Welcome back for another episode of Z DevOps Talks. We know things are a bit hectic now and most people are probably stuck indoors. So maybe take a listen to our latest episode to help break up the monotony! In our latest episode, we talk with Matt Cousens, a Developer Advocate for IBM Z and LinuxONE. Matt flew into the RTP campus for a (pre-quarantine) Developer Advocate event. And while he was here, he carved some time out of his schedule to discuss the work he and other Developer Advocates are doing in IBM Z and LinuxONE.

            You’re probably wondering what a Developer Advocate does. Well we certainly discuss this during the episode, but to give you a bit of background on Developer Advocates; they are our globally federated IBM developers, the ones actively working with and alongside our clients. Our Developer Advocates are responsible for developing our Code Patterns, actively working on more than 100 open source projects, and a curating our library of knowledge resources.

            The Code Patterns deserve some special attention though. As a library of complete solutions to problems that developers face every day, these patterns leverage multiple technologies, products, or services to solve issues that our developer advocates have recognized as common use cases across multiple industries. You can check out our library here.

            Our Developer Advocates are collaborators too! Maybe you need to better understand where blockchain technology fits in your company’s transactions. Maybe you are moving towards an Omnichannel customer support structure and you want to build a chat bot to interact with your customers. Whatever it is, Developer Advocates exist to help clients understand and take advantage of cutting edge, open technologies and to accelerate that next great project.

            Matt gave us the greenlight. So, if you are internal to IBM and you want to learn more email him today! If you are one of our clients and you want to speak to a Developer Advocate, please reach out to him too or just drop us a message below!

            And finally, we are pleased to announce that in addition to our Mainframe Developer site, you can now find us on the following podcasting platforms:

            EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

            Chris H: Welcome back to another episode of Z DevOps Talks with Chris and Chris. We’re here with Matt Cousens, a Developer Advocate for IBM Z and LinuxONE. Welcome, Matt, thanks for being on the show. We were talking outside and you are originally from Poughkeepsie, New York. And I actually found some interesting background on you – I don’t know if this is accurate or not, but in one of the things I read, it said you’re a 4th generation IBM’er. Is that accurate?

            Matt: It depends on how you count it. And you know IBM’ers – we’re very specific about things like that. My great-grandfather started in Endicott (NY), and my grandfather originally started in Endicott. He moved to Poughkeepsie and met my grandmother in IBM Poughkeepsie, so that’s still second generation. Skipped my father – or as my father said – he skipped it. I think it was a 60’s rebellion thing going on….and then here I am. If my father had worked at IBM, it would be like four contiguous generations. But it actually skipped a generation.

            Chris S: That’s fantastic! Okay, when you phrase it like that, it’s actually 100% accurate.

            Matt: I actually have one of my prized possessions in my IBM collection of historic memorabilia; my grandfather’s badge from IBM Endicott, from the early 40’s. It’s brass, and looks like a campaign pin button, with a black and white mugshot of him on it.

            Chris S: Wow! That’s so cool!

            Matt: Yeah, you’ll never see one of those things again.

            Chris H: That was your grandfather, right?

            Matt: Yes.

            Chris H: Was your great grandfather working at IBM when it was the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR)?

            Matt: I don’t know, I never actually looked at the years and tried to figure it out. It was a long time ago.

            Chris H: That was the amalgamation of all these different companies and that’s the name that they went with. I think it became IBM in the 1930’s. I saw on a Twitter post that you had a Think pad – was it your grandfather’s Think pad?

            Matt: Yes, I actually carry it with me. They reissued the original Think pads about five years ago, but the one that was my grandfather’s is a whole lot more sturdy. I’m writing on paper that’s 40 years old.

            Chris H: Can we see it?

            Matt: Yeah, I’ve got it right here.

            Chris H: So that’s where the idea for the ThinkPad came from; the PC, personal computers.

            Matt: THINK is the motto.

            Chris S: Wow!

            Chris H: That is beautiful – look at that leather – is that Corinthian leather?

