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Andrew Angell – PayPal ACE Developer Case Study

Pressing Problems, Quick Answers

Not long after he landed his first programming job, Drew Angell realized he was in over his head. He needed to ramp up his education – and fast. Training videos helped him with classic ASP and PHP while web discussion forums taught him how to work with XML web services. In his search for information about PayPal, Angell stumbled across the PayPal Developer Community forums.

“I jumped in and started asking questions – and from there I was off and running,” Angell recalls. “If I got a PayPal API error that I couldn’t find in the documentation, someone on the Developer Community always stepped up with an explanation. And if I had a specific technical question, I would often get an answer from a PayPal employee within 24 hours.”

Sparking New Ideas

Today, Angell specializes in PayPal and eBay integration. He continues to hang out in the Developer Community – but now he’s the one providing answers. “People often ask questions that are covered in the PayPal documentation, so I just point them in the right direction,” says Angell. “Almost every question you can think of is covered in the Integration Center on Developer Central – it’s just a matter of knowing where to look.”

Why would a busy developer like Angell keep sharing free advice in the Developer Community? “I learn best by helping other people,” he says. “And when people ask me a tough question, it often triggers ideas for my next project.”

Boosting Business

By providing knowledgeable answers on a public forum, Angell has gained recognition as an expert in PayPal integration. As a result, he’s attracted new business. “I’ve had potential clients contact me and say, ‘I saw you answering everyone’s questions in the Developer Community, so I figured you were the guy to call for my next project,’” says Angell. “Building up a good reputation in the Developer Community is like a résumé for the electronic age.”

Forgoing traditional advertising, Angell recently used Developer Community to announce a new application he developed. It allows customers to charge credit cards via a USB swiper, rather than typing information into PayPal Virtual Terminal. “I posted a link to my video demo [at] and got quite a few hits,” says Angell. “Developer Community is ideal for getting your name out. If you can solve people’s problems, word spreads quickly.”

Becoming an Ace Developer

Angell recently earned another perk from Developer Community when PayPal named him an Ace Developer – an honor reserved for those who make at least 150 highly rated posts. “It was cool,” says Angell. “They sent me a T-shirt, and I’m proud to wear it. I keep going back to Developer Community, not only to share my knowledge, but also to get answers that I know I can trust.”