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DevOps Institute

[EP73] Sustainability, Accessibility and DevRel with Sara Faatz, Progress

Humans of DevOps, Podcasts

April 5, 2022

On this episode of the Humans of DevOps, Jason Baum is joined by Sara Faatz. They discuss:

  • How Sara got into developer relations
  • Initiatives at Progress that focus on the human side of software development
  • How accessibility and sustainability plays into the human side of software development
  • Steps organizations can take to improve developer relations
  • What a sustainable and accessible future in the tech industry looks like
  • SHARKS

Thanks to our episode sponsor Kolide!

Voted Best 25 DevOps Podcasts by Feedspot

Sara Faatz is the director of the developer relations team at Progress. She has spent the majority of her career in the developer space, building community, producing events, creating marketing programs and more. With more than 20 years experience leading corporate and product marketing and community building for organizations that target primarily the developer audience, Sara has a proven track record of conceptualizing and orchestrating campaigns that evolve the brand and positively impact the company’s image and revenue. Over the years, she has run marketing departments (both large and small), built community programs from the ground up, created partner programs, and acted as a brand ambassador and spokesperson for various organizations. When she’s not working, she likes diving with sharks, running, and watching hockey. You can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Please find a lightly edited transcript below

Narrator 00:02
You’re listening to the Humans of DevOps podcast, a podcast focused on advancing the humans of DevOps through skills, knowledge, ideas, and learning, or the SKIL framework.

Sara Faatz 00:16
What the pandemic did was open up our homes to each other, right, you saw the human side and all of us. And to me, I think that’s one of the silver linings of everything we’ve been through because it shows there’s so much more dimension to everybody than just what you do in your day job.

Jason Baum 00:33
Hey, everyone, it’s Jason Baum, Director of Member experience at DevOps Institute. And this is the humans of DevOps podcast. Welcome back. I hope you had another great week. And if you didn’t, that’s okay, we’re gonna make it a great week. This week, I like to do that little mantra with myself, my daughter or wife, we also this is going to be the best week we’ve ever had. And each one we really try. And I think we get close. And you know what, now that we’re a few weeks into spring now, for the northern hemisphere, that means things are starting to warm up and and start to grow. And I feel like that’s especially coming out of winter, sometimes you have the the winter blues, I think that’s a it’s it’s a nice time of year, certainly I look forward to it. Weather getting nicer people talking to each other, more socializing, you see them outside, and the COVID, winter is retreating as well, in many areas across the globe. And I think that’s also allowing for us to interact again, in ways that we really haven’t had a chance to do not just through the winter, but over the past couple of years. So fittingly, on today’s episode, we’re taking a look at the human side of development, and a group of individuals whose job it is to interact and be social for a living, which is daunting to some, I think you could say that would be a little tiring for many. But for I would assume for DEF rails, it must be something that gets them going in the morning excited and happy about for a living otherwise, I don’t know how they do it. So we’re gonna get into that and more on today’s podcast. And so Dev Rel that’s that’s a term that’s been tossed around, it’s getting, it’s becoming more popular, we hear frequently. But I don’t know if many of us know, the textbook definition. So I, looked up a bunch, and there’s so many but the one that I found that I really liked is the dev rel is essentially short for developer relations. And Developer Relations is pretty much exactly what that means a marketing policy that prioritizes relationships with developers. In general society, there’s this word known for PR public relations. And you could essentially say that Dev Rel is the developer version of this, although that’s incredibly simple. You know, Dev Rel is the marketing technique used to ensure that your company products and developers establish a good continuous relationship with the external developers through mutual communication. And that is very textbook. So we’ll get into the non textbook definition of that with my guest, Sarah fats. And Sarah is here today. Sarah leads the developer relations team at progress. With more than 20 years in the software development space. She’s built community partner content and influencer programs from the ground up. And when she’s not working, she likes diving with sharks running and watching hockey. So she’s really leading a boring life, you could say, you know, diving with sharks. Who doesn’t do that? Right. So Sarah, welcome to the podcast. I really hope we could talk about sharks, by the way towards the end of this podcast.

Sara Faatz 03:47
Thank you, Jason. Yeah, it’s awesome to be here. And I will talk about sharks all day, every day, if you want to do that. I also love DevRel. So

Jason Baum 03:55
there’s that too, right? Yes. Yeah. Well, awesome. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast, Sarah, and are you ready to get human?

