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Meet the Developer: Introducing Peter “I Can Be Bribed” Kvis

October 4, 2018 - Developer Relations, Marketing to Developers - , ,
By: Yolanda Fintschenko

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.

Peter Kvis (a.k.a. “Sonko”) participates in the Simple Programmer developer community. He started contributing there because the site helped him so much as a student. He still feels like he gets more out of it than he puts into it.

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

Tell us about yourself.

I’m Peter Kvis, from Budapest. I am an Enterprise Java developer, and I also build business-to-business monolithic applications, and internal applications in big corporations. I am doing Java Enterprise stack, but I am branching out into other things. I don’t like being a frontend or backend engineer, but I like to know all the parts. I think being a developer entails that I have to quickly learn and get expertise in other areas. I won’t list all the technologies I am working with—It is enough to say I work with old and new alike. Meanwhile, at my job, I am managing all kinds of software and coding.

Why is Simple Programmer important to you?

Most of my time was engaged in completing my computer science degree [in school], so I am trying to keep [up] with what is going on. Simple Programmer has been really helpful with that. I really like the community. The Simple Programmer forums are just beginning to take off for me, but I get out of it more than I put into it.

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

Recently I’ve been doing some work on blockchain technologies. It’s such a new way of approaching things now, even though it is 10 years old. I’ve been doing meetings with major companies on how they can use this.

Also, AI as a field will be a major focus for the next few years. The focus has really come from autonomous cars, because for that you truly need AI. I did my bachelor’s thesis on Starcraft Brood War AI. There is a student tournament, but the participants are mostly not students. I worked on it for two or three months. It’s very basic and silly, but even so, I learned something. AI is very hard, but it is exciting.

There are lots of exciting things. If I find something interesting, I think about it for about a week, and then I forget. For example, I spent two weeks reading everything I could on geolocation.

Where do you go for info about developer tools?

Usually, I start with a search engine (Google) if I don’t have friends with experience in what I am searching for. Google is kind of shallow, though. Then, I try more in-depth forums like Stack Overflow or an obscure subreddit. Mostly I look on Java sites, like JavaCode. I also ask around. Our local hackerspace is very good at doing obscure stuff. For example, I wanted to digitize a few of my books, and that was the place where I went to do that. They have a guy that does that. (I knew they would.)

What ads for developer tools and services attract you?

Usually, I click on events or stuff that I can learn. I don’t really click on a product pitch. I will click on something if I can learn something, even if I’m not interested in the product.

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?

Normally I search. I also like to see research. See what else is available.

I don’t care about having the click-through recorded, but I like to search around.

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?

By default, I don’t really like it. I value my privacy. But if they explain what they use it for, and they do not spam and keep their promise, it’s ok. However, developers can be bribed. Give us a nice shirt or a pizza. A nice gesture goes a long way. I’ll do something for a bribe.

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

I think that’s shady. I don’t like to give away my credit card number, partly because there is always fine print. Now with Simple Programmer forums, they say up front that it may cost you money, but there is a possibility of a refund. It’s very clear.

There is the concept that the Internet is an open bazaar and everything should be free. I think Facebook proved the opposite. Content quality suffers. It’s necessary and unavoidable that more valuable content like technical expertise should be behind a paywall.

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?

Usually, it’s about inconvenience if I have to give my address and my phone number. I remember a time when I gave a company my phone number, and they called me the next day. But, their company was in a different country, and I couldn’t buy their product. They kept calling me anyway. So giving my phone number is generally a big no. Also, I’m not convinced that they can store my information securely.

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?

I probably like the product, but the information requested is too much. Then, to me it seems like the offer is not what it looks like. If they need so much information, maybe there is something I’m not being told, so I’m not buying. In most cases, I’m not buying that product. A possible exception is books. Maybe I think that a book is overhyped, over-promoted, but eventually, I will buy the book.

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

Technology—no, but technology courses—yes. My main concern is to determine if it is helpful for my job or a side project. The key to catch my attention is usefulness OR if what is advertised is cheap enough that I don’t care if it’s not great, or that I don’t use it.


Yolanda is a scientist, writer, marketer, coach and avid runner who lives and works in Livermore, CA.  She founded Common SciSense, a marketing company for technical products, and co-founded founderTRACTION, lean marketing services for startups. 

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