The Making of Writing Black Belts: How Martial Arts Philosophy Forged an Ad-Hoc Writing Team that Writes Great Docs


At Fastly, a San Francisco-based content delivery network startup company, I’ve learned that almost every one of my co-workers, regardless of their job function, is willing to write our company’s documentation. Whether they realize it or not, each one of them has ventured onto the path of becoming a “writing team black belt.”

In this talk I’ ll discuss how my company has unwittingly followed the seven (and a half) rules I normally associate with becoming a great martial artist. I’ll discuss how we’ve been using these rules to forge an amazing ad-hoc documentation team with no formal department and no squad of strategically placed technical writers. I’ll talk about how my company has managed it despite the obstacles of startup life, including moving seven times and growing from less than 30 employees when I first joined to a throng of more than 150 a mere year and a half later. Finally, I’ll point out some of our successes, a few of our failures, and how each of the seven (and a half) rules has taught us what it means to write Fastly.

  • Conference: Write the Docs NA
  • Year: 2015

About the speaker

Gaylin Walli