Sara Faatz 04:04
I am ready. Let’s do it.

Jason Baum 04:06
Let’s do it. So let’s just start out, so I kind of defined it. But you’ve got 20 years of experience in it. How have you seen dev rel? I didn’t even know that developer relations was really that that? Well, you know what, I actually watched the movie Office Space the other day. And it’s so funny, because they tried to I feel like define that. Like, what was what is it that you do here? You know, lying just sticks out? And so what is it about dev rel? And how have you seen it evolve? And how do you define that?

Sara Faatz 04:42
That’s a great question. And it’s funny because you know, and I tell people what I do when they asked me what do you do for a living? Like I lead a DevRel team, you either get the blank stare or you get the especially outside of our space, or you get so is that like customer service? And so really, you know, DevRel has evolved a ton over the last 20 years, the, the way I like to look at it is that the people on my team, they’re responsible for interacting and being active engaged members of the community in a very genuine and authentic way, right. So not, not because they’re forced to be there, but because they truly have a passion for software and technology, whether it’s you know, and I have people on my team who have different areas of subject matter expertise. And they all have niches within the community that they spend a lot of time. While they’re in the community and part of the community, they’re advocating for software developers as a whole. They’re also bringing information back to our product teams to help influence the product so that we, they can help be the voice of the developer community and say, this is really what the community needs and wants. And vice versa, we can, you know, we do share what our products are about what they do. But, but it’s really not the only focus, right, there’s a big chunk of what the team does, which is that is just about being, again, active, engaged members of the community, being thought leaders, helping educate people about software, of all kinds, and not just not just particular front end frameworks, but things like accessibility and, and Design for Developers and topics like that, that are, you know, important in the development lifecycle in general.

Jason Baum 06:29
So I, there’s so much I want to talk about on today’s podcast, it’s so it’s so interesting DevRel, and, you know, I feel like, you know, as you said, it’s evolved so much. The first thing I kind of want to address is there’s a there’s a stigma, there’s a thought, I feel like out there that developers, engineers, you name it there, it’s there. It’s not social people. You know, that there, there are these introverts that are socially awkward and like to code and stare at their computers and never come up for air? And if that’s not true,

Sara Faatz 07:05
right, oh, no, it’s not true. I mean, anything with anything? Humans, they find their tribe, right. And so when you even if you are, I actually just just came out of a meeting where we were talking about, you know, people who are extroverts versus introverts? And and how does that work? And how do we work together, even if you are more introverted, there are still absolutely ways to be part of a community and, and from a DevRel perspective, most of the people who find themselves in DevRel leaned more towards extraversion, but it’s really, when you find a passion or excitement for something, none of that really matters, right? Because what really matters is that we have this this thing in common. And you can find that people come out of their holes, and out of there, you know, when they have something that they that they’re excited to talk about and share.

Jason Baum 07:56
Yeah, you know, it’s my, myself, I am I would lean toward I always say I’m a reluctant extrovert. You know, I can be very extrovert, I can see that. And I can turn it on and be incredibly social, but then I am usually exhausted. afterward. My daughter is like, the, my daughter is very introverted, I would say in a group setting, but you get her one on one or get her talking about a topic. And it’s I mean, she could tell you literally everything about frozen. I mean, a lot stop talking. When you bring up those topics. I get what you’re saying,

Sara Faatz 08:34
yeah, yeah, it’s funny, my husband’s an engineer. And people will often say that he’s very quiet until you get him talking about boating or fishing, or aerospace or design or hockey. And our daughter is very much the same way. So she has, she has a little bit leans a little more towards the extroverted side, on some things, but she’s definitely more like him with regard to that. So yeah.

Jason Baum 08:57
So let’s talk about you a little bit. You know, how did your personal life really like shape those work goals for you, you know, how did you get into the developer relations space? To talk about 20 years? Yeah, yeah. I that for with no social piece to it? Right, right. I mean, imagine that it looked different.

