Zan Markan | Designing a professional community for devs

Discord for live events + Discourse as a support forum and a knowledge base + twitter and twitch for content + 3 amazing developer advocates to run this all.

In this episode Lera is asking Zan why his company is so smart:

How does Circle CI understand the value of community instead of just buying AdWords and promoting their own posts on Facebook?

And then we talk developer community design and what Zan and his team have for a developer relations strategy in 2021. Events? Livestreams? Virtual swag giveaways?


Community builders and digital content creators. Available for contract work.

  • Lera: artist, full-time gen z, queen 👑

  • Karina: business leader​, money 🤑

  • Olle: product, devrel, tech 🎥


Zan Markan - Developer Advocate, CircleCI, dad, storyteller, wanderer, immigrant. Snarks and rambles about computer things, planes, craft beer, and policy.

Upcoming episodes:

This show runs on our Discord server and is supported by a friendly pancultural community. Most speakers are our community members.

  • How to hire a community manager with Jamie Cantrell Langskov - MongoDB

  • Making sense of online gatherings in 2021 with Guy 'Yug' Blomberg - Games Industry Gathering

  • Running a Discord server for anime artists with Aigerim Aimova - Usagi Shop

  • The community for community builders with Alex Angel - Commsor

  • Using science to research online communities - Martina Pocchiari - PhD Candidate in Empirical Quantitative Marketing

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Weekly motivation

Community is the first threat to Google and Facebook in 15 years - says Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Reddit and 776 venture fund.

This line sticks with me 4 weeks after I heard it. It is the title of my talk at a 700,000 people digital event. It just makes so much sense.

In this very episode with Zan, we discuss how a business cannot lead the conversation about a term or a topic by buying AdWords or promoting FB posts, how sponsoring a conference banner for $15,000 doesn't work anymore, how hosting (not renting from Facebook or Instagram) a community helps businesses.

For CircleCI continuous integration is the #1 term, but the way they operate is so appealing, that I have CircleCI stickers around, and Lera has CircleCI socks despite we both are not really into DevOps, but this brand has a good vibe. We want to orbit CircleCI because we feel like they share our values.

This episode will become available on Apple Podcasts to paid subscribers:

Later this week we’ll make this episode available to our paid subscribers via Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other places that support usual podcasts.

Paid subscribers will also get a calendar with all our live events scheduled, and will be welcome to join them all and get invited to a secret channel on Discord.

Thanks for supporting our work. And here’s a warm virtual hug for sharing this podcast with a friend.

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  • The newsletter that you’re reading is here to stay free as it is now.

  • All recordings of our live video podcasts are and will be available on YouTube for free.

  • Our Discord server is to remain free with several new subscriber only-channels.

/This text has been written by Olle and reviewed by Lera, Karina, our Discord community and Grammarly