Category Archives: gnotecon

Global Network of Technology Evangelists – first conference

The conference totally, totally rocked. I'll blog more about it when I have free time, but here are a few quick highlights.

Guy Kawasaki was surprisingly down-to-earth. =) Well, not surprising, I guess - he's known for being able to easily make that kind of a connection with audiences. Nifty. =) The panels were excellent, too. I liked the fast-paced panel discussion on the evangelist in you, and I'm looking forward to following up on that.

My favorite favorite favorite conference segment was when Matt Thompson (Senior Director of the Technology Outreach Group at Sun Microsystems) started talking about an example of ultimate evangelism: the Java Education and Development Initiative (JEDI). As soon as I heard the acronym for the project, I was riveted. When he mentioned PSITE (the Philippine Society for IT Educators]], I was, like, "I know those folks!" When he flashed pictures of the teachers from Baguio and Cebu and all these other places, I was, like, "The guy in the blue shirt in the background of the top photo is one of my best friends!" And when he waxed lyrical about the benefits of working with the Philippines to a hundred of Silicon Valley's evangelists, I was just *floating.* Very nearly literally, too. I was practically bouncing off my seat with barely-contained energy. I love my country. I really do. I want to tell more stories about it! =D

My favorite post-conference moment was chatting with Kiran Patel and a group of other people over dinner. During the round of introductions, I got to meet all sorts of fascinating people (including the guy who made Babelfish, Altavista's machine translation engine!). I told them how I had moved heaven, earth, and final exams to make it to the conference, and how I made room for it in my (grad) student budget. This was my favorite post-conference moment because it really brought home the fact that I *am* a technology evangelist. I have been a technology evangelist since third year university - since I was 17! (That's five years now!)

And I *want* to be a technology evangelist. I'm going to make that happen. I'm going to be one of the best they've ever seen. =) I want to become really really good at connecting with people, building and maintaining relationships. I want to become really really good at giving presentations and engaging people in conversations. I might even want to become really good at organizing events (best way to meet interesting people!). I want to scale up and outwards.

So what did I take away from the conference?

I met lots of people and ended up with a stack of business cards, for one: lots of people to meet again and again, lots of notes I can now attach to their online personalities. I'll encode those tomorrow morning before heading out. If I feel diligent, I might even get them all encoded tonight before I forget anything. =)

They'll probably remember me for my energy and passion, my questions, my business card, my outfit (purple and tan malong, gold and brown scarf (thanks Simon!)!), or the distance that I flew. ;) There were a few people from even farther - Czech Republic and China! Wow... I was probably the youngest person there, too. =) Heh.

Meeting all these people made me realize that there are a lot of people out there who are passionate about evangelism. Sure, I've read people's blogs, but it's different when you *see* them. I *loved* hearing people talk about about what they do, even though many people have insane travel requirements. A room of evangelists - wow!

The best thing I took from the conference, though, is a better sense of what's out there, what people are doing, what skills people are using, what people love about their work. I *resonate* with their descriptions. I'll blog more about next week, after I finish a few more requirements.

I would *love* to do technology evangelism. Proper. Enterprise 2.0 stuff, maybe. Talking to developers, customers, etc. If IBM doesn't nab me, though, there are a hundred other flowers that can blossom, a million other opportunities to make or explore. =) Sun just got a *huge* positive karma boost with me for the JEDI thing - not just because they did it in the first place, but because they *bragged* about it. =D Awesomeness.

What a totally terrific conference. =D Well worth it!

What could make an evangelist conference even *better* for me? Even more energy and practical tips. Let's talk about our favorite resources. Let's talk about how we can help our (future) managers write our job descriptions, and how we can manage the fact that our job descriptions keep changing. Hmm... I can make this happen on the mailing list. I'm definitely posting a list of my favorite things to the GNOTE mailing list. (Favorite communication blogs, favorite networking books, favorite contact management tips, etc.) In fact, I should blog that too. Handy stuff to have around. Weekend. More women. I don't know why, but I've become much more sensitive to this, even counting the number of women (1) in Microsoft's partner success stories brochure. Attendees: roughly 15% women. No female speakers except for one panel moderator (who did a very good job, mind you, but wasn't speaking). Lots of women in supporting roles (organizers, staff, etc.). I talked to the organizers, and they said they had such a hard time looking for female speakers given the schedule. I would've loved to hear Betsy Weber talk about her work as the chief evangelist at Techsmith, and how one of her personal metrics for evangelist success is the number of hugs she gets. ;) Heck, *I* would be happy to talk about bootstrapping yourself as an evangelist, even though I haven't quite Arrived yet. More perspectives! More diversity! =) Minor logistical tweaks: Nametags - larger fonts, smaller sponsor logo, consistent company identification. Also, should be there at the beginning of event, but delay was understandable. More support for networking, perhaps? Maybe that speed networking idea... ;) Slightly more notice so that people can book cheaper flights? ;) Now that we're on the mailing list, that should get sorted out. And something closer to Toronto would be nice, of course. I guess we'll just have to have an east-coast evangelism conference... ;)

But all in all - awesome, awesome, awesome!

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