The Titan Program

Most of our authors are so-called “Titans”. You can find about 150 of them on DevMap and they have badges showing on DevLink. But what actually is a Titan? What is their role in the Titanium community? And who came up with this program? I got in touch with Gregory DiPaolo at Appcelerator to find out for you!

In one sentence, what is a Titan?

A Titan is the best of the best in our community and are developers who specifically go out of their way to volunteer, give back to the Appcelerator community and help others learn and improve.

How many Titans are there?

We have about 250 Titans in the world right now. One of the great things about Titans, and our community in general, is the diversity and worldwide footprint. Whether it’s a Titan running a meetup group in Australia, giving a talk in India, organizing an event in the US, hosting a drinkup in Japan, answering the Q&A from the UK or helping someone with an app in South Africa, there are developers everywhere. It’s amazing to see what these Titans are doing and how they’re giving back to the community and helping others grow. Check out the tiDev DevMap to see where are Titans are located.

Do you remember who came up with it and when?

Tony Guntharp, prior to the first Codestrong in 2011, first announced on our blog on January 28th, 2011.

Why Titan? Were other names considered?

Titan was a natural derivative of Titanium, so it made sense on that level. And those who remember their Greek mythology, we thought the concept of a Titan, a race immortal giants of incredible strength, was a great shoutout to the developers who are incredibly strong using our software and helping with the community. Cheesy, I know, but we think this moniker is warranted.

What was the original idea behind the program?

According to Tony Guntharp, it was based on a similar program in the Linux community (Fedora Ambassadors) with which he saw success. He always referred to it as a “force multiplier”, drawing on his military background. Essentially, we would equip the best of the best in our community with everything they needed (and more) to be as successful as possible with our platform. The intended effect would be that the success of this small group would ripple outward, enriching the entire community. And we’ve seen this in the multitude of books, blog posts, conferences, training resources, Q&A and OSS contributions, etc. The Titans would be our elite force that would train and mobilize the whole of our community.

How did the program evolve since?

The program hasn’t evolved that dramatically since its inception. We continue to look for the best of the best and try to equip them with everything they need. What has evolved though are the level of contributions coming out of the Titan group. As an example, take a look at Boydlee and all that he is doing to organize tiConfs. Or yourself and your work with tiDev. Or Pratik and Ket with all their work on the tiAppCamp side. We continue to be blown away at these types of contributions.

What do you see as the main purpose of Titans nowadays?

We see the main purpose of the Titans program to be twofold today:

  1. An opportunity for Appcelerator to recognize those doing great work evangelizing our software throughout the community and ensure that they are closely connected to our team and software. We value the feedback Titans provide us with early testing of releases and want to ensure they have a chance to really run releases through the ringer before we roll them out more broadly. It’s also important to get their feedback on features and make sure we’re on the right track and ensuring that they’re useful for the community.
  2. From the Titans perspective, the purpose is to add some formality to the program that encourages and supports the evangelist work that Titans are doing. Titans are volunteering their time to help the community and we want to be provide as much support as we can.

Any idea why people like doing this? Sounds like a lot of – unpaid – work?!

It does sound like unpaid work! If we could we would bring all the Titans on staff and have a team of several hundred evangelists. We’re incredibly grateful for the hundreds of Titans who do volunteer their time and knowledge to help others. I’m sure the motivation is different for each Titan, but at the core I believe they enjoy the act of helping others and networking with other like minded developers. Beyond this, the program brings some additional exposure and credibility to Titans and can further help their reputation and development opportunities within local communities.

My friends think my ego was already too big without being called a Titan

Malcolm, Titan

How do you recruit new Titans?

We think the Titan program should maintain a high standard and we want to ensure it includes developers who are the best of the best using Appcelerator and can adequately represent its benefits. So, we look internally to recruit new Titans and ask that Titans nominate other developers who fit the bill. This way we can validate the skills of Titans and ensure that we’re maintaining that high standard. If you’re interested in becoming a Titan, connect with some existing Titans to learn more.

What is your vision for the future of the program?

We’d like to find more ways for Titans to continue to contribute to the future of Appcelerator. Whether it’s helping build and maintain modules, providing input and feedback for new builds or representing Appcelerator at conferences, we think Titans are critical in helping grow the community and product.

Thanks for giving us and our readers some insight in the Titan program Greg!

App imagineer: Imagining, Engineering & Speaking about Native mobile Apps with Appcelerator Titanium & Alloy • Meetup organizer • Certified Expert • Titan