            Chris S: Yeah, the one that I got is not nearly as nice as this.

            Matt: Yes, that is fairly common, you can still find those. I have a different one that he had, that actually has his name embossed on the front. That one is a much smaller size, and one that nobody I’ve shown has ever seen before. But with that one, the paper is falling apart. This one I can actually use.

            Chris S: That’s awesome.

            Matt: And of course it was all button down shirts then, so it was the perfect size to slip into your shirt pocket and carry with you with a pencil or something.

            Chris H: I read that your first IBM memory was in the fourth grade when IBM’ers came to your school.

            Matt: Growing up in Dutchess County, we had IBM‘ers in our school. IBM has always been very big in academic/education fields. And I remember in fourth grade, it was all PC’s or PS2’s and token ring networks.

            Chris H: So this was a PC junior or something like that?

            Matt: The PC Junior was the first computer I actually played with – with a 300 baud modem. Someone just recently put a slack message out asking for stuff related to a PC Junior and other old computers. I responded to them saying, ‘Just for the record, that is not old’!

            Chris S: That’s true; gotta watch that.

            Matt: I know that I have some gray hair but I don’t consider myself old!

            Chris H: I read this story, and it might be a fable, that you checked out a book at Vassar College on BASIC to learn how to program on it.

            Matt: Yes.

            Chris H: I didn’t know what BASIC was. It’s a programming language that stands for Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.

            Matt: I believe Microsoft’s very first product was MS BASIC – on paper tape.

            Chris S: I’m showing my age here; but in my senior year of high school we had an elective course in computer programming, which at that point was way ahead of it’s time. We learned BASIC and Powerbuilder, and something else that I forgot entirely, but that was decades ago.

            Chris H: I’m surprised you didn’t mention COBOL.

            Matt: Well, this was PC so COBOL was not there.

            Chris H: No, Chris is just infamous for inserting any legacy language talk… (all laugh)

            Chris S: (laughs) Yeah, I’m just the resident dinosaur on the podcast here.

            Chris H: Oh, your grandfather is a member of the IBM Quarter Century Club – that’s pretty cool – that’s 25 years. What else here – Marist College?

            Matt: Marist is 4 miles from IBM Poughkeepsie, and there’s a huge presence of mainframers in the industry at IBM. Marist teaches classes – they have some Z systems right there that students can play, or ‘learn on’ I should say, not play on.

            Chris S: I was going to say that Marist is one of the very few colleges that offers accredited Z education, right? I mean, I’m not going to quote you on that, but that’s what I heard.

            Matt: I think that Marist is one of the leading schools just because of the crossover with IBM’ers adjuncting at Marist, and it helps to have some IBM’ers on the board at Marist.

            Chris H: We found out that Matt was going to be in town a little over a week ago, and the reason why you’re here is to support developer advocacy. Previously you were on a z/OS platform evaluation test team, but you’ve worked in basically every major phase of the software testing life cycle since you’ve been here.

            Matt: We like to say that there’s two kinds of people – makers and breakers. I just love breaking stuff, so I’ve spent my 16-year career testing software. I was part of the z/OS development team – the people that make the z/OS operating system. And over the course of many years, have bounced around to all different test phases; from the time that a developer writes the code, all the way to the latest phase of testing, where we run basically full-blown production systems that are nothing but tests.

            Chris H: In one abstract that I read you were referred to as an Advisory Software Engineer.

            Matt: That’s the official job classification within IBM. We often use more specific titles, but that’s the official HR classification.

            Chris H: But people know you as a Developer Advocate.

            Matt: Right, I’m now a Developer Advocate.

            Chris H: So for this event that you’re doing tomorrow, that we briefly talked about before the show, it’s going to be 3 hours or so? Talk to us about that. And is it specific to Z and LinuxOne?