Sara Faatz 09:21
Yeah, that the space has evolved a ton. And when you look, when I look back at my career, it makes sense now, but to tell you that I that there was a deliberate path that took me to where I am right now is, would be a lie. Growing up as a kid, I was the middle child. And you know, my mom would talk about how my older brother was great at art. My younger brother was great at math and science. And she would pause when she would look at me and she’d say, Sarah, you’re really good with people. And I used to laugh. I used to think it was a total cop-out. And then I realized that she was not wrong in the sense that that people are it’s where I get my energy. It’s where I where my passion is, and I’ve always had that This huge passion for, for building community and being part of something bigger. And then in the, you know, fast forward to late 90s, when the internet boom was taking place, I fell in love with technology, I was working for a PR agency. And I remember coming home and again, you know, remember, my husband’s an aerospace engineer, I come home from work one day, and I am talking a mile a minute, I’m like, Oh, my gosh, you know, we learned today that with a quest was putting in an all-optical network, and with just two regeneration points from San Francisco to DC, they can, you know, transmit the entire library of congress in like two seconds or something like that. It looks to me like, slow down little film, you’re not speaking my language, right. And what I realized was, I also had this passion for technology. And so to be able to marry the two, I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to, to talk about, about technology to be part of technology to be a part of a community that, you know, as I mentioned, before you find your tribe, right? I mean, I could, I could talk to you all day about, about technology and software development, just like I could talk to you all day about sharks, or hockey for that matter. So I just feel very, very fortunate that, that my path took me that way, way. And, and so that’s how I got to Developer Relations space. And it’s, it’s been pretty magical since then,

Jason Baum 11:24
it was the outreach. So I remember like, listservs and yeah, gosh, AIM. You know, everyone’s a messenger in the group. Yes. And for the gens ears who are listening to this podcast probably have like no idea what that even is. You know, is that where you typically would find people?

Sara Faatz 11:45
Oh, yes, yeah, we would find people there. But more than anything, we found people in person, like the old-fashioned way. So there were, what’s that? Right? Especially the last two years? That’s a question. User Groups were a big, big part of the developer community. And they’re still things like meetups and, and we’re finding people in different ways now. But I was part of Microsoft had had an organization that they started calling Netta, which was the International Association. And it was an umbrella organization that was set up to support user groups around the world. And we would go and we would talk to people at user groups I was a volunteer for the organization, and talk about technology, pair up speakers with user groups. And you could get a user group meeting, you know, some of the larger ones in the heyday would have 200 people showing up for pizza and soda and just talking about dotnet, or, you know, C sharp or VB dotnet, for that matter. So you know, it was super exciting. And, and that was so we relied you still relied on technology, some and listservs, like you said, and but actually there I have some friends who could still tell you what their IC Q number was because that was our chat. But yeah, I mean, it was a lot of in person interaction, going to conferences and events, and then the user groups and meetups. So yeah,

Jason Baum 13:11
I’m wondering, do you think that’s going to come back? Because I feel like there is an itch to get out there. Breadman mentioned Gen Z, and actually, Gen Z of all the generations are probably the ones who are going to push for that in person, right, more than anyone. Yeah,

Sara Faatz 13:25
100%. I do. I think that there are one of the things we found over the last few years, as we were trying to still engage with community was that there are a lot of amazing tools available right now. And we spun up a Twitch channel. And we’re, we’re live streaming every day. Throughout the week, we have regular shows, we have long format streams, and engaging with people in chat there is awesome, but you still cannot replicate the one-on-one in-person interaction that you get at a conference, we tried to replicate the hallway tracks through AR VR. We tried all different ways. And for some reason, when you are in a digital environment, it’s really hard to I think people feel time-constrained. They don’t have the the energy that you get when you’re in person. And so I do you think that we’ll see a resurgence of that. And we’re already seeing we have a number of events that we’re will be participating in in-person in April and May and the team is super, super excited about that.

