Got anything online that ya might share? 😀

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Cassidy Williams Ask Me Anything

Two is better than one!!

  1. I love teaching via writing as much as possible, because I can always write more posts or separate posts to teach different concepts. I also really love teaching workshops where I can see where students struggle, so I can fix that quickly! Video courses are alright, I like teaching them, but video editing is the bane of my existence, lol.
    As for learning, I really love reading and doing. I keep trying to like video courses, but I struggle to focus sometimes and my mind often wanders before I actually get to finish something more practical! I think right now there is a shortage of smaller video courses that are instantly practical, but a bit larger than a tutorial of step-by-step instructions.

  2. I love playing all kinds of music! I admit there isn't a lot of online evidence of that, though 😅 I'm classically trained on guitar and also play a bunch of brass instruments. I did some digging and found an old video of an all-electric guitar band I was in (very experimental, very Seattle lol), and another old video from the Seattle Video Game Orchestra I was in (I'm the one in the blue unicorn onesie, please forgive the crappy audio)! The pandemic sadly slowed down a lot of my group participation but I'm hoping to get back into it once things open up more!

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Michael Tharrington • Edited on

Thanks so much for your detailed answers!

I totally understand what ya mean about struggling to focus during video courses... I have to find ones that are short & snappy or digest it in multiple sittings. I think I'm primarily a hands-on learner, but ideally I like to get hit with multiple sources — read first, then watch, then try to do.

Haha, no worries about lacking online evidence of your music. I play music all the dang time and so little of it is actual online, so I def know what ya mean. I really like the experimental guitar stuff!! I've been super into ambient music recently and this feels very much in that realm. It sounds like guitar wind chimes to me — super relaxing! 😀

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Kaveh

Hi Cassidy! I'm really curious to know how your average day looks.
You're making so much high quality content and output that I wonder if you're left with any time for yourself!
After a typical work day, I'm so beaten that I crash and can't do anything useful. Looking at your public persona makes me wonder if you're superhuman! :)

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Cassidy Williams Ask Me Anything • Edited on

Hey Kaveh! Thanks for your kind words <3

My day varies a TON. Sometimes tons of meetings, sometimes none, sometimes coding-heavy, or writing-heavy, or something else entirely. I definitely get that "typical workday crash" fairly regularly at the end of the day. A lot of my time I've attempted to optimize with productivity workflows and apps! I actually wrote a blog post on the productivity apps I use that goes into detail what those are.

Honestly though, I stick to a calendar, add dedicated time for "flowing" in my work (and time for tasks I want to get done), I write down everything that I want to remember, and try to use time between meetings to get smaller things done so that the end of the day can be more dedicated to relaxing! I'm not awesome at time management, I admit, but I try to be at least somewhat disciplined so I don't bite myself later.

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Jess Lee

What does your day-to-day look like? How do developer experience and education overlap?

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Ben H

What are the keys to maintaining a successful newsletter?

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Cassidy Williams Ask Me Anything

Consistency! I think having a workflow that makes a newsletter not a burden, but just a task that you can handle each week is key. For myself I've refined so many of my tools to make my processes go faster over time, and I think anyone who would want to start/maintain one should figure out what works for them, and consistently set time aside each week/month/whatever to make sure it isn't ever skipped.

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Liana Felt

Hi Cassidy! Thank you so much for doing this. What role do you think creativity plays in OSS development?

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Cassidy Williams Ask Me Anything

Coding in general is very creative, whether folks realize it or not. Because you have certain restrictions around what you can do, what keywords to use, what methods of solving problems, etc, you have to get creative with how you solve X, Y, and Z given those constraints.

OSS adds another layer to that! You're not only coding, but you're coding in public. You have another level of readability that you need to maintain, not only in your code, but also across documentation, RFCs, and issues! It's a creativity of communication layer that's definitely a muscle to strengthen.

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Parker Waiters

What are the biggest differences between commercial and non-commercial OSS maintenance?

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Cassidy Williams Ask Me Anything

I think in the best cases, there's no differences at all. In the cases that you often see that aren't great, there's less transparency when companies prioritize internal roadmaps over public ones, or prioritize too heavily on the "commercial" side rather than the "OSS" side. There should be a good balance of community input and company input, and balancing all the voices of vocal minorities and actual product needs.

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Gracie Gregory

Hi Cassidy!

How often are you on sales calls in your role? Any tips for participating in them as a content creator?

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Cassidy Williams Ask Me Anything

Hey! I admit I only join sales calls in a very ad-hoc manner. I did more of them at Netlify in the past, and for those, it was mostly to clarify specifics around how potential customers could use a certain framework in a certain way (because when you are more involved with the dev community, you see more types of applications)! I think it's a good practice to be on them, though, if anything to be a fly on the wall to see what concerns people have, what questions people have, and then seeing how you can make content around those questions and concerns so that others don't have them in the future + you can point to a resource when they do!

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Monica Miller

Hey Cassidy, any advice for people new to developer relations?

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Cassidy Williams Ask Me Anything

I'd say to write less, more often! A lot of people in dev rel think that they need to write huge technical deep-dives and build a lot of credibility to be able to speak to their developer communities, when really it's more about building accessibility to a product or tool. Decreasing that "time to hello world" is key, and you can do it in so many different ways! Talk to your communities, ask them what they like, don't like, and want to learn, and use that to tailor what you make.