I’m not a Guy kind of Evangelist

You know, my title (technical evangelist) bugs me. It bugs others too (especially in Europe, where people give me very strange looks when they see my business card). Why? Cause of its religious connotations. I didn’t realize why it bugged me until I read Guy Kawasaki’s “Art of Evangelism” post today (he was the tech industry’s first evangelist, worked for Apple).

See, he looks at the products he’s evangelizing as a “cause.” I don’t look at the world that way. If I have a “cause” it’s the digital lifestyle. That’s what I’d like to get people into. Wanna know when the next bus is coming? Here in Seattle you can visit a Web site and see exactly where the bus is (thanks to GPS, servers, the Internet, Web browsers, and such). Did that require any Microsoft stuff? No. (Although it’s easier to use a Tablet PC at a bus stop while standing up instead of a more traditional laptop).

But, go even further. I really don’t want religious customers. I want skeptical, educated, pragmatic customers. This is why I talk about my competitors so much and let you know what they are doing right (just last night I pointed out that the MacBook has a better power cord design than a PC, even if I did it in a snarky way). By the way, business schools teach that you should NEVER talk about your competitors cause your customers might like their products better and leave.

I’d rather have customers who go and seriously consider Linux and Macs first. If I lose them as customers, that’s OK. They weren’t mine to begin with (and they’ll stay my friends). Why? Cause it’s more important to me that they be happy.

But, if they come back and say “you know, that Tablet PC is more useful for me than anything I’ve seen on the other side of the fence” then that customer will be 100x more excited about the products I’m offering than if he or she felt “forced” to use them due to some marketing lockin or scheme or some cultish attitude.

This is why I’m not bothered by what’s bothering BusinessWeek today (that the press hypes up Apple). I find I have more fun with customers who’ve done their homework too and can explain exactly why they bought the machine they’ve bought. That’s exactly what I am asking my son to do. I don’t mind if he buys a Mac as long as he’s done his homework and has considered all the choices on the market. Some people who buy into the “technology is religion” meme think that’s heresy. I’m bringing him a Lenovo Tablet PC tomorrow to take notes on so he’ll know exactly what the pros and cons of owning either machine will be.

Some other things. There’s another reason for an evangelist never to tell a lie. Credibility. Who will listen to an evangelist who tells you something that you already know isn’t true. If, for instance, I told you that the iPod isn’t cool, wouldn’t you stop listening to me? So, when I have something that is worthy of your attention (say a new Xbox, or a new phone) will you have unsubscribed and written me off as a religious jerk?

Not to mention that even if you buy a competitor’s product (like a Mac) we probably will have something else to sell you. Like, say, a new keyboard.

Oh, and Guy says to demo demo demo. Damn straight! I’m taking his advice. I’ll be demoing Windows Vista at the Northern Voice conference in Vancouver on February 10. I’m looking for a few skeptics to be there!

By the way, what Microsoft’s Evangelists mostly do is help software developers build software for the next version of whatever we’re selling. Imagine if Bill Gates says “today we’re shipping Windows Vista but there’s no software that works on it.”

An evangelist in that role needs to be up on the latest technology (for instance, we know that Windows Vista doesn’t run in administrator mode anymore, so that’ll break some applications that software developers wrote for OS’s where they could assume most users would be in administrator mode. That’s why we talk to developers a lot about what that means and how to make their apps take advantage of Windows Vista).

It also means that we need to be great relationship experts. If a developer is having trouble with getting their app to run, for instance, we need to find the right person inside Microsoft who can fix their problems (or, who can explain why that problem is happening and how to fix it).

If you ask around the folks on my hall they are usually very pragmatic and know the market very well. We regularly have engineers here from SAP, Siebel, Adobe, Google, Yahoo, and Apple. You think they put up with religious attitudes? Yeah, right.

So, what do you want from your technology evangelist?

Comments

  1. Well with Vista set to be able to run on the new MacBookPro’s, you may feel better about your son buying a Mac. And i completely agree it’s much easier and far more interesting to have conversations with people who have actually bothered to do a little research or just generally know their stuff.

    I’d generally say that it’s good to belive in your company and I’d say your doing a great job spreading the word.

  2. Well with Vista set to be able to run on the new MacBookPro’s, you may feel better about your son buying a Mac. And i completely agree it’s much easier and far more interesting to have conversations with people who have actually bothered to do a little research or just generally know their stuff.

    I’d generally say that it’s good to belive in your company and I’d say your doing a great job spreading the word.

  3. techtidbit: the problem is he doesn’t have the money for the expensive Mac. What he’ll probably end up doing is buying an iBook and later getting a different machine.

  4. techtidbit: the problem is he doesn’t have the money for the expensive Mac. What he’ll probably end up doing is buying an iBook and later getting a different machine.

  5. While I agree with most of what you say here, I still think you try to incorporate marketing spin (ie snarkiness) into entries that deal with Apple.

    Those types of entries make you far less credible. Many people can relate to tripping over a power cord and damaging their notebook. Threads like that hurt your “street cred”.

    You series of Google posts, on the other hand, are far more interesting. They are the type of posts that bring me back to your site.

  6. While I agree with most of what you say here, I still think you try to incorporate marketing spin (ie snarkiness) into entries that deal with Apple.

    Those types of entries make you far less credible. Many people can relate to tripping over a power cord and damaging their notebook. Threads like that hurt your “street cred”.

    You series of Google posts, on the other hand, are far more interesting. They are the type of posts that bring me back to your site.

  7. I think it’s a pretty cool idea to have Vista run on Mac’s, Scoble: Do you think this presents a great opportunity for Microsoft?

    Also, does your son need a lappy right now? I’m sure you have more info but wouldn’t they be releasing a Core-Duo esq machine for an iBook replacment soon?

  8. I think it’s a pretty cool idea to have Vista run on Mac’s, Scoble: Do you think this presents a great opportunity for Microsoft?

    Also, does your son need a lappy right now? I’m sure you have more info but wouldn’t they be releasing a Core-Duo esq machine for an iBook replacment soon?

  9. Mujibur: in hindsight I actually agree with you. Why? Cause I have open comments. If my story doesn’t match reality my readers can say so.

    That post did more to sell the new Mac to my readers than anything Apple could have done. So, if my goal was to keep you on Windows I’ve failed, and failed miserably.

  10. Mujibur: in hindsight I actually agree with you. Why? Cause I have open comments. If my story doesn’t match reality my readers can say so.

    That post did more to sell the new Mac to my readers than anything Apple could have done. So, if my goal was to keep you on Windows I’ve failed, and failed miserably.

  11. Mujibur, I don’t it would hurt his ‘street cred’ blogs are all about freedom of speech and discussion. Offering up individual persepectives and then getting input from others.

  12. Mujibur, I don’t it would hurt his ‘street cred’ blogs are all about freedom of speech and discussion. Offering up individual persepectives and then getting input from others.

  13. Robert: you say you don’t like people who evangelize technology in a religious way, but isn’t that exactly what you do with the Tablet PC?

