Introducing SlashData’s new CEO

SlashData has come a long way, as has its DNA. It has pivoted and transformed itself several times. It has moved from a tiny consulting shop shedding light into the future of mobile software – to a leading analyst firm helping the world understand developers. 

Our reputation reached all corners of DevRel ecosystem thanks to our Future Developer Summit series, podcast, our Developer Marketing and Relations book written by the who’s who in the DevRel scene. 

With every transition, and through every phase we‘ve continued to develop as a business, learning from our mistakes and successes, running post-mortems, and always asking “what can we do better”.

And now SlashData is changing yet again. We opened up custom research in 2021 which helped our revenues double over the last year. The market opportunity is growing rapidly, as every software firm is asking how to understand and engage developers who influence the purchase of their software. And it will grow even further, as every company under digital transformation needs to understand how to build and train its newborn developer workforce.

After 15 years since founding SlashData, the time has come for me to move on. I ‘m passing on the CEO baton to Moschoula Kramvousanou. Moschoula has been at SlashData since 2017. She’s served the company, leading the Client Relations team and more recently Strategic Partnerships. She’s played a pivotal role in leading the company’s growth, not just in terms of sales and the growth of her team, but also catalysing several changes across the company and forging valuable relationships with clients and partners. She understands our clients and our market intimately, and has helped propel forward every team.

Moschoula is now taking the team through the next few years of rapid growth, stellar reputation and carrying forward our tradition of innovation, always asking – “what can we do better”. The company could not be in better leadership hands, in a better shape financially, or in a better place for demand and market growth.

Here’s to the road ahead!
Andreas Constantinou
SlashData Founder

Our 7 Core Values: SlashData stripped bare

Over the last 4 years, we’ve spent thousands of hours building the culture at SlashData, one step at a time. There is no better picture of the culture than the values that underpin it. In this article, I strip SlashData bare, describing in great detail our values and the behaviours that underscore them, that is the blueprint for our culture, who we are, and what guides our behaviour.

In his book Traction, Gino Wickman describes values as “a small set of vital and timeless principles for your company…These core values define your culture and who you truly are as people”.

Values guide a number of important activities at SlashData:

– Hiring: Every person that we hire has to be a good fit for our culture. No fit, no hire, even for the highest of performers. We never sacrifice the cultural fit to hire primadonnas. I’ve made many mistakes hiring people based on performance, thinking that their cultural fit will improve over time.

– Reviews: Every six months we assess performance and cultural fit for every team member. We offer guidance on where to improve, how to tap into your hidden strengths, and whether you are observing the company values. We used to have a bonus scheme for how closely a team member would observe values, but we’ve made that depend on performance only for a simple reason. If you’re not observing our values, that’s a deal-breaker, our relationship is not going to work out.

– Benefits: Among other benefits, we award people for every year they’ve been with us. The list of benefits is informed by our values; awards include ways for team members to contribute to a charitable cause, to take up a new learning course

– How we work with customers: we treat our customers with the same respect, dependability and attentiveness as we treat our colleagues. 

– Business decisions: Our 3-year business strategy is informed primarily from helping people grow, not from returning a profit to the business. People growth comes before profit, and profit comes before revenues. We’re not VC-backed, so we don’t have to return astronomical growth just because a VC partner asked. Profit takes precedence over revenues, making sure that we run a business that can function well and can spend time on developing people and having fun together. And people growth takes precedence over profit. For people to grow, their role has to grow, and as a small company, that means our business needs to grow to create new opportunities for our team members.

What are the values and the behaviours that underscore them? Here’s the full, unfiltered list. If you ‘re competing with us, go ahead and copy us. And if you like what you see come and join us

High Performers


  • We ‘re a team of high performers.
  • We pay attention to detail, always striving to deliver top quality work.
  • We are adaptable: as part of a growing team, we try out new things, we create new processes, and we adapt ourselves as the needs of the business change.
  • We focus on what’s important and stick with it. We define our team and individual goals every year and every quarter so that every team and everyone knows what to focus on.
  • Each of us has their own, effective system for organising their work on a daily and weekly basis. 
  • We continue raising the bar with every new person joining the team – every person we hire has to be better than the average of the team.
  • We start with the end in mind: to get to the bottom of the issue, we start with what we are trying to accomplish.
  • We trust each other to be dependable and deliver on our shared goals. 
  • We deliver to our clients as we committed so that they continue to trust us.
  • Each of us assumes responsibility and doesn’t blame others or the system.
  • We play like a sports team. If I score and the team loses, I have lost. 

Always Learning


  • We strive to grow as individuals, both personally and professionally, to realise our full potential.
  • We are restless to take the company to the next level. 
  • We invest in our personal development by reading books, attending courses, seminars and conferences. 
  • We learn from our projects by running post-mortems and understand what went well, what went wrong and what we can improve next time.
  • Errors and issues are there to help us improve. With each issue that we spot, we fix the process so that the issue doesn’t happen again.
  • We are a diverse team and value the uniqueness of each individual. We like to learn from each others’ experiences and perspectives. 
  • We treat every challenge as an opportunity, whether it’s about people or projects.
  • We challenge our assumptions and the way we do things.  

Play as a team (was fun)


  • We help each other out when in need. 
  • We are dependable and accountable. We agree and we commit.
  • Once a year at our team event we spend 2-3 days in strictly no working time together to have fun, create memories and bond.
  • The entire team gets to meet and catch up once a week on video. 
  • We strive to maintain a positive, fun and engaging place to work. 
  • We hire people that we are proud to work with, people that we can have fun with solving complex challenges together.
  • We take time out to get to know each other, create friendships and enjoy the moment.



