In a software-driven world, the voice of Developers must be heard

An open letter from the incoming CEO

Washington, D.C.

On August 1, it will be my privilege to take the reigns of the Developers Alliance from the passionate leaders that have brought us so far. To those of you that have been with us from the beginning, I thank you for your continuing support, and to our newer members, I thank you for the trust you’ve shown in embracing our cause.

There are no clichés capable of capturing the policy scene in Washington in 2017. Every day brings another political first, and another break with tradition. Congress and the Administration are struggling to move their agendas, the bureaucracy is under siege, and the courts are being forced to weigh in on highly charged issues in a way we haven’t seen in recent memory. It is anything but “business as usual”, and yet, business must still get done.

Adding to the chaos, the policy issues taking up the oxygen in Washington are incredibly complex with the potential for wide-ranging social and economic impact. But if there’s one thread common to most of them, it’s technology: the tech sector, emerging technologies, the digital economy, the virtualization of services, automation, global data flows, the internet, and the list goes on and on. And technology is hard – especially for the elected officials setting the ground rules who do not themselves come from a technology background – so the risk of making big mistakes is real.

So what’s to be done? I believe the only answer is to bring the experts to the table. I believe we need to harness the collective wisdom and energy of the people that work with technology every day. Policy makers need to hear from developers, and we need to encourage developers to help guide the policies that will allow us all to thrive in the digital future. And so that’s what we’re going to do – with your help.

The Developers Alliance started life as a coalition of companies that recognized that the success of the developer community was tightly entwined with the success of the technology sector and the economy overall. For the last several years, the Alliance has focused on empowering developers and startups to succeed by helping them connect with each other and providing them with tools and networks to help foster business success alongside technical success. But it has become clear that the greatest systemic threat to a thriving developer ecosystem has shifted from commercial issues to regulatory and political ones. The battles are being fought in Washington and in Brussels, and developers need a representative and a voice to avoid becoming collateral damage while the entrenched political interests are fighting. The Alliance’s evolving role will be to inform and engage with developers on policy issues that could make or break your business, and then to carry your voice into the halls of power to help them steer a better course.

In the weeks and months ahead, we will engage on Net Neutrality, encryption, privacy, data ownership, the regulation of competition, patent reform, communications regulation, digital market rules, and a host of other issues. Along the way we will create opportunities for our members to join the conversation, engage with policy makers, share ideas and have an impact. We will drive change where it is needed, and provide insight where it will prove most valuable. Together, we are a force, and it is my hope that you will allow us to be the focus for our collective energy.

Let me close by saying I’m excited by the challenges ahead, and the chance to lead the Alliance and help our members have an impact. Thank you to the Alliance board, our dedicated staff, and most of all to the leaders that have gone before me. If we see a little further, it is only because we stand on the shoulders of giants.

All the best,

Bruce Gustafson


Developers Alliance



The Developers Alliance is the world’s leading advocate for software developers and the companies invested in their success. Alliance members include industry leaders in consumer, enterprise, industrial, and emerging software development, and a global network of more than 70,000 developers.