    You’ve been perpetually convinced that, any minute now, the mainstream market will recognize the magnificence that is tablet computing and start buying Tablet PCs in droves over cheaper, slimmer, and more powerful conventional laptops. You’ve also predicted that Apple would release a tablet and just not call it by the same name.

    I’m sure you’d acknowledge that Tablet PCs aren’t for everyone, but you’d probably have a harder time begrudging that it really is a niche product. I may like my iMac realistically (I can tell you why I chose it and what I don’t like about it), but I’m not going to try and sell it to someone who plays Counterstrike Source all day.

  14. Robert: you say you don’t like people who evangelize technology in a religious way, but isn’t that exactly what you do with the Tablet PC?

    You’ve been perpetually convinced that, any minute now, the mainstream market will recognize the magnificence that is tablet computing and start buying Tablet PCs in droves over cheaper, slimmer, and more powerful conventional laptops. You’ve also predicted that Apple would release a tablet and just not call it by the same name.

    I’m sure you’d acknowledge that Tablet PCs aren’t for everyone, but you’d probably have a harder time begrudging that it really is a niche product. I may like my iMac realistically (I can tell you why I chose it and what I don’t like about it), but I’m not going to try and sell it to someone who plays Counterstrike Source all day.

  15. I’d say you weren’t being snarky with the magSafe (or whatever the Apple powercord jack is called): you just ran the tests on an unlucky (or some might say poorly chosen, if at all) sample. I think people who complain about your credibility on the basis of that entry or a couple of others are showing their true bias in being so selective. After all, there’re thousands of other entries where you’ve been fairer to the competition than any marketeer I know or have ever read or read of.(that’s what you really are, isn’t it? Sorry, I’m in the UK and I find it hard to ascribe your actual role as you write in this cost to the title. Then again, most Americans do seem to have a “different” attitude to religion than us Europeans)

    Keep it up, Scoble, and don’t be overly sensitive to the caustic criticism and selective bias.

  16. I’d say you weren’t being snarky with the magSafe (or whatever the Apple powercord jack is called): you just ran the tests on an unlucky (or some might say poorly chosen, if at all) sample. I think people who complain about your credibility on the basis of that entry or a couple of others are showing their true bias in being so selective. After all, there’re thousands of other entries where you’ve been fairer to the competition than any marketeer I know or have ever read or read of.(that’s what you really are, isn’t it? Sorry, I’m in the UK and I find it hard to ascribe your actual role as you write in this cost to the title. Then again, most Americans do seem to have a “different” attitude to religion than us Europeans)

    Keep it up, Scoble, and don’t be overly sensitive to the caustic criticism and selective bias.

  17. Unfortunately, the iBook still starts at $999. I think I remember you saying Patrick had about $700. I want to see the blog buzz when you plunk down the remaining $300 at an Apple store. 8-)

  18. Unfortunately, the iBook still starts at $999. I think I remember you saying Patrick had about $700. I want to see the blog buzz when you plunk down the remaining $300 at an Apple store. 8-)

  19. “I really don’t want religious customers. I want skeptical, educated, pragmatic customers.”

    So how about skeptical, educated, pragmatic customers who are religious? I certainly don’t think these categories are mutually exclusive.

  20. “I really don’t want religious customers. I want skeptical, educated, pragmatic customers.”

    So how about skeptical, educated, pragmatic customers who are religious? I certainly don’t think these categories are mutually exclusive.

  21. Are you aware of what Guy Kawasaki means by “CAUSE”? From “The Macintosh Way” CAUSE does the following:

    C – atalyzes selfless actions
    A – dds to people’s lives
    U – nleashes big effects
    S – eparates and polarizes people
    E – mbodies a vision

    When a company aligns itself with a CAUSE and not just a ’cause,’ big things happen. Examples abound, but the Ronald McDonald House is close. It doesn’t create the total alignment that some other corporations do, but most people have heard of RMH and know the difference it makes to people facing serious illness with a child.

    Tim

  22. Are you aware of what Guy Kawasaki means by “CAUSE”? From “The Macintosh Way” CAUSE does the following:

    C – atalyzes selfless actions
    A – dds to people’s lives
    U – nleashes big effects
    S – eparates and polarizes people
    E – mbodies a vision

    When a company aligns itself with a CAUSE and not just a ’cause,’ big things happen. Examples abound, but the Ronald McDonald House is close. It doesn’t create the total alignment that some other corporations do, but most people have heard of RMH and know the difference it makes to people facing serious illness with a child.

    Tim

  23. I was the co-founder of Wavefront and its unofficial evanglist, I hated being called that. When we merged with Silicon Graphics and Alias, they asked what I would do going forward, the job was evanglist, but I still hated the title. We came up with something that was much better and much more appropriate. Ambassador. In fact, that title on my business card opened more doors that Co-Founder. People wanted to know what a Technology Amabassador was, and did – and I told them. I love the title and really grew into the role.

  24. I was the co-founder of Wavefront and its unofficial evanglist, I hated being called that. When we merged with Silicon Graphics and Alias, they asked what I would do going forward, the job was evanglist, but I still hated the title. We came up with something that was much better and much more appropriate. Ambassador. In fact, that title on my business card opened more doors that Co-Founder. People wanted to know what a Technology Amabassador was, and did – and I told them. I love the title and really grew into the role.

  25. Early adoption costs. Its why I don’t have a flat screen TV – when I can get one for about the same cost as CRT’s I’ll buy one, meanwhile I let the rich guys shake out the market – I’m a value curve adopter.

    Same with the new MacBook. OTOH, the shift in CPU is a golden opportunity for Patrick. Clearance sales will abound. I’ve just heard of 20″ iMac G5’s being blown out the door for $799 and this will continue until the PPC stock is gone.

    Opportunity knocks.

  26. Early adoption costs. Its why I don’t have a flat screen TV – when I can get one for about the same cost as CRT’s I’ll buy one, meanwhile I let the rich guys shake out the market – I’m a value curve adopter.

    Same with the new MacBook. OTOH, the shift in CPU is a golden opportunity for Patrick. Clearance sales will abound. I’ve just heard of 20″ iMac G5’s being blown out the door for $799 and this will continue until the PPC stock is gone.

    Opportunity knocks.

  27. i just wanted to say that i used to “dislike microsoft” out of the ordinary reasons (and because i didn’t trust them). however, your blog and channel 9 really changed that. it’s all about trust these days (most people can see right through press releases and its likes). so big up, scoble :)

    (oh, and you need to tell the xbox 360 guys this to) :D

  28. i just wanted to say that i used to “dislike microsoft” out of the ordinary reasons (and because i didn’t trust them). however, your blog and channel 9 really changed that. it’s all about trust these days (most people can see right through press releases and its likes). so big up, scoble :)

    (oh, and you need to tell the xbox 360 guys this to) :D

  29. I used to use Windows exclusively, until about a year ago I needed to get a laptop. So what did I do? I researched every possible laptop. Alienware, Dell, HP, Toshiba, and Powerbooks. After about a week of research, I decided that the Powerbook was the way to go. And ill never go back. When I talk to my friends about buying an Apple computer they say stuff like “well I wont be able to right click” or “does it have AIM?”. These questions come from a lack of research. If they actually did research, as I did, they would realize that having a machine with no virus threat, a secure UNIX background, and they STILL can do everything they could do on a windows machine, they would surely “switch”. (most of them anyways, price still remains a factor). The reason apple fans become evangelists is because the product is just that good.

