Talking Field CTOs and Sabbaticals with Nick Howell – Episode 135

Is the Field CTO the evolved final form of the Evangelist? And just how does an off-the-grid sabbatical change your perspective? We ask these questions and more as we talk with Nick Howell, who reflects back on his previous adventures as a technical marketing engineer and new journeys as a podcaster, blogger, and voice over performer.

Some of what we talked about:

  • The Tech Marketing Engineers have a tech knob and a marketing knob
    • You tend to turn the marketing knob up and get less hands on
  • Evangelist vs Technical marketing engineer
  • John said Guy Kawasaki was the first Technology Evangelist — this is not true, although the term was coined at Apple.
  • Reprise: When Not to be an Evangelist with Vaughn Stewart – Episode 113
  • Social media outreach as formal role vs something you do on the side
  • The old days – the rise of the blogger corps
  • Org charts – Marketing vs Sales
    • You’re sales if you have a quota
    • You’re marketing if you don’t have a quota
  • Instead of a title of evangelist, we invented the Field CTO.
  • The Field CTO is a tech blogger that can bring executive cred to the meeting
    • On the road, closing deals, spreading the visionDifferences between: internally facing CTO vs externally facing CTO vs CTO inside the sales force
  • Buying centers: Technical decision maker vs business decision maker
  • Spread of a function across the org as it become more mature:
    • webmaster was a job, now lots of team do web things
    • social media
    • “devops engineering team” will eventually become everybody’s job
    • Evangelism and social/online/community presence now permeates across the org – and in the field it can be called Field CTO
  • Reprise: The CTO in the field with Mike Letchin – Episode 89
  • Do you have to be social/blogging to be a good TME?
  • Reprise: We Need to Speak Differently – Technical Marketing with Tyler Hannon – Episode 94
  • Differences between earlier tech communities and more recent tech communities
  • Open source – utilizing new platforms
  • Multiple platforms and the rise of Slack
  • Nick: Twitter is too flooded with corporate crap
  • Matt: Twitter is still the social fabric that connects us
  • Nick’s new direction: voiceover work and the Orbital Jigsaw podcast network
  • Taking a sabbatical
  • Reprise: Staying Technical and Customer Facing with Leah School – Episode 133
  • Nick’s sabbatical post had a huge response
  • We all have to be on alert – can we relax and take a break
  • Nick’s tips if you suddenly don’t have a job:
    • Take some time off – a few months at least (if you can afford it)
    • Give yourself permission that it’s ok
    • Take breaks a couple of times a year (if you can afford it)
  • Amy’s maternity leave tip: make sure there’s something you put down that you don’t pick up again
  • Matt: take time off. Your job is not that important. Matt recommends tacos in another country.
  • Company holiday shut downs are really nice
  • What would you never do again? Never go against your gut
  • Twitter: @datacenterdude

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