            Matt: I’m here to cover the Z / LinuxOne portion of it, but it’s really about developer advocacy, so it’s basically technology agnostic. It’s all technologies and we will have some speakers that are based here in Raleigh that do developer advocacy for non mainframe technology. So we are going to cover a bunch of different technologies. This event is to encourage people who have regular full time jobs, but might be interested in doing some acts of advocacy. We encourage them, support them, and show them how they can find events that other people are doing and how they can advertise themselves so people can find them. My team looks at Z and LinuxOne but there are other technologies out there for sure.

            Chris H: I found an article written by IBMer Upkar Lidder, about his ‘Experiences as a New Developer Advocate’. According to him, the job entails helping to educate developers in a specific technology area, present at meetups and conferences, help run hack-a-thons and mentor at events that IBM is involved in, present developer concerns, feedback and comments to the product team in a timely fashion, write educational blog posts, publish technical content, present and write developer code patterns, and participate in open-source projects.

            Matt: I’m shaking my head yes, but nobody can see me. Yes, absolutely, to all of it. – And all while traveling like a crazy person.

            Chris H: So what’s this developer code patterns? What is that?

            Matt: Think of a code pattern as almost like a self paced demo. We’ll write some code and then put it on the public IBM git repo. The ‘read me’ file contains step by step of what to do to use that code. It’s also accompanied with a blog article, pointing people to it. So it’s a way that anyone in the general public can go to the site to look at whatever new technology they’re interested in, and actually get some code to play with and learn by using it. The code is there under the Apache license, so it’s open source. People can download the code, look at it, change it, hack it, whatever, and do it on their own.

            Chris H: What are some examples of popular code patterns that someone who’s involved in Z or LinuxOne can look at?

            Matt: There are a number of code patterns there for LinuxOne and Z. For LinuxOne it’s a little easier because we have the LinuxOne community cloud that anybody can provision a VM on. They cover a bunch of different things. One that comes to mind is Watson machine learning. A lot of them kind of cross the boundaries between a public cloud something and then the LinuxOne guest on the back end.

            Chris H: When you just said machine learning you reminded me of something I read this morning, saying on the outside it’s AI, but on the inside it’s ‘if…else’. Like it’s just this magic box with a whole bunch of nested conditional statements….

            Chris S: (laughs) It’s good that we’re doing this podcast, because a lot of what we talk about seems very complicated on the outside, but you’ve just gotta explain it right. Like Developer Advocacy; people don’t understand what it entails or, and I hate to say it, don’t really see what’s in it for them.

            Matt: It’s true. Basically developer advocacy at its core is developers helping developers. The first point is that it’s one techie to another techie. We’re not sales, we’re not managers or executive speak. We try to stay true to technology and talk technology and not products. A lot of the stuff that we’re doing is with open software and open source stuff. You could also use various products, but generally we try to pick an open choice to demonstrate the technology. I think in some ways we’ve been doing this forever – it’s just that we now have a formal title for it.

            Chris H: Do you have a specific outcome that you want to achieve tomorrow?

            Matt: The event tomorrow is basically an advertising campaign to let people know that this federated program exists. So the outcome is the interaction basically – and getting people to sign up for the program. Then there will be follow on work where we can get people engaged in doing acts of advocacy in things or projects that are already ongoing.

            Chris H: Are these internal to IBM?

            Matt: No; these activities are external for the most part. I think that’s one of the key answers to the what’s in it for me question. It’s a great way to build up external eminence and with the meet up format, it’s a very casual way of doing it. It’s almost a no penalty zone, but that’s not quite true, because you do have to do it the right way. But it’s just a great way for people to get started.

            Chris H: Say for instance, I’m involved with Z here at RTP with the software side of things – are there things you can think of that we should be focused on or moving in a certain direction? Or if you look at what’s being done with the open mainframe project and Zowe – both open source – are those examples of products that a Developer Advocate might have conceived or be working on?

            Matt: Yes, that’s a great example. Built on top of Zowe are the visual code plugins to be able to edit Z based files, datasets, whatever. So that’s a perfect example of something that we talk about, demonstrate, whatever.