  30. I used to use Windows exclusively, until about a year ago I needed to get a laptop. So what did I do? I researched every possible laptop. Alienware, Dell, HP, Toshiba, and Powerbooks. After about a week of research, I decided that the Powerbook was the way to go. And ill never go back. When I talk to my friends about buying an Apple computer they say stuff like “well I wont be able to right click” or “does it have AIM?”. These questions come from a lack of research. If they actually did research, as I did, they would realize that having a machine with no virus threat, a secure UNIX background, and they STILL can do everything they could do on a windows machine, they would surely “switch”. (most of them anyways, price still remains a factor). The reason apple fans become evangelists is because the product is just that good.

  31. By the way, business schools teach that you should NEVER talk about your competitors cause your customers might like their products better and leave.

    Huh? I realize this was just a throwaway line, but obviously you felt it was an important enough to include. So I thought I would point out that it is 100% untrue.

    Believe it or not, business schools don’t hand down a list of pat rules to their students, along the lines of “never talk about your competitors.” And, yes, business school professors are very well aware of blogs, word-of-mouth marketing, viral marketing, etc., etc. This stuff isn’t as well-kept a secret as you seem to believe.

  32. By the way, business schools teach that you should NEVER talk about your competitors cause your customers might like their products better and leave.

    Huh? I realize this was just a throwaway line, but obviously you felt it was an important enough to include. So I thought I would point out that it is 100% untrue.

    Believe it or not, business schools don’t hand down a list of pat rules to their students, along the lines of “never talk about your competitors.” And, yes, business school professors are very well aware of blogs, word-of-mouth marketing, viral marketing, etc., etc. This stuff isn’t as well-kept a secret as you seem to believe.

  33. Nice post. I agree with you almost wholeheartibly. This industry of ours is far to full of people who a religious about their technology. Sometime’s it’s grerat to write a post that criticises Apple or Notes just to see the reaction from the zealots. But all these people prove is how little they know. We shouldn’t be religious about IT because it just isn’t good enough yet to be religious about. We have such a long long way to go and one company isn’t going to get us there. Even the so called “so good Apple” has a long long way to go.

  34. Nice post. I agree with you almost wholeheartibly. This industry of ours is far to full of people who a religious about their technology. Sometime’s it’s grerat to write a post that criticises Apple or Notes just to see the reaction from the zealots. But all these people prove is how little they know. We shouldn’t be religious about IT because it just isn’t good enough yet to be religious about. We have such a long long way to go and one company isn’t going to get us there. Even the so called “so good Apple” has a long long way to go.

  35. I really don’t want religious customers. I want skeptical, educated, pragmatic customers.

    Thanks for the compliment then, tho you forgot ‘snarky’. :)

  36. I read the start of the post and thought you might object not to Evangelist but to Technical. You have the ablility to take things beyond the technical. And just maybe your internal evengelism is of more value than your external.

  37. I really don’t want religious customers. I want skeptical, educated, pragmatic customers.

    Thanks for the compliment then, tho you forgot ‘snarky’. :)

  38. I read the start of the post and thought you might object not to Evangelist but to Technical. You have the ablility to take things beyond the technical. And just maybe your internal evengelism is of more value than your external.

  39. I have always fancied myself as some sort of evangelist (for using computing to further the cause of life science), but avoid the term as much as possible, since (a) scientists are not that passionate about the geeky tech stuff, and (b) the percieved religious connotations.

    You raise one very important point. It is definitely better to have skeptical, educated customers. They keep you on your toes and make sure you get your facts right and don’t “evangelize” blindly.

  40. I have always fancied myself as some sort of evangelist (for using computing to further the cause of life science), but avoid the term as much as possible, since (a) scientists are not that passionate about the geeky tech stuff, and (b) the percieved religious connotations.

    You raise one very important point. It is definitely better to have skeptical, educated customers. They keep you on your toes and make sure you get your facts right and don’t “evangelize” blindly.

  41. “I find I have more fun with customers who’ve done their homework too”

    Then what are you going to do with millions of lemmings who were told by their monoculture-driven, safety-in-numbers IT bosses to use Windows?

    Face it, at the end of the day, Windows has one and only one significant advantage: ubiquity. That’s it. Nobody has to do any additional homework. If you must absolutely have ubiquity in a given market, use Windows. If not, there’s no reason to bother.

  42. “I find I have more fun with customers who’ve done their homework too”

    Then what are you going to do with millions of lemmings who were told by their monoculture-driven, safety-in-numbers IT bosses to use Windows?

    Face it, at the end of the day, Windows has one and only one significant advantage: ubiquity. That’s it. Nobody has to do any additional homework. If you must absolutely have ubiquity in a given market, use Windows. If not, there’s no reason to bother.

  43. robert: The reason I switched to mac was because I considered new approaches. And Ill keep looking. But there hasnt been anything to come out that will take me away from Apple. If something does, of course I will go to it. The whole point of my post was that I wanted to best laptop, and through research, and now experience, I found that in the powerbook.

  44. robert: The reason I switched to mac was because I considered new approaches. And Ill keep looking. But there hasnt been anything to come out that will take me away from Apple. If something does, of course I will go to it. The whole point of my post was that I wanted to best laptop, and through research, and now experience, I found that in the powerbook.

  45. “more later after i get off this plane i am on.”

    For Maryam’s sake, let’s hope the plane doesn’t run on Windows then. Just kiddin’, have a safe trip. :-)

  46. “more later after i get off this plane i am on.”

    For Maryam’s sake, let’s hope the plane doesn’t run on Windows then. Just kiddin’, have a safe trip. :-)

  47. Christopher, I’m afraid you are applauding yourself in abject silence. Note the words “educated” and “pragmatic”. You are a skeptic (some would say septic) – but there’s no way you could be defined as one of the other two definitions. Maybe if a gun were to my head, I would swallow my pride and consider you slightly pragmatic. As for the other, forget it. You’re an echo chamber.

    Self praise is no praise. Some day you will grow up. Until then, enjoy wallowing ;-)

  48. Christopher, I’m afraid you are applauding yourself in abject silence. Note the words “educated” and “pragmatic”. You are a skeptic (some would say septic) – but there’s no way you could be defined as one of the other two definitions. Maybe if a gun were to my head, I would swallow my pride and consider you slightly pragmatic. As for the other, forget it. You’re an echo chamber.

    Self praise is no praise. Some day you will grow up. Until then, enjoy wallowing ;-)

  49. Guy Kawasaki has always managed to evangelize himself even more so than his products. I think there’s more of an egotism issue in his arena as opposed to what “normal” product evangelists practice.

    Showing off Windows Vista, eh? Any plans to offer a reason for actually purchasing Windows Vista? Ha!

  50. Guy Kawasaki has always managed to evangelize himself even more so than his products. I think there’s more of an egotism issue in his arena as opposed to what “normal” product evangelists practice.