  • We are kind to our team members. We are thoughtful. We are compassionate. 
  • We support our team members when they come to us for help
  • We welcome and support new team members. We have an extensive onboarding process, helping each new member acclimatise and feel comfortable.
  • We trust & respect each other, even if we have different opinions.
  • We practice flexitime around our core working hours, allowing everyone in the team to manage their work/life balance.
  • We actively listen and practise empathy. We take the time to listen to what someone is trying to say – and understand how they feel – rather than thinking how we will respond.
  • We criticise in private, we praise in public. Always.



  • We are transparent with every aspect of the company’s operations, except for financial information. That information is available from the day someone joins our company.
  • We are clear in our communication. We make sure everyone has understood, and has been understood.
  • We share feedback for each other immediately – within hours or days, not holding it back for months.
  • When there is a conflict, we are transparent about stating how we feel, good or bad
  • We systematically communicate with the whole team where we stand with respect to our goals and tasks
  • We communicate proactively when things don’t go as planned. If a task is likely to be late we give adequate notice to our colleagues or clients – as much notice as the delay. 

Data driven (Data driven)


  • Data beats opinions in every argument and in every decision. 
  • Any investment that we make is measurable – so that we always know what to do more of and less of.
  • We ask the questions to help us understand what drives the business forward.
  • We measure the efficiency of our major meetings, how well our managers are doing, and through bi-annual staff feedback reviews, we measure how well the company is doing for the team.
  • We listen to our customers’ needs every day and we measure customer needs every six months.

Every Voice Matters


  • Everyone in the team has a right to express their opinion on how the company works or should work.
  • We have regular internal reviews where everyone can voice their opinions on our culture, our managers and our performance. We don’t just read them, we act and we feedback to each other
  • We openly debate and we stand up for our opinion. 
  • We disagree and commit. We can disagree while a decision is being made, but once a decision has been made, we put our personal opinion to one side and commit to it. 
  • Our CEO organises breakfast meetings with each person in the team making sure every voice is heard.
  • Everyone can provide regular feedback about our company and raise issues anytime. 

slashdata core values

How we built a culture of accountability (aka how we treat people as adults)

Too many challenges with corporate culture are down to accountability. 

Let’s say you work in a medium-sized firm. A colleague you depend on has disappeared for the last week and won’t answer your emails. Then a VP from another team comes to you with a request you had no idea about. And your boss is too busy and can only book you in, in two weeks’ time. Have you “been there, done that”? 

I used to once run a company like this. But I was doggedly determined to improve things. Over the last 4 years we ‘ve built a culture of accountability at SlashData. I ‘d like to share the lessons we ‘ve learned along the way, hoping that more business leaders can learn from it. We ‘ve built a culture that treats people as adults, and expects people to behave as adults.

So where do you start to build a culture of accountability?


Right seats first

I started by setting clear expectations of where one person’s role ends, and another person’s role starts – an accountability chart. Before the accountability chart, our roles and responsibilities were people-centric. We would first choose the right people, and then allocate them the right seats i.e. responsibilities. I realised how this was the wrong way round, after reading Gino Wickman’s Traction book, which was recommended to me by a fellow entrepreneur at EO. In what it terms the Entrepreneur Operating System, Wickman proposes a strategy of “first right seats then right people”. 

That change introduced much-needed structure and clarity around people’s roles. We no longer had role overlaps, or multiple people talking to the same customer. I also found that several important roles within the company had no single person taking responsibility, and that meant that while many people were responsible for e.g. marketing, no one was accountable for it. That led to miscommunication, frustration, missed deadlines and confused customers. With fixed seats in the accountability chart, we also started to see how people could evolve in the organisation, and what career path we could offer to new people coming in. It also meant people felt much safer about their roles and responsibilities. For the history books, this is the first rendition of our accountability chart:

Handwritten Early Accountability Chart

Today we have a clear accountability chart, where we start with the seats and then select how people will evolve from seat to seat. We also leave seats empty for future hires.

Based on the top layer of that chart, soon after I put together the leadership team, consisting of the people leading the individual teams – marketing, product, tech, and so on. Today, we have a leadership team made up of seven people, including myself, and the individuals leading partnerships, product, marketing, sales, technology and people/finance. The leadership team is solely responsible for making decisions on the company’s 3-year strategy all the way to the 3-month team goals. And my role in the leadership team is not to manage (I hate that word) , but to integrate and enable them to make timely, aligned decisions and stay true to their commitments. I prefer to “lead from behind”, helping ask the right questions, rather than lead from the front, pointing the way forward. At the leadership team, our role as leaders is to bring the best out of our people. And shine the light onto their hidden strengths and help them grow.

Man fishing and quote from Lao Tzu "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime"

Image source.

OMG, no pool tables?

When VC-backed tech companies talk about culture, they advertise pool tables, dog biscuits, and gourmet coffee. Yet this is only at the very top of the pyramid or hierarchy of our needs at work. At the base of that pyramid are the safety and clarity of everyone’s individual role, their shared goals, and how their role contributes to the company’s short term and long term objectives. Goal setting and alignment is core not just to a well functioning remote team, but also to a sense of direction and purpose for everyone in the company.

Having set the record straight with the right seats, then the right people, I set out to create alignment. I’ ll never forget when four years ago we published a paper that was destined to be a flop; it was led by two different leaders in the company, who each had very different perceptions of what the research paper set out to do. Their individual goals were pointing in very different directions, and they hadn’t realised until I pulled them into the same room. By that time the work was wasted, but an important lesson was learned. If the goals of the people are not aligned, you ‘ll end up like a boat with oars moving out of sync, and going nowhere.

