Podcast 15 – What’s it like to be a Technical Evangelist?

The Geek Whisperers are proud to have friend and legendary podcaster Greg Knieriemen from Speaking in Tech. He lets us in on his transition to HDS as an Evangelist. We dig into questions about what he now does, how it’s reported on and how the transition has been for him personally.


Given the linguistics involved, Greg’s own comment tells you where we’ll be going:

“Words matter a lot.”

Other topics:

  • Avoiding the “social media guy” tag
  • Personal vs professional brand

Top observations if you had an offer on the table:

  • Be ready for the “lines in the sand conversation” between personal and professional brand
  • Be sure the culture overlaps with you (see Chuck Hollis podcast and image below)
  • Set realistic expectations before your personal brand sets a trap

As always:

Whisper back to us — are you an aspiring or current Evangelist? Do you love the term or hate it? How has it been balancing your brands?


It's good for you socially when you can overlap with your company's message.
It’s good for you socially when you can overlap with your company’s message.
It's bad when you barely overlap with what your company believes in.
It’s bad when you barely overlap with what your company believes in.

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  1. Stephen Powell
    2 August, 2013

    Is there a need for a Technical Evangelist Evangelist?

    A common theme I hear on the GW podcasts is how everyone works in a position that they could never replicate somewhere else – which is a euphoric place to be.

    But sustaining this role over an extended period of time becomes tricky – managing expectations is critical; but there is also a risk that others start to take your contributions for granted and you become another ‘piece of furniture.’ The challenge is how to stay fresh and relevant.

    It is interesting that there is an established association for Briefing Programs and Briefing Centres (http://www.abpm.com) who work at building out structure, best practice and peer recognition. Perhaps there needs to be a similar association for the Evangelist – in a way I believe the GW podcasts can be the genesis for such a body.

    Thank-you again for another brilliant and stimulating conversation!

    PS. I have been very amused at the recent blur between podcasts I follow – Speaking in Tech, Packet Pushers, Cloudcast and GW have all been playing in each others ‘pool.’ It must be a northern hemisphere summer phenomena.

    • Amy Lewis
      8 August, 2013

      🙂 It’s a podcast mashup in this hemisphere. I credit the humidity.

      Great point about how what is new can become standard and expected. It can’t be all unicorns, there must be paddocks built eventually. I like to think about what a Tech Evangelist Association meeting would sound like.

    • 9 August, 2013

      I think that’s a great point. In a big corporate setting you can’t really be a special snowflake forever, even if it’s just for career longevity — if you think about an SE, for instance, there’s a clear template for the role, you can move from company to company as opportunities arise, and there’s a clear career path upward to management. I think already patterns have emerged in roles like “community manager,” and we’ll see the same thing with this “evangelist” thing. Exactly what that is — and how it’s different than community managers, executives who give talks at conferences, technical marketers, content marketers, corporate journalists, and your briefing program example — well, that’s what we’ll have to figure out, eh?

      Thanks for the kind words!

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