    Showing off Windows Vista, eh? Any plans to offer a reason for actually purchasing Windows Vista? Ha!

  51. Can’t Uncle Dave lend Patrick that iBook he bought and later replaced with a Power Mac so he could develop the OPML Editor on the Mac better?

    The rumors are now floating around that an Intel-based iBook will be out sometime in Q2.

    Surely Dave (who is a millionaire after all and already has a Vaio laptop), wouldn’t miss the iBook for a few months…?

    PS I wouldn’t buy a MacBook today, even if I had the money:

    1. It’s Revision A of a brand new product, which often means BUGS!
    2. The mast majority of Mac software, commercial & shareware, isn’t yet available as a universal binary for the Intel chip.
    3. Windows XP/Vista Beta hasn’t yet been hacked onto it yet.
    4. Apple will milk^b^b^b meet the pent-up demand for a fast professional laptop before bringing out more value-for-money consumer versions.

  52. Can’t Uncle Dave lend Patrick that iBook he bought and later replaced with a Power Mac so he could develop the OPML Editor on the Mac better?

    The rumors are now floating around that an Intel-based iBook will be out sometime in Q2.

    Surely Dave (who is a millionaire after all and already has a Vaio laptop), wouldn’t miss the iBook for a few months…?

    PS I wouldn’t buy a MacBook today, even if I had the money:

    1. It’s Revision A of a brand new product, which often means BUGS!
    2. The mast majority of Mac software, commercial & shareware, isn’t yet available as a universal binary for the Intel chip.
    3. Windows XP/Vista Beta hasn’t yet been hacked onto it yet.
    4. Apple will milk^b^b^b meet the pent-up demand for a fast professional laptop before bringing out more value-for-money consumer versions.

  53. ***I’d rather have customers who go and seriously consider Linux and Macs first.***

    Where are you going to find them. I know very few people who have seriously considered Mac OS and found it lacking. I’ve known plenty who couldn’t manage Linux but I guess it’s time will come. The point is – MS makes it’s millions on the ignorant and the blindly biased. The poor folk who file into PC World and are guided into computing oblivion by an uninformed minimum-wage teenager. Your own evangelising of course is aimed at the people you’re demoing Vista to in February. They’ve drunk the kool-aid already. I think it’s a little cheap taking a pot-shot at Guy. You’re more alike. Also somewhat ironic that Mister Winer agrees with you totally ( http://www.scripting.com/2006/01/12.html#When:4:05:56PM ) but then he and Guy see things differently anyway ( http://www.scripting.com/2006/01/11.html#filmloopAndRss )

    ***business schools teach that you should NEVER talk about your competitors***

    If this is the case then I guess they mean you should never demean your competitors. It’s cheap and petty. I don’t mention them until asked. And then I speak about how well we get on at trade shows (which is true). Like two samurai poised. But then they consider blogging and building a community to be wasteful and unprofessional. Go figure.

    Now that MacWorld is over, can we get back to the cool stuff you usually talk about? Any chance of a good webcast of Vista? Screencasts?

  54. ***I’d rather have customers who go and seriously consider Linux and Macs first.***

    Where are you going to find them. I know very few people who have seriously considered Mac OS and found it lacking. I’ve known plenty who couldn’t manage Linux but I guess it’s time will come. The point is – MS makes it’s millions on the ignorant and the blindly biased. The poor folk who file into PC World and are guided into computing oblivion by an uninformed minimum-wage teenager. Your own evangelising of course is aimed at the people you’re demoing Vista to in February. They’ve drunk the kool-aid already. I think it’s a little cheap taking a pot-shot at Guy. You’re more alike. Also somewhat ironic that Mister Winer agrees with you totally ( http://www.scripting.com/2006/01/12.html#When:4:05:56PM ) but then he and Guy see things differently anyway ( http://www.scripting.com/2006/01/11.html#filmloopAndRss )

    ***business schools teach that you should NEVER talk about your competitors***

    If this is the case then I guess they mean you should never demean your competitors. It’s cheap and petty. I don’t mention them until asked. And then I speak about how well we get on at trade shows (which is true). Like two samurai poised. But then they consider blogging and building a community to be wasteful and unprofessional. Go figure.

    Now that MacWorld is over, can we get back to the cool stuff you usually talk about? Any chance of a good webcast of Vista? Screencasts?

  55. Robert, from my European point of view, many americans have a very religious background, much more than we do have over here. This is annoying on several occassions and even more frightening sometimes.

    But when I think of tech and I think of evangelist, this has no religious meaning for me at all but the title of somebody who is passionate about a product and therefore is good in presenting whatever product you have to others. Because he / she wants to convince them about it too – it is his or her true believe that this product rocks.

    A good evangelist is also capable of accepting other peoples likes and dislikes. When I think of such an evangelist, I do think of a person with a passionate glow in their eyes, and an open smile in their face; more a child in joy than a terrorist who wants you to follow his believes.

    Does that make sense?

  56. “the tablet story is not finished yet.”

    It hasn’t started yet either. Or rather… it’s quite an aborted, just-you-wait, it’s-been-four-years, but-just-you-wait story.

  57. Robert, from my European point of view, many americans have a very religious background, much more than we do have over here. This is annoying on several occassions and even more frightening sometimes.

    But when I think of tech and I think of evangelist, this has no religious meaning for me at all but the title of somebody who is passionate about a product and therefore is good in presenting whatever product you have to others. Because he / she wants to convince them about it too – it is his or her true believe that this product rocks.

    A good evangelist is also capable of accepting other peoples likes and dislikes. When I think of such an evangelist, I do think of a person with a passionate glow in their eyes, and an open smile in their face; more a child in joy than a terrorist who wants you to follow his believes.

    Does that make sense?

  58. “the tablet story is not finished yet.”

    It hasn’t started yet either. Or rather… it’s quite an aborted, just-you-wait, it’s-been-four-years, but-just-you-wait story.

  59. Greetings,
    Mike makes a good point about GK’s self-evangelism, certainly. That we know his name so well is worth keeping in mind…

    That said, what *I* want from my technical evangelist is that they make me excited to work with their technology. They bring the thrill of ‘Whoa, I could do something REALLY COOL with that!’ to me. That requires there be something cool there.

    For Microsoft, with such an abysmal track record, sometimes just ‘Huh! That’s not a terrible idea…’ is enough, though. (The ‘Visual Studio Express’ pimping was an example of that.) So much of what Microsoft does is incredibly BORING (the nature of big companies) that even the occasional glimmer of light can be blinding.

    You’ve got to be careful though. It’s easy to make the mistake of (for instance), “WOW! Vista’s SO cool! Check out the new Backup Manager for instance!” Sorry. A backup manager will never be cool. It will never inspire thrills. It’s a nice upgrade, but pimping it as an example of how cool Vista is (not that Scoble is guilty of this) is totally worthless, and backfires.

    That’s what a technology evangelist has to do. Find the parts of their product that CAN thrill, and then expose them to the people for whom it will make a difference.

