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Learn why the open source startup Edgeless Systems is relying on community building in this interview with Sr. Developer Marketing Manager Daniel Bentrup.

Why community is crucial for OSS startup Edgeless Systems

Jonathan Reimer
Jonathan Reimer
Founder & CEO

Jonathan Reimer: Hi Daniela, happy to have you! To get started: How did you personally get into Developer Marketing?

Daniela Bentrup: It all started for me as an event manager for tech conferences with a focus on open-source and big data. I enjoyed the challenge of working with a developer audience while not being a programmer myself. It gave me interesting insights into the latest technologies, especially open source software and communities. At some point, I wanted to learn more about developer marketing beyond organizing events. Eventually, I became part of a developer marketing team where I worked on campaigns and social media as well as events. 

Jonathan: Do you want to give us an elevator pitch of what Edgeless Systems is doing?

Daniela: Edgeless Systems is a cybersecurity startup based in Germany. We build the open-source stack for confidential computing. Confidential computing is a groundbreaking security paradigm that enables processing sensitive encrypted data at scale without revealing the decrypted data to the system. Our company is built on the principles of open source, using a community-driven approach to deliver confidential computing technology that is easy to use, scale and integrate.

Jonathan: How important is community for Edgeless Systems?

Daniela: Community is crucial for what we do. We believe in open source. Without community we couldn't have healthy open-source projects.

Jonathan: What's the most outstanding result you've gotten from your community building so far?

Daniela: Meeting community members from all over the world at the conference I organized and prepared for months. 

Jonathan: Can you share 3 learnings, you have made so far, working with developer communities?

Daniela:

1. Make it effortless to get started and produce value. For example, can the documentation be found easily? Do you have relevant content (like blog posts, webinars etc.)?

2. Have a well-organized system of communication in place. Whether mailing list, forum, chat room, Discord, or Slack, it doesn't matter what you choose, but be responsive and show appreciation for the contribution of your community. 

3. Rewards are nice. But they shouldn't become the priority for contributing to your project.  

Jonathan: What's the biggest challenge building communities in your opinion?

Daniela: Keeping momentum. Being motivated to start a community is easy. But moving at the same pace as you've started and avoiding communication gaps between you and your community is quite challenging.

Jonathan: How does a typical working day look like for you?

Daniela: You need to be able to adapt quickly when you’re working in a startup. Usually, there is no such thing as a typical workday. Whether social media or an online marketing campaign, a webinar or a blog post. You do what needs to be done.

Jonathan: Do you have a community building “hack”, that you can share with us?

Daniela: Patience. Building a community is not a quick win. You need to build relationships and that takes time.

Jonathan: What's your favorite resource on community building?

Daniela: I might be biased as a former event manager, but I really enjoy community events. It's highly rewarding to have the chance to meet people in person that you only know from Discord or the mailing list. 

Jonathan: Looking into the future, what do you think will be the role of the community?

Daniela: Community will remain critical to the success of an organization. Community members can be your catalyst for innovation, your brand ambassadors, your support team, or your next coworker.

Jonathan: Thanks for all the insights!

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