FOSDEM 2018 Community DevRoom Recap: Brian Proffitt & Jeremy Garcia

For those of you who missed the talks live or on the livestream of the FOSDEM 2018 Community DevRoom, my co-chair, Laura, and I are doing some follow up posts on each talk to bring you the video and the highlights of each presentation. Before you read this post, you might want to check out Brian Proffitt and Jeremy Garcia’s pre-event speaker interviews. (And you can find previous recap posts linked at the end of this one!)

Brian Proffitt: Media 101 for Communities

While Brian is also a social media maven, the focus of his talk at FOSDEM was on relationships with “traditional media” – reporters for various print and online publications. His talk has several succinct tips for ensuring your press relations activities are successful, plus he’s entertaining so it’s well worth watching the whole video.

Here are three highlights for doing media outreach for your project:

  • Set the scene for your announcement in a larger context. If the reporter cares about industry trends, for example, explain how your project news fits into that trend or goes against it for specific reasons.
  • Understand that a reporter may not write a story about you after your first briefing or even a few briefings. Your goal is to establish rapport and build a relationship. Coverage will come later if the reporter still takes your calls.
  • Make sure your press contact details are easy to find on your project website. If a reporter wants to write about your announcement but cannot figure out where to go to get questions answered, they won’t write about it. Ditto for making it easy to get your software; many tech reporters want to try something out before they write about it.

I asked Brian if there was anything else he wanted to share with folks about media training, and he let me know he missed one point in his talk that he wanted to add:

“Sometimes a story will come out after a big interview that seems to barely touch on the points you wanted to make. This is okay, as sometimes a reporter is more looking for context for another, larger story. As long as you take the high road and aren’t negative with your comments, then any time you can set yourself up as a thought leader is a good thing.”

Watching Brian’s talk reminded me of a press training for open source projects talk I attended once upon a time, so if you’re interested in learning even more beyond Brian’s presentation, check out this blog post.

You may also enjoy my notes from Brian’s talk in these Tweets.

And, while you’re at it, follow Brian on Twitter: @TheTechScribe

Jeremy Garcia:

Your Open Source Community Metrics Should Be Tracking

More than Code


Jeremy’s talk introduced a new(ish) open source project, Measure, which is a contributor relationship management system. The core idea behind the project is to keep track of the details about the humans contributing to your project. For example, it is terrific to know that Jane regularly submits pull requests to your project, but it may be even more terrific to know, automagically, that she has not submitted in PR in a week or two; that may be a great time to send her a polite email and check to see if she’s doing OK or if contributing to the project no longer makes sense for her – and why that might be the case.

Jeremy’s talk has plenty of useful advice for those working on community metrics, but he kicked off with this gem; figure out what your community goals are before you start to measure, otherwise your metrics won’t tell you anything useful.

The Measure project’s 1.0 release was cut shortly after FOSDEM, and the maintainers are actively looking for contributions from other developers, testers, etc. They love user feedback and would also love help choosing another name for the project if you have suggestions. (Email notifications will be added to the next release, which I cannot wait to check out!)

You can find Measure on GitHub:

I recommend checking out the full video of Jeremy’s talk, as the demo towards the end is quite useful as is the extensive Q&A session.

You may also find my notes from the talk enjoyable.

And, you guessed it, I am going to recommend you follow Jeremy on Twitter: @linuxquestions.

Other Recap Posts

Our next recap post will be Laura on the FAQ presentation given by Simon Phipps and Rich Sands.

In case you missed it, our first recap post was on A Bug in Your Ear: Patching the People Side  and Why People Don’t Contribute to Your Open Source Project. Check out the notes and video in this post.

This entry was posted in conferences, open source, volunteer work and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to FOSDEM 2018 Community DevRoom Recap: Brian Proffitt & Jeremy Garcia

  1. Pingback: FOSDEM 2018 Community DevRoom Recap: Simon Phipps & Rich Sands | Laura's Blog

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