Gus Pinto has announced that he is now going to work for Citrix. He and Rich Crusco from Frameworkx.com will officially start work with Citrix next week. Gus and Rich are Microsoft MVPs and Gus is also a Citrix CTP. They have ambitious plans to revamp the Citrix community. I talked with Gus last week and it is very clear that they are serious about making a positive difference.
Their titles are Technology Evangelists. You ask, what is that? Gus and Rich respond:
What does an evangelist do?
Hero to the Field. Internally there’s the need to ensure that our worldwide technical and sales divisions are well equipped with great demos, presentation content, and other information so that they have everything they need to work with their customers. We’ll be assisting the Citrix Readiness teams to do just that.
Building an Ecosystem. The first ones building communities on Citrix technology began about two 5 ago, when there was precious little documentation or samples, no books or introductory whitepapers, and plenty of bugs and inconsistencies. Most of them only succeeded through one-to-one support from the product team and field engineers. As we near release of more products, we want to gradually inculcate an ecosystem that can be self-supporting, so that the answers to questions people have are in the public domain. An evangelist can support this by finding the next generation of “rock stars” – MVPs and CTPs as well as others who are broadly recognized as experts, writing whitepapers and other content that sets the stage for Citrix products, putting good valuable technical notes out there through outlets like blogs which can be more rapidly updated than product documentation.
Internal Impact. There’s a strategic aspect to the evangelist role that shouldn’t be overlooked. Like any organization, Citrix doesn’t make the right decision every time; getting the bad decisions “fixed” before they ever appear in a product or announcement is part and parcel of the job of an evangelist – being an internal advocate for customers and trying to help get our strategy right. In some ways, this is the most rewarding aspect of the job – it’s hard to think of another organization or working group outside of the executive leadership that has the potential to effect change across cross-product boundaries to better meet the needs of our customers.
Technical Expertise. Technical evangelists should be credible in terms of technical skill set. It’s not the end of the world if a not the world-class PhD engineer who leaves everyone in awe at the beautifully engineered solutions generated, but a strong developer and deployment background certainly is required. CTEs need to be able to keep several steps ahead of a customer who knows the technology well and has some hard questions to ask, and CTEs need to command respect from others for your grasp of the platform.
Passion. A good evangelist is contagious in their enthusiasm, which means that CTEs stand out to others as someone who has a deep-seated interest in the technologies people care about, and a motivation to see them succeed. Technical Evangelists need to be the kind of person that inspires others.
Communication. Clear and precise in your use of language.
Account Engagement. Identifying showcase partners that have the potential to generate a snowball effect due to their market penetration or the exploitative nature of their work, and giving them day-to-day assistance with their technical and business needs. Probably handle anywhere from 3-10 customers on a 1:1 basis, working alongside their developers and architects to unblock them, as well as running technical deep-dive labs and participating on conference calls.
Flexibility and Multitasking. Juggle ten different projects at once, manage an inbox which is flooded with over one hundred mails addressed directly to you every day, whilst actually getting stuff done, flexible enough to manage own work time, and working long hours when there’s a crunch but preserving a solid work/life balance.
They have a heavy workload ahead of them but it is compelling work and I am certain they are going to succeed in making a huge difference with how the Citrix community operates.