Innovator 101

Basic strategy for remote engineering community leaders

Context: Demographics Matter

Context: Virtual Evangelists Needed

  • Microsoft
  • Google 
  • Amazon
  • Intel
  • Arm
  • NXP
  • Xilinx
  • Twilio
  • etc.
  • Sample Code
  • Meetups
  • Conferences
  • Customer Support
  • Engineering
  • Talks
  • Demos
  • Localization
  • Webinars
  • etc.

Platform Companies

Need This

Innovator Programs Everywhere

What is an "Innovator?"

  • Technical Evangelist
  • Community Manager
  • Advocate
  • Organizer
  • Leader
  • Mentor
  • Inventor
  • Engineer
  • All-In-One

Ajeet Singh Raina

They are the future CEOs & Leaders In Emerging Markets

Systems vs. Goals

  • Goal:
    • I want to lose 100 lbs
  • System: 
    • Hire a nutritionist
    • Build an eating plan
    • Track and follow up
    • Hire a trainer
    • Go for a run daily

Fundamental Concept

Think in systems (but not prescriptions)

Talent Stack

  • Successful
    • I have a C.S. Degree
    • = 1% of population
  • Super Successful
    • C.S. Degree 
    • + Public Speaking
    • + Virtual Hangouts
    • + Writing
    • + Community
    • = .00001% of population

Fundamental Concept

Differentiate by stacking skills


  • Always be networking!

Fundamental Concept

Do things ... *drum roll* ... for free!

Never Split The Difference

  • Ask Open Ended Questions
  • Don't tell people what to do
  • Don't tell people what to think

Fundamental Concept

Learn to ask good questions.

Markets Grow From Communities

Fundamental Concept

And so do companies

  • Active GitHub / OSS
  • Organize Local Events
  • Speak at Virtual Events
  • Connected on Social Media
  • Organize Community Hangouts
  • Write and Produce Content Regularly
  • Sample Code & Technical Documentation
  • Set up / Participate in Online Communities
  • Participate in One or More Innovator Programs

Help them find you!

System: Show Up Regularly

  • If you find a technical problem
  • Where there isn't an answer
  • Write a short blog post
  • Every. Time.

System: Always Be Documenting (ABD)

  • Find Interesting People
  • Introduce Yourself
  • Constantly

System: When In Doubt, Reach Out

Get involved!

  • Lead With Value
  • Maintain a 3 : 1 Ratio 
  • Give more value than you get

System: Give - Give - Give - Get

System: Niche Marketing

JavaScript Programmers

Java Programmers

Rust Programmers

Rust AI Programmers in Japan

StackOverflow Trends (link)

Observing Trends

Gartner Hype Index

Observing Trends

Bad: "I am a JavaScript Programmer"


Good: "I write secure Rust code for RTOS in embedded environments."

Competition: Unlimited

Also: Doesn't solve a pain point

Competition: Much Less

Also: Solves a very hard, specific problem

Learn to Love LinkedIn

  • Maybe not the best for community
  • But as a remote innovator...
  • Pick a problem domain (solution) e.g. "Agriculture"
    • I do Agricultural IoT in Rust
    • I build robots in Go language
    • I create cluster computers with Kubernetes
  • Pick a rising language or trend, get in early before others
    • Port significant OSS projects to a new language that isn't popular yet
    • Write articles, start a blog
  • Pick a rising framework or platform company
    • I am the leader in Amazon Lambda for Rust
  • Combine Niches Together
    • I run the only women's Rust community globally

Niche Selection Strategies

"I like to play Video Games so I am going to become a game developer."

Niche Selection Mistakes

"AI is trending so I am going to learn AI."

If it is trending, everyone is doing it, too.

The more obvious

(fun) it is, the more competitive it is.

"Everyone wants to program games, so I am going to produce Unity Plug-ins to help create water for 2D platformers."

Better Niche Selection

"AI is popular so I will create the best tools to visualize neural networks."

Trending is fine, but narrow it down.

Pick an extremely narrow niche, where you get to work in the field but are more selective.

  • B2B Software Pays More
    • Finance
    • Medical
    • Enterprise
    • Industrial / Embedded
    • Sales
    • Advertising
    • Marketing
    • SaaS
    • ECommerce
  • Fun Pays Less
    • Video Games
    • Social Apps

Making Money

Most software is "line-of-business" and is never seen in public.

Create a Framework that fills a a niche for a rising programming language, platform or company.


Have a cool logo and brand e.g. "We build GOBOT, the only Go language robotics framework."

Interesting Strategy

Start a Google Developer Group, organize an annual DevSummit.


Google have extensive resources for developers who do this.

Another Interesting Strategy

Opportunities For Innovators

  • Google pays Developer Group Organizers
  • Platform Co's have funding for Innovators
  • Blogs, webinars, podcasts can attract sponsors
  • Conferences and Meetups can attract sponsors
  • Offer services to local or global companies
  • Build and sell your own products

Customer Selection

  • 50 - 300+ people companies are best
  • Google, Microsoft, Intel - Fortune 500 hard
  • Try to keep projects small and reasonable
  • Understand Corporate Credit Cards ($5,000)
  • Look for startups who raised funding recently
  • Make sure you actually like the product
  • Start off small and build up
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