Anatomy of a Developer Evangelist


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A Developer Evangelist operates as a critical conduit between your technology, product or platform and the legions of marketing averse application developers that you are targeting. Combining a zen-like mix of technical expertise, social media savvy, community respect, public speaking acumen and a dash of showmanship, this rare individual can lift your technology above the noise and into the minds of modern developers. But how do you identify, find, recruit, motivate, evaluate and evolve someone with such a broad and eclectic mix of skills? This session will provide a practical approach for finding and integrating Developer Evangelists into your developer marketing team.

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  • Background:The Object PeopleBEA SystemsSpringSourceVMwareCloud FoundryPrincipal Evangelist (BEA Systems) 2005Run Developer Relations teams 2006-presentInterviewed over 100 candidatesHired ~25+ Developer EvangelistsNext: So we are talking about Developer Evangelists…who are they
  • Characteristics description: - AmitJotwani-Excite-Simplify-Create community-Reflect the true face of your company/technology - Chris HeilmanmSpokesperson, mediator, translatorImage:Dominik, ApplicakeRoR developer ( Build
  • Anatomy: Brain (intelligence), heart (passion), voice, productivity (hands), travel (legs), Next: Think, feel, speak informs Personality Type – intro to MBTI
  • – need to define and explain (MBTI for short)Source: Please Understand Me by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates ISBN 0-9606954-0-0Ben covered on Monday the Intuitivevs Logical dichotomy for the brain. Attitude:Introversion vs ExtroversionFunctions: -Perceiving: sensing and intuition (information gathering) -Judging: thinking and feeling (choice)Lifestyle: Judging vs PerceptionNext: These four scales produce 16 possible personality types
  • – need to define and explain (MBTI for short)US Population break down by MBTI (Source: to understand these different personalities?
  • Source: do these personality type mean for software development
  • Source: Software Engineer Personality Types - Jan 2010 IT Pro published by IEEE Computer Society Personality types in Software Development: ISTJ, then ISTP and INTJ, with possibly INTP. Next: But what personality type makes the best Developer Evangelist?
  • In my experience the most successful Developer Evangelists have the: ENTJ!!!Main differences: Attitude=Extroversion, Perception=IntuitiveISTJ+ISTP+INTJ+INTP = 11.6% + 5.4% + 2.1% + 3.3% = 22.4%ENTJ = 1.8%12 to 1 ratio in general population. In my experience it is much higher 20-25 to 1. Next: so Developer Evangelists are a pretty rare commodity, so when you want to hire one, where do you find them?
  • Recruiters are generally horrible at finding these candidates, in my experience. Often people who would be good Developer Evangelists don’t even know that this is a career possibility for them. You need to find them where they live.Publicly:Stack Overflow,Community forums, Published Authors, Conference Speakers, Technology blogsInternally:Engineering – someone who submits talks to conferencesSales Engineer – runs meet-ups, enjoys customer interaction, wants to get out of the sales cycleSupport Engineer – has to be outbound Next: Now that you have found one, how to you manage them
  • Main motivators are not the traditional incentive schemes. DevEv aspire to community/peer respect, public recognition of authoritative voice, technology visionary…adulationMany evangelists are interested in a specific open source project or open standard, contributing to make the world a better place, company where they work for is secondary.Josh Long is a good example in our team.,Mozilla Chris Heilmann,Facebook David Recordon,SalesForce Kevin MarksProblem sometimes to align their goals / the organizationThese communities of interest create stronger ties than company people work for.Spring community,Identity community,HTML5Next: What do you want them to do?
  • At VMware Developer Evangelists are content factoriesBlog postsPresentationsGetting Started GuidesSample ApplicationsDocumentationTechnology evaluations (internal)Community feedbackNext: how do you know it is working?
  • It is all about reach…how many impressionsWeb visits, blog views, YouTube views, app downloads, re-tweets, Non-web: conference presentation attendeesNext: How do you ensure they are productive?
  • In my experience, if you have recruited corrected the best thing you can do is get out of the way….passion for the community will drive them to create useful content.Give them guidance, use programs to amplify voiceLocation: have to be wiling to work with a distributed team if you want the bestNext: How do you keep them happy in the long run?
  • For some people dev evangelism is just a step in a career: from support or eng to evangelism, to product mgt, marketing, engineeringDevelop their public speaking skills, writing skills, learn many technologies, ...For others they discover it suits their strengths so well that they stick with it: few organizations have career tracks for them, with various levels where you can continue growing in an evangelism role. Large platform providers.Microsoft, Google, VMware, Mozilla, Oracle, ...Next: So what are the different types of developer evangelists
  • Positives: Enthusiasm, expertise, commitment, clear community representationThings to watch out for:Lack of understanding for business drivers, missing the big picture, open source everything, inadvertent leaksPossible to trend towards ENFJ than ENTJ: i.e. choice is driven by passion sometimes more than logicBalmer: Professor
  • Positives: Authority, Credibility, high concepts, meta-trends, flexibilityThings to watch out for:Long research periods, low content production, too abstract to make practical, niche specializationMore likely to be an ENTJ, but INTJ possible with learned public speaking“Good news everyone! I’ve created a Haskell DSL that improves SVM approximations to NP-complete problems by a factor of log(n) ”ImageSource: Professor Farnsworth,FuturamaNext: Social Maven
  • Positives: Amplify message, authentic, relationship building, customer/partner developmentThings to watch out for:Excitability -> flame war, social overshadow technology, social noise may not imply proper engagement model Possible for this person to be ENTP rather than ENTJNext: There is a particular Dev Evangelist you should watch out for: Anti-Archetype: Trendster
  • “JavaScript? Ha! Node.JS is so 2012, I’m already using….” to be ENTP rather than ENTJNext: Summary
  • Image source:
  • Anatomy of a Developer Evangelist