Jason Baum 14:24
You mentioned VR  we did an episode on the metaverse where i i The company Modren actually sent me an Oculus, I got to do it for the first time and jump into their workspace and I have to say it did feel more real than this which is odd because I for this is this is an audio podcast but for those listening I am I’m looking at Sarah we are talking we’re having a conversation I could see in real life, if you will, but it’s still 2d. And when you get into that verse world. Even though I’m looking at a cartoon, it felt more real. Like I was actually there. So it’s interesting. I feel like we have that dual thing going on. Right? We have that happening. And it will. Yeah. And then yeah, jumping back into reality,

Sara Faatz 15:15
we actually replicated the seventh floor of our office in Sofia, Bulgaria. And it has in, that’s more of our hangout space. We have ping pong tables and all that we replicated in a VR world. And we were able to we invited people in and we played ping pong, we, we threw chairs off the deck that we balcony, which we obviously wouldn’t do in person. But it was really fun to have that interaction. I think the, the hardest part for us was that, you know, you talked about the Oculus, everybody has different headsets and different ways that they engage. And so until we have a more and more unified approach to that, it’s going to be harder to have that but it’s definitely exciting. And it does, like you said it, it helps having, you know, being able to see even if you can’t see their real legs, seeing people look like human is pretty short of a torso.

Jason Baum 16:00
Yeah, right. Yeah, you know, what’s interesting, I feel like what I was trying to nail down when I was in there, trying to figure it all out what is missing still. And it’s the ability to like, so I’m a community builder networker, by trade as well. And it’s the ability to tap someone on the shoulder while they’re in mid-conversation, literally interrupt them and jump in, or have your own conversation that still doesn’t exist. And that is an in-person thing. We I don’t think we’ll ever be able to who knows, we probably

Sara Faatz 16:31
Yeah, well think about it, too. When you’re at a conference, and people are having a conversation in the hallway. If you walk up to people who are talking, you can tell by their features, if it’s okay to jump in, or if it’s more of a private conversation, and an AR VR world. It’s really, I mean, I remember feeling so incredibly rude because I actually walked through one of my co-workers. And, and yeah, for

Jason Baum 16:55
that you can actually for those, listen, you can actually walk through someone that is a real thing. That’s not like,

Sara Faatz 17:01
right, and it’s awful when you do it cuz I’m like, Oh my gosh, that was so rude. I would never walk through somebody in person, but couldn’t see their you can’t see their expressions or their body language. So I think once that is, is to a point where where we can replicate that, then it’s gonna get really real.

Jason Baum 17:19
You can see hand movements. So if you really do anger them, I think you’d get a gesture. True.

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So that’s some of the progress Progress is making. What other initiatives is Progress doing that you’re most proud of that focus on the human side of software?

Sara Faatz 18:41
Yeah, you know, progress is one of the things that I’m proud of is that we really do put people first not just our employees, but people in general, which is, which is amazing. You know, with all the things that are going on in Ukraine right now, progress has committed to donating $100,000 to the World Health Organization, emergency appeal for Ukraine. But on top of that, my team last week did a live stream where it was a charity to benefit the same organization, where we talked about we actually talked about the human side of software. We talked about gaps, not you know, knowledge gaps, and how to fix them, gender gaps, all of those kinds of things. We talked about how to research new technologies, all of that, but what was really exciting to me was that the community came together and donated over $5,000 to that organization.

Jason Baum 19:33
Congratulations on that. Thank you. It’s fantastic.

Sara Faatz 19:35
Yeah, I mean, it’s it was one of those days where I think everybody was there were tears on the Livestream because we felt like we were really honestly doing something that hopefully will make a difference in people’s lives. And again, talking about your tribe and bringing people together. This was a community endeavor. Right, this wasn’t you know, we were hosting it, but the community came together and did that. And that’s that really, it just, it was a pretty amazing feeling to be part of something like that. So, you know, from the human side, those kinds of things are great. We have scholarships, you know, the progress women in STEM series of scholarships, which is fantastic. Mary Kay scholarship and women for STEM as part of that it’s a $10,000.04 year renewable scholarship for women in Massachusetts because our corporate headquarters are based there. And we just announced one in India as well. So yeah, I mean, it’s when we think about how progress responds to the world and thinks about as an as an organization, and a corporation thinks about the humans, who are part of everything, it really it’s exciting to me to be part of something like that. Yeah,

Jason Baum 20:56
that’s that sounds great. And yet a company that doesn’t keep its head in the sand isn’t afraid to get into what’s going on in the world. I think it’s I think that’s really important. And we all have a role to play, right?