            Chris H: For people that don’t know, VS code or Visual Studio, is the Microsoft desktop IDE. So for the VS code extensions that you mentioned – is that something that a Developer Advocate would work with? And do they basically create what they need from start to finish or do they get it to a kind of tech preview stage and then say here’s the thing we’re thinking about doing and what do you think?

            Matt: We’ve done a couple things with it. You could potentially write a tutorial or a code pattern using it and have screen shots to show people how to use it. You could have a workshop based on it. For for shops that don’t use an IDE now, or maybe looked at them once ten years ago and haven’t since – we might do something like a proof of technology, or a demo, or a hands-on lab; where people can come and play with it. It just really depends on the client and what’s going on.

            Chris H: So it almost sounds like the Developer Advocates are your feeder system for all these great ideas. The goal is to try and amass as many people as you can in this program and the hope is that of all the ideas that are generated, we’ll have more and more things we can choose from. Does that sound right?

            Matt: I think there’s two main goals. One is to support existing clients developers on the platform. Channeling their feedback for product design and answering questions. Sometimes it’s hard to know who to ask a question, even a very simple technical question. So that’s one. The other one is educating people that don’t know about Z or about a particular technology on Z. So maybe I’m going to an existing mainframe shop and I’m talking to their distributed developers, their web programmers and whoever – so that they can understand what the mainframe is because somebody, I forget who it was, but they called the mainframe ‘fake news’. There are misconceptions about the mainframe and how it works and so we try to help educate people.

            Chris H: Is that with more seasoned practitioners in the mainframe space or is it more the newer generations that are coming in have misconceptions of Z?

            Matt: So what we’ve found is that if you start right at the beginning – students coming out of college, or even high school – they don’t know anything about mainframe technology. They’re just neutral. They haven’t been exposed to it. So they don’t have negative thoughts about it, they just lack any knowledge of it. So we try to educate people like that. I think as people start working and then learning on their own or learning from colleagues; it just depends who they come across. One of the things that is hard with mainframe, especially with Z, is that people are so risk averse, that they rely on an experience that they had twenty years ago to determine what their decisions are today – even though so many things have changed in twenty years! They’ll say “Oh we tried that once and it didn’t work.” Well what was that – fifteen years ago? It’s probably been rewritten or completely overhauled since then. So sometimes it’s just about showing them newer versions of things.

            Chris H: So say I’m in a mainframe shop and there’s a lot of things that I don’t know that could benefit me. It’s a bit of a paradox it seems; because those are the exact people that you’re trying to interact with. So they’re not going to take it upon themselves, nor do they have any reason to reach out to somebody like you – so is someone in your position assigned to different enterprises or how do you learn about assignments?

            Matt: So it depends. I am in a cool position right now in that I am able to work with any client in North America. But that’s not the case in all situations. For the non mainframe technologies. they generally have an assigned technology or two or three and then for developer advocates who focus on existing clients, they generally have a few accounts where they’re the lead advocate.

            Chris H: Okay, but they’re not clients in the sense of a sales team where you have an account executive, is it? These are people that you are obligated to; that you are working with and collaborating with.

            Matt: It’s more like you’re assigned to work with that company and the developers at that company, and we work with our brethren in the sales teams, so everybody knows what what we’re doing. We understand the dynamics at the client because every client’s different. Even when you’re talking same technologies; it’s all very different.

            Chris S: And that’s because different cultures, different tooling, different full stack, different all of the above, right?

            Matt: Absolutely.

            Chris S: There are a billion and a half ways to skin a cat when it comes to how you can get your job done on the mainframe.

            Matt: And today’s corporations are generally an accumulation of multiple acquisitions, so they have to take all these different systems and glob them together somehow. And it is probably the most sophisticated, crazy, complicated technology that exists.

            Chris H: When you mention crazy complicated, it makes me think global and that leads me to ask the question of developer advocacy outside of North America. I know that I’m guilty of it, and a lot of people are guilty of it; we have this very, North American, ethno-centric view of ‘everything happens here’. But outside of IBM RTP, and Endicott and Poughkeepsie – outside of North America – what’s the developer advocacy? What’s their presence in South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and so on?

