At the beginning of my Monktoberfest talk on Marketing Your Tech Talent, I said that: “I have occasionally had a marketing title; it has never been a good fit.” This was an overstatement. In the course of my career, I have had several good experiences as part of or working with marketing teams, for example at Adaptec, starting with: “…my new boss, Dave Ulmer… I told Dave what I’d been doing online (CompuServe, Usenet, answering email, web pages) and he said: ‘Fine, do more of that.’ And that’s about all the direction he ever gave me. He not only understood the Usenet, he was frequently and visibly out there himself.” (more of this story here)
Even when not been formally part of a marketing organization, many of my tasks and activities could be classified as “marketing”, broadly defined as “communicating the value of a product or service to customers” (wikipedia). Such activities have included:
- Conferences: Oh, so many conferences, and trade shows. I’ve done everything from booth duty to designing, creating and running events myself (and everything in between), all over the world. I am also occasionally in front of the audience as a speaker.
- Events and meetups for user groups, communities, and students (which bring in leads, build relationships, and create popular, enduring content).
- Video: I’ve been filming technical events and talks since 2007, and began live streaming them as well soon after. Videos here (with more being constantly added).
- Websites from start to finish, bottom to top: strategy; technical / platform decisions; design decisions and management; implementation management; information architecture; design, management and production of content; application design; ongoing content contribution; analytics.
- I have written and edited all kinds of technical text: articles, books, newsletters, blogs, documentation, product descriptions, brochures, conference talk submissions, etc.
- Front-line customer communications: real-time response to product and PR issues. Channelling market intelligence back to developers and decision makers within companies.
- Community management, including launching and nurturing user and developer communities. I may have been one of the first people to refer to a company’s users as a community.
- Training: Yes, training is also marketing.
- Work with PR teams to develop topics and material, write articles for trade publications.
Just a few recent specific examples, while at Joyent:
- Nov, 2013: Live streamed the first OpenZFS Developer Summit.
- Nov, 2013: Filmed a full day Metrics Workshop at USENIX LISA.
- Oct, 2013: Launch of Brendan Gregg’s book Systems Performance: Enterprise and the Cloud, which I had also helped edit.
- Feb, 2013: SCALE – I organized, ran, and live streamed a full day nodestack event for Joyent. Brendan Gregg was a key speaker at the main conference, and I filmed his talk on Linux Performance and Tools. That video was the basis for a blog post on performance for Joyent. Brendan and I then ran a guerilla marketing campaign which drove a spike of traffic to the post. Brendan will be keynoting the 2014 edition of SCALE – yes, I had a little something to do with that! 😉
- Jan, 2012: At the request of the conference organizers, I encouraged Brendan Gregg and Robert Mustacchi to speak at SCaLE, filmed them, posted videos: Robert, Brendan.
- Oct, 2012: ZFS Day and illumos Day – Two days of conferences organized and mostly run by me.
- Oct, 2012 nodestack – Beginning the day after ZFS and illumos Days were done, I pitched in to help my Joyent marketing colleagues in an emergency (another colleague had been hit by a car). I provided two solid weeks of A/V work, including live stream production for the event.
- Aug, 2012: Hosted BayLISA at Joyent for an evening of talks on SmartOS.
- Apr, 2012: dtrace.conf – A tech conference which I organized, ran, live streamed, and filmed.
- Mar, 2011: Various activities for the launch of Brendan Gregg’s book DTrace: Dynamic Tracing in Oracle Solaris, Mac OS X, and FreeBSD, which I had also helped edit.
- Ongoing: SmartOS site and blog, Joyent SmartOS on Twitter.
- Ongoing: Capture, editing, and curation of a great deal of technical video.
So, yeah, I do a bit of marketing.