What about the developer?

Have you ever wondered about the developer experience of your advertising? If you are marketing to developers, you absolutely should. Our goal with the “Meet the Developer” series is to give you, the marketer, insight into individual developers.  Meet the people behind the code and learn about how they experience the advertising and content you are throwing at them.

Zsolt participates in the Simple Programmer developer community. He started contributing there because of a common interest with founder John Sonmez, the game of poker, and a desire to start sharing what he knew. He has moved on to write books and his own blogs, and he writes fearlessly to try and help others fulfill their professional and personal goals.

I had the great pleasure of corresponding with Zsolt about himself and what draws him to an ad or a product placed in his developer community.

Tell us about yourself.

Looking back at my life, I am grateful for all the opportunities that ended up enriching my professional and personal life. I learned early in my life that nothing is easy. I learned how to work hard, but I had no idea how to work smart. I also saw people who looked bored and described their everyday tasks as something they have to do to pay their bills.

My dreams were bigger, so I made a bold move. I accepted a startup offer with a horrible starting salary, just to be near some entrepreneurs who make things happen. These were some of the most adventurous years of my life. My boss encouraged me to take a day off each week and find a second source of income. As a result, I became a professional poker player on the side, sometimes winning my monthly salary during an evening. Poker finally gave me the financial security I dreamt about.

I eventually started looking around and got an opportunity to join an Internet gaming company in Malta.   After a few years, I moved back to a startup, where my personality and expertise proved to be really useful. Then, my career took off. I believe I matured as a professional and as a person. I didn’t need secret adventures in the poker world anymore in pursuit of my need for significance. I chose growth and contribution instead.

A few years ago, I started blogging on zsoltnagy.eu, and self-published a book and a video course on the latest version of JavaScript. Initially, I was afraid of putting my thoughts out there, because I felt other people would judge me. But thanks to therapy and some great mentors, this neurotic thought faded away and I started feeling my self-worth. I grew a thick skin when it came to destructive criticism, and instead of getting triggered and defensive, I felt grateful for constructive criticism.

I felt my journey was worth sharing. So I set up another website, devcareermastery.com. I self-published another book helping software developers unlock their potential in their software developer careers. [But] this is just the beginning, because now I am targeting a book on lifestyle, and another one on dating and relationships from the perspective of a software developer.

Why is Simple Programmer important to you?

I met John Sonmez back in 2015 when he came to Berlin. Damn—I looked, acted, and thought so much differently than [I do] now. I clearly remember being shy and anxious about my online presence, and this came across not only in my communication but also in my efforts. My first blog is still online: http://zsolt-nagy.github.io/. Compare it to my current Word Press sites, http://www.zsoltnagy.eu/ and http://devcareermastery.com/blog/.

At first, Simple Programmer videos seemed cool to me as an ex poker-player team lead nerd. We [John and I] had some commonalities, including clear admiration of the work of Tony Robbins, our professional poker player backgrounds, and I also wanted to put my name out there.

Therefore, some of John’s videos made it to my YouTube feed, and I got some guidance on what to focus on. The number one thing I learned from Simple Programmer was how many things you can get away with if your actions come from the right place. I also saw John’s transformation, especially after realizing that I was going through very similar changes myself.

I started caring about the opinions of other people less and less. Caring about what others think of you is a form of toxic narcissism. With the help of one on one work with some coaches and other great people, I started opening up. I started formulating my messages from the place of wanting to help, because the life I am living now is a lot better than what I used to live.

What is the newest tech you are using, learning, excited about, curious about, and why?

Our company has been bought by a giant. Integration work is one of the biggest challenges I have faced. Imagine yourself in a dark maze, where all you have is a torch. You can see what’s ahead of you, and you sometimes meet some other people. People have told me I have to use my torch to help them hunt for the treasure together. But the maze is too big.

I made it my mission to locate all sources of light and illuminate the whole area. Switching on the light is a lot easier than running around with a torch.

In order to switch on the light, I had to start learning new competencies. Packt Publishing even published some of these competencies together with me. One of my courses was on the microservices architecture. The other one was on beginning ASP.NET. Right now, I am working on an Artificial Intelligence course with Python. This covers my T-shaped profile, where the horizontal line is the generalist line, while my specialization is still maintainable web application development in Javascript.

This is just half of the big picture, though. I realized a lot of software developers are suffering in their jobs—not because of a lack of tech skills, but because of a lack of project management, product management, or knowledge management. This is a worldwide phenomenon. “Making the complex simple” is therefore a skill that resonates with me a lot lately.

Where do you go for info about developer tools?

Oh, that is easy. Google.com.

What ads for developer tools and services attract you?

Many people are paranoid about the information ad tech companies collect about people. Especially in Europe. The good side of ads is that they are highly customized, and they show exactly what I need right now. AI solutions give me some great offers that feel like content I would read about anyway. It is important for me that the information I consume stays straight to the point, relevant, and high quality. Therefore, the highest success rate in my case is a skippable video ad that I watch from start to finish, because I want to know more about the topic.

If you are interested in a product or service because of an ad, do you click on the ad or search the product/advertiser you see in the ad on a separate browser instance?

It depends. If I know the ad leads to an affiliate offer (where the affiliate does not add value), then I avoid the click and google for the best possible offer. I was a professional poker player after all, and the worst thing that could happen to you is if a greedy affiliate took 10% of your earnings due to a badly timed click. Most of my purchases are not that serious though, so I simply click.

How do you feel when you visit content or another site you are interested in based on advertising, only to find that you have to give a phone number to get what is offered?

I am fine with giving them my phone number. I am mostly unreachable anyway. If someone wants to talk to me, they contact me via email or a message and we arrange a meeting if needed. If someone contacts me with nonsense, their email most likely will stay among the tens of thousands of unread emails and messages I have.

Same as above – except about when you are asked for a credit card?

I have to check the https certificate first. My credit card company is cool. Once, someone abused my data and billed me for something I unsubscribed from. My credit card company got me my money back. I watch my statement monthly. I have had one suspicious purchase in my life. Not a big threat. I also get 1-2% back on my purchases, so I prefer paying with a credit card rather than with PayPal.

What makes you bounce? Meaning—At what point do you navigate away when you visit content or a tool trial that you want, but you encounter a lot of requests for personal information? Email? Name? Phone number? Credit card? Other?

It depends on how badly I want something. If I am just curious and they give me 3-4 fields, I might not bother with filling it in.

Once you’ve been asked for a lot of personal information in order to take advantage of an offer, how do you feel about that brand or product?

Indifferent. I don’t have time to reflect on such unimportant details.

Have you ever found a technology and purchased it based on an ad run in your developer community? Why or why not?

Yes. Because most ads go through ad networks, and I get retargeted everywhere. Second, email marketing works really well. You borrow the authority of a person you are following. As long as the microcelebrity delivers value, most followers will see your ad.