I'm Cassidy, I teach coding and create fun videos on the internet. AMA πŸ‘‡

Cassidy Williams
63 replies
Hi there! My name is Cassidy and I'm the Director of Developer Experience at Netlify. Previously, I worked at React Training, CodePen, Amazon, and Venmo. I run a weekly newsletter and often make silly videos on the internet, love teaching, help people become better coders! You might have seen me in Glamour Magazine or the Big Dream documentary a few years back, or more recently you might have seen my Scrabble keyboard project in a couple of dozen different publications! Happy to answer any questions on topics around front-end web dev, developer relations, jokes, social media, running a newsletter, or live streaming. AMA πŸ‘‡


Thomas Frank
Oh hi Cassidy πŸ˜„ What have you found is your audience’s favorite part of your newsletter?
Cassidy Williams
@tomfrankly oh hey friend 😊 As much as I'd like to say the hand-curated technical content, it's... definitely the joke. People love the joke. I'm very confident that a significant percentage of people read it for the joke.
Stefan Smiljkovic
Hi Cassidy, how many subscribers do you have in your newsletter?
Cassidy Williams
@stefan_smiljkovic Hey! I have around 13.5k subscribers! Typically each week when I send it out, it grows by about 50, but around 30-40 unsubscribe. Each week varies, of course!
Yang Zhang
1. Why are you so awesome? 2. (Serious question) How do you think you grew such a gargantuan community/following? 3. Any tips for those of us starting out trying to build a dev community of our own? :)
Cassidy Williams
@yaaang hahaha! 1) idk I just kind of try things 2) 100% the memes. Like I had a decent following before I made memes more regularly (around 20k on Twitter or so, and around 2k people subscribed to my newsletter), but all of that explODED once I started making TikToks and jokes more regularly. Which is both fun and also like "but wait what about my tech work" hahaha. I do think people come for the memes and stay for the occasional useful tidbit about technical things :) 3) I think if you want to build a community, you need to think first of what will your community get out of it. Do you want them to just look at your content more? That's an audience, not a community. Do you want them to be friends with each other? Do you want to give them swag? Do you want to have more eyes on your product? Once you have that goal in mind, you can start to figure out how you want to go about it. Just making a Discord group and say "hello, come now" to people isn't really... helpful. I'd start small first with some key people who might benefit from a community with you, and then grow it over time. Also... have a code of conduct early!
Mehdi Benadel
Space or Tabs ? 😬
John Detlefs
You seem like you have a lot of energy. How do you manage your life to make the best use of your energy when you have it?
Cassidy Williams
@jdetle I definitely make content and work more publicly when I have energy, and just... don't when I don't have it, hahaha. I very actively maintain my calendar, to-do list, and note-taking so that I can take advantage of the time when I have it!
Hi Cassidy, - What is your general Day-to-Day activities as DX Engineer - How do you differentiate this your role from Backend / Frontend / Full stack engineer - What will you share for the beginners who love to join DX Team who are coming from Backend engineering department ?
Cassidy Williams
@iamvp7 1) My day-to-day varies a lot. Sometimes it's a lot of coding, sometimes it's a lot of meetings, sometimes it's a day of writing, sometimes it's a day of speaking, and sometimes it's a combo of all of the above! It's definitely a "jack of all trades" kind of role. 2) I typically don't work on the product itself, but on projects and aspects of things that make a developer's experience on the product better. My team sometimes does rotations on the product team (I did a 3 month rotation earlier this year) to get to know different aspects of the product more so that we can do our DX work a little better. But at Netlify specifically, I know that developers will want to use [some framework] or use [some feature] and each of us on the team have different goals for how we can improve that experience for each feature and framework that devs might use. 3) I'd say to think deeply about your users. If you're a backend developer, you probably know what it's like to deal with funky APIs, build systems, databases, etc. Write about that type of experience, build tools to make that experience better, and figure out how you would want to improve that kind of experience for others!
Thanks @cassidoo for detailed reply. I will work on #3 so can improve myself and join DX team in future.
Osayi Emokpae Lasisi
Hi Cassidy What are your goals for next year?
Cassidy Williams
@osayilasisi I'd love to teach more, and to be more creative! It sounds very generic. It's been particularly tough in the pandemic to be able to, for example, play music, draw, go out and teach workshops... stuff that I really miss doing. I want to figure out how to bring those kinds of activities back into my life again (without burning out).
K. Anthony
As a relative newbie to the industry, practice is really important and side projects are one great method of doing that. How do you pick which side projects to pursue and how to you organize your time so you finish and release them?
Cassidy Williams
@anthkris This can really vary from person to person. I tend to pick a project that interests me (and that kind of scares me, because I don't fully know how I'll implement it), and try to work on it after work. I've found though that often when the work day is busy, I don't have much energy to work afterwards on my projects, so I'll often switch to working a little bit before the workday starts. It really depends on you!
Rob Cameron
What's involved in the role of a Dev Experiencer? What kind of decisions regarding the product and/or its documentation are you making on a daily basis?
