Why hire an IEvangelist

More great comments are coming in about this position.

Why do I think we need an Evangelist?  It’s because we need someone whose full time job is to focus on making sure the community understands what IE is about, what it offers, and responds to feedback.  I’m not looking for someone who will don a blindfold and ear plugs and just shout “IE 7! IE 7!" all day long.  I want someone who can look at everything the product team is building, figure out the value (and yes, the drawbacks where there are any) for developers, and then talk about that with the community.  Call it ICommunityOutreach, or ISharerOfInformationForIEDevelopers if the word "evangelist" is what's getting you tied up here.  You can put whatever you want on your business card 🙂


Should a great product speak for itself?  Sure.  But it doesn’t always work that way.  XMLHTTP didn’t speak for itself in 2000 when we first invented it, but now with just a little help from Google it’s spun into this great excitement around AJAX experiences.  Tivo is so stunning that it (or at least some other similar PVR) ought to be in every home in the universe by now, but I'm told their uptake rate is slow because too many still don't actually get what it is.  They need an evangelist!


Sometimes it takes one person dedicated to community outreach to help the product teams keep their focus on what’s important:

To be fair, the IE team’s assignment is to build a great product that has the right mix of features for end-users, IT pros, web devs, and e-commerce sites, and ship it with high quality and security.  The IEvangelist’s assignment, on the other hand, is all about taking it to the community.  Do I hope the IE team steps up and blogs more about the topics that you all care about?  Oh yes, and I sent a copy of Jim’s comments to their leadership team just now (and in fact their product unit manager already responded to me 😉  But I can guarantee you that the IEvangelist on my team will be reviewed on how well he or she blogs and responds in a relevant way to community feedback.


Do I expect the IEvangelist to somehow force the IE team into implementing every idea that gets a lot of votes from the community?  No.  But I certainly expect this person to be able to explain, in every case, how the feedback was considered by the team and why a decision went a particular way.


Dwain totally gets what I’m thinking about for this position, and in fact he says it more articulately that I have, I think.

Let's keep the conversation going, I'm really enjoying it (although at some point, I'm going to have to get back to my other full time job, which is PDC planning, or my other full time job, which is hiring some Longhorn evangelists too)

Comments (6)

  1. Frans Bouma says:

    Still, if IE7 doesn’t obey CSS 1.x and 2.x in FULL, supports 100% sandboxing by default and simply does what the w3c says it should do, don’t bother hiring someone for this position.

    What would this person’s job be then? "It’s great!" no, it’s not and sadly enough, more and more people know that.

    IF you want to make IE7 a success, be sure it IS a success in featureset. Then your opponents don’t have chance because their marketing efforts fail, as their USP’s aren’t USP’s anymore.

    And with ‘featureset’ I don’t mean shiny colors and other nonsense but cold hard standard compliance and 100% sandboxing.

    The first is required for a proper web development now and in the future (but we all know MS doesn’t want that, because then there is no need for XAML). The second is required for security. No sandboxing, no secure browser. You can jump up and down whatever you want, but if there is no sandboxing for 100%, IE users will be vulnerable, as any signed active x component can be installed and run and can access teh complete system (and any malware vendor can buy a key to sign his goo).

    Oh, and we know that in longhorn everything will be better. Though till that OS is released and on the majority of desktops around the world, a lot of time has passed.

  2. John says:

    I agree with Frans, especially on the security side. I don’t care about flashy features and appearance, if ActiveX is enabled or even in "ask-to-confirm" mode in IE7 then screw it, I won’t bother. I dislike Firefox/Mozilla due to UI sluggishness, but Opera and K-Meleon are looking good.

  3. anonymouse says:

    You need an IE Evangelist (IEvangelist looks like an interface definition (-: ). We do too.


    Well, we use IE as our prime mechanism for delivering a number of intra-, extra- and internet applications, and, whilst standards support is important, it’s not as important to us as the other great pieces of work that have been done with IE – things like great client side interactivity and (browser hosted) Windows Forms controls, as well as a generally rich scripting environment (especially for our intranet environments which tend to be [mostly :-)] homogenous in terms of clients).