    1. 1. Anatomy of a Developer Evangelist Adam FitzGerald Director of Developer Relations VMware, Inc.
    2. 2. Adam FitzGerald
    3. 3. Anatomy of a Developer Evangelist
    4. 4. Anatomy of a Developer Evangelist
    5. 5. Personality Types: Myers BriggsExtroversion(E) Sensing (S) Thinking (T) Judging (J) vs vs vs vs Introversion(I) Intuition(N) Feeling (F) Perception (P) Action Practical Objective Closure Thought Innovative Subjective Open ended Frequent Factual Logic Decision Substantive Hypothetical Emotion satisfaction People Detail Analysis Work Solo Big picture Devotion PlaySource: Please Understand Me by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates ISBN 0-9606954-0-0
    6. 6. Personality Types: US Distribution ISTJ ISFJ INFJ INTJ 11-14% 9-14% 1-3% 2-4% ISTP ISFP INFP INTP 4-6% 5-9% 4-5% 3-5% ESTP ESFP ENFP ENTP 4-5% 4-9% 6-8% 2-5% ESTJ ESFJ ENFJ ENTJ 8-12% 8-13% 2-5% 2-5%Source:
    7. 7. Personality Types: Guide
    8. 8. Personality Types: Software Dev ISTJ ISFJ INFJ INTJ 11-14% 9-14% 1-3% 2-4% ISTP ISFP INFP INTP 4-6% 5-9% 4-5% 3-5% ESTP ESFP ENFP ENTP 4-5% 4-9% 6-8% 2-5% ESTJ ESFJ ENFJ ENTJ 8-12% 8-13% 2-5% 2-5%Source: Software Engineer Personality Types - Jan 2010 IT Pro published by IEEE Computer Society
    9. 9. Personality Types: Dev Evangelism ISTJ ISFJ INFJ INTJ 11-14% 9-14% 1-3% 2-4% ISTP ISFP INFP INTP 4-6% 5-9% 4-5% 3-5% ESTP ESFP ENFP ENTP 4-5% 4-9% 6-8% 2-5% ESTJ ESFJ ENFJ ENTJ 8-12% 8-13% 2-5% 2-5%
    10. 10. Where to find such rare beasts?
    11. 11. Manage: Motivation
    12. 12. Manage: Content
    13. 13. Manage: Measurement
    14. 14. Managing: Freedom & Flexibility
    15. 15. Manage: Career Path
    16. 16. Archetype: Zealot Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers, … Hhhrrrrggghhh!
    17. 17. Archetype: ProfessorGood news everyone! I’ve created a HaskellDSL that improves SVMapproximations to NP-complete problems by a factor of O(log(n)).
    18. 18. Archetype: Social Maven I just live tweeted the meet-up, posted the demo to YouTube and accepted a pull request on GitHub.
    19. 19. Anti-Archetype: Tech Trendster Javascript? Ha! Node.JS is so 2012, I’m already using….Image Source:
    20. 20. SummaryDeveloper Evangelists are:• A scarce resource• Commonly not self-identified• Uniquely motivatedA successful Developer Evangelist can• Elevate a technology• Empower a community• Generate massive web visits, leads, opportunities
    21. 21.