We started by getting all the leadership team in the same room and debating what we should achieve in the next year. We used Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), in what I thought was a major innovation at the time. That was four years ago. Today, our goals setting process stretches from 3-year goals for the company to 3 month goals for individual team members. I ‘ve talked a bit about how that process works here

One important aspect of goal setting and alignment is avoiding conflicts and negative surprises along the way. For example, if the partnerships team depends on a piece of tech integration to be built, it can say so, but unless the tech team commits to building it, that is a recipe for failure. Today, every team lead in the company needs to explicitly state for which OKRs it depends on other teams, and secure that team leader’s commitment in reciprocal OKRs. That ensures we don’t have any phenomena like “I ‘m too busy with my goals and I can’t help you” type of response. 

Goal setting creates alignment across the company, in a top-down fashion and is a key ingredient of an accountability culture. 

We treat everyone as adults, including the leadership team, expecting each member to propose and then commit to shared goals. And see these goals to fruition. We still use OKRs to transcribe our goals, but only as a form of notation. OKRs are not a process, they are the syntax of setting goals, making sure that you know where you are going, you can check if you ‘ve taken the right steps towards that direction, and that you are transparent about it. We also track OKRs every week at the leadership team level, expecting every team lead to be transparent about whether a goal is on track, falling behind, or at risk of failing. Early warnings are always better than late surprises. 

Spreadsheet with key goals for 2020

In fact, the very reason I’m writing this blog post is that I ‘ve committed to it in the eyes of the leadership team, and I don’t want to let them down. Oh, and I love working on our culture, and helping other entrepreneurs build theirs.


Which country are you working from today?

One of my colleagues is a traveller. She could be visiting friends in Poland this week, and then seeing her family in Lithuania next week, before returning to her home in Athens. While most tech companies would expect her to be working from a fixed seat at a fixed desk, in a glamorous building made of steel, concrete, glass and sprawling with teak furniture, we expect her to be accountable to her goals and work from wherever she feels comfortable.

Another colleague often works from Antiparos, a greek island where her husband runs a coffee shop. We used to be skeptical when people asked to work from home, but now we actually prefer that people work from wherever they feel most comfortable, as long as they are accountable to their goals, and are available at a time zone that their colleagues can communicate with them. We trust and respect our team, they are here because they want to be, not because they have to be – and we trust them to be capable of managing their own time and place of work. 

image of a laptop on a desk with a coffee cup

Photo by Neil Soni @ Unsplash

I know where you were last week

Not too long ago I used to rely on ad-hoc, infrequent meetings with my direct reports. It was the time before my divorce, when I spent practically every night waking up to attend to my younger son who hated sleeping in his own bed. Those sleepless nights, over several years, ended up destroying my memory, a causal effect I only discovered much later in life. At work, I was often teased for not remembering what we had agreed only the week before. 

Thankfully, at EO, I served on the board of a friend entrepreneur who was passionate with structured meetings (admittedly, in an OCD kind of way). Soon after I saw the benefits of turning all my work meetings into a variant of the level-10 meeting agenda, with clear accountability for past actions, and put those meetings in motion at a fixed time and date of the week. A fixed day/time of the week has numerous benefits as described in the Effective Manager book, notably accountability, predictability, but also a sense of safety that your team’s concerns and issues are being addressed in a timely manner.

Today, almost every meeting we run at SlashData is recorded in a Google Doc, where we can easily scroll down to track past actions, and hold people accountable for what they committed to in the previous week. A key component of that agenda is the Parked Issues, where, during the days leading up to the meeting any participant can raise an issue to be discussed. That means, instead of interrupting their colleagues for important but non-urgent issues, those issues will get the quality time they deserve, and the attention they need to be resolved and translated into actions.

With level-10-like meetings, accountability happens as a natural byproduct of the meeting process. We expect people to behave like adults and deliver on the commitments they ‘ve made, and we treat people as adults, checking in once a week, and getting the hell out of their way all other times.


The first 182 days

As the company was growing, we had to put a lot of thought and planning into onboarding new employees. To start, we had to learn from our mistakes. I “fondly” remember one of my colleagues recall how she found her “new” laptop having breadcrumbs the day she joined. Thankfully, we ‘ve come a long way since then. It’s not just the equipment, the IT setup, the induction tour, or the personalised welcome pack that each new starter at /Data receives. Each person that joins is immersed into our culture one step at a time. 

The first 6 months, or 182 days, is the introductory period. A new starter is assigned a buddy, a person who will guide them through how things work here, and help them find the right person, or the right information. In addition to the standard weekly 1-2-1’s, the manager will also check-in with the person at the end of the first month, then at 3 months, and then at the end of six months, to see how they are doing, whether their initial expectations matched up with the role in practice, and any additional support they may need to meet the expectations that were set out in the job description (borrowing from the TopGrading methodology). That way, the new starter is introduced to the culture of accountability, while the hiring team makes sure we can take out any obstacles, and help the new hire succeed.


Treating people as adults

Treating people as adults is making them responsible for their own goals, where they work, giving them the tools to succeed, and taking all the obstacles out of the way is part of our culture at /Data.

We ‘re on a long journey to build a role model of a culture, one brick at a time. Join us


How we work remotely at SlashData

I was reminded the other day how lucky we are at /Data to be designed as a remote-first company. The social distancing taking effect in most countries as of March 2020 and work from home policies is something that has been business as usual for us since the outset.  In this post, I wanted to document openly how we work remotely at /Data, for the benefit of all business owners who are trying to figure out how to apply remote work policies.

