API Strat: What we learned from our first off-site in Austin

This week was our first offsite. We spent the week in Austin, TX and attended API Strategy and Practice. Here’s what we did, and a peak into a week with ReadMe.

Barbecue

We ate a lot of barbeque to get to know the great state of Texas. Greg found one place he liked so much that he ate there three nights in a row (hint: it’s Stubb’s, get the cheesy spinach side). Don’t underestimate yourself – you can eat that much.

A small Stubb's meal

Coffee = Work

I’m the only one who actually drinks coffee, but we spent the majority of our first days in coffeeshops, getting work done. Every shop we went to had a brand and interior design that made us jealous. We love making things pretty on the web, so naturally we’re the most comfortable surrounded by beautiful, well-curated spaces.

We also stopped into Voodoo donuts to soak up some iconic weirdness.

Greg with glazed donut

Marc with a fancy cereal donut ignoring me

Talking

Greg gave a talk on documentation from the developer perspective alongside Developer Experience experts Kirsten Hunter (Akamai), Taylor Barnett (Keen.io), and Kelly Hitchcock. They gave us great tips on community engagement and building beautiful, usable docs. You might see some Glue Project community moves soon.

We were inspired to hear from giants in the space, like IBM Watson, as well as companies just a little farther along than us. We were also excited by the enthusiasm that people showed about ReadMe. We love sharing our vision with other people and can’t wait to see them around more.

Roadmapping

We took some time out to brainstorm new things we’d like to build for ReadMe. We took some time, and a lot of sticky notes, to plan our next steps and the features we’re most excited about.

We also took some time to think about our mission statement and company culture. While we’re still a small team it’s easy to let culture develop naturally. We used (more, different colored) sticky notes to think about some companies and traits that we admire and want to make sure stay a part of ReadMe as we continue to grow.

Me with post-its

Exploring Austin

Austin is a beautiful, unique, and weird city. We stayed in East Austin, and we were lucky to hang out in quite a few of the local businesses (read: bars). If you go to Austin, we recommend walking East 6th, South Congress, and of course eating at Stubb’s.

Weird Fact: The bridge from downtown Austin to South Congress is home to the world’s largest urban population of bats. 1.5 million bats fly out from the bridge every night at dusk.

The Takeaways: How ReadMe can be more like Austin

  1. Create the best possible experience. Every place we went in Austin was well-curated and pleasant. Someone took the time to make it a great experience. We hope you like being on ReadMe, and we’re working on a bunch of ways to make your experience even better.
  2. Make space for your community. Austin has a great community, and we loved hearing what other companies are doing to make sure their communities thrive. We’re excited for some upcoming changes to make ReadMe sites more community-friendly, and to get to know our own community better.
  3. People love Swagger. It seems Swagger has won mindshare, and we can expect to see a lot more Swagger in the coming months… including from ReadMe.
  4. Eating is always the answer.

Thanks for a great trip, Austin!

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