Cassidy Williams
@cannikin Hey! My day-to-day varies a lot. Sometimes it's a lot of coding, sometimes it's a lot of meetings, sometimes it's a day of writing, sometimes it's a day of speaking, and sometimes it's a combo of all of the above! It's definitely a "jack of all trades" kind of role. On documentation, our team does weekly rotations where one of us works with our documentation team to both help improve the docs website, as well as help refine wording and code samples. As for the product, we have regular meetings with both engineering and product management teams about our learnings, and advise on decisions. We're regularly "developer 0" for new features as well, where if we find a bug or something weird in something that hasn't been released publicly yet, we talk it out with them so that we can have something very vetted once it goes public.
John Coghlan
What are the KPIs your team at Netlify use to measure success?
Cassidy Williams
@john_cogs Measuring dev rel, the bane of our existence, hahaha! We measure top of funnel signups, and also (less numerically) how much we help other teams (like UX/Design, Marketing, Sales, Product, etc) with our work.
John Coghlan
@cassidoo It truly is. :) The second part is really cool. Definitely good food for thought. Thanks for sharing.
Karl Clement
Hi Cassidy, my team and I are hiring multiple software engineers and want to make sure we have a diverse team from day 1. Do you have any advice on building diverse audiences and sourcing hires from any sex/ethnicity/background without standard biases?
Cassidy Williams
@karlclement I'm glad you're working at this early! It's something you really have to strive for, from DMing folks to posting in groups like https://blacktechpipeline.com/ and https://www.hiretechladies.com/. Offering referral bonuses (even small ones!) are great too for pushing for finding good people. Also, not just recruiting, but retention is so important! Having (and communicating!) support systems in place for folks who are historically marginalized is so, so helpful both for hiring, and keeping people around.
Karl Clement
@cassidoo Thank you Cassidy, excellent idea to offer a referral bonus! Also, great point about retention. Convincing someone to join is one thing, but making sure they are happy with their career is essential. We're attempting to focus on transparency with team wide discussions and 1-on-1s to make sure everything can be candid about their experience.
I am a Code teacher also, I am interested in teaching methodology, any recommended post? Thanks!
Cassidy Williams
@fernandocomet Hmm, I admit I don't have a post on hand! That being said, I recommend watching other teachers to see which styles you might want to adopt. That really, really helped me develop my own teaching style.
Joost Jansky
Hi Cassidy, great to see you here! Are you working a new product?
Cassidy Williams
@jamifyjs Hey! Gosh, I always am, but pretty much everything right now is very much works-in-progress. I want to get on the micro-SaaS train and try releasing some small ones, but most things are half-written... so hopefully I'll have a better answer for you later πŸ˜…
Timotius Sitorus
Waddup Cass, 1) What did you go for Halloween this year? 2) Have you ever had to turn down a job offer for a company you really liked?
Cassidy Williams
@timsitorus1 ayyyy friend! 1) ...I admit I didn't dress up 😢 I wanted to but was very indoors watching TV instead hahaha. 2) I have, oh man. I actually turned down CodePen at first before actually working for them. I realized my mistake very quickly and went back asking them to take me back a few months later! There have been other companies too where I genuinely really like the people, but the fit just hasn't been right at the time. I've definitely tried to keep in touch with those places though, in case something ever changes.
Daeshawn Ballard
Hey Cassidy! What setup do you recommend for live streaming?
Cassidy Williams
@imdaeshawn I personally use StreamLabs OBS on my PC! It was really easy to set up, definitely recommend it.
Azeem Abbas
Wassup Cassidy! Great to connect with you. Take a look at my website: azeemabbas.com I built it using Netlify CMS. I was wondering if you could add some more features in the text body such as - aligning the text left, right and center - resizing the images Besides that would love to know your journey to Netlify and your favourite music. Cheers
Cassidy Williams
@mrazeemabbas Hey! Nice website! Netlify CMS is open source if you'd like to add those features yourself! https://www.netlifycms.org/docs/... My favorite music is... probably anything where you can belt it loudly. I'm not talented at the belting, but I love hearing Jennifer Hudson, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson... any ladies belting makes me feel powerful hahaha! As for my journey to Netlify, long story short, I have (mostly) startup hopped, doing a combo of developer relations and engineering at various roles. My role before Netlify was a full-time teaching role, which I loved, but sadly the pandemic led us to lay off all staff, which led me to searching for roles and found Netlify!
Daniel Uhl
Hi Cassidy, I want your job! How can I start down that career path at my current 3000 engineer company?
Cassidy Williams
@daniel_uhl I'd say to start working in public! Share your learnings, even if they feel embarrassing, and give back as much as you can. That pays dividends!
Vivian Vosu
Hi Cassidy, Have you ever developed a game?
Hey Cassidy :) Any tips for those want to get a job abroad(English-speaking country)?
Cassidy Williams
@lee_hee_jae I have a whole guide on this! cass.run/gig As for specifically a job abroad, I admit I don't have a lot of experience in this area, so I don't know if I'll be very helpful for you. I've heard good things about https://www.remote.io/ though!
Ash Pinkman [βœ–β€Ώβœ–]
Hey Cassidy How to you push the idea of Develop Experience in your companies ? I'm trying to promote the idea of having a better DX at mine, but I'm not sure how to sell it yet. What are some key points that could help me bring the idea of DX as something we actually need today ? Also, you and your content are awesome !!
Cassidy Williams
@val_pinkman If your customers are developers, you need to care about their experience. Just like how user experience specialists are important for products to work well, developer experience specialists are important if you want developers to work well with your APIs/SDKs/platforms!