Sara Faatz 21:08
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, at the end of the day, I think one of the things that pandemic has shown us all is that there is a human side to everything that we do, right. I mean, I, I was a remote employee for I joke that I was remote before remote was cool. But I was a remote employee before you came here to hit Yeah. And it’s before COVID hit, you know, it was I used to, I’m sure you saw, I’m sure probably all of your listeners, listeners saw the gentleman who did that interview a few years back on television, then his child comes in on a little Walker, and, you know, he’s trying to get them out. If you had asked my daughter, what I look like, when I was on a call, it was usually it’s gonna be you know, like, hand gestures, you know, I’m on the phone, whispering and all of those things. And what the pandemic did was open up, open up our homes to each other. Right, you saw, you saw the human side and all of us. And, and, to me, I think that’s one of the silver linings of everything we’ve been through because it shows that people are, there’s so much more dimension to everybody than just what you do in your day job.

Jason Baum 22:14
Definitely, I couldn’t subscribe to that more. I think a lot of us feel that way. And certainly, I mean, the theme of this podcast, you know, the humans of DevOps, we don’t talk. Tech here. We don’t get into, you know, too, too technical. We talk human, we talk about the issues that are going on. So yeah, I think we speak the same language. Yeah, we kind of touched on this a little bit. But, you know, we talked about how it was, what about today? You know, how has accessibility played into the human side of development today?

Sara Faatz 22:55
Yeah, yeah, that’s a great question. I mean, when you think about, and again, I’m gonna go back to the pandemic, there were, prior to the pandemic, we had apps that were apps of convenience, right, you know, it was, it was convenient to order my groceries ahead of time, or order a cup of coffee, or even engage with my doctor, it was, you could do that on your phone, on a mobile device, when the pandemic hits, some of those things that were apps of convenience, all of a sudden became apps of necessity. And, and one of the things that that did is open up the understanding that if we don’t democratize our apps, they’re not going to be able to be, you know, these apps of necessity won’t be usable by, you know, one in five people have a disability of some sort, and every single one of us will have a disability at some point in our lives, right. So that could just be you know, that you, you know, you broke your arm, right, it could be that you had your eyes dilated, and you’re wearing those big, you know, dark glasses, and you can’t see things very well. But what that showed us is that our reliance on reliance on technology gets as that becomes more ubiquitous with the world we’re living in. It’s that much more imperative that we are thinking and developing with an accessibility mindset first. And I think for developers, it’s hard because sometimes you say accessibility, and there’s this overwhelming sense of, oh, my gosh, what does that mean? What how do I really do that? But it’s things like thinking about, you know, pinch and zoom and making sure that we’re able to do that, thinking about the time limits on forms that they’re creating, right, and making sure that if somebody has a has a disability, that means that they need to take more time to fill out that form, that we’re not time limiting them by, you know, that we’re giving a generous amount of time. So it’s all of those things that I think that again, silver lining of the pandemic has pushed us to really start thinking about, how do we make sure that that everybody can use The technology that we’re creating. Yeah, I

Jason Baum 25:02
love what you just said. And I think that goes back to even the previous question and answer is, we’re actually taking time and thinking about what people need and want and it’s not pushed to the, you know, for the longest time, it just would be. We don’t have time to think about that stuff, right? We need to think about everything. We need to make money, we need to think about everything else. And we ignore people. And right people are the ones. headcount used to be how you describe staff, you know, like, right, even staff, it’s the people who work for you. Right,

Sara Faatz 25:35
right. 100%? Yeah, yeah. Actually, we believe that so much progress that our human resources team is actually called the people team like we don’t, we don’t think about it as human resources. It is they are the people team, they’re there to talk and help our people and which is a pretty awesome mindset, I think.

Jason Baum 25:55
I think so too. I think it’s about time that we made that shift. You know, we talked to someone who told me, like, for the longest time in their career, they weren’t allowed to talk about themselves. I was like, Wow, that’s fascinating. And it’s like, I feel like we’re making that pivot. Right now. We’re, you know, each generation each time here, you constantly go through these shifts and changes. And I think this is a big one, that in a few years from now, we’re going to look back and say this was a big change in workforce.

Sara Faatz 26:22
Right, right. 100% agree with that. Yeah.

Jason Baum 26:24
So what are some steps that organizations can take to improve developer relations?