    It won’t always work. Tablets won’t thrill me. They won’t even be a consideration until they’re less than a tenth of the price of a real laptop. The lack of a decent keyboard is a murderous loss for me. At 1/10th the price of a real laptop, I might get behind it as a wireless email & web browsing dumb terminal, but I’d never do real work on it. There’s no cool technology there. There may be some hard problems solved in getting handwriting recognition to work, or gestures, but as a user or developer, I really don’t care, because it doesn’t make what *I* do any more interesting.

    Anyhow, that’s my small essay on the balance of what a technical evangelist has to do. Find the stuff that the audience will think is exciting, and then excite them about it.

    — Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!

  60. Greetings,
    Mike makes a good point about GK’s self-evangelism, certainly. That we know his name so well is worth keeping in mind…

    That said, what *I* want from my technical evangelist is that they make me excited to work with their technology. They bring the thrill of ‘Whoa, I could do something REALLY COOL with that!’ to me. That requires there be something cool there.

    For Microsoft, with such an abysmal track record, sometimes just ‘Huh! That’s not a terrible idea…’ is enough, though. (The ‘Visual Studio Express’ pimping was an example of that.) So much of what Microsoft does is incredibly BORING (the nature of big companies) that even the occasional glimmer of light can be blinding.

    You’ve got to be careful though. It’s easy to make the mistake of (for instance), “WOW! Vista’s SO cool! Check out the new Backup Manager for instance!” Sorry. A backup manager will never be cool. It will never inspire thrills. It’s a nice upgrade, but pimping it as an example of how cool Vista is (not that Scoble is guilty of this) is totally worthless, and backfires.

    That’s what a technology evangelist has to do. Find the parts of their product that CAN thrill, and then expose them to the people for whom it will make a difference.

    It won’t always work. Tablets won’t thrill me. They won’t even be a consideration until they’re less than a tenth of the price of a real laptop. The lack of a decent keyboard is a murderous loss for me. At 1/10th the price of a real laptop, I might get behind it as a wireless email & web browsing dumb terminal, but I’d never do real work on it. There’s no cool technology there. There may be some hard problems solved in getting handwriting recognition to work, or gestures, but as a user or developer, I really don’t care, because it doesn’t make what *I* do any more interesting.

    Anyhow, that’s my small essay on the balance of what a technical evangelist has to do. Find the stuff that the audience will think is exciting, and then excite them about it.

    — Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!

  61. Face it, at the end of the day, Windows has one and only one significant advantage: ubiquity. That’s it. Nobody has to do any additional homework. If you must absolutely have ubiquity in a given market, use Windows. If not, there’s no reason to bother.

    Comment by Anona — January 12, 2006

    Ubiquity? certainly not the only reason that I use Windows, but a very good reason why I don’t bother with
    a Mac, I don’t care for propriatary hardware, and never
    will, Apple has done some nice things, But they are WAY
    OVERPRICED.

  62. Face it, at the end of the day, Windows has one and only one significant advantage: ubiquity. That’s it. Nobody has to do any additional homework. If you must absolutely have ubiquity in a given market, use Windows. If not, there’s no reason to bother.

    Comment by Anona — January 12, 2006

    Ubiquity? certainly not the only reason that I use Windows, but a very good reason why I don’t bother with
    a Mac, I don’t care for propriatary hardware, and never
    will, Apple has done some nice things, But they are WAY
    OVERPRICED.

  63. proprietary: something that is used, produced, or marketed under exclusive legal right of the inventor or maker; specifically :that which is protected by secrecy, patent, or copyright against free competition as to name, product, composition, or process of manufacture.

    Is there any hardware worth using that is not subject to “secrecy”, “patent” or “copyright”?

    It’s typical though. Much like “legacy”, “proprietary” is a word that’s been hijacked by the Microsofties to refer to anything that hasn’t come out of Redmond….

  64. proprietary: something that is used, produced, or marketed under exclusive legal right of the inventor or maker; specifically :that which is protected by secrecy, patent, or copyright against free competition as to name, product, composition, or process of manufacture.

    Is there any hardware worth using that is not subject to “secrecy”, “patent” or “copyright”?

    It’s typical though. Much like “legacy”, “proprietary” is a word that’s been hijacked by the Microsofties to refer to anything that hasn’t come out of Redmond….

  65. @Scobleizer: By the way, business schools teach that you should NEVER talk about your competitors cause your customers might like their products better and leave.

    In the book “How To Become a Rainmaker,” the author touched on this topic in discussing the headmaster of a private school. Whenever a competing school came up in conversation, he would acknowledge the school, then ask the prospective parents if they would like to know the points of difference between the schools.

    The headmaster knew his competition very well, and could contrast his institution effectively. Perhaps there’s a lesson there for tech ambassadors too.

  66. @Scobleizer: By the way, business schools teach that you should NEVER talk about your competitors cause your customers might like their products better and leave.

    In the book “How To Become a Rainmaker,” the author touched on this topic in discussing the headmaster of a private school. Whenever a competing school came up in conversation, he would acknowledge the school, then ask the prospective parents if they would like to know the points of difference between the schools.

    The headmaster knew his competition very well, and could contrast his institution effectively. Perhaps there’s a lesson there for tech ambassadors too.

  67. HOpe you don’t mind my being a little bit sarcastic, but after 20 years in the business, I say, ” the PAYING customer is always right”.

    Maybe it is just where I come from, but the most difficult customers I had to deal with are, ” customers who criticize without buying your products — are they still customers?” or “customers who try to get away with something valuable without having to pay for it.”

  68. HOpe you don’t mind my being a little bit sarcastic, but after 20 years in the business, I say, ” the PAYING customer is always right”.

    Maybe it is just where I come from, but the most difficult customers I had to deal with are, ” customers who criticize without buying your products — are they still customers?” or “customers who try to get away with something valuable without having to pay for it.”

  69. Robert – get a job title that is unique, memorable and still covers what you do.

    I’m an evangelist; my job title is Evil ZEN Scientist.

    It’s often an ice breaker, always memorable.

  70. Robert – get a job title that is unique, memorable and still covers what you do.

    I’m an evangelist; my job title is Evil ZEN Scientist.

    It’s often an ice breaker, always memorable.

  71. Honestly, I think Apple would sell a lot more computers if it’s hard-core fans were’t so annoying. You have a cool computer, what do you want, a bloody medal?

    I have an iPod and I love it, and I’ve used Macs many times in the past, but you’ll tear my custom-built Windows XP machine out of my cold, dead hands.

  72. Honestly, I think Apple would sell a lot more computers if it’s hard-core fans were’t so annoying. You have a cool computer, what do you want, a bloody medal?

    I have an iPod and I love it, and I’ve used Macs many times in the past, but you’ll tear my custom-built Windows XP machine out of my cold, dead hands.

  73. The most wildly “religious” tech leader I can think of is your boss. Yes, Monkey Boy. Talk about guzzling the Kool Aid and passing out the barrels …

  74. The most wildly “religious” tech leader I can think of is your boss. Yes, Monkey Boy. Talk about guzzling the Kool Aid and passing out the barrels …

  75. Robert,

    Great question, maybe someday I’ll be able to focus on a great answer… Obviously, keep asking the questions and getting that feedback wherever you go. This is very important because of your position and network. That kind of listening will take you to the next level.

