Technology Evangelist

A technology evangelist is a person who attempts to build a critical mass of support for a given technology in order to establish it as a technical standard in a market that is subject to network effects (when such effects are present, the value of a product or service is dependent on the number of others using it).

Professional technology evangelists are often employed by firms which seek to establish their proprietary technologies as de facto standards or to participate in setting non-proprietary open standards. Non-professional technology evangelists may act out of altruism or self-interest (e.g., to gain the benefits of early adoption or the network effect).

Platform evangelism is one kind of technology evangelism, by which the vendor of a two-sided platform attempts to accelerate the production of complementary goods by independent developers. Technical evangelists may act, officially or unofficially, on behalf of a company or organization, or on a personal basis, for instance open source evangelism. An evangelist promotes the use of a particular product or technology through talks, articles, blogging, user demonstrations, recorded demonstrations, or the creation of sample projects. The word evangelism is taken from the context of religious evangelism because of the similar recruitment of converts and the spreading of the product information through the ideological or committed.

In the context of commercial enterprises which attempt to develop or foster a cult following and religious-like fanaticism, the term evangelist can become an unofficial, or occasionally official, role or title. Two examples of the term ‘evangelist’ being used in an official capacity, are Vinod Kumar and Pinal Dave, Technology Evangelists for Microsoft. They maintained a blog discussing their favorite new tech items, and are referred to as ‘two of the most respected Evangelists in the field, and have done a lot of work to define the job for other professionals.’

The term ‘software evangelist’ was coined by Mike Murray of the Macintosh division. The first specific technology evangelist was Mike Boich, who promoted the Macintosh computer for Apple Inc. The job is often closely related to both sales and training but has specific skills related to technology marketing and convincing a potential buyer or user to change from older methods to newer. Technology evangelism is sometimes associated with an internal employee assigned to encourage new ways of doing things within a large organization. The marketing aspect of the role was strongly influenced by Geoffrey Moore and his books concerning the technology adoption lifecycle.

2 Comments to “Technology Evangelist”

  1. Does this border on the line of Monopolization? I think apple was on the verge until other companies decided to step their game up. I wonder if they would ever accuse anyone of that crime again in the technological world…

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