- Steve McNiven
Can you name the current Sitefinity Evangelist? Nope, because one doesn’t exist (at least afaik)…but WHY doesn’t one exist is the question to ask.
Gabe Sumner was the overall best evangelist Sitefinity has ever had. Started off using the product way way back, created a fan site, had some of the only widgets available (I still use his “page title” widget concept in every site). Nobody has been able to fill his shoes since then, perhaps promoting Gabe was a worse decision than just increasing his pay rate :) I’m sure Gabe is fine with the result though ;)
Next up I believe was Chris Ergle. Chris was a great guy and developer to be sure (knows his stuff), but he didn’t know much about Sitefinity. It’s not something you can come into cold…a CMS is more of a learn by doing thing. I do thank him for his service, was just an uphill battle.
Tim was the next best contender to maybe fill the void. Knows his Sitefinity stuff, likely technically better than Gabe now (having been out of the game for a bit)…great speaker…but he left (quit, fired, no idea). Also became a fan of Sitefinity by using the product (see a trend?).
What I do remember though is one of his first webinars in which he had a “little buddy” from Marketing sitting in on the call ruining the entire presentation. When I say ruining, I mean ruining. I’ve been on just about every telerik webinar for the last 7 or 8 years and it was brutal. You know how you’ve likely had a job where your boss was totally non-technical but kept making technical decisions?..yeah it was like that the entire time.
So who comes next…or does anyone come next! Does Sitefinity need to be evangelized at all. It’s not really a community CMS anymore, if you use SItefinity you’re likely working for a partner or a medium-large company who licensed it. Does all the pumping and promoting for the CMS even need to be done by an evangalist as a single developer likely wont just pick it up and start using it (cold). Sales leads are generated by the DEC or marketo, or salesforce. The only outlier is when you company says “We need a CMS, go look at the best .net ones like Sitefinity, Sitecore, or Kentico”.
I think the failing is likely the positioning of the…position. It should be more like a lead developer…in that I mean someone to lead the active passionate Sitefinity developer community. I point you over to Burke who just kills it weekly on the kendo front, where’s our Burke?. Do and show us things we might not know, be available to answer questions…maybe contribute things we want to the source or feather (because believe me, you can’t buy a submission…even if I edit the code and send it to them, never had anything accepted to the source). An actual leader on our behalf inside of telerik.
He\she should not be a marketing puppet to trumpet things like “Build free or die! (Groan)”. They should not be babysat on every little thing…I mean granted the person shouldn’t be going out and slandering the CMS, but they certainly could acknowledge shortcomings without fear of repercussions (kinda like tenure at a university). One good old forum thread comes to mind where Gabe decided to solicit issues with the RadEditor…worked well, if nothing else allowed us to vent a bit. I doubt he took any flack for it, if he did it was for us (thanks Gabe).
But like “hey Sitefinity 7.3 is coming out, here’s a cool developer webinar to show you the neat new things!”…remember Gabes (infamous?) Sitefinity 4.0 preview webinar? There was lots of bugs that popped up, but you could tell he was excited regardless…he was showing us something cool. I want that guy back…well not Gabe per-say, but that same level of excitement…I think he had like Ivan on the line too, not a Marketer.
Like on a developer webinar we don’t need marketing mumbo-jumo…at all…get your marketing out of our learning. If we see something cool, we’re sold on the cool itself…not a slogan. “Business” users want the buzz-words, marketing needs to see the difference between us and them. This is also why we have two separate g+ groups.
Or maybe I’m just wrong, and the job is never permanently filled because it’s just terrible for some unknown reason…I know the CMS is killer…evangelizing something awesome should be easy!
I have no insider knowledge of anything here, opinions are my own, but this is how it appears from the outside…or maybe it’s all moot and the new evangelist will be announced next week!