    About titles. I was an Ambassador for two Summers at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City in my High School years. Worlds of Fun is an amusement park. I’ll say no more about that.

    I really think it is time that the blogging and community efforts of Microsoft got the mainstream attention they deserve (I guess that means you, too!). Even the vast majority of Microsoft developers still don’t use these resources, many don’t even know what is available. If you (and your associates) can put together something to get that attention, it will pay huge dividends. Great things are already happening, people just need to know.

    You’d think the publicity the past year or so would do the trick. That’s not the feedback I’m getting.

  76. Robert,

    Great question, maybe someday I’ll be able to focus on a great answer… Obviously, keep asking the questions and getting that feedback wherever you go. This is very important because of your position and network. That kind of listening will take you to the next level.

    About titles. I was an Ambassador for two Summers at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City in my High School years. Worlds of Fun is an amusement park. I’ll say no more about that.

    I really think it is time that the blogging and community efforts of Microsoft got the mainstream attention they deserve (I guess that means you, too!). Even the vast majority of Microsoft developers still don’t use these resources, many don’t even know what is available. If you (and your associates) can put together something to get that attention, it will pay huge dividends. Great things are already happening, people just need to know.

    You’d think the publicity the past year or so would do the trick. That’s not the feedback I’m getting.

  77. t’s typical though. Much like “legacy”, “proprietary” is a word that’s been hijacked by the Microsofties to refer to anything that hasn’t come out of Redmond….

    Comment by MJ — January 12, 2006

    Thanks for the pointer, but I’m not a Micrsoftie, I just don’t see the need to overpay for what is available elsewhere for much less money.

  78. t’s typical though. Much like “legacy”, “proprietary” is a word that’s been hijacked by the Microsofties to refer to anything that hasn’t come out of Redmond….

    Comment by MJ — January 12, 2006

    Thanks for the pointer, but I’m not a Micrsoftie, I just don’t see the need to overpay for what is available elsewhere for much less money.

  79. Robert,

    You’re as much the evangelist as Guy Kawasaki ever was. Different emphasis and technologies but the enthusiasm and sincerity is as high. Microsoft has its hands in so many cookie jars that it is selling a digital lifestyle, and so the match between it and you is good.

    Brooks

  80. Robert,

    You’re as much the evangelist as Guy Kawasaki ever was. Different emphasis and technologies but the enthusiasm and sincerity is as high. Microsoft has its hands in so many cookie jars that it is selling a digital lifestyle, and so the match between it and you is good.

    Brooks

  81. Apple creates cults, Microsoft creates robots and entitlement MVPs. Same input, minorly different output. You can eternally navel-gaze about the differences, but you will just circle back.

    Evangelism is just long-term Marketing, without the hard sell and/or any metics. Just vague feel-good lifestyle branding, narrowed down to a personality.

  82. Apple creates cults, Microsoft creates robots and entitlement MVPs. Same input, minorly different output. You can eternally navel-gaze about the differences, but you will just circle back.

    Evangelism is just long-term Marketing, without the hard sell and/or any metics. Just vague feel-good lifestyle branding, narrowed down to a personality.

  83. If business schools are teaching that you should talk about your competitors, how come so few companies are doing it? (Even most of those with bloggers rarely do it).

  84. If business schools are teaching that you should talk about your competitors, how come so few companies are doing it? (Even most of those with bloggers rarely do it).

  85. So Roberto how are you going to evangelize MSFT’s decision to abandon WMP on Macs, thereby denying any future DRM or client-side scripting access? Just how on earth is that not a disservice to MSFT customers who use WM to distribute content?

    Are you guys so threatened by iTunes/FairPlay? Where’s the kinder and gentler and more open MSFT? Who cares how many bloggers MSFT has, as long as the company keeps on doing the only thing it knows how to do well: lock-in!

    Disgrace.

  86. So Roberto how are you going to evangelize MSFT’s decision to abandon WMP on Macs, thereby denying any future DRM or client-side scripting access? Just how on earth is that not a disservice to MSFT customers who use WM to distribute content?

    Are you guys so threatened by iTunes/FairPlay? Where’s the kinder and gentler and more open MSFT? Who cares how many bloggers MSFT has, as long as the company keeps on doing the only thing it knows how to do well: lock-in!

    Disgrace.

  87. Perhaps the term evangelist sounds a bit fanatical. But I like your ‘evangelism’ approach because you have an open-mind, and not afraid to write what you think is good or bad.

  88. Perhaps the term evangelist sounds a bit fanatical. But I like your ‘evangelism’ approach because you have an open-mind, and not afraid to write what you think is good or bad.

  89. so what do you want from god?
    a similar perception.
    they are close but not quite close enough?
    ever seen the stars at night?
    so smart you cannot or begin to see?

  90. so what do you want from god?
    a similar perception.
    they are close but not quite close enough?
    ever seen the stars at night?
    so smart you cannot or begin to see?

  91. This is why most of us don’t buy the recent “open” MSFT schtick. This is why we get disgusted when MSFT attacks Apple for being against choice, closed, proprietary, etc in digital music. This is why when you, the evangelist, asks what MSFT can do to make our life better, we laugh. That’s why when MSFT says various extensions of Vista will work on Macs, we don’t trust you. This why when MSFT says Office 12 is XML, we immediately look for the Catch-22 and the implicit lock-in. This is why MSFT is not liked in the community. This is why MSFT won’t succeed.

  92. This is why most of us don’t buy the recent “open” MSFT schtick. This is why we get disgusted when MSFT attacks Apple for being against choice, closed, proprietary, etc in digital music. This is why when you, the evangelist, asks what MSFT can do to make our life better, we laugh. That’s why when MSFT says various extensions of Vista will work on Macs, we don’t trust you. This why when MSFT says Office 12 is XML, we immediately look for the Catch-22 and the implicit lock-in. This is why MSFT is not liked in the community. This is why MSFT won’t succeed.

  93. “I’ve used Macs many times in the past, but you’ll tear my custom-built Windows XP machine out of my cold, dead hands.”

    Actually, I think we’ll just bury it with you.

  94. “I’ve used Macs many times in the past, but you’ll tear my custom-built Windows XP machine out of my cold, dead hands.”

    Actually, I think we’ll just bury it with you.

  95. Excellent exposé pf your role Robert though I’m sure you will forgive some of us more cynical European types for remaining a little tongue in cheek. So here’s a question for your:

    Given what I have seen of Vista and Office 12 (scraps of presentations recorded on video, Bill G’s demos etc, your vid with the usability people at Office – I think it was), how would I as a CIO in even a small company justify a shift to these kinds of platform and apps when they represent a new learning experience which has to be paid for, adapted to and learned from before I get benefit from the new ways of representing information?

    The contra argument of course is that if I’m thinking of moving to Mac after years on PC I have a similar thing to consider but that’s more likely to be a personal decision related to what I want to do in a non-work environment? I think I know the answer to the second but I’m not sure about the first?

