Thursday, September 01, 2005

I'm a Recovering Programmer

Car with 4 Steering Wheels

I'm a recovering programmer. It has been 785 days since I wrote code. I’ve learnt to deal with it. Now I'm in marketing.

I discovered a great blog the other day called Creating Passionate Users, by Kathy Sierra. Her post makes an insightful point - Programmers should get over their distain for marketers and realize they are marketers. Anyone who is passionate about their product is really a marketer.

As an engineer and programmer of 20 years I've crossed over to the dark side of marketing on numerous occasions to evangelize the products I’ve built. I never saw marketing and engineering as opposing camps but I personally know the pain of being mistrusted by the technical community. In a world where marketing is all too often driven by technology, telling a consistent simple story about complex enterprise software is a never ending challenge.

Complex enterprise software is like a car with 4 steering wheels - it can go anywhere, in circles, at a diagonal, sideways, and more... Wow, let me delight in the beauty of your design but it's still a bitch to drive and what is it really?

In the end creating passionate users is what it's all about and no product will be successful without the viral effects of that passion. Kathy has another great post explaining the dynamics of passionate users called the Koolaid point. You know you have arrived when you have as many people that passionately hate you as passionately love you.

Thanks Kathy for your insights and for such an entertaining blog.

Richard Treadway