Sara Faatz 26:31
You know, I think, I think thinking about developer relations as an unnecessary discipline, that it’s hard to measure. So let me back up. One of the things when people talk about developer relations for a long time, there was this, it was kind of in this nebulous area, should it be part of a sales organization? Should it be part of the marketing organization? Where does it live? And when you know, you were talking about headcount? Initially, people were like, if we can’t justify the spend that it costs to have people on staff who are subject matter experts and traveling to conferences, and then you know what, maybe we just disband it and get rid of it. What people what we’ve had to learn on our end is, how do we measure what we do? Right? And how do we? So when you think about how can an organization improve its developer relations? First, they have to understand why they’re doing it. Right. So the purpose for our team is, you know, to be that conduit between the developers and developer community and our product teams and our organization in a really, again, natural, natural way, right? And being the voice for the community, even if it’s not necessarily popular with what the general thinking, Is it from an organizational perspective, and vice versa? How do we kind of have that two-way conversation? So we sat down and really thought, how do we, how do we measure this so that it’s not just a collection of vanity metrics, but it shows value to the business, while also showing value to the community? And so the one thing that we really thought about is, is that engagement, right, I don’t, I don’t care if we’re reaching 4 million people, if really, what I really need is to have engagement with this core group of developers, who are I’m providing valuable value to them and vice versa, right. So we look at, we look at engagement rates, we look at how many chat messages are we exchanging, we stopped using our social channels as megaphones to just yell at people. And we actually have conversations with people. So I think thinking about and truly understanding why you’re doing Developer Relations is and what your expected value is from that is probably the first step that most of us organizations can take, you know, knowing your why and knowing your purpose.

Jason Baum 28:55
Yeah, that’s knowing your purpose. You know, we talked about accessibility, right? And then and into what you just said, I mean, there’s also that trust factor that you got to build, right, you got to be authentic with what you’re saying. And so we talked about accessibility, what about sustainability? How does that play into the human side of development?

Sara Faatz 29:19
Yeah, I mean, I think it goes back to genuinely being in any community if you’re not genuine to your beliefs and you won’t be successful a community will sniff that out. The faking it just because it’s popular is not, you know,

Jason Baum 29:37
yeah. You know, when someone’s not authentic, right.

Sara Faatz 29:40
So, you know, from a sustainability perspective, we progress itself has taken a step back and looked at things like when we’re sending out prizes, you know, are we being good stewards of the environment and making sure that we are You know, or do we have excessive packaging? Or we, you know, are there simple ways that we could send out prizes or awards or community gifts, without hurting the environment? Or they’re, you know, we take a step back, and we look at that. I think that, you know, we’ve done some things within our office spaces, and we’re looking at different ways, especially, you know, as we return to the office in some form or fashion, are there ways that we can provide access to, to office space without access? Right. So, you know, so I think that, from a sustainability perspective, it really goes back to truly thinking about what your beliefs are, knowing your purpose there, and, and not just talking about it, but doing it. So, you know, we try very hard to walk the walk as much as we were talking the talk

Jason Baum 30:51
actions very much often are louder than words, right? Absolutely. Yep. Yep. So what does the sustainable and accessible future in tech look like?

Sara Faatz 31:05
That is a great question. So I think, you know, an accessible future in tech means rethinking, obviously, coming to coming to the development table with it and accessibility. First mindset. But that also means when we’re teaching and training developers from an early stage, that we’re also building that into the process, because I think, as I mentioned, when you bring accessibility to the table, to somebody who’s been doing this for years, I think there’s this overwhelming sense of, I don’t know how to do that. Right. And it really is, there’s, there are a lot of very basic things, you know, and part of that’s just an education thing, and that education is actually the same answer for sustainability. Right. I think that, that educating developers on what, how do we build sustainable software? How do we build? How are the environments that we’re working in sustainable? How are we thinking about how we’re engaging the community, and, and all of that comes back down to, to education, right. And so if we, we take a step back, and I think the younger generations have an advantage at this point because I think this is something that’s more part of our, our culture. But I think for people who, who are in have been in business for a while and established in their careers, it’s really just kind of taking a reset. And looking at both of those things. It’s not that they didn’t care about them before, but there wasn’t this intersection between our personal beliefs and our actual subject matter expertise, right. So I think as our world blends and, and work in-home, and personal, all become one, as we look at the human, as a, as a whole, in a, you know, three-dimensional existence. I think that that’s where that education and training become really important.

