When I first started at Microsoft 23 months ago as a Developer Evangelist, most of my friends and family (not all my friends, because some of my friends include dogs, goldfish and the little possum who stalks me at night) were unclear on what an evangelist was, or did? When I first started, I didn’t really have a response, it was more along the lines of, “Dunno, will let you know after a few months!”.
Well, this month, it’s Evangelism Month at Microsoft, and I thought it would be a great time to state my idea of what evangelism is. Not from a Microsoft point of view, as in my job role, etc, but just as someone who has done this all my life.
Because the first and foremost thing is everyone is an evangelist. But I’ll get to that.
So what do I think evangelism is, based on my own personal experience?
Evangelism is an intense, uncompromising, irrational, emotional desire to share an experience with someone else.
Why? Because, as people, when we discover something so special, so exciting, so cool, that it changes our lives, our first reaction is to share that with the people we care about.
All of us are evangelists, and all of us have evangelized. Whether it’s about a movie you’ve seen, or a place you’ve visited, or just an idea you’ve had, it’s not the content that is important, it’s the experience. It’s the emotion!
It’s called evangelism because you can’t quantify that kind of feeling in numbers or graphs, you can’t deliver it as a spreadsheet or an online tool, geez, you can’t even cut it with a poster with an eagle and a catchy line! You do it by transporting someone to the place you’re at, using nothing more than words delivered through emotion.
For me, personally, it’s when I lock onto the whites of your eyes. It’s when you’re sharing with me your goals, your ambitions, the place you are starting at, and the place you want to get to. And all I want is for you is to get there, and I feel so strongly about you reaching that destination, that I won’t hold back!
It’s the feeling of anticipation, the feeling that something is about to happen. There are no crazy ideas, no “proven” methods, no set plans, only ideas and possibilities! And it might take minutes, it might take hours, who cares, we don’t stop until you feel like your destination is right in front of you, just within reach, and you’ve got the belly full of fire to jump in feet first!
It’s about emotion! It’s about an experience!
It’s about evangelism!