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Getting started with your personal repo

Last updated: 13 Oct 2021

Use this temporary blog post as guidance to get to know your personal repo, how to start using it, and how to start creating blog posts.

Why do I need a personal repo

Your personal repo contains basic information about yourself. It's how you inform our Team Directory about who you are, what your interests are, and what kind of skills you have as a product builder. It also is a way to indicate skills that you'd like to build while you work at balena.

It's also a place for you to keep your thoughts via a personal blog, files, assets, trinkets... pretty much anything within reason (and without breaking the tooling that builds these microsites 😃).

Your "human contract" and basic information

This file is a digital representation of you. Let's walk through the YML contract (there's also a shorter version of this guidance within the comments on the YML template).

handle: balenista2021
type: human
version: 1.0.0

Other than ensuring that the handle value matches your GitHub handle, you won't have to touch this section. Please don't alter or update it.


For these first chunks of data, you'll want to provide a relative link to an image file within your repo or a photo via URL to populate your profile photo.

Your name and nickname are free-form text fields. Please accurately choose your Country and City, as these help the builder inform your map.

Pronouns, Haves, Wants, and Interests


For this section, you'll want to use an itemized list and be as succinct as possible. The more granular, the better. Let's walk through these fields in detail.


Please include all of your preferred pronouns, each one as an individual list item.


"Haves" are the skills that you bring to the table. It's a list of what you're capable of doing and what you can contribute to the team, or on a given project. Please list all of your haves as succinctly as you can, in bullet list format.

For example, rather than writing something like "Audio and video editing", separate them out into "Audio editing" and "Video editing."


"Wants" are the skills that you're interested in building during your time at balena. This will communicate to teammates the kinds of skills that you'd like to gain and will help other balenistas include you in projects that will help you learn and grow those skills.

Once again, please indicate these in a list format, as specifically as possible. e.g. "Frontend and backend engineering" should be separated into "Frontend engineering" and "Backend engineering".


All work and no play is no fun. We want to know what your interests are!

This helps our teammates find people with common interests and hobbies. This could lead to really great chats, spark new friendships, or even inspire some cool projects to hack on.

Once again, format them the same way you'd list out Haves and Wants.

Short bio and "Hard Problem"

  short_bio: |-
    I am the greatest balenista you have ever seen!
  hard_problem: |-
    Remove the friction from users who want to fill out their contracts.

Both the Short Bio and Hard Problem fields are free-form text. Your short bio should be, well, a short description about yourself.

"Hard Problems" are challenges that you choose to tackle that will help balena achieve both its long term goals, as well as remove friction for ourselves, teammates, community, customers, and users. They're often some kind of statement that identifies how you're building products or solving problems that leave lasting, compounding benefits for us all.

Yeah, they can be difficult to write at first! However, many balenistas find their footing and hard problem over time. Talk to your Buddy, new teammates, and keep studying and gaining context about the company and our mission. It'll come to you!

Updating your personal repo

There are a few ways to update your personal repo.

Edit your balena.yml

Navigate to your personal repo, usually https://github.com/balenaltd/, and use the GitHub GUI editor to make changes to your balena.yml file. You can also use GitHub's "Codespaces" feature by pressing the period key to open it. Use the tool to make your edits, save your work, and see your changes live.

Alternatively, you can clone your own repo and work on it on your local machine using your favorite text editor, make your edits, and then push them back to your master branch.

Our Netlify build pipeline will look for any new commits to master. Wait just a few minutes, and you should see edits and updates made to your personal page or blog. e.g. https://balenaltd.io/

If you commit a branch and create a new Pull Request against your master branch, you can see a bit of Netlify at work in the background. You can see your staged changes, edit them further, and then merge the final content.

Use the built-in CMS to edit blog posts

Open a browser and navigate to https://balenaltd.io//admin (replace with your handle) to access our NetlifyCMS setup for your personal repo. From there you have basic content creation and editing for blog posts.

COMING SOON: Editing all of the above via Jellyfish

Our amazing teammates are hard at work at making this a reality. Stay tuned!

Writing blog posts

Please see the other accompanying starter blog post for post writing and Markdown formatting tips.

Try it out and let us know what you think!

Contribute your personal repo toward helping us build our Team Directory. We appreciate all of the help!

Brought to you by your amazing Personal Repo/Personal Blog Hack Week team: Laura, Amit, Carlo, and Andrew. Hit us up with questions, feedback, and concerns.


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