When Not To Be An Evangelist with Vaughn Stewart – Episode 113

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When is being an evangelist not the right thing to get the job done? This week we talk with Vaughn Stewart about the implications of a title like Chief Evangelist, and why he changed roles (and titles) to VP, Enterprise Architect at Pure Storage instead.

Vaughn was a de facto and de jure evangelist in roles in the past, but always secondary to his role in technical marketing and in the field. It turns out one of the problems is that evangelism is often a matter of perspective. Evangelists will often use the power of their own personal technical experience and passion for the product to make an impact. As an official chief evangelist, on the other hand, your job — or at least the perception of your job — is to give the official pitch of the company. That pretty much takes a lot of the fun and a lot of the power of the personal testimonial about giving your opinion about the technologies you’re working with. This is about evangelism as a side gig and employee of the company – influence – vs being an official spokesperson – advocacy.

Vaughn reminds us that  we don’t need to have a title of evangelist to make an impact, and in fact he gives the recommendation that most of us shouldn’t take that title. You can certainly leverage social media without the title, and you may make more of an impact in the unofficial conversation.

We had a great time talking with our friend Vaughn about his journey. What’s also interesting is that working on job role and title fit keeps on being something you work on even at the executive level. Vaughn, ever the busy executive, talked to us on this podcast on the road on his phone, and in fact was walking onto the airport jetway as we signed off. Thanks, Vaughn!


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