Sometimes when I tell people what I do they ask questions. “So is that marketing?” No. “Is it sales?” No! “Then are you a developer?” Yes and no. This is not about religion, either. Developer Evangelists work at the intersection of marketing, sales and development, deep in the heart of any company. In case there’s still some confusion this may clear it up.
Evangelism: the effort to convert others through public and private teaching and preaching. The evangelist introduces ideas that result in the winning of hearts and minds. The word evangelism originally referred to religious evangelism. In that context, the spreading of knowledge about certain beliefs was intended to convert whoever received the information.
Technology Evangelist: A person whose personal commitment to a specific technology (usually brand particular) attempts to create momentum, in order to establish their technology, software or hardware, as the technical standard in the marketplace. The technology evangelist gives talks, blogs, has presentations and demonstrations which help to create that momentum.
Development Evangelist: Someone that promotes the use of a particular product or technology to the developer community through talks, presentations and partnerships. An essential element is to create a user community and sample demonstrations to convince the developers that the specific technology brand is the best in the industry. “Technology is the campfire around which we tell our stories.” Laurie Anderson
The developer evangelism team is working to establish their brand as the technology products as the true standards in the industry. This means my team has an exciting and challenging role to play. Developers are a tough audience. In order to convince them that you are the best in the industry…you have to be the best.
Engaging with developers also assures innovation. Feedback on “How it works…” is essential. The developer as a user, both fine-tunes and drives design. This unprecedented transparency opens up the doors to extraordinary scrutiny. By shepherding in the experts, potential customers can get the confirmation they need to make the purchase. This transforms marketing, sales and customer service. Most of all it reinforces the fact that essential quality is vital. Regardless of the industry, great products build great brands. In the world of software, bugs and glitch problems or poor service can make or break a company, as well. The on-line environment is the perfect setting for technology evangelism. Using a controlled social platform to embed social techniques creates a direct interactive network between the company, developers and customers. Emphasis on the word “controlled.” Now product designers can directly communicate with other code developers (de facto experts), as well as potential customers. The transparency may have revealed the “naked” code but we don’t mind showing it. Credibility is the end result of quality. Despite the challenges, the advantages are obvious. Relationships within an active community; like developers can have a viral effect on your sales. By offering solutions and answering questions you establish a transparency and trust. This can begin relationships that may have to be cultivated for some time. Developers are the technology experts. They take a lot of convincing….evangelism starts the conversation.
I love my job as a Developer Evangelist and developing programs for tech companies looking to promote their product. I travel a lot! I talk to developers and potential customers all the time.
So in the tradition of the ultimate technology evangelist, Steve Jobs (Apple Inc.) innovation is the only way that a company will survive and grow. And thanks to heroes like Mike Boich (Apple), Vint Cerf (Google), Dan Martin (MasterCard) and James Plamondon (Microsoft) we understand the importance of our mission. If the evangelism team doesn’t believe we offer the best solutions neither will developers or the customer. The evangelism team must be “true believers” in the quality of the code, the integrity of the team and the idea that our company offers the “technical standard” in the industry.