A few weeks back when we had the office open as normal,  I was showing around a group of friends (and business owners) who work in various non-tech industries – shipping, retail and food.  They were amazed that there was only one person in the office at that time. Their first question was: who’s picking up all the phone calls?. As it happens, we do get phone calls, but rarely, and they are routed via a digital switchboard, not an off-the-wall phone socket. In fact, everything we do is designed to work remotely.

Our remote-first culture really emerged out of necessity because over the years we’ve been hiring people from pretty much all around the world – from Argentina to Greece and UK to Ghana. As a result we needed to adapt and we needed to be able to function, collaborate, communicate as if we were in the same office. We have an office in Athens, Greece – but even there most people will work from their home office multiple days of the week. 

As a research firm, most of our clients are in North America – including 9 of the top 20 global brands – a fact we ‘re rather proud of.  We help the world understand (software) developers and developers to understand the world. Our research helps tech companies answer questions like which developers to target, what features to build into their platform, and what marketing activities to invest in.

Why do companies struggle to work remotely?

Let’s start with the problem we ‘re trying to solve. Why do companies struggle to work remotely? One of the most long-standing studies is the State of Remote report 2020, which has been running for 3 years, and for their latest edition surveyed 3,500 remote workers from around the world.

graph showing the biggest struggles companies face with remote work

According to the study, top-2 challenges for remote workers are collaboration/communication and loneliness. Most of the systems we have in place at /Data as a remote-first company is designed to address these two challenges primarily. 

Remote work is made possible thanks to five pillars at /Data: transparency, online tools, goal-setting, meeting rhythms and how we connect at the human level. Every one of these pillars is equally important, but together they are more than the sum of their parts.



Transparency is one of our core values.  It’s deeply ingrained in our collective psyche. Every team is transparent with what they are working on, and is proactive in communicating to everyone else. Sales, customers,  goals, processes and much more is transparent from day one to a new starter, ie from the day someone joins the company. 

An important tool in our strive for transparency is a single Google spreadsheet, that makes up what you could pretty much call a company X-ray. Plainly speaking, it contains a ton of information and data that’s critical to understanding how we operate.

  • Our purpose, vision and values
  • Our business model
  • The market that we operate in and our competition
  • How our seven teams are structured and how they relate to each other
  • Our Accountability Chart, ie who’s who and who’s responsible for what
  • Our company goals and strategic priorities
  • Our sales and costs breakdown for the last 3 years
  • What we achieved, on a quarter by quarter basis, for the last 3 years, including shout-outs to team members that went the extra mile.
  • Which customer bought what product
  • Video walkthroughs by CEOs: a series of videos I ‘ve been recording in 2020, one per week, where I walk through important topics such as how we run meetings, how we approach new clients, and much more.

However, that’s just a static view into the company. What’s more cardinal to transparency is communication, and information flows within and across teams. For that we use Slack.

Slack has been really a before-and-after, a defining event since we introduced it to /Data. The way we use it now has significantly evolved and matured compared with when we first started using it. The channels we use Slack, tell a story about our culture, too. Here are our main Slack channels.

Team channels and project channels: every team at /Data – product, tech, marketing, etc –  has their own channel. It’s for the team to communicate on its operations, to share information with other teams and take queries. Similarly, every project has their own channel. We have for example, an internal data dashboard tool, which has its own channel. All the events have their own channel, too.

Customer inquiries + feedback channels: We have channels for inquiries from customers and their feedback. If there’s a customer inquiry or request for data, it goes into this channel. The sales team will put the inquiry to that channel and flag the request for the analyst  team to deliver within the agreed time. 

Fun channels. We don’t forget to play while at work, and this is what these channels are for. We have channels for places and pictures, where we post pictures when someone goes on a long weekend trip, or when someone goes for a scenic walk along the beach. We have a book club, where a team member will ask for a book voucher (yes, we offer free book vouchers), or where we share what books we love to read. We have channels for fitness talk, quote of the week, life hacks, wine club, parenting tips and the all-important music sharing channel (everyone who joins gets a Spotify or Netflix subscription). Perhaps the most quirky channel is the things-you-would-never-share-at-work. There are often things that people kind of feel a bit awkward about sharing or stuff that have nothing to do about work, like off the wall. And that channel says, “It’s okay to share anything that you thought you couldn’t.” It’s probably one of the funniest and most popular channels we use.

Online tools

Online tools are a core part of our remote working armoury. We use over 50 (yes, five zero) software as a service tools for our work, from CRM to data analysis tools, to code repos. Below is a list of some of the tools we use the most.


Email we only use for external communication, ie with customers and suppliers. It sucks and its terribly inefficient, but we’ re still in 2020, and that’s what most of the world uses to communicate. We very rarely use email for internal communication – instead, all discussions happen on Slack. 

Zoom is a core toolset for online meetings, and 99% of our internal meetings are online. It works very well when someone is on the go (read: driving or in the back seat of a cab) and it works equally well when all 25 of us get together for our Monday all-hands sync meetings (more on that later). 