    So we want someone who will continue to promote this side of IE, all the *cool* bits that some people might complain about becuase they are not *standard* but are awesome because they provide real developer (and hence [maybe :-)] end user) value. Stuff that you add for exactly that reason.

    I don’t think you should be afraid to diverge from the standards if you really think there is value in doing so, but I know where people come from when they want support for a base set of standards.

    The best of both worlds would be to promote both sides; standards growth and *wow* functionality. I sometimes feel that this wow side of IE gets lost (and their are a lot of people out there using this sort of stuff and wanting more that never post to the _IE blog_ for example and so maybe aren’t being heard).

  4. Rich says:

    It is always best to have direct access to someone who can post first hand info, answer questions for the community, and provide feedback to the developers, sort of a feature liaison between users and developers.

    Job Title suggestions:

    -IE Liaison

    -IEKIA (IE "Know-It-All")

  5. steven says:

    Having read most of the discussions on the IE blog, the combination of being on the IE team and posting on the IE blog sounds like something of a nightmare.

    Think about it, the team doesn’t (probably: isn’t allowed to) talk about new developments, which is precisely what people read the blog for (can you blame them?). You’re bound to get flamed by the Firefox enthusiasts for whatever you post. And you’re continually laughed at for any bugs that may be in IE, especially in the area of security.

    An IE evangelist will need to be a very strong personality to be able to withstand such storms.

    People are complaining IE hasn’t had a major update in year. It’s gonna get worse, because IE7 will never be good enough, especially if the rumours about not supporting CSS2 are true. People will complain the update isn’t major enough. Webdesigners, including myself, will resent MS for this lack of functionality (especially now that they’ve had a taste of it in Firefox) and this anger will focus on the MS employees most visibly associated with it.

    Wouldn’t want to be an IE evangelist. Wouldn’t want to be someone posting on the IE blog either.

  6. Jeff Parker says:

    I really am hoping you guys find someone that can fit the bill. This really is a needed position. However a tough one to fill let alone a tough job to do. What am I as a customer looking for in the position? I have been in the internet trade for well over 10 years. I have hard coded html I have used generators of all types I was a huge fan of some of other older less known web technologies even out of Microsoft, like Liquid Motion for example. http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/1998/Jun98/liquidma.asp Man I wish you guys would have come out with version 2 I really loved that technology. At the time it blew flash out of the water.

    But when I think of the IE Evangelist I think of some guy that knows the web, knows what people are doing, someone that can also code up stuff for IE inside and out. I want someone I can talk to on a blog or face to face. I want someone that has been there done that, been through the trenches of the browser wars. I want someone that not only works on IE but can turn to the asp.net team and say hey this isn’t right and hold firm. I have never understood why so many MS html producing apps are quite crappy for lack of a better word. Front page html is bad, but it renders in IE, some of the asp.net html is bad but it renders. This guy can not only improve IE but the MS html/browser experience. Not only does he need to know the web experience he needs to know the other things people do not even consider as being IE. HTML Help for example, or even other things like even network neighborhood, control panel, etc which uses the htt files in windows. There are so many things that IE is doing in the operating system alone it is a big endeavor. Then what about developers that use things like the browser control itself in our own apps.

    I guess I see him more as the noble knight on the steed fighting the fight for IE yet still takes the time to stop and listen and care about the peasants. He also is the knight that knows the wizards working their magic up in the towers of the huge castle of Redmond. Those wizards should consult with him on the mystical things they are creating. Meanwhile he never wavers from his true mission, the peasants. Unfortunately this knight will step in as the new guy getting pelted with fruit and rotten tomatoes. While King Bill will support him, only he can sway the peasants. Then again only he can sway the peasants and earn their respect and trust by also having the respect and trust of those wizards locked inside the Kingdom of Redmond to sway some of their creations, not into hindrance but making them acceptable to the peasants.

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