That Marketing Thing

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 emailweb 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: articlesbooks, 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.
  • T-shirts.

Just a few recent specific examples, while at Joyent:

So, yeah, I do a bit of marketing.



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