“Developers hate being marketed or sold to” per the muse of common knowledge. It’s not surprising, then, that those charged with doing just that have a job title that explicitly omits any mention of this kind of activity. Oddly, stirring up images of religious zealotry was more palatable for those in the tech world when Apple Computer kicked off the idea of technical ‘evangelism’ in the last century.
Of course, things have changed since the Mac SE. ‘Developers as customers’ is becoming increasingly mainstream, no longer confined to the stodgy enterprise with long sales cycles and formal necktie cultures. D2D has gone indie along with the web and mobile devs it targets.
I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to attend a few events at the developer-centric accelerator (or more precisely, “community for developer-focused entrepreneurs”) HeavyBit this year thanks to my brilliant developer marketer content strategist journalist friend Dana (us biz people deal with job title complexities as well). Today they helped produce DevGuild, an unconference dedicated to unpacking what in the heck this “developer evangelism” thing really is.
So what happened? First, the introductory talks:
- Not fully knowing your product
- Not creating a feedback loop between your audiences and your product teams
- Too much coffee (I totally don’t understand this one but apparently it can make you a jittery presenter 😉 )
- Not practicing enough (you must know your code inside and out before demoing it)
- Not allowing your audience to help you answer objections
- Not venturing out of your comfortable social circle
- Not being a good host aka BUY THE BEER
Next we shifted into our Unconference segment. Here are some of my takeaways from both the two breakout sessions I attended (metrics + using “non-marketing speak”) as well as the whole day:
At Mozilla, we think of much of our work (and certainly our evangelism work) in terms of “quality relationships.” This definitely syncs up with the thinking at DevGuild. And we can always do better. Thankfully as social media becomes woven into the fabric of all kinds of corporate outreach, the job of evangelizing in ways outlined above grows easier, as evangelists become less broadcast mouthpieces or talking heads, and emerge instead as accessible individuals who struggle themselves with the tech and engage in conversations rather than marketingspeak.
In German, there is a distinction: “Werbung” could mean advertising, but also trying to get someone on your side. “Reklame” means pure advertising. We should do more Werbung and less Reklame.
Thanks to HeavyBit for putting on a great event. If you want to see others’ Tweets, check out the Eventify tweet summary (great tool, not because I’m listed as top contributor ;).