Jason Baum 32:51
You know, for those who listened to the podcast, I often bring up my daughter, and parenting because I feel like many things that we deal with in issues that we deal with in the workforce, or just in life can often go just go back to a parenting skill 100%. And I think about, so my daughter’s four and a half. She misses a cut off. So she’ll, she has another, you know, year to go for kindergarten. But we’re teaching them the transition, right? She’s in preschool or pre-K. And it’s a very hard transition of home school, how you act in two different environments. It’s so interesting, because it’s like, telling someone who has no frame of reference that they can’t act a certain way in one area is a very, it’s like, what, why I don’t get it. And I feel like as a society, we don’t get it either. It’s like we’re trying to basically unlearn some of that, too. I think it’s good that we’re going through this because it does seem silly that of course, you can’t like scream out in the middle of a lesson at school and you’re not going to go around work telling at the most personal thing about you that might be incriminating or weird, or I don’t know, like, you’re just there are just things you don’t say, right. But there are things that we can share and there and we shouldn’t be human. Right.

Sara Faatz 34:14
Yeah, yeah. Because at the end of the day, we are all human right? And when you start can look at I think this is probably an hopefully the next step in the evolution in the changes that are happening in society, I think, when we can stop and understand that everybody has human right and see their vulnerabilities and see who they are. We also can start to understand intent, right? So by understanding intent, you aren’t necessarily going to be offended by something that somebody said over here because you understand where they’re coming from. Right and so and but I also agree with you as a parent, yes, there are things you know, my I mentioned to you, I think, hockey I love watching hockey. My daughter is an ice hockey player. She’s actually we actually leave next week for Philadelphia. She’s playing in the US, USA Hockey national. Oh, wow, that’s awesome. And yeah, thank you good luck to her. Thank you. We’re super excited about that. But you know, as a, as an athlete, and even growing up, she’s been playing hockey since she was four. She has been around hockey, she heard some things in the locker room, you know, with the older kids, and now she is an older kid. But I, we’ve always said, there’s a time and a place for things right, you know, and so you do, you do still have to have boundaries? There’s no question about that. But to think that any of us is just what we do at work, or just what we do at home is very silly. And I think, again, the pandemic has opened up, you and I are sitting here and I’m seeing, you know, the inside of your office, you’re seeing mine, usually I would have it’s spring break here. So I had to let everybody know, you and I are talking. So please don’t come into the office. But you know, they’re usually there’s a dog who walks in, or my daughter who checks in or something along those lines. So, you know, I think that those, we do have to find that balance.

Jason Baum 35:58
Definitely. And I think that we are and I think we’re all trying to figure it out together. And it’s, it goes back to what we were saying before, this is a very unique time, and I hope it changes a lot of things.

Sara Faatz 36:09
And I think it requires grace. Right? It requires us not to just give each other grace but to expect you to give and get grace, right, you know, when we are the beauty of humans is that we are all flawed as well. Right? And so understanding that, and that goes back to I think my comment about intent as flawed humans, not everybody is set out to do or say something that might offend you. You know, and so being able to take a step back and say okay, we are all nobody’s perfect. How do we you know, how do we move forward and talk as humans?

Jason Baum 36:45
Absolutely, it’s seeing the lens from someone else’s viewpoint, seeing it through someone else’s lens and Pathak leadership being you know, just being an empathetic person. Empathy is so important we talked about on this podcast actually right before we left for the holidays and the new year and I thought that was a great way to end the year and yeah, set out this year myself, you know, making the effort of leading with empathy and I think for all of us figuring out how you know we can be empathetic peoples is very important. So that now will transition the sharks just like that, I believe in transition. Yeah, so So let’s go back to that bio and you’re swimming with sharks. So is this like legit swimming with so I’ve done the like, you dive down and there’s the steel cage or whatever, you know, all separating you. Is this like, is this that