  • Email: only for external communications
  • Slack: all discussions
  • Zoom: all meetings
  • project management
  • Dropbox: file storage
  • Google docs: document collaboration
  • Primalogik: performance reviews and goal tracking
  • Staff Squared: staff directory
  • Zeplin: UI design reviews
  • Dashlane: online tool credentials
  • Workable: hiring staff
  • Upwork: hiring freelancers

Goal setting

When many VC-funded tech companies talk about culture, they mean pool tables, a dry cleaning service or free gourmet coffee. Yet this is only at the very top of the pyramid or hierarchy of our needs at work. At the base of that pyramid are the safety and clarity of everyone’s individual role, their shared goals, and how our role contributes to the company’s short term and long term goals. Goal setting and alignment with a team is core not just to a well functioning remote team, but also to a sense of direction and purpose for everyone in the company. It’s at the base of the hierarchy of our needs as professionals, to borrow from Maslow.

Our goal-setting process at /Data has been heavily influenced by the Entrepreneur Operating System (EOS) discussed by Gino Wickman in the seminal book Traction, one of my favourite management books of all time.  Our goal-setting process starts from a three-year company vision to one-year strategic priorities, and goes all the way to individual team member objectives and key results (OKRs). 

We start with a 3-year company vision: a vivid vision of how the company will look like in 3 years, where our offices will be, who our clients will be, how our teams will grow in size, what products we ‘ll be selling, and what each team will have achieved by then. We then move down to the 1-year team OKRs,  a detailed description of what each of the teams will have achieved at the end of the year, in the form of objectives and key results. At the end of that process, every single staff member will have 3-month OKRs, so that they know what they have to achieve by the end of the quarter.

This goal-setting process is key to remote working, as it helps every team member know what they have to deliver at the end of the three months – and also serves to hold them accountable to those goals. Every single team member has quarterly goals, no exceptions. This helps keep everyone focused.

At the leadership team level, we also check on our goals weekly, using a green-yellow-red traffic light system to communicate and share how we are progressing with our quarterly goals.

Meeting rhythms

Goals are necessary but not enough to keep us aligned and sync’ed as remote workers, given much of our work is dependent on each other. Our meeting rhythms help close the gap on a weekly basis, and make sure we ‘re all aligned, and communicating both effectively and efficiently.  We have several types of meetings that are scheduled in regular cadence, to keep the communication flowing predictably. The key to meeting rhythms is ensuring that the meetings happen on a predictable cadence of a specific day and time, e.g. every Monday at 4pm, week in, week out.

Weekly 30 min all-hands meeting: once per week, we get together on Zoom, all 25 of us, to catch-up and have a bit of fun. We discuss team updates, and key messages from the leadership team. And we regularly share in a bit of fun – whether it’s fun facts about team members, or ice breaker opening questions (more on that later).

Weekly 30-60mins meeting by each team: this is what drives cohesion and accountability within each team, whether it’s the product, technology, partnerships or marketing team. We share updates, what we ‘re working on, and what are the priorities for the week.

Weekly 30-60mins 1-2-1s between each person and their manager: perhaps the most important, and under-rated meeting is between a manager and their reports. It is so for many many reasons. It’s a check-in to see how that person is doing – not just to make sure they are accountable for their work and goals, but also to touch base from human to human – what’s top of mind, what is the person worried about, what’s blocking their way, what issues they want to bring up – to coach them and most importantly help bring their best self to work.

If you don’t work in the same space with your colleagues, you don’t hear all the chatter, all the gossip, all the activity, questions, issues, conflicts, all the things that make us human. Meeting rhythms are a really core part of the remote working culture, ensuring communication flows, everyone is on the same page, conflicts are dealt with before they become issues, the team is functioning like a well-oiled machine, and everyone is supported both as a co-worker and as a human being. 


Connecting at a human level

Last but certainly not least, part of the remote working culture at /Data is connecting at the deeper, human level. For addressing the human element in all of us, we use several approaches.

Video-first calls. All our online calls are video first. Which means that we don’t just rely on voice but 99% of the time there’s a familiar face on the end of the line.  I’ve been in too many meetings with big tech clients where face-to-face online conversations are either shunned or even entirely the exception. 

Opening questions: During our all-hands weekly Monday calls, we start with an opening question that aims to inject a bit of fun but also get us to know each other a little better. Questions. like “When you were a child, what was one thing you did to annoy your parents?” Or, “What did you want to become when you grow up?” Or, “If you could travel anywhere without budget limitations, where would you travel?” Icebreakers are not just fun but more importantly  a little revealing about what each of us is like, which creates a safe zone of vulnerability and therefore a sense of trust.

Buddy system: In the last two years, we ‘ve put together a very thoughtful onboarding process for new starters, and one we are still developing. Part of the onboarding process is the buddy system where everyone joining has a buddy allocated to them for the first six months. The buddy person is responsible for walking the new starter through how the company works, and help them navigate processes, people and priorities.  Again, connecting at the deeper, more human level. 

Annual retreat: Like most companies, we organise a once-a-year in-person retreat. In 2019 it was a 2-day trip to Santorini. Unlike most companies, however, during retreats, we don’t talk about work. Nope. Nada. We are there not to align or strategize; we do that throughout the year, practically every quarter or every week. At the team retreat we’re there to connect as people and get to know about each other, and even get to know a little bit more about ourselves. What happens during those retreats is people connecting during the breaks, not during the team games or facilitated sessions. It’s the breaks that get people gelling, connecting, and forming friendships.

Perhaps the best testament of our connection at a human level while being a remote-first team is our weekly team meetings. Here we also celebrate our wins – and of course our birthdays (not on the same day, because everyone at /Data takes a paid day off during their birthday!). Here’s how we celebrate birthdays at /Data. 


Our culture has come a long way in the last 3 years, and we ‘re continuing to build, evolve and fine-tune it. I hope this article serves as a reminder to our team members of how far we ‘ve come in our culture, but also as an inspiration for other companies, to copy and remix into their own culture! 


