Stephanie Martin on developerWorks at 10


developerWorks: This is a developerWorks video podcast. I'm Scott Laningham, here with Stephanie Martin, Director of developerWorks, who joins us to chat on this occasion of developerWorks' 10th anniversary. Welcome, Stephanie.

Martin: Thanks, Scott. Good to be here.

developerWorks: Now, everyone knows, or should know, that we've talked to a number of people this week about this anniversary: Steve Mills, leader of IBM® Software Group; Gina Poole and Dirk Nicol, both in other jobs now with IBM but who were just key folks in getting developerWorks launched and through its early formative years. And, Michael O'Connell who is still our editor-in-chief after all these years. We're still grateful to have him.

You've come in to this a little bit later in the story, but you've brought some wonderful new directions and new ideas. And I wonder if you could share some of those thoughts with our audience today a little bit.

Martin: You know, I think the root of what I've done is no different than the previous leaders like Gina: it's really focusing on what the IT professional wants and how they learn and how they consume information and what they want to help them in their daily experience. And that's what's evolved.

So, you know, I've come in at a time where that's evolved quite dramatically and they want to learn and share with their peers. They're not as interested — the world (and they is me too) — we're not as interested in believing what comes from a big company or what comes from another corporate entity. We're interested in what comes from our peers and what they're doing in the market to fuel innovation.

developerWorks: So certainly micro publishing, blogging, Twittering, social networking — all of these things are not just novelties. I mean, they're a part of the way the Web works now and people work and we're embracing them to expand our content and the reach of our community, right?

Martin: Absolutely. The reach of our community and to allow our community to reach each other — which I think is the critical part — so that they are sharing their own information. And again, to overuse this expression, fueling innovation amongst themselves and sharing that information. And that's what we do in developerWorks and that's what's fundamentally changed since I've been in ... had the privilege of having this job.

developerWorks: Are there some critical focus areas, audiences, or markets that you think are merging as even more important now than they have been in the past for us?

Martin: The growth of the IT professional market is still tremendous. It's on a very fast trajectory across the globe. So while we've been a global ... we've had a global focus for the past 10 years, where we have the privilege now is of investing in new growth markets where we're seeing maybe a small population now but a tremendous growth.

And those are, you know, building off of our core markets — the United States and Europe and Russia and China and Japan and India and those other established markets — we're now able to pursue places like Brazil and Latin America and Vietnam and increase our focus in India. So we have definitely increased our focus globally as we look at where the shift in developers come from.

developerWorks: Yes, I'm always excited to see who's reading the blog entries, who's listening to the podcasts, and the places they're from. I mean, it's so global, it's really exciting to see that. And I know that students have always been a focus for us with the academic initiative, but that's becoming more of a core thing with developerWorks now, isn't it? Students and the academic arena.

Martin: Absolutely, because that's what fuels the growth of the number of IT professionals that we have. That's the starting point. So again, having the success that we've had in reaching and nurturing and solving problems for the individual IT professional for the past 10 years, we've had the privilege to invest further in university students across the globe.

So we have increased our focus on what their unique needs are as far as learning and consuming information and sharing, and plan to continue that trajectory for the coming years.

developerWorks: And they could also teach us a thing or two about social networking and blogging and all that, can't they! [LAUGHTER]

Martin: Absolutely.

developerWorks: They would be very, very value participants in the developerWorks ...

Martin: Sharing information is the key, yes.

developerWorks: Amen.

All right, closing thoughts, Stephanie? I know that this must be a unique experience. Everything you do in IBM is different from the last experience, but you know, what's this been like for you? Is it kind of like a wild west show over here at times, or...? [LAUGHTER]

Martin: I wouldn't say wild west; I would say, it's more of ... it's more of a way ... of a very exciting and fast-paced group and mission because that's what our market is. The individual IT professional is exactly that, it's an individual and being able to engage and learn what the individuals need every day.

And the pace at which they move and the speed of innovation is quite humbling. And our role in enabling that innovation and in fueling the growth of skills and open standards because we have the majority of developers in the world using developerWorks, we have a responsibility to continue to enable and fuel that innovation. And that is quite humbling and something that weighs on my shoulders every morning.

developerWorks: Stephanie Martin, Director of developerWorks. Be sure and check out the rest of our podcasts and video around this 10th anniversary this week at I'm Scott Laningham, with Stephanie Martin. Thanks for watching.

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