Over the past several months, I have put together a team of expert technologists whose job is to…well…back to that in a moment.
I have been calling this team Oracle Database Evangelists.
And now we are really close to launching ourselves into a flurry of activity and fun. Which has gotten us focused for the moment on what to call ourselves: both our team and each person.
Do we really want to be evangelists, for example?
My fine and very smart friend, That Jeff Smith, suggests that we not overthink it. I agree. But a little thought could go a long way in this case.
And since I like the idea of engaging our user community in what we will be doing, I thought I would share with you our various ideas. Including our current favorite alternative to Evangelist.
Hopefully you will give us some feedback. Before you can judge a name, though, you should have some idea of what we are naming. In other words:
Why have I assembled a team of Oracle Database experts who are also really good at communicating ideas in a creative, inspiring way?
1. Make sure everyone (current and prospective users) know that Oracle Database is not just for storing and retrieving bits and bites. It also is a powerful foundation for application developers, packed with features that make it easier for us to build performant, scalable, maintainable applications. Think: SQL, PL/SQL, Oracle Spatial, Oracle Text and more, even “small” features like Query Change Notification.
2. Help our users fully leverage all these features by providing more training resources, more scripts, more tools, more how-tos.
As noted above, I had been thinking of calling our team and each of us individually “evangelists.”
That’s the title I had at Quest/Dell - PL/SQL Evangelist - and it’s a fairly common title in the software world these days.
But I was never really comfortable with it. Why not?
First, it tended to put me up on a pedestal: I am better than everyone else at this, you should all learn from me. Now, certainly I have lots of experience with PL/SQL. But so do lots and lots of others, and I am certain (really: I know for a fact) that some of them know as much about PL/SQL as I and are better developers than I am.
And even if I were the absolute best at PL/SQL in the whole, wide world, one of the things I want this team to do for other (non-employee) Oracle experts is make them more visible, give them a way to share their knowledge and build their reputations. How do all of my PL/SQL friends out there fit into my "evangelism"?
The second problem with “evangelist” is that it’s all about pushing and being pushy. By pushing, I mean that when you evangelize you try to convince others that you are right, that they should follow you. It is an outward-directed process, from the vendor (Oracle) to the user (you). But I want our team to put users first, in every possible way.
I want many more of our users to become well-known experts in their own right. I want to make it as easy as possible for you to get answers to your questions, solutions to your problems. I want to help everyone learn about and take advantage of the many advanced (and some not so advanced) features of Oracle Database that are beneficial to developers, but rarely utilized.
Bottom line: I see us more as "inside partners" for our users than as promoters of Oracle Database technology. And I think we will be excellent partners with you.
Yeah, we could probably go with Evangelist and people wouldn’t blink an eye, think twice about it.
But maybe there is a name that better fits what we want to accomplish and how we want to work.
Last week, at our first meeting together at Oracle HQ last week, we bounced around a number of different naming ideas, including:
I must admit: I came up with Guide - and I really like the idea of it, that we are helping guide users through the vast jungle of Oracle products and features, to find the solution to their problem. But it sounded too much like Scouts and Girl Guides and also did not convey the sense of being a communication channel back in to Oracle.
As we tried on different names for the team and titles for the individual members, we kept circling back around to Advocate.
Advocate our software to our users.
Advocate for user needs back to Prod Dev.
Combine that word with a realization we are focusing (at least initially) on the application developer, and we have a current favorite amongst the team of:
Team name: Oracle Developer Advocates
So...what do you think?
Thanks in advance,