Developer program metrics – how do you measure RoI?

Now that the dust has settled it’s time to celebrate. And share some data and insights.

In September 2018 we ran our third Future Developer Summit in Menlo Park, California. It was an unprecedented success, bringing in a net promoter score of 80. We hosted 60+ leaders in developer marketing and relations, hand-picked at Director level and up, from nearly 40 companies, from Amazon and Arm to Salesforce and Samsung. They gathered to debate best practices in developer marketing, learn, and design better developer strategies.

Like all things at /Data, we never sit still. Our 3rd Summit was twice as large as our 2017 event, with more innovations on the format (including an investment session with ‘monopoly’ money!), more interactivity, more companies represented, and a pre-event networking dinner.

future developer summit 2018, slashdata summit, developer marketing, developer programs, developer marketing leaders

David Bryant, Fellow at Mozilla, captured the atmosphere of the event as follows:

“Future Developer Summit was a fabulous event that managed to combine outstanding speakers, a creative and engaging agenda, and dynamite topics at the leading edge of developer programs and outreach.  So many great opportunities to exchange ideas and learn!”

The day was packed with data and insights, with presentations from Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, Facebook, Twilio, Mozilla, Wikimedia, Digital Ocean, Pivotal, Twitch, and Arm.

Some of the most tantalising insights came from the developer program leader survey which we ran during the Summit. 46 developer program leaders participated, allowing us to capture an up-to-date view of developer program resourcing spend, RoI and priorities, for all major developer programs represented at the Summit (see list of companies represented at the Summit here).

Technology-driven developer programs represented at the Summit ranged from small (1-5 headcount in developer marketing/relations) to medium (11-50) and large (250+). The median developer program budget was in the range $2M-$5M. Developer programs have significant budgets and resources, but still small compared to their enterprise counterparts.

developer programs, developer program sizing, future developer summit 2018, slashdata

More importantly, we measured the most popular RoI metrics for developer programs, based on the business function – marketing, relations or tooling – which produced wildly different results. Developer marketing teams prefer page views, unique visitors, or social media mentions as a metric of developer RoI, i.e. metrics directly related to traction and traffic. Relations teams favour developer satisfaction, active users and Net Promoter Scores: their focus is mostly on quality. Finally, developer tooling or engineering teams opt for SDK downloads and telemetry-type data as a measure of RoI, i.e. actual, real-life usage of their products. Less popular metrics were omitted from the graph.

developer program metrics, developer marketing, developer program ROI, future developer summit 2018, slashdata

At the Summit we also launched our Developer Marketing: The Essential Guide, a book co-authored with the leading practitioners of developer marketing, working for the top platforms, from Accenture and Amazon to Unity and VMWare. The first of its kind, the book is designed to spread knowledge, currently held behind closed doors, to the broader audience of developer marketing practitioners based within thousands of platform companies around the world.

We also held our 4th Developers’ Choice Awards, celebrating the leading software platforms, based on the independent and unbiased opinions of over 20,500 developers from 165+ countries. Run twice a year, the Developers’ Choice Awards reflects the results of /Data’s semi-annual global Developer Economics research program.

We’d like also thank our partners – Catchy, Accenture, Developer Media and Gerson Lehrman Group who supported the Future Developer Summit with their presence. Until the next Future Developer Summit – watch this space. If you’d like to be considered for next year’s Summit, please let us know by emailing 




How Satisfied are Software Developers with Google, Amazon, and Facebook?

The absolute leader in developer satisfaction is Unity; according to SlashData’s recently released Developer Program Benchmarking report. This proves that not only the companies with the most traction and the biggest budgets can create excellent developer support programs.

Every six months SlashData benchmarks the top developer programs against each other, in the largest study of its kind. Last week we released the Developer Program Benchmarking report where over 21,000 respondents from 150 countries across mobile, desktop, IoT, cloud, web, games, AR/VR and machine learning and data science were asked which development resources they use and how satisfied they are with them.

Developer Program Benchmarking H2 2017 Satisfaction Chart

Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla are not only among the largest developer programs; they lead the pack in terms of developer satisfaction and engagement. Other major developer companies like Amazon, Facebook, Oracle, and Apple follow at some distance.

Unity and Unreal, unlike Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and others, cater to the specific niche of game developers. Unity has the highest developer satisfaction of all programs in our list; Unreal is number three in the list. Tencent, the producer of WeChat who mostly addresses a geographical developer segment in China, has a level of engagement that’s on par with giants like Facebook and Amazon (its Western counterparts in some sense), despite being one of the smallest programs in our survey. Other companies like NVIDIA and Cisco may have moderate overall performances, but lead the way in important attributes such as training or access to devices.

To reach these results, first we measure what developers value in resources and activities, in all its diversity across several segments of the developer population. Second, by measuring each program’s impact in terms of adoption, engagement (frequency of use), and developer satisfaction. Third, by highlighting the best practice leaders: those vendors that are doing an excellent job in specific aspects of developer programs, to whom you can look for inspiration and insights on how to improve. There is no single leader across all of the 20 activities we measure – everyone can improve somewhere.

“In this third edition of Developer Program Benchmarking, we matched for the first time how budget allocation in major programs aligns with the expectations of developers. We now have the data to back up our long-time suspicion that events and conferences may not be the best value for money. Also for the first time, we show how expectations are shifting, i.e. which activities are becoming more important to developers over time. We now have a more complete picture of how to get the best return on investment for developer-facing activities.” notes Stijn Schuermans, Senior Business Analyst at SlashData.

To access the full study drop us a note at or download the brochure.

Future Developer Summit 2017: behind the scenes

We live in a platform world; But we ‘re still unlocking its secrets; how to design for, market to, and engage developers. In this nascent industry, we need to learn from each other. This is what we designed our Future Developer Summit 2017 to do, an invite-only conference where thought leaders and practitioners discuss the future of developer relations and marketing.

Our second Future Developer Summit was held earlier in October.  We hand-picked 35 Director-level executives from 35 top technology platforms who came together for one day to learn from each other. All were leaders responsible for developer product, relations or marketing.




Attendees came from the top platform companies (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Mozilla), hardware companies (ARM, Intel), enterprise companies (Oracle, SAP, Salesforce, VMWare, Adobe, Cisco, Atlassian, Slack, Mobile Iron), game companies (Unity, Epic Games), cloud software companies (MongoDB, RedHat, Heroku, Digital Ocean), car makers (Ford), handset makers (Sony), emerging platforms (Roblox, Twitch), finance companies (Stripe, Intuit), open source foundations (Linux Foundation), and recruiting companies (StackOverflow).

The small audience was instrumental in keeping the Summit a trusted environment where information and experiences could be shared openly, under Chatham House rules. Having only one representative per company, allowed us to maximise the diversity of views and experiences that are shared, while keeping the audience small and tightly knit.



The venue was beautiful – perched on Menlo Park’s Sand Hill road, surrounded with trees, drenched in light and decorated with modern art paintings. The food was top-end and plentiful – with my highlight being the mash potato bar! The wine and beer were award-winning. And the jazz band for the networking drinks & buffet was one of the best in the area.


We also took the opportunity to launch the first developer satisfaction awards at the event. Nine organisations from the software industry were unveiled as leaders for developer satisfaction. The Developer Satisfaction Awards recognise the software products and brands that developers are most satisfied with. Results are based on the independent and unbiased opinions of over 40,000 developers surveyed annually, from around the globe, combined with SlashData’s rigid research methodology.


We also run a survey on Return on Developer Investment with the Summit attendees representing 28 diverse companies. The survey revealed some unique patterns on spend, team size and priorities for the developer relations industry- the first time dev relations trends data has been collected at this scale. We found that almost half of responding companies have 10-50 FTE staff in their dev relations, marketing or product activities, while just over a quarter have 10 people or under. Yet 40% of developer programs have a similar budget of $1M-$5M for developer marketing / relations / product investments. And how do do developer programs measure RoI? the indicator used by most programs is monthly active users, followed by unique visitors and SDK downloads.

Thank you to the team that helped put together the event – Chris, Moschoula, Virve, Sofia, Christos, Christina and Mark – we clearly exceeded our expectations, as well as to the entire company that contributed with data and insights.

Until the next Future Developer Summit – watch this space. If you want to be involved in the next event drop us a line.




Unity leads the way in developer satisfaction

As software continues to eat the world (to paraphrase Marc Andreessen), software developers fulfill an ever more critical role in the progress of technology and, by extension, society. Supporting developer productivity is good for business. Those developers then become innovators – co-creators – that give a boost to your core business.

It’s also challenging. Developer programs consist of a myriad of activities, ranging from simple providing sample code and developer education, to tooling, to in-person events and online communication. It’s hard to be great at everything, and it’s hard to allocate effort and money effectively for maximum impact.

Every six months we benchmark top developer programs against each other. First, by measuring what developers value in those resources and activities, in all its diversity across several segments of the developer population. Second, by highlighting the best practice leaders: those vendors that are doing an excellent job in specific aspects of developer programs, to whom you can look for inspiration and insights on how to improve. There is no single leader across all of the 20 activities we measure – everyone can improve somewhere.

unity leads developer satisfaction

The top spot in terms of developer satisfaction is taken by Unity, with an overall developer satisfaction score of 75 out of 100. Unity shows exceptional performance on several attributes: tutorials, how-to videos & webinars, and official forums. This may be skewed by the fact that their products cater to a specific subset of developers (game developers) who might score attributes differently than others.

Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla are not only among the largest developer programs; they lead the pack in terms of developer satisfaction and engagement. Other major developer companies like Amazon, Facebook, Oracle, and Apple follow at some distance.

This doesn’t imply, however, that only the companies with the most traction and the biggest budgets can create excellent developer support programs. The living proof of that are Unity and Tencent. As we said, Unity has the highest developer satisfaction of all programs in our list. Tencent, the producer of WeChat who mostly addresses a geographical developer segment in China, has a developer satisfaction on par with Facebook and well beyond Twitter’s, and one of the highest levels of engagement in our survey. Other companies like Intel and Cisco may have moderate overall performances, but lead the way in important attributes such as training, technical support, or access to devices.

The study above shows data from the 12th edition SlashData Developer Economics survey. Over 21,200 respondents were asked which developer programs they used and how satisfied they are with them. These respondents came from 162 countries around the world and span mobile, desktop, IoT, cloud, AR/VR and machine learning developers and data scientists. The results were collected by SlashData over a period of six weeks between November and December 2016.

To access the full study drop us a note at or download the brochure

Welcome to SlashData: the next 10 years.

We‘ve come a long way since VisionMobile was founded in 2005. I founded the company just after I had left Orange (the telco) as a means to build a strategy consultancy for the era of mobile. That was two years before Android and iOS were introduced to the world, and ended up impacting every single industry out there. We, much like the tech industry, have come a long way since then. We ‘ve expanded our research scope from mobile to almost everything touched by software – surveying 40,000 developers annually across mobile, IoT, cloud, desktop, web, games, ML and AR/VR. We pivoted from a strategy consultancy to an analyst firm helping top-100 tech platforms understand developers and measure developer satisfaction with their products. And it’s time to change our name to celebrate that change. But before we get there, some history.