  96. Excellent exposé pf your role Robert though I’m sure you will forgive some of us more cynical European types for remaining a little tongue in cheek. So here’s a question for your:

    Given what I have seen of Vista and Office 12 (scraps of presentations recorded on video, Bill G’s demos etc, your vid with the usability people at Office – I think it was), how would I as a CIO in even a small company justify a shift to these kinds of platform and apps when they represent a new learning experience which has to be paid for, adapted to and learned from before I get benefit from the new ways of representing information?

    The contra argument of course is that if I’m thinking of moving to Mac after years on PC I have a similar thing to consider but that’s more likely to be a personal decision related to what I want to do in a non-work environment? I think I know the answer to the second but I’m not sure about the first?

  97. Dennis: why did you move from DOS? Or, if you were on the Apple side of the house, from Apple II. It was more productive, right? Same for the newer stuff.

    I have only been using Office 12 for a few weeks and already I can’t stand using the old version. Just do one thing: a pivot table in Excel. Try it on the old version and then on the new version. It takes an hour’s worth of work and makes it a minute or two.

    And that’s only one of hundreds of features.

  98. Dennis: why did you move from DOS? Or, if you were on the Apple side of the house, from Apple II. It was more productive, right? Same for the newer stuff.

    I have only been using Office 12 for a few weeks and already I can’t stand using the old version. Just do one thing: a pivot table in Excel. Try it on the old version and then on the new version. It takes an hour’s worth of work and makes it a minute or two.

    And that’s only one of hundreds of features.

  99. It’s always fun watching the Apple/Microsoft debates and name throwing. For what its worth, I use a windows laptop because of ubiquity, a custom-built windows desktop to record music for some of the some reasons, a Linux desktop by choice, and no Mac by choice (not even an iPod), because of Apple’s traditional control over hardware choices (said iPod for example) and cause I always build my desktops myself.

    That said, OSX is the best desktop OS out there. Almost makes me want to buy a MacBook :).

  100. It’s always fun watching the Apple/Microsoft debates and name throwing. For what its worth, I use a windows laptop because of ubiquity, a custom-built windows desktop to record music for some of the some reasons, a Linux desktop by choice, and no Mac by choice (not even an iPod), because of Apple’s traditional control over hardware choices (said iPod for example) and cause I always build my desktops myself.

    That said, OSX is the best desktop OS out there. Almost makes me want to buy a MacBook :).

  101. Anona: this has nothing to do with being open or closed. I has to do with MBA types telling execs they can’t make any money so to take their resources and spend them somewhere else.

  102. Anona: this has nothing to do with being open or closed. I has to do with MBA types telling execs they can’t make any money so to take their resources and spend them somewhere else.

  103. That’s absolute, utter nonsense, Roberto.
    MSFT does NOT charge for WMP.
    It has everything, I mean everything to do with DRM.
    Why wouldn’t MSFT want their content partners to be able to sell into the Mac market, of tens of millions of relatively higher-purchasing power users? Are you telling me that MTV/Urge would have no natural customers in the Mac world?
    You are simply asking your own customers to make a choice between Windows-only or xplatform distribution. That’s the classic lock-in proposition.
    Hopefully, people won’t let you wiggle out of this one.

  104. That’s absolute, utter nonsense, Roberto.
    MSFT does NOT charge for WMP.
    It has everything, I mean everything to do with DRM.
    Why wouldn’t MSFT want their content partners to be able to sell into the Mac market, of tens of millions of relatively higher-purchasing power users? Are you telling me that MTV/Urge would have no natural customers in the Mac world?
    You are simply asking your own customers to make a choice between Windows-only or xplatform distribution. That’s the classic lock-in proposition.
    Hopefully, people won’t let you wiggle out of this one.

  105. @Scobleizer: If business schools are teaching that you should talk about your competitors, how come so few companies are doing it?

    Schools probably are not teaching that, as you mentioned in your original post. I think that was the Rainmaker author’s point.

    It’s not talking about the competition, but knowing the competition well enough (and your own products/services) that one can identify those contrasting differences, and discuss them.

    Your own product benefits from the boost, and when the customer goes to the competition, they aren’t telling Apple (a random example) how much you slammed them. You’ve conditioned them to expect comparisons on salient points instead of being on the receiving end of talking brochure-ware.

    And that enhances how the customer perceives your company because you’ve added value to their consideration of your products and the competitor’s.

  106. @Scobleizer: If business schools are teaching that you should talk about your competitors, how come so few companies are doing it?

    Schools probably are not teaching that, as you mentioned in your original post. I think that was the Rainmaker author’s point.

    It’s not talking about the competition, but knowing the competition well enough (and your own products/services) that one can identify those contrasting differences, and discuss them.

    Your own product benefits from the boost, and when the customer goes to the competition, they aren’t telling Apple (a random example) how much you slammed them. You’ve conditioned them to expect comparisons on salient points instead of being on the receiving end of talking brochure-ware.

    And that enhances how the customer perceives your company because you’ve added value to their consideration of your products and the competitor’s.

  107. [...] I wrote an earlier post about the growing interest in evangelism within organisations. Guy Kawasaki yesterday offered his fundamental principles of evangelism which prompted Robert Scoble to write I’m not a Guy kind of Evangelist. If you are not familiar with the Mac / Microsoft story from days past let me just say that there is a lot of history here. That aside both post and comments make interesting reading. Just as in facilitation there are no clones. People develop their own styles which work within some environments and not within others. No one person has all the answers. Trying to be all things to all people rarely if ever works in life. What a boring place this world would be if we were all the same. That said the old way of thinking about being ‘either independent or dependent’ is giving way to a new way of thinking about being ‘both independent and interdependent’. An old mentor of mine put it best when she said ‘from diversity comes harmony’. And that is something very much to be welcome.   [...]

  108. I don’t want to NEED a phone/PDA/TabletPC at the bus stop to know when the next bus is coming. I want the bus stop itself to have a display showing that information ! Digital lifestyle, yes. Always in my pocket, and from my wallet, not necessarily !

  109. I don’t want to NEED a phone/PDA/TabletPC at the bus stop to know when the next bus is coming. I want the bus stop itself to have a display showing that information ! Digital lifestyle, yes. Always in my pocket, and from my wallet, not necessarily !

  110. I think you’re confusing the term “religious” with “zealous” or maybe “fanatical.” In either case, your characterization of being religious as not being “skeptical, educated, [or] pragmatic” misses the mark.

  111. I think you’re confusing the term “religious” with “zealous” or maybe “fanatical.” In either case, your characterization of being religious as not being “skeptical, educated, [or] pragmatic” misses the mark.

