August 13, 2012

Being a Technology Evangelist

Sometimes people ask me: what do you do for a living? My first reaction is always a smile. I anticipate that, when that person will hear my title, they will think they got it wrong, and ask to repeat it again. Then, I repeat my words and they still are “I’m a Technology Evangelist”. They look at me with a weird face, and clearly want an explanation.

It’s a catchy title, one of those titles that almost “force” people to ask “Tell me more about it”. It’s almost as catchy as my all-time favorite, “Pizza consultant”, a guy that I’ve met in Singapore at a dinner. Literally EVERYBODY wanted to know more about it, and Pizza is one of the universal languages of love. Actually, let me digress for a second.

(a very good pizza at Port Townsend, WA, USA, on a cold March day. Read more here)

Pizza, as we today know it, was invented in** Naples, Italy**. From Wikipedia: “…In 1889, during a visit to Naples, Queen Margherita of Italy was served a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). This kind of pizza has been named after the Queen as Pizza Margherita…”

I’ve lived in Singapore from early 2010 until July 2012, and of course I discovered a few great places to eat and have coffee. Best Pizza in Singapore? My favorite is Operetta (“Napoli” style pizza, with San Marzano tomatoes), but here you can find some more.

I live in** San Francisco** now, but I don’t yet know any great place for pizza. I’ll update you in a few months, I promise. Ok, end of digression. Back to my work.

What do I do for a living? I’m a Technology Evangelist for a big Cloud provider, Amazon Web Services. This is how it all started.

I attend conferences, events, meetings, meetups, hackathons and the like, and I talk about what you can do with Amazon Web Services (or AWS in short). It also means that I travel a lot: more than 450 flights in the last four years alone. (and more than 430 events).

Presenting in public is an interesting skill to develop. After you do it hundreds of times in a few years, you learn one thing or two. I also like to create new content (presos, demos) from scratch, and as you can see from this Introductory presentation on AWS, I have my own style. I also spend a lot of time on technical stuff, mainly to learn new services, or deep dive into existing ones, and then be able to talk about them. I meet with many customers, from small startups to big enterprise companies, doing a range of things from simple introductory discussions, to technical sessions, etc. I’m also the “ear” of the company, collecting feedback on the field, and then passing it to the relevant people inside my organization. That’s, in essence, what I do. The title, “Technology Evangelist”, essentially means that I “evangelize” the technology that AWS builds, trying to convince people to either take a look at it, or to use it more if they’re existing customers. I do it trying to be balanced, honest, and open, and I’ve found out that customers really appreciate that, instead of someone that wants to blindly convince them to “buy” that technology.

If you have questions about AWS, or if you want to apply for one of our open positions, drop me an email. $My_first_name, @, You obviously have to change that with, well, my first name, Simone.

A quick note on referral bonuses: as you know, most companies, including, offer referral bonuses to employees when they “refer” a candidate that gets hired. If you apply for a job, and then contact me, it’s fine (and I don’t get any referral). However, if you want me to help you understand which role might fit you, or we know each other and you want me to be your referral, if you contact me first I can get the referral bonus (or, apply and mention that I am your referral). Please also note that I cannot give any special advice, insight, trick, shortcut whatsoever. Our selection process should be fair, and I don’t want to give you an unfair advantage.

Since Nicolas, from South Africa, inspired me to write this post, here’s a picture of me, presