Developer Relations and Tech Evangelism With Rachel Black of Lisk

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My first blockwatch of 2019 is an interview from late 2018 with Rachel Black of Lisk (@RachBLondon), in which we discuss the company, what’s coming up and the importance of developer relations/tech evangelism in the blockchain space.

If you like what you read, listen to the full interview with Rachel below as it contains lots more Lisk titbits and pearls of wisdom.

Lisk (in a Nutshell)

I’m not going to talk too much here about Lisk because I’ve done that already in a previous post you can read here.

In summary, Lisk is a blockchain applications platform that provides developers with the tools they need to build decentralized apps (dApps).

The Lisk team differ from many others in their space because they have a big focus on accessibility and have been working hard to create an ecosystem that’s both useful and usable for developers — things you’ll hear a lot more about in my interview with Rachel.

From Web Development to Promoting Blockchain

Becoming a Tech Evangelist at Lisk was a natural progression for Rachel.

Having spent years in the web development space working with several London-based start-ups, she caught the blockchain bug after participating in a hackathon in 2017. Her new-found interest in blockchain saw Rachel attending more and more blockchain-focused meetups, and also organizing and speaking at them. Having landed a bespoke role as a blockchain evangelist and developer advocate at Lisk, Rachel is now in her element, helping to promote the technology and nurturing developer relations.

What’s Been happening at Lisk Since I Spoke to Its CMO?

Back in July 2018, I spoke with Thomas Schouten, head of marketing at Lisk about the company’s projects and the difficulties often faced when marketing something as complex as Blockchain.

Naturally, I wanted to find out from Rachel what’s been happening since.

The company released Lisk Core 1.0.0 to Mainnet — a development described by Lisk as its “biggest milestone to date.”

Rachel also told me about two other big announcements:

  1. A revised Lisk development roadmap – A detailed document that breaks down where the company is now and where it wants to be in the short- and long-term future.
  2. Lisk Improvement Proposals (LIPs) – Technical and academic documents that detail what Lisk does on both a protocol and application layer to help increase transparency and add a solid technical backbone to the dev roadmap.

Lisk Academic Partnerships and Use Cases

Rachel and I also discussed some exciting LIPs academic research partnerships, such one with King’s College London, which allows students and faculty members to work with this exciting (and growing) area.

In terms of use cases, Lisk is actively hiring on the business development side of things, and Rachel mentioned that Lisk is actively researching and looking for its first large industrial projects.

Are People Building With Lisk?

While the Lisk main chain is operational, right now, people can only run nodes and build apps that interact with it on a currency level (transactions and voting for delegates).

However, future SDK offerings will center on allowing people to create side chains and set up custom transactions specific to their use case.

Once the Lisk architecture and design phase is complete, the first SDK offering (Alpha SDK) will follow. The Alpha SDK will be for more adventurous developers, but a Beta SDK and Release Candidate SDK will follow, removing a lot of the pain for devs.

A Day in the Life of a Tech Evangelist/Developer Advocate

Rachel’s role is relatively new, especially in the European blockchain space. Improving and building close developer relationships is essential for such a highly-technical product as blockchain, and the more forward-thinking companies in the ecosystem are starting to recognize this.

Rachel is passionate about communicating with devs, finding out what they are doing, understanding their needs, and listening to their pain points. It’s a vital role that acts as a bridge between marketing and engineering, and that looks at how best to reach out to developers outside of the blockchain space and get them interested. This task is particularly challenging (and important) because of the skepticism that surrounds blockchain.

For example, as part of the company’s wider advocacy drive, Lisk team members were at both React Day Berlin and TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin last year, despite them falling on the same day.

While the current cryptocurrency bear market isn’t great for tradable tokens right now, it is providing Lisk the opportunity to make some serious progress. That’s because more devs + fewer traders = an excellent time to develop.

Stay Up to Date Going Forward With all the Lisk News

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