Saturday, January 02, 2010
So what is an Evangelist?
Well...there are a number of definitions for this, but if you go to Webster's (not the little guy from TV, but the dictionary) you find the definition of Evangelist to be:
evangelist |iˈvanjəlist|noun1 a person who seeks to convert others to the Christian faith, esp. by public preaching.• a layperson engaged in Christian missionary work.• a zealous advocate of something : he is an evangelist of junk bonds.2 the writer of one of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) :St. John the Evangelist.
The one we're looking at in this case is that of:
"A Zealous advocate of something" meaning someone who speaks of a product or service constantly or consistently, and even potentially raves about it.
As in Guy Kawasaki is an evangelist of Apple Computer. Or Guy Kawasaki is a Macintosh Evangelist. Not sure whether you're for both or for one now Guy, you'll have to comment on your own. I evangelize KickStartCart. Why? because they deliver service and support and a product that works as described in their documentation which they constantly update.
For myself, I don't fixate on any one product unless of course I use it for my business or in daily life. If I do so and I am pleased with the way it performs and the support that I get when I require support (Yes it does happen), then I will speak favorably of a product and never expect anything from them. However when a product does not work right, inhibits client usage and is lacking in support...the last thing you want me doing is Evangelizing your product because that has the effect of King Midas in reverse. No gold here, only KA-KA. (technical term)
What I will NEVER do is consult with a product company to allow them to fix their product using my suggestions for improvement and do it completely and totally free. That's not how I roll. There are times when I will reward a company with suggestions or observations and expect nothing in return. In fact there is ONE company that I do this with often and that's APPLE. Why? Because I worked for Steve Jobs, and I feel a loyalty to a platform that I began using back in 1978.
When you ask someone to help you fix an issue with your company's flagship product and you say to them "Well I'm not in a position to be paying for your suggestions", stop what you asking and find the person who is responsible, can write the checks and allow them to make an ovation of an engagement. This way we don't waste each other's time. You see when you perform the asking, you're really asking for a consulting engagement. If you're not in a position to be authorizing payment for the engagement...you should not be asking for the engagement.
Granted there are times when I will post things on twitter and facebook as hints to companies that there are problems they may wish to examine and fix to improve their impression in the eyes of their customers. I may hint at specific things that need attention in specific areas when I've used a service and its failed to perform at expected levels. However, I am not someone your company can call and say "Hey I saw your postings and so can you tell me all the places we need to fix our stuff?" (basically so I can reap the rewards of this because we screwed up and I am trying to cover my ass and I can't believe you caught this stuff, And by the way we appreciate you giving us that info, but we can't pay you for it".
That's just comical and I will publicly call you on it. Do yourself a favor, grab the company checkbook with the CEO in tow and call me and then start that pen moving across a check with a nice respectable dollar amount for my time, and we can go over your product top to bottom and discuss how to fix it. What's respectable? Start at $5,000 an hour and we'll cap it at $25,000 for 5 hours of brain dump. After that we can go from there and I'll knock $500 off per hour to save you some money.
I will do a favor to the company which I am referring to laughingly in this posting. I will not post your company name here. I'll leave that to others to do the research and piece together the answer from my tweets and facebook postings.
If your CEO wants to engage my services to help you better understand your product, your market and the solutions to your current problems we can discuss such things. However, that does not mean I will evangelize your product. That takes time and trust and so far...we're not there.
Lastly, if I have contacted you on behalf of a client to get a refund for your product being oversold and under delivered to that client, please don't insult me or my client by offering a refund that is basically 50% less than what has previously been offered to them. That's ludicrous and the only thing they'll get from me on your behalf is a referral to a law office for their case and a lot of primetime blog, twitter, facebook, and other social network time bashing your product until it seriously hurts your bottom line.
Service is about ensuring "Customer Satisfaction". If your product is not doing that, please don't ask me to be an affiliate, an evangelist, or even to mention your product. It will not happen in a positive light.
To people like Guy who I admire and respect: Thanks for paving a great road to ride on.