July 14, 2013 Leave a comment
Quite recently, our policy towards sponsorships of third party (or indie) developer communities has come into question. So on the eve of our first anniversary, we have decided to explain what we can on this page.
SMART DevNet is our developer relations program. Our charter involves producing developer events for however it suits our intentions – usually to promote an API, technology or standard, sometimes to promote the developer program itself, and always with the objective of contributing to the Philippine developer ecosystem.
We also allot a portion of our events budgets for sponsorships for third party-produced developer events, and this has included events produced by GDG Philippines, Mozilla Philippines, DevCon, Webgeek, the Philippine Drupal Users Group, and so on.
We do this because at some other point in our lives, we were on the other side of the fence, organizing grassroots events, and hoping for corporate sponsorship to ease the financial burden of producing these events. We also believe the existence of independent developer communities is part of a healthy developer eco-system – of which we ourselves are a part of.
In creating our developer relations program, we took a look at the developer programs of Microsoft, Google, Amazon and other tech stalwarts. All these groups have taken the role of “sponsor” or “co-organizer” for events at one point. Microsoft Philippines often offers its local offices for developer events. Amazon supports meetups with AWS subscriptions and other forms of support. IBM and Accenture are other corporate “IT” sponsors usually tapped for local tech events.
Sponsorship and Support for 3rd party developer activities take many forms. Sponsorships run the course from providing bandwidth, a venue sponsorship (including the power requirements of the venue), to assistance with food (from pizzas/sodas, to full catered meals), to assisting with media and promotions, and cash sponsorships used to pay for other things associated with the event.
Our support can also extend to being full partners in the event, contributing our own sweat equity, and even helping recruiting other sponsorships for the event.
Take one of the more expensive events worked on, AngelHack Manila, held last June. We helped orchestrate many of the sponsorships involved in this complex exercise, from arranging the venue (2 floors of Ortigas office space via Voyager and Chikka, including power for lights, air conditioning, and elevators). Prizes from AngelHack global sponsors Google Developer Groups, Amazon, and Blackberry. Even the food was sponsored courtesy of Amazon. Ideaspace sponsored plane tickets. Freelancer.com provided the Red Bull. Without the combination of all these partners, this humungous event would never taken off the ground. AngelHack SF was grateful for the effort and acknowledged that our efforts made the Manila leg of the event one of their most successful hackathons in their global program.
In every event we are involved in, we usually throw in a fair amount of social media promotion either through our own channels or though Smart’s social media team. And there are press releases too. All in interest of promoting the third party event. We come in as a partner to make the event a success.
What do corporate sponsors usually get in return for their contributions? At the very least, sponsors request for acknowledgement – a mention in the media releases, the ability to display banners at the event, some speaker slot maybe. Events organizers sometimes offer higher priced sponsor packages that feature more prominent sponsor acknowledgement, such as a co-presenter slot. Or a premium sponsorship with more sponsor entitlements. The premium sponsorships are valuable to event organizers, they can simplify the sponsorship drive, without them they need to scramble for more sponsors.
But all that talk of “hijacking events” is just a bunch of hoo-hah as far as I am concerned. Event organizers maintain full ownership and branding of every event, we only sponsor or provide assistance.
We understand the role that corporate sponsorships play in any event ecosystem. Without them, you are going to see very few events, organized by only a few well-heeled entities. In the past, traditional corporate brands had no clue about tech and developer events. Since we started in 2012 we have helped to change that by providing a touchpoint for tech communities seeking sponsorship from our company. So we’re going to continue our policy of providing support to Philippine developer communities. Well, budget permitting, that is.
Shoutouts to our developer community partners that we have been privileged to lend support during the past year: Mozilla Philippines, Google Developer Groups, Webgeek, DevCon Philippines, Philippine Drupal Users Group, GDAP (Game Developers Association of the Philippines), IGDA Manila, Angelhack, Pinoy Blackberry Developers Group, Manila.js, Cocoaheads, GeekCamp Baguio, the list goes on and on. If I forgot to mention anyone just drop me a line!
Mabuhay tayong lahat and onwards to more developer activities ahead!
This is our community, and this is our time.
Interested in contacting us for sponsorship for your developer event? Click here for our form.