Maybe one more post’s worth of introduction and hemming and hawing, and then I’ll get to the subject matter that I have in mind for this blog. In this case I’ll detail my intentions for this blog. FWIW, I wrote a similar statement of intentions for Tim Callan’s SSL Blog, and that one has turned out well.
As I stated in the previous post,
…while I enjoy the SSL Blog immensely, I deliberately made a decision to keep it highly focused on a few technologies: SSL and its relatives. I sometimes stray as far as code signing or trust seals, but that’s not very far at all. In the meantime I have many opinions on the industry and the role in it I have inhabited for my entire career. And I have lacked a suitable forum for discussing matters beyond that very narrow topic.
To be more specific, I have had twenty years to formulate my opinions about what a successful technology marketer looks like. Some of these are pure thoughts about marketing vehicles and how they work best; some are thoughts about software and internet services; some are about both at once. And really they’re all about both at once because my viewpoint on marketing has been forged completely in the crucible of real-world performance for software and internet companies, and my viewpoint on tech products has been inextricably intertwined with my need to aid and abet the selling of those products.
I’ll give you one pedestrian but real example. From my early teenage years through college I had been a user of Apple computer products. By my senior year in college I owned a Mac and my own inkjet printer that would print a page every two minutes and could hold at most five pages at a time. (I majored in English and therefore routinely handed in thirty-page papers, which would take an hour to print and which needed me to sit there actively monitoring and feeding the printer the entire time. Before I handed in my 250-page thesis I was up all night printing the sucker out. I went ahead and sprang for the photocopies for two of the three readers on my panel because it was preferable to spending the next twenty-four hours feeding paper into a printer five sheets at a time.) I was a bit of a power user albeit with a bias toward word processing as my key app.
Then I went to work for a Windows ISV. ISV stands for independent software vendor, and we sold desktop productivity applications for the Windows platform. Obviously I was going to use Windows at the office, although I still had my Mac at home. That started me down a career path marketing business applications for use on Windows desktops and then networks, and I continued to spend most of my time in the Windows OS, and soon I had laptops from my work and could use them in my off time as well, and finally one day I packed up the Mac and gave it away to someone or other who needed a computer and couldn’t afford one. And then I was a pure Windows head.
By this time I was in product management for Windows apps or managing product managers, and part of my job was to learn the ins and outs of this platform in particular. Naturally that bled over into my own usage, and to this day it still throws me off when an app does not obey the standard Windows keyboard shortcuts or fails to implement right-click menus in the way I would consider proper for the interface. And so ultimately my occupation as a designer and releaser and promoter of a certain kind of product completely colored my behaviors and attitudes as a user of that type of product, to the point where I was a fundamentally different sort of computer user than I surely would have been had I instead pursued a career in, let’s say, entertainment or insurance or pharma.
Likewise for the practice of marketing. My views of marketing are wrapped up entirely in its application to technology products. Popular marketing gurus like Geoffrey Moore and Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin are to be taken in a different light when one applies their ideas to high technology. The same goes for messaging and evangelism and the various media and techniques that one might employ.
So although I imagine I mostly will be talking about the philosophy and practice of marketing, bear in mind that the unspoken end of that phrase will read, “…the philosophy and practiee of marketing as applied to computer technology products and services.”
Next time, a bona fide topic. I promise.