- I do not preach. I educate.
- I do not pretend to have all the answers. Only some, and pointers to places for others.
- You teach me as much as I teach you. Both are critical.
When I first talked with the team at Neo4j about career opportunities, it was over a year ago. The role was VP of marketing. When I discussed this with friends and former colleagues, they were confused and thinking “but you’re an engineer.” I wasn’t confused. I’m passionate that Developer Relations needs to hold many hats – engineer, product manager, marketer, community organizer, spokesperson, press relations and e-mail answerer. Importantly, a hat it shouldn’t wear is that of a preacher.
I renewed discussions with the Neo4j team back in November without a specific role in mind. I enjoy making companies and technologies successful, and will do whatever is necessary to make that happen. We ended up agreeing on the role of Head of Developer Evangelism, North America. Well, sorta.
The industry has used the term “evangelism” for many years– I believe starting with Apple and Microsoft. At Google, we decided that the organization was about 2-way feedback and discussion, not about preaching. It was just as important to get feedback from developers about our products as it was to make developers aware of the products and their capabilities. The religious connotation with the term also offended and confused some. We needed a term which more closely aligned with the goals of the organization. We found it with Developer Relations as an organization, and Developer Advocate as a title.
I’ve now shown the light* to the folks at Neo4j and our team has decided to re-brand as Developer Relations. I’m delighted to be updating my social media profiles. Luckily I didn’t yet buy business cards!
* pun intended