Excerpts from my VMworld 2009 vExpert presentation

I was surprised when John Troyer asked me to present on evangelism to the group of charter vExperts. I mean, come on…that's like being asked to speak about partying to a San Diego State frat house. But being reluctant to ever turn down an opportunity for exposure, I of course accepted.

While being fortunate that I don't have to justify my daily activities, I do want to ensure that senior management knows they're getting a good return for their money, and that my blogging and Tweeting is actually benefiting the firm. This is more important now that other company execs are starting to follow me on Twitter and can see me Tweeting during the middle of the day instead of doing real work.

Differentiation works personally as well as professionally. Seven years ago I found myself in a surprising divorce. I dreaded the prospect of going back into the dating scene…I was never that successful the first time around, and now I was a heck of a lot older. But I quickly discovered Internet dating, and then was pleasantly surprised to learn that most men have little concept of marketing. Most match.com tag lines read something like, "Great catch", "Last good man on earth", or "Likes to take long walks on the beach at sunset". I, naturally, took a different approach.

My dating experience was vastly better the second time around, and I eventually met a great lady who I married. I've drafted her as part of my evangelistic efforts – she assisted Krystal Lowe yesterday by driving the VMworld spouses up to tour our good customer, Korbel Wineries. By the way, the VMworld wives were joking about how their geeky husbands upon arriving at the Moscone Center immediately flocked to the huge Cisco UCS display to take pictures.

John asked me whether or not being really smart is necessary to be a good evangelist. I can assure you from first-hand experience, it is not. Over the years I've co-authored many Citrix books and a VMware book. Many people assume that I'm an engineer who knows what he's talking about. The reality is that I work with very bright co-authors who are far more knowledgeable than me, but I get to share in the glory.

Speaking with a client led me to the idea of approaching PG&E about extending rebates to clients who virtualize. I told a couple of our VMware reps about it in confidence, but otherwise kept the program secret thinking that it was a competitive advantage for AccessFlow. But then Diane Green was on the stage at VMworld along with the CEO of PG&E, never mentioning AccessFlow or Steve Kaplan. It taught me a good lesson about the folly of trying to horde good ideas. I might as well put them out there and get credit for them.

The first company in the world to receive a utility rebate check for virtualizing was our good customer, 1-800RADIATOR – which has about 25% of the U.S. radiator market. The CTO was speaking for us at a VMware seminar, and held up our T-shirt which had a picture of VirtualMan unplugging a server and which read, Fight global warming…virtualize now. The CTO said, "Steve gave me this T-shirt and I'm thinking, 'What the heck is this? We're a radiator company. We like global warming.'"

Like many things, you can either put a little effort or a lot of effort into evangelism. If it's the latter, I encourage you to do some self-reflection in order to ensure that your personal objectives are in line with the level of time commitment required. In my own case, before I decided to commit to a high level of evangelism at INX, I first did some extensive soul searching. What I realized was that, deep down, what I really want….is to make a lot more money!

 

 

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