In our first five years we were the mobile strategists, advising mobile software companies on their positioning and strategy. We delivered open source training, measured openness, measured the performance of Symbian vs Android, tracked software players in the 100 Million Club, and mapped the hundreds of players making up the Mobile Industry Atlas.

During our next five years (2010-2014) we were the mobile software analysts. Our team of 10 worked with the top telcos and handset makers to help them navigate the software disruption. We deciphered software business models, analysed the annual Mobile Megatrends, and launched the Developer Economics research series, measuring mobile developer attitudes, monetisation and mapping out enterprise dev tools.

Our third and final phase started in 2015 when we evolved to an analyst firm, launching a set of subscription services. We’ve now found our purpose, earning the trust of Microsoft, Intel, Google, Amazon, Facebook and many more top-100 technology firms, who we help to understand developers and measure developer satisfaction with their products. Our Developer Economics research service now surveys 40,000 developers annually, across mobile, IoT, cloud, desktop, web, games, Machine Learning and AR/VR, from hobbyists to professionals and across 150 countries.

It’s time to change our name to reflect that mission. SlashData ( reflects how deeply we understand developers with data, both of which are at the core of our business. “/” is a common symbol in software development, while “data” captures the DNA of our business, and the core competitive value we deliver to clients.

As SlashData, we have an exciting roadmap ahead of us. Helping the world understand developers, from population sizing, to key developer metrics and where to reach devs; and helping the top-100 tech firms measure developer satisfaction, and competitive developer attitudes. You’ll see us launch a lot of new services and formats. Our second Future Developer Summit is being held on Oct 10 in Palo Alto, and watch this space for our developer satisfaction awards launching very soon!



P.S. Even the re-branding project has been a major learning. We first asked the team to come up with a new name. We flooded a spreadsheet with funny-looking to boring sounding names. But we didn’t feel that, we, the management team had the expertise to ask the right questions – should we keep “Vision”? We imagined puzzled clients hearing a name they haven’t heard before. Should the name be serious or whimsical? Do we need to make the domain name availability a priority or a second thought? So we went to an external agency (who shall remain nameless) crying for help. A month later, we had some more names – but we simply felt they did not express our identity or sector well enough. And just as we were getting to a 404, Christos our designer, suggested /data. It was love at first sight for most of the team. So we went for a bold change – a name that does not carry a legacy to the past, but one that will carry us forward for the next 10 years.


Return on Developer Investment

My most fun job ever was as a C++ developer. Ok, I don’t have much grey hair yet, but I fondly remember the late 90s and the challenges of writing a background synchronisation application on a Compaq iPaq. And reverse engineering Mozilla’s Navigator into an XSLT parser.

My second most fun job ever has been building a company that helps the world understand developers, with research. We’ve come a long way – and a few pivots – from surveying the pulse of 400 developers in 2009 to 30,000 developers annually in 2016. That’s a lot of data – in fact more than our analyst team can chew.

It’s a privilege to be working with some of the biggest names in tech – I ‘ve learned a lot the past 2 years. Earlier this month, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Adobe, Intel, Oracle and many more joined our first Future Developer Summit, and shared some of their best practices in how they work with developers. I ‘d like to share some the learnings here.

Return on Developer Investment.

You would think that with billions of dollars spent every year on building tools for developers, running hackathons, loyalty programs, tutorials and how-tos, evangelist and MVP programs – the platform leaders would have figured it all out. Yet, with so much money being spent on developer tools and marketing there is no standard for measuring the Return on Developer Investment.

Most companies represented at the Future Developer Summit shared how they measure success. At their inception, developer-facing orgs measure success by number of developers touched – but that’s a meaningless metric, a dinosaur from the age of print marketing. Some platforms are using NPS (net promoter score), polling their active developers once a year for how likely they are to recommend the platform. Many are informing product decisions based on developer comments (“will you ever fix that”?) – you’ll be surprised how many decisions are taken based on “the devs that I spoke to said..”.

Other developer relations teams are measuring success through the number of apps in the store, and the number of apps using signature APIs. In the case of open source projects, a popular metric is GitHub stars, forks and commits over time. The more sophisticated platforms track the Return on Developer Investment funnel from SDK downloads to app download and use. But there isn’t a consistent way to measure how the investments in hackathons, tutorials, how-tos, loaner devices, evangelism programs and some many more developer-facing activities are paying off for the likes of Google, Amazon and Facebook.

Quality of apps, not quantity.

Another theme of the Future Developer Summit was the need for quality, not quantity of applications at the start of an ecosystem. B2B ecosystems like Slack and Intuit prioritise quality; Poorly written messaging apps can damage not just the perception of Slack, but also the perception of chatbots in general. Similarly, a poorly written app for the QuickBooks platform can wreak havoc to sensitive financial data for thousands of small businesses. As a result both Slack and Intuit have very stringent app review processes, including weeks of testing, usability and security reviews. To improve quality for bots, Slack has pioneered a “Botness” program, bringing together bot platforms and leading bot developers; the aim is to “make bots suck less” i.e. improve the bot user experience and avert a long-term damage to the reputation of chat bots. There are already 250 members signed up and the next event is on November 4 in NYC .

The next Future Developer Summit will focus on best practices for developer relations. If you ‘d like to be part of the invite-only audience of platform leaders, register your interest at