Our team just hired another famous person, and now the evangelist haters are getting cranky.
In TechCrunch’s post on the topic, an anonymous poster says “Evangelists for Fortune 1000 companies ( not startups ) are highly paid windbags whose job is to catapult the propaganda and apply ‘lipstick on pigs’”
Someone on Scoble’s blog is less subtle: “DPE in general is a complete waste of money … The whole org (and their VP) need to just be blown up. … Michael should be in CMO and not sucking on the teat of a useless org”
At first, I though, WWBOD (What Would Bill O’Reilly Do)? He would be a real man. He would call for Scoble and Arrington to censor those offensive comments. He would put Jimmy Wales on notice to make sure no such scurrilous comments make it to Wikipedia. He would ask his audience to mount a campaign against the haters.
Then I wondered, what would RIAA do? RIAA would set up a honey pot and lure people to make comments, then sue them for slander and libel. Or use PATRIOT act (they said “blow up”!!!) to put them in prison.
But I realized, that’s not what evangelists do. Evangelism is about telling the truth and shining the light. Ethical evangelists only occasionally use seduction or manipulation, and then only to get you to see the light. If we’re telling the truth, we shouldn’t be afraid of what other people say. If they are simply bringing “ruckus, straight from the sideline” everyone can figure that out on their own.
Therefore, I suggest that the MIX organizers schedule a panel discussion. Something like “DPE and Their Numerous Junkets: Good for Us or Good for Them?” (for the record, my last company-paid junket was when I was a product group PM; I paid my own travel expenses last time), or “Famous People: Better as Shills in Secret or Critics in Employ?”. Even better, “How to Sell Pork Without Wasting Lipstick“.
Seriously, though, it’s a bit silly. Here is the truth:
- We don’t hire people because of their fame. We hire people who have independent minds and are good at bridging to independent communities. We have tons of people like this in our organization. It’s a great place to be.
- People like Michael Gartenberg, Jon Udell, etc. are independent thinkers. They never did and never will say things that they don’t believe.
- I’ve been around the company more than most, and never heard a bad comment about evangelism except in anonymous comment on Scoble, Mini, or TC. Everyone loves us. And if they don’t, I hope they stick to anonymous comments on mini because I have a very sensitive personality and might not be able to handle the hurt.
- CMO vs. DPE vs. PG is silly. Nobody is fighting wars like that. Everyone knows that it’s everyone against the French.