            Matt: So the ‘I’ in IBM is for International and we have teams fielded everywhere. Specifically for Z, we do have teams around the world in different locations – Europe, South Africa and other places. And in terms of the cloud technologies, I think it was ten different cities that we have teams in. If you look at the state of developer relations report – IBM is listed as the number one company for number of developer advocates. Which probably isn’t much of a surprise, since how large of a company it is and how we’re focused on business.

            Chris H: A good point of pride.

            Matt: I think so.

            Chris H: So for this event that you’re putting on tomorrow – is it for developers that are relatively new to IBM or for the full spectrum of experience?

            Matt: Yes, it’s wide open.

            Chris H: If I am interested in this developer advocacy program as a newer developer, what does that role look like compared to somebody who has maybe ten to fifteen years experience?

            Matt: I think it depends on the technologies. For technologies that are newer, it’s sort of a level playing field. Because if a technology just came into existence two years ago, nobody at all knew it before two years ago, which means a college kid that learned it in school and knows it really well – then he or she can present on it. One of the hardest things for me working in Z and mainframe technology is that I routinely work with people that have twice as much experience as I do.

            Chris S: You too, then? (Matt laughs)

            Chris H: Me three. (all laugh)

            Matt: The benefit of that is that it makes you much better at what you do, because you’re learning from some really experienced people. The downside is that you tend to minimize what you think you know, because you’re comparing it against people that have so much more knowledge in software.

            Chris S: Imposter syndrome.

            Matt: Yes, imposter syndrome. I think everybody has something that they can teach others.

            Chris H: What are the other areas outside of evaluation testing within Z or developer advocacy that you feel like you want to learn more?

            Matt: There’s always so much more to learn. In my previous job, I was with a team in Poughkeepsie for six years. Once I got to the point in the job role that I wanted to get to when I started with that team; it was the weirdest moment in my life, because I had no idea what I wanted to do next. I couldn’t think of anywhere else I wanted to be. I had been around for 16 years and I thought I really knew the space I was in and what kind of jobs were available. And then I got the announcement about this role as developer advocate – and I thought what the hell is a developer advocate? And that is what sold me – the ‘not knowing’. Working with technology that’s over fifty years old, it’s not often that you get to do something where you can get in on the ground floor. But the benefit of technology is that there’s always new stuff coming, so we’ll see what’s available in a couple years, when I’m ready to do something new again. Generally I think opportunities find us. Yes, we need to look for them, but I think good things come to those who try to make them happen.

            Chris H: I totally agree with that. So when you started with this, it was from a job posting or something like that, right?

            Matt: Yes, it was a job posting.

            Chris H: But now, it’s totally different. Now the way it happens is much more proactive. We are internally looking for people to help support this mission.

            Matt: Exactly. Sort of as a side job kind of thing. The bottom line is that there are people that are doing this now and we’re just trying to formalize it a little bit so that they get credit for doing it. For example, one person could be doing great work here in Raleigh and maybe there’s someone in Brazil who could benefit from those same presentations and experiences. By trying to understand who’s doing what, when, where – and we can make it better overall.

            Chris H: Let’s say for instance you have somebody who’s doing the work that a developer advocate would do, but it’s kind of under the radar. If they were a developer advocate, then everything would be formalized and they would use the git repository to share information. So provided there’s no proprietary or confidential information, other people could go in and take a look at the work that was done by the developer advocate.

            Matt: Yes, and they could see how the technology is used and then modify it to fit whatever they’re trying to do; or they could read an article and then contact the developer directly.

            Chris H: Does that frequently happen? Do we have a lot of these enterprises that are on the git repo and are contacting people? Clearly there has to be some sort of marketing effort to get this stuff in front of people so that they know it even exists, right?

            Matt: Yeah, it’s a pretty pretty big broad corporate level position that we’re in, working with clients.

            Chris H: But there’s certainly awareness that IBM has this thing called developer advocates, right?

