Establishing an evangelist-led ecosystem

Technological ecosystems are abundant in today’s digital world. They exist around everything you experience from your mobile phone operating system to your smart car, to your connected home. People are interacting with more technology every day and the level of interconnectedness is increasing at an exponential rate. Despite the diversity in connected technologies there’s one thing every single one of them share. That one thing is developers.

Every phase of technological production and implementation requires the expertise of developers. Without developers the ecosystem isn’t complete. In order for an ecosystem to thrive, developers must be interested and active in all that is going on. The challenge for companies then, is to figure out how to engage developers every step of the way and keep them motivated and involved.

One approach leading technology companies are using to reach and engage those developers is a developer evangelist model. The evangelist model is perhaps as varied as the number of technologies they represent. They come in all shapes and sizes with different targets, methods and intended outcomes. They range from the full time internal employee who speaks at large developer events in a one-to-many approach to the part time external contract employee who sits down with developers one-on-one at local Meet Ups.

The models can be tailored for different outcomes. If for example the intended outcome is broad awareness of a particular offering or platform, a one-to-many approach works well. The evangelist would likely be a talented speaker with a charismatic personality who would attend larger industry developer events as a top tier sponsor and communicate the product in an exciting and engaging way for developers. This person would potentially become the face and voice to developers for a given segment. If however the intended outcome is to reach new developers and get them to adopt, implement or publish using a given offering or platform, a one-to-some model works well. In this approach the ideal evangelist would be someone who is very familiar with the technology, can interact well socially and relate to developers individually. They would be utilized to speak at sponsored events but usually in breakout sessions where they can engage and interact with developers on a more personal level. Those interactions would then move into more personal communication via email or some other means to provide individual support along the development path.

Regardless which model is implemented, the overall goal is the same, to provide some level of personal connection with developers. The personal connection evangelists create builds a sense of familiarity, connectedness and value between the company and the developer. This connection in turn creates brand loyalty and aids in meaningful community building. The company that can foster the growth of a committed developer community will have a much greater chance at being successful in their segment.

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