our privilege is our responsibility

Finding meaning amidst so much unknown

Simon Maple
April 22, 2020 | in Snyk Team
| By Dipti Salopek, Simon Maple

Initially, there was a fair amount of giggling and awkwardness. Did we really have to wear facemasks? So, we really couldn’t meet our friends, or families anymore? And then, with an unyielding steadiness, the reality sunk in. 

The daily news got worse, and anxiety levels rose. The isolation started to affect our psyches, and a deeper depression started setting in. The economic outlook got progressively worse, and an underlying dread started permeating our daily life. 

In times like this, when all our familiar parameters disappear around us, it becomes hard to stay grounded, focused, and secure. For many of us at Snyk, the answer lies in finding a larger meaning in the roles we can play to help the broader cause. 

Allthetalks.org partnering with our community

Our Developer Relations and Community team’s activities, like many others, were also impacted by the travel restrictions, as the vast majority of local meetups and international conferences they attended were canceled. With travel being a vital part of the team’s activities we began thinking about ways in which our activities could better match the more restricted working styles of our community members. 

One such idea came from Patrick Debois, Director of DevOps Advocacy, and a well-known leader in the DevOps movement. He proposed we hosted a community-led charity conference that delivered the education and content the community was missing due to the travel restrictions and conference cancelations. The idea was a hit and AllTheTalks.org was born.

The community’s reaction to our announcement was incredibly supportive, with over 350 talk submissions and over 33 sponsors—it was wonderful to see the wider community get involved. While we understood that a conference usually takes months to carefully plan, and organize, we wanted to ensure that the conference date was soon enough so that the community can make the most of it, when it was of most use to them. As a result, we opted to run a conference on April 15th, 2020.

This was just four weeks after our announcement, and despite such a short period of time, we were able to plan and host an incredible 24-hour community conference, called AllTheTalks, providing content to over 11,000 attendees. Each conference attendee joined us online on our virtual conference platform to learn from industry experts in over 100 sessions delivered over 3 tracks, in 24 hours. Topics included Java, JavaScript, DevOps, DevSecOps, security, and cloud native technologies. The conference was sponsored by over 30 different organizations, each donating to our selected charity for the right to sponsor. In addition, all attendees could optionally donate to the conference charity at the time of registering for their free tickets.

In total, our sponsorships and attendee donations amounted to $100,000 which will be sent to the conference sponsor, the World Health Organization (WHO).

Sponsoring causes

Peter McKay (CEO) and Guy Podjarny (President and Founder) partnered together to establish a donation fund with their personal money, to the value of $1M. Through this generous fund, we have donated to a variety of local and global charities dedicated to fighting the varied societal impacts of COVID-19. In addition, in an effort to support collective grassroots participation, we launched a 100% donation matching program with our employees, to double any donations our employees were willing to make as well. 

Pitching in

For so many of us, volunteering our time and efforts in the community is our way to help during a crisis, but the isolationist nature of COVID-19 has made this challenging for many. So, a couple of our snykers, Lili Kastilio and Josh Emerson, helped organize a volunteering initiative amongst our engineering team, donating their skills towards specific causes needing engineering support. As a company, we are proud to support this with volunteer and vacation-matching time. We’re sharing a few resources so that others may consider this too: 

We’re all in this together: helping our customers

Many customers have been impacted by the economic downturn and we have made a big effort to let them know that while it might be challenging times now, we are here for them for the long haul.  Therefore, as announced earlier this month, that Snyk is proud to offer our cloud native application security solutions free of charge for six months to those hit the hardest by the pandemic— this includes our smallest business customers, and those in the healthcare, hospitality, travel and entertainment industries. At a time of evermore pressure on digitization and engineering at scale, we believe that our customers should not have to sacrifice the security of their application and software development. Find out more about this offer here.