  112. This week I had an ISV partner from Taiwan ask me to explain what the word “evangelist” means. Another ISV, born and raised in Haiti, answered for me, explaining that in his native land they call it “voodoo” instead of “evangelism.” I just nodded in agreement. :-)

  113. This week I had an ISV partner from Taiwan ask me to explain what the word “evangelist” means. Another ISV, born and raised in Haiti, answered for me, explaining that in his native land they call it “voodoo” instead of “evangelism.” I just nodded in agreement. :-)

  114. Robert:
    I’ve never been a Mac person. I couldn’t make it out (yep – I’m that stupid but it was 1992) I moved from DOS to Windows because I could easily get a nice presentation although at the time I was loathe to give up WordPerfect 5.1

    At first I switched between my great DOS apps and Win 3.1 stuff. I didn’t want to move my DOS apps to Windows because of problems with tabbing. That was 1993ish. It’s only recently those same apps have shown they work as good in the Win environment as DOS.

    Pivot tables? Don’t go there :)

  115. Robert:
    I’ve never been a Mac person. I couldn’t make it out (yep – I’m that stupid but it was 1992) I moved from DOS to Windows because I could easily get a nice presentation although at the time I was loathe to give up WordPerfect 5.1

    At first I switched between my great DOS apps and Win 3.1 stuff. I didn’t want to move my DOS apps to Windows because of problems with tabbing. That was 1993ish. It’s only recently those same apps have shown they work as good in the Win environment as DOS.

    Pivot tables? Don’t go there :)

  116. [...] Been passing on his blog for a while because many are very short and on his whereabout. I like long insightful blog like this one. It’s comforting to see a Microsoft guy saying “I really don’t want religious customers. I want skeptical, educated, pragmatic customers. This is why I talk about my competitors so much and let you know what they are doing right.” [...]

  117. Robert, I think your real value is much greater than “evangelist.” You’re a leader of the Microsoft brand (and a fundamental shaper of it, too). The purpose of a brand is to engage customers in ways that create new forms of value. That’s what you do. You always seem to operate in “brand mode,” which is when one’s brain burns with the question: “What is holding our customers back?” Whenever the brand team, or an evangelist, thinks like that, good things happen for customers.

  118. Robert, I think your real value is much greater than “evangelist.” You’re a leader of the Microsoft brand (and a fundamental shaper of it, too). The purpose of a brand is to engage customers in ways that create new forms of value. That’s what you do. You always seem to operate in “brand mode,” which is when one’s brain burns with the question: “What is holding our customers back?” Whenever the brand team, or an evangelist, thinks like that, good things happen for customers.

  119. Scoble,

    The reason you don’t see the products you push as a cause, is simply because they’re not GOOD ENOUGH to be a cause. When Guy talks about Evangelism, he’s talking about what he did for the Mac, which simply isn’t possible to do for mediocre crap.

    You’re a knock-off of an evangelist; not as good as a real one, no matter what your job title is. Just like Windows isn’t as good as the Mac. If you were really an Evangelist, you’d be working for a company like Apple, or Skype, or TiVo: a company with a product that’s good enough to really CARE about.

    What Guy did was convince developers to help Apple and the Macintosh change the world. What you do is help your employer pretend that mediocrity and playing “me too” isn’t all that bad. Calling you an Evangelist is about the same as comparing Al Sharpton to Martin Luther King.

  120. Scoble,

    The reason you don’t see the products you push as a cause, is simply because they’re not GOOD ENOUGH to be a cause. When Guy talks about Evangelism, he’s talking about what he did for the Mac, which simply isn’t possible to do for mediocre crap.

    You’re a knock-off of an evangelist; not as good as a real one, no matter what your job title is. Just like Windows isn’t as good as the Mac. If you were really an Evangelist, you’d be working for a company like Apple, or Skype, or TiVo: a company with a product that’s good enough to really CARE about.

    What Guy did was convince developers to help Apple and the Macintosh change the world. What you do is help your employer pretend that mediocrity and playing “me too” isn’t all that bad. Calling you an Evangelist is about the same as comparing Al Sharpton to Martin Luther King.

  121. [...] Robert har själv förklarat vad hans arbete innebär (och varför han egentligen inte gillar sin titel “evangelist”) – I’m not a Guy kind of Evangelist. Ett stycke i texten förklarar väldigt koncist vad en produktevangelist har för arbetsuppgifter: It also means that we need to be great relationship experts. If a developer is having trouble with getting their app to run, for instance, we need to find the right person inside Microsoft who can fix their problems (or, who can explain why that problem is happening and how to fix it). [...]

  122. Scoble,

    Well, Apple’s paying me in a sense, even though they’re not sending me any checks. Strictly speaking, I’m paid by my fellow investors on the NASDAQ. My holdings are up over fifty percent just since October, and I sell puts whenever I need some cash.

    If the Evil Empire is paying you enough to exceed your current expenses, you really should pick up some AAPL shares. I bought a pile of them at prices from $48-50, and grabbed some more about two weeks ago at $70.8.

    Speaking of investing, when are you clowns going to ship Vista? I’m ready to make out like a bandit on MSFT puts when everyone figures out that it’s just XP with a couple of “me-toos”, and I just need a ship date!

  123. Scoble,

    Well, Apple’s paying me in a sense, even though they’re not sending me any checks. Strictly speaking, I’m paid by my fellow investors on the NASDAQ. My holdings are up over fifty percent just since October, and I sell puts whenever I need some cash.

    If the Evil Empire is paying you enough to exceed your current expenses, you really should pick up some AAPL shares. I bought a pile of them at prices from $48-50, and grabbed some more about two weeks ago at $70.8.

    Speaking of investing, when are you clowns going to ship Vista? I’m ready to make out like a bandit on MSFT puts when everyone figures out that it’s just XP with a couple of “me-toos”, and I just need a ship date!

  124. From one evangelist to another – the difference between good technology evangelists and what MS has is that good ones believe there is a cause, and part of that cause is to enable other developers to innovate in some insalely great and new ways – leveraging open interfaces and open source – not what MS chooses to engineer and sell (have any more security patches to foist on your customers yet?)

    And yes, I’m paid by my employer to educate developers worldwide on “the better path…”

  125. From one evangelist to another – the difference between good technology evangelists and what MS has is that good ones believe there is a cause, and part of that cause is to enable other developers to innovate in some insalely great and new ways – leveraging open interfaces and open source – not what MS chooses to engineer and sell (have any more security patches to foist on your customers yet?)

    And yes, I’m paid by my employer to educate developers worldwide on “the better path…”

  126. [...] Robert Scoble is probably the best known current Evangelist, working for Microsoft. He has a follow-up to Guy’s note with his point of view. The comments are also a great read (note the different viewpoints on the use of the “evangelism title vs. other possible titles for the activity). Another must-read is Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s new book, Naked Conversations (reviewed here), which gives a great overview on the use of blogging for creating conversations with the people that make up your market (not sure about the title however…the image of Robert Scoble naked is not appealing to me). Church of the Customer Blog has some of their thoughts on customer evangelism vs. corporate evangelism (Ben and Jackie also offer up their books and other material on making your customers evangelists. I have read them and found them to be full of great practical ideas for building customer evangelists…their blog is well done and on my reading list too… [...]

  127. On the difficulty of Technical Evangelism

    It was time for my daily dose of Robert Scoble, and once again he providing some thought provoking fodder for me to go on about. Last week I mentioned just how boring I thought Gates’ keynote was at CES: full of empty hyperbole, long on announcin…