            Matt: I think there is awareness – especially for the the cloud technologies. It’s almost like an appreciated, and even ‘expected’ kind of thing; because techies geek out on it and they work together and get to know each other. They go to the same conferences and events. For mainframe technologies, I think it’s a little bit of a newer concept. I’ve always thought that our mainframe ‘support structures,’ if you will, have been more focused on system programmer kinds of people, like operators running the systems, configuring and installing – and less focused on developers.

            That’s gradually grown and changed over my career and and now I think it’s just sort of an inflection point where we’re accelerating even more.

            Chris H: So you are seeing a lot of traction?

            Matt: Yes, and and I think it’s also similar with the whole design thinking model. Back in the day, we used to design products we thought our clients wanted, convince them they needed it, and then sell it to them. That’s how everybody did business. But design thinking has changed that all around. You want customers to come in with their requirements, work together to deliver them, and proof it before it’s done. So you’re not delivering something that doesn’t meet their expectations. And then of course, you include user experience and all that kind of stuff.

            I think developer advocacy is similar in that way, in that we’re trying to work more closely with the developers on the platform. And to break some of the the mentality of ‘Well, it didn’t work ten or fifteen years ago, so it won’t ever work again’ and to showcase the newer, more flexible, more modern technologies.

            Chris S: I don’t know how you feel about this, but twenty five to thirty years ago, which is the nineties…I remember cracking into my brand new Spin Doctors CD when it came out and it feels like it was just yesterday…

            Chris H: It’s thirty years ago and you had a whole decade of music to choose from and the first thing you went to was Spin Doctors?

            Chris S: Anyway to get back on topic, so what I’m hearing is that back then, there was a product, and it either worked or it didn’t. And now as we’re bringing this to Z, it’s becoming more experience centric. Instead of selling you some products, we’re trying to enable a better experience. Is that accurate?

            Matt: Yes, absolutely. If you look at DevOps, there’s this whole concept of bring your own tools. It’s plug and play, whether you want to pick your SCM and use the one that you need to use – and that’s a good example of it. We want to be flexible; we want to enable our clients to use what they need to use and what they’re comfortable using, and what works for them.

            Chris S: Similar to DevOps – you can’t buy developer experience, it’s something that you put together.

            Chris H: Well said Chris! Matt – in a previous podcast you mentioned something about mainframe, or maybe it was Z or LinuxONE, being the ‘bad boy’. I thought that was kind of cool – can you tell us about that?

            Matt: One of my favorite quotes comes from one of our academic partners, who says that mainframers are the Navy Seals of the IT industry.

            Chris S: I enjoy that thoroughly!

            Matt: And the idea is that it goes back to what I was saying about the most crazy complicated technology. These environments are really complex. And they have to operate at a scale that general purpose technology can’t do. So, that’s really why I say that the mainframe is the bad boy. It’s an encryption monster, right? We design these things with Ferrari engines – not your average lawn mower engine.

            Chris H: I like that Navy Seal reference; that’s good. You said something about the complexity – and in the other podcast you talked about the zero downtime.

            Matt: It’s like being able to change your tires on your car as you’re driving down the road. I’m fascinated by the hardware team and how they design everything that they do. I’m a software guy, so to me they’re really smart.

            Chris H: The mainframer is like the Clingon of computers…

            Chris S: It is.

            Chris H: Because they have multiple organs.

            Chris S: (laughs) I thought you were going somewhere different with that, but that’s fine.

            Chris H: But did you know that? I’m a closet Trekkie and Clingons have two duplicate organs.

            Chris S: They do – for battle right? In case they lose one?

            Chris H: Yeah, I would assume it’s for battle. Or organ harvesting – I don’t know. So anyway – I didn’t really know what a mainframe was before I started here. I started last May and I’ve learned so much since then. But externally, I’ll tell people I work in mainframes and they’ll say ‘oh, what is that?’ And I don’t know if it’s bad or good, it’s definitely an oversimplification, but I tell them it’s like a server.

            Matt: That’s what I would start with.

