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Author's profile photo Craig Cmehil

What does a SDN Community Evangelist do?

While not giving it much thought at the time, my last blog and the Is it good to be back? I was reaching seemed to spawn a few emails asking what it is that I do as a SDN Community Evangelist, and well I wanted to answer the mails but I also realized that this might actually be a question a few more of you have and just haven’t thought about asking me directly. Well first things first, SDN is a website, service and community all roled into one. We have a team that deals with the management of SDN/BPX (can’t forget the new guys on the block) as a service and solution, we have the group that deals with the displaying and organizing of the content to best fit our users, we have the team that helps to spread the word and deal with marketing and business development, the group that makes sure things run smoothly and of course the team (the one I am in) that deals with the community and collaboration aspect of things. In my team we have Mark Finnern who works very hard on a daily basis to ensure that all of requests from the community are considered and acted upon when possible, he makes sure that the SDNers and now BPXers are getting recognition and he’s creating things like the SDN Day at TechEd’06, which then leaves myself and Marilyn Pratt. Marilyn is the Community Evangelist for the new BPX Community and I am the Community Evangelist for the developer side of things. You all know now that I get lots and lots of email, including those “hate mails” which I consider part of the job, I mean we’ve got a whole lot of users out there and you can’t make everyone happy 100% of the time. Typically this is how my week goes:

  • Monday: updating of our “Crossing Over list” and our Community Pages. Want to help New opportunities on SDN!? of reporting the news on SDN/BPX?
  • Tuesday: Weblog applications and weblog points
  • Wednesday: T-Shirt distribution
  • Monday – Friday: “Junior” blog reviews, forum moderation, complaint handling, working with contributors
  • Weekends and odd hours: Forum / Blog administration

During this time I also help our new bloggers get used to the blog system, which is always fun because I get to experience that “first” blog over and over again with them. You know that first time you submit one and you see it hit the list, even better when you get your first comment – makes the whole thing worth while. I also search through the forums when I have time to find users who have been making their presence known (need New opportunities on SDN!? here) and see what they do and talk to them about other ways of contributing to SDN. It’s been rare lately but I also do (hope to start them up again) our SDN Contributor Spotlights and SDN Interviews to post onto SDN TV. Doesn’t seem like a whole lot on a weekly basis, but many of things I do, deal with the behind the scenes processes such as stats of forum and community activites, setup of the cc_online_meetup_archive.htm (something Marilyn and I are reviewing the services we use), as well as many of the feature requests that we receive and deal with. All of those things actually take up quite a bit of my time, unless contributors like Eddy and Valery do all the From the Grumpy Old Man: Hoy en el mundo in which case I just have to ensure I follow up with the status on that request and be sure that we don’t lose sight of it with the million and half other things we’ve got in the works. Although most of those things take up about 60% of my week (all of these are regular tasks) that leaves me 40% of my time for one of two things. 1) Dealing with problems, the one thing I just hate to do, and I am so glad that I work in such an awesome team as we are able to work well together to handle the issues when they do come up and our management (Mark Yolton and Ziv Carthy) support us very much! In truth though our “rock” so to speak behind the scenes making sure things run very smoothly is David Branan, Bhanu actually personally thanked David in the interview we did with her at TechEd ’05. David is the one most of you will hear from when you submit something to and he works crazy hours and hard to be sure that the message you submit is sent to the right person to get things resolved – without David I think we’d be in big trouble here! 2) This is my favorite part of the job and one that YOU can be part of it, that is talking to the community. Normally I spend that 40% of time I have each week talking to community members – sometimes it is in a huge conference call or simply one on one. I’ve done several huge conference calls with companies like Wipro, Intelligroup and Cognizant to explain about blogging on SDN, contributions and the right ways to do things – the fact that SDN is here so you can help your fellow developers (and now your fellow Business Process EXperts). I’ve also spent the time I drive down to Walldorf, I don’t sit in Walldorf the whole time and it’s about a 4 hour drive, I spend that time often talking to our contributors in the ASIA areas and my drive back I spend talking to those in the Europe and America(s) areas. As I said this is the part of the job I truely truely love to do, and I want to do more of it. Some of the contributors like Michal have already found that using Skype is often times an excellent way to catch me and let me know about things on SDN or even just how they are doing. So here’s my offer to all of you, take it or leave. If you take it then please take it in the spirit that it is, this is a chance for you to communicate about great things happening on SDN that we on the community team might not have noticed, it’s a direct channel to the team to offer suggestions to make things better. It’s a chance for you to let us know what you and SDN are doing offline, are you meeting in groups and discussing technology? How SDN impacts and afects your life, but most importantly this is NOT A CHANNEL to complain, ask about t-shirts, iPods, etc. Those types of things need to be researched, investigated so on and so forth so please email about those. So how can you get ahold of me? Just check out my SDN Business Card for details on reaching me by email, instant message or mobile phone. Please keep in mind when calling though I am in CET (Berlin time). Best is to send me a short email or meeting invitation if you are wanting to speak with me over the telephone. As I mentioned above I have 40% of my time for this type of activity – which is changing by the way as Marilyn is starting to build the BPX side of things, we are finding we have a lot of “cross community” activities which means I as well as her get more time to do what we both really love and that is talking to you out there. Our hope is that we have enough “cross community” stuff taking place and enough of you volunteer to New opportunities on SDN!? out that we can spend at least 50% to 60% of our time talking with all of you!

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      This is great Craig! You just answer my never asked question -:P I knew that your job was hard...Just never know it was so hard -:(

      Your team does a terrific job...Having to maintain the SDN together is not an easy task...

      And talking bout Skype...I have disconnected for a long...Hope this Monday we chat for a while -;)



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Its the spirit that keeps the system alive. Three cheers for you and your teams enthusiasm in handling issues on behalf of us and providing all us such a beautiful platform to communicate and resolve our issues.

      PS: I am wondering when the Fav list will start functioning. This can be helpful in many ways, one of them being easier to keep in check with the fav. Gurus and tap into their knowledge reservoir.

      Have fun,