Developer Community: In Conversation With Devpost's CM Prakarsh Pathak

Taniksha Gupta
February 13, 2022

During our weekly Saturday ritual event, called Journey of A Brand Community Builder, we had a little chat with Prakarsh Pathak. He is a community builder who prefers to understand products and derive value from a community-driven perspective. Prakarsh started as a student intern at Skillenza, but later on, he moved to developer relations and software engineering, where he assisted in the launch of multiple campaigns and activities for developers around the world.

He recently started working as a Community Builder at Devpost, a software development company. He has previously published two papers in the 2018 3rd ICCES, one on blockchain over transaction systems and the other on Big data analysis on supply chain management, in addition to being a community builder.

In this exclusive conversation with Prakarsh, we got to know:

  • How did he get into community building?
  • What are the major challenges he faced initially?
  • What role does community building play at Devpost?

And much more‚ So let's get reading!

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How Has His Community Building Journey Been So Far?

He owes his journey to his seniors. However, it has been full of ups and downs. He got started a little early. The most important takeaway for him was the fact that 'communities have really helped him to be more absorbent around his profession, as it's a profession which is more compassionate.'

When he got the privilege of getting close to the developers, he realized how passionate they are about software. Seeing them share the same passion that he has, he got into community building, and he's been a part of this profession for the last 3.5 years. Today, he can proudly say that he loves what he does.

What Role Does Community Building Play In Any Business?

For Devpost, when he says community, the word is very simple. You have a community and the word is very clear to the face, i.e., a group of people. A group of people really determined to be with each other and towards one goal. For example, even in this event, he works for a development company, and Akshita works for a platform. There was no sense that these two could have been together in an IGTV live, but how they did come together, it's all because of a community.

That's the power community holds. He got to know her, he was contributing somewhere, it's all about where do you want to contribute and how much you want to contribute. According to Prakarsh, the sense of community started from schools. If you go back in your time, you will see that a school is just a correlation, an artificial community made by people. They are just together, and they are all walking towards one goal.

This is how you learn to be compassionate, and this is how you learn comradeship. You have to support people, and you are not just seeing the failures with yourself. So, it started at a very young age and today's businesses are tired of being so transactional.

The ATL (above the line) marketings are getting too saturated, and the businesses need a niche for them. Something to hold upon, something to hook for. That's what a community is, in a generic approach. It lets people find their hooks, something they are good at.

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What Role Does Community Building Play At Devpost?

Devpost is a software development company. You come over there, make software, and show it to the world. They have multiple clients, like Google and Amazon, tons and tons of big conglomerates working with them. Now, why do they see the potential of communities or why do they put their best foot forward for these people? Because these people are together and they cherish each other in what they are building.

For example, if you take his example, Prakarsh is working on something on Amazon. He's trying to learn AWS, ec2 instances, a lot of stuff, and he sees someone from the same niche doing that. So, that gives him a push to do it harder. That's what our school was. If we see someone doing something, and if we were going there to really learn, we would learn. It is all very molded with each other.

It's like being in a school for big people, for developers, how they get schooled together, and
how they educate themselves together. So, their focus is very much upon developer advocacy, developer evangelism, and developer relations. At the end of the day, these are very simple terms.

They are pushing out their product, they are pushing out for you to build more, just because you see other people building more of these similar things.

What Are The Challenges He Faced During His Initial Days?

He started by telling us that he failed. He failed with community building. It was so tough to do. His job was to create a complete user journey for people from a very young age to people who have been experienced. And he terribly failed at it. But, he learned from his failures. From every step he learned.

He even wrote a blog about it, 'How to fail at making communities and how to make it more.' He also went ahead to give kudos to his founder for putting the trust in him that he could make software, and also come to the point where he is educating people about communities. So, it started with trust, which is very basic in a community.

However, in his opinion, multinational companies and multinational communities are easier to build because of the resourcefulness and everything else that they have. But if you have to do it for a startup, which is basically trying to get more users, create the best MVP out there, with no resources to pull it off, it is hard.

Prakarsh started with that. And it was a journey that changed him as a person. In his words, "Managing a community is more like an art rather science. You have to be an artist, you have to paint it away, and you just can't do it right on the first go."

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What Are Some Content Hacks That He Uses To Keep His Community Engaged?

Bringing people to the same page on and often is a real pain. So, Prakarsh shares his technique with us. People like to hear the sound of their voices. They like to be cherished and loved. They want to be highlighted even as a user, as a community member, or even as a participant. A community builder has to make sure that everyone is heard.

Because we come from a disparity, there are too many people around. Our attention gets distributed, even in a community, even as a product, even as a service, or anything. So, he can't make things that are very specific for a niche audience. In the same way, if he really wants to engage with that audience, he needs to listen to them, very closely.

He needs to celebrate them, and he needs to cherish them. One way of doing that is making sure to create content that comes through them and they are a part of it. Anything that you share. Whatever component is there in a community, it has to be in proportion.

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