            Chris H: I say that to people that aren’t in the IT industry, but it really is doing a disservice for people who understand the differences between a web server versus the IBM mainframe. It’s a huge difference – it’s not just a server.

            Matt: When I talk with students who aren’t familiar with the mainframe, I always start with ‘it’s a big server.’ And I’ll ask them how much memory is on their phone. They’ll say thirty two gigabytes or whatever and then we talk about having terabytes of memory and petabytes of hard disk space. One of the weirdest things with my job, by the way, is that I talk about ‘booting a computer’ instead of ‘IPL’ing a mainframe’. I have to use approachable terms because people don’t know the lingo.

            Chris H: IPL, for those who don’t know, is initial program load. which is, in essence, analogous to
            starting up the system.

            Chris S: Except it’s incredibly more complicated.

            Chris H: Unfortunately this isn’t going to air in time for tomorrow’s event, but what do you call it so people know how to find out more about it?

            Matt: We always work with local teams and get the news out on the local site news or slack channels, or word of mouth.

            Chris H: For the developers that are internal, we’ll add links to our blog posts. As for clients, are there current clients that might not be working with developer advocates yet?

            Matt: Yes, there definitely are. There’s a couple different things we do. We have meetups; unofficial, laid back technical talks that are usually done after work. And those are usually publicized in meetup.com or Eventbrite.

            Chris H: So that’s an option. What other things does IBM do?

            Matt: For IBM clients, typically the sales teams are their first point of contact for IBM and they should know how to reach into IBM and pull the appropriate people. One thing I think we’re really good at in IBM, and we always have been, is finding the right person in this humongous corporation – wherever they are, in whatever corner of the world. So generally we will find the right person to help support our clients.

            Chris S: And the amazing thing with IBM is that out of three hundred and thirty thousand or so employees, you’re going to find the right person you need and it’s not that hard. You’re only a few degrees of separation from interfacing with that person.

            Chris H: …and Kevin Bacon.

            Chris H: So the incentive for our clients to reach out is that they may have a lean operation and things they’ve envisioned, but they might not have the resources to do some of the things they want to do.

            Matt: It’s really about helping them sort through the different technologies to find what would be most appropriate for them. What’s happening more and more, is that developers ask for a specific technology – telling us ‘we need this.’ And that’s why we have such a focus on working with those developers, so they understand the different technologies and what’s available to them, so they can make an informed decision. Because developers are becoming the decision makers for their executive teams.

            Chris S: The developers are always the end user. At the end of the day, at least for the type of things that we’re doing, it’s about the end user which is the developers. It’s about enabling them to do what they need to do for their clients.

            Chris H: If I’m the developer and I decide I want eggs. I want to cook an egg and I need a pot and water and I need to boil this water because I want to cook an egg. You’re the developer advocate and you come in you say….

            Chris S: Exactly how much water and what kind of pot? Does this pot actually work for us?

            Matt: And not only that, but how does that work with all of our other pots or our other teams?

            Chris S: Or to give you another perspective. You want to cook an egg. If you want to cook an egg, you don’t necessarily need to boil the egg. You could fry the egg. You could poach the egg. Scramble the egg. There’s a ton of different options. And that’s what a developer advocate helps you sort out.

            Chris H: So is there a place that I can contact somebody to get involved in this?

            Matt: All of the internal information is on w3.developer.ibm.com. The external site is developer.ibm.com. So it’s easy to remember those. There’s a lot of information on the internal sites about how to get started, what to do, publication guidelines, how to bring it to your clients and all that kind of info. The formal developer advocates are also listed in that site so that you can find people.

            Chris H: So for our clients that want to begin working with developer advocates, we can provide them with some resources to do that. It seems like it’s mutually beneficial for IBM and for the clients.

            Matt: That’s the idea. There’s no reason to do it if we’re not helping everybody.

            Chris H: That’s why I love Big Blue.

            Chris S: Gotta love Big Blue.

            Chris H: Well, I’m all out of questions and we’re almost out of time. Thanks for coming in today Matt.

            Matt: Thank you guys.

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