Sara Faatz 37:40
or this is real, like diving underwater with sharks. So, my husband and I have been divers for a long time. And actually, our daughter is a diver, for her 10th birthday, she got certified to dive. And It’s funny when I go out on a boat, and I see a shark on the surface. I don’t think oh, you know what, I should jump in with that. But we seek out dive trips where we can actually go diving with sharks. We did an amazing trip to Cocos Island, where it was during an off-year for sharks in Cocos Island. But on one dive, we saw five different species of sharks and we’re sitting in this or we were underwater and kind of on this rock ledge. And we have a tiger shark swims through, which was a big shark. It was a massive shark and it was one of those ones where you just he let you know that he he commanded respect. Just so but we saw I’d say yeah. hammerheads black tip, white tip Galapagos sharks, blue gloves, a shark and then the tiger shark. Which was, it was just an incredible experience. One of those things that I will never forget. We did a trip to Galapagos where we had hundreds of schooling hammerheads below us. And then when we were out on I think we’re at either wolf or Darwin Island, you would go and just again, hold on to the rocks as hammerheads swim by and this goes back to my I wouldn’t jump in with them. But I I do crazy things when I swim underwater and you’re not supposed to hold your breath underwater, right when you’re diving. If you’re moving in within the water column, but I was sitting there and I this Hammerhead is swimming towards me and I thought and they’re very skittish, right they so they’re very scared by your bubbles. So I thought I wonder if I don’t exhale, exhale my bubbles. How close will this Hammerhead get to me? Just not like a normal thought that most people have. But I did and I I mean, he came my husband got an amazing picture of the Hammerhead it was beautiful. But it came probably two feet in front of me before I thought what am I doing and I excelled my bubbles and you know, you know swam away but

Jason Baum 39:58
I’m like freaking out as you’re Telling me this like I could feel my heart racing. That’s that is. Wow. Well, good for you. I don’t think I could do that.

Sara Faatz 40:08
No, you know what there’s so graceful underwater and going back to intent. You know, as we’re talking. I mean, sharks have to have such a bad rap and there are some that are definitely the tiger shark. I did not want to mess with and we had one dive in the Bahamas where it was dusk die, which is great because you can feed so everything’s feeding at that point. So you see a lot of life you

Jason Baum 40:31
jumped into the water with feeding shark with sharks that were like, oh,

Sara Faatz 40:35
yeah, everything is feeding but yeah, there was a bull shark who was swimming just he was started to circle as we were finishing our safety stopped and we thought, you know, I think it’s probably time to get out like this is not what we want to mess with. But we’ve been on some incredible like I said, I could talk about this forever diving with sharks. It’s just, it’s incredible. Yeah,

Jason Baum 40:57
that’s that sounds. That does sound incredible. Also, I think I like panic. Just hearing you say, I went on a honeymoon was in Fiji. And every day at the resort, you get a little notice. And we went snorkeling because they finally convinced us to go and we went and it’s beautiful. I mean, the full wreaths on touched. And then we get home. And you know, in the newsletter it said, you know, swim with friendly reef sharks. So we’re friendly here. What do we know? And we get home and it’s Shark Week. And they’re like the actual world’s most dangerous shark. And guess what the most human attacks whatever is the Fijian reef shark. Okay. Better. We didn’t know that. Exactly, exactly. We’re coming up at the end of the podcast. And I like to ask one thought-provoking, usually personal question. So today’s question for you is, what’s something that everyone in your industry should stop or start doing?

Sara Faatz 41:59
You know, I think I’ve said it probably a couple of times here. But I definitely would say, from the developer perspective, I would, I would pause and approach all of your, all of your applications with an accessibility first mindset. I would broaden your scope and understanding of your audience. So a lot of times when people think about who am I creating this application for, they think about, you know, personas, and they, you know, demographics, and all of that, but really understand that humans are the ones who are using our software, and understand that humans do have impairments or limitations that we need to be developing for, so that we can democratize applications across the board.

Jason Baum 42:41
Awesome. Sara, thank you so much for joining me on today’s episode, I had a lot of fun talking to you about the topics. And I feel like we could talk all day about DevRel but also shark. So thanks so much for coming on.

Sara Faatz 42:56
Thank you so much. I

Jason Baum 42:57
really appreciate it. And thank you for listening to this episode of the humans of DevOps Podcast. I’m going to end this episode the same way I always do encouraging you to become a member of DevOps Institute to get access to even more great resources just like this one. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and most of all, stay human, live long and prosper.

Narrator 43:18
Thanks for listening to this episode of the humans of DevOps podcast. Don’t forget to join our global community to get access to even more great resources like this. Until next time, remember, you aren’t part of something bigger than yourself. You belong

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