Rightside Repost: I am a technical evangelist. I’m not sure what that is either.

[This post reprinted from an entry on the Rightside blog.]

“What do you do?” This is always a tough one because I know that when I say “technical evangelist,” another question will immediately follow:

“What is that?!?!?”

As is more and more common in the tech industry these days, “What do you do?” is a hard question to answer. Until recently, my answer was “I am a software developer.” Ten years ago that was a confusing answer, but these days, it is pretty well understood. This isn’t yet true for technical evangelists. Mostly because the role itself is less defined than a software developer.

Technical evangelism began before there was even a term for it. You even know a few. Steve Jobs? He was a technical evangelist. Bill Gates, Larry Ellison from Oracle–all these people led companies, but they are also leading the way in demonstrating why their companies were great and how they could change the world.

Now, I am no Steve Jobs. But my task is similar to what he did. He was working to convince people that consumer products could be better, faster, and even smaller and still be well designed. My task is to explain to the world, and more specifically developers, why new domain extensions are important to successful branding and a memorable off-line string.

But to say that is my only task is not even close to true. While the name captures the aspect of evangelizing a certain position or product, there is a bit more to what I do:

  • Advocate: I funnel customer feedback into the development channels at Rightside, ensuring that we are giving our customers the right tools and processes to succeed.
  • Project Manager: I focus on getting customer requests into the pipeline and help determine when we will be able to deliver.
  • Speaker: I attend a number of events, both locally and around the country. (If you would like me to speak, feel free to email me at Sean.Ottey@rightside.co.)
  • Writer: I contribute not only to the Rightside blog, but also eNom’s blog as well as my own personal technology blog (www.Evangelist.Ninja).
  • Coder: We are releasing code samples, API documentation, sample applications, and tools to help our developers integrate more effectively and efficiently.
  • Social Marketer: I spend a ton of time on Facebook, Twitter (@RghtsideSean), and other social media chatting with customers, developers, and others about everything from hilarious domain names I have purchased to how to use an eNom API call.

One of the best things about my job is my status as a “Switzerland” within the company. What this means is that there was a deliberate decision not to incorporate me into Sales, Marketing, Engineering, etc. This affords me the opportunity to work independently of all these teams and focus on creating a streamlined channel of communication, both between our internal teams and between our customers and the people here on the inside.

So, if you are looking for some quick help on the eNom API, have a question about new TLDs or how to advocate for them, or just want to say “Hi,” reach out! I am actually, literally, here for you.


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