Yesterday I met with Joe Panettiere from The Var Guy at our North American partner conference that we held in New Orleans.  We discussed many different topics including what is going on in our partner community, industry trends and finally DevCentral.

Joe has been around the industry for a while and is pretty switched on.  One of the things that Joe mentioned was that he had an Ubuntu Linux system running at home that his family adopted without any challenges.  He also develops content for a site called Works With U directed at the Ubuntu community.  Based on that, I thought he might be the type of person that would be interested in what we're up to with DevCentral.

A few hours later while I was at the airport, I checked Joe's web site on my Blackberry to see if he'd written anything yet.  Sure enough, he already had blogged about DevCentral.  As an aside, I hope that he'll explore the community more and check out things like the interview with Jason Hoffman who is the CTO of Joyent that was posted last week. Jason did an awesome job of explaining why running functions on BIG-IP instead of the applications helps them deliver cloud based computing services that would otherwise be really hard or even impossible.

What really struck me as a result of talking to Joe is that the content he generates winds up in such different places.  He pops up on his own site, of course, financial sites like Seeking Alpha, and the sites he has targeted at the Ubuntu and managed service provider communities.  Syndication has been going on all around us for a while now but the fact that Joe reaches such different audiences with customized content is what caught my attention.

In the old model, when you met someone from the press, you could be pretty sure of which audience the person would be writing for.  You'd meet with networking trade publications to reach the networking crowd, financial reporters to reach the financial crowd, service provider publications for that audience and so on.  As a vendor you would, of course, target your message to the audience you were trying to reach.  Today's model breaks that relationship.  It's more than just the same content being syndicated via RSS to many sites.  Guys like Joe are now taking the knowledge they gain through single interactions and have the ability to customize it into information tailored to many different audiences.  I think it makes for a much more interesting interaction with guys like Joe but it does make it more challenging when you don't know which audience is being represented.

Finally, Episode 48 of the DevCentral roundup sure makes me wonder if was recorded after beer Friday and somehow back-dated to show as being from Thursday instead!  Maybe one of these days I'll get invited to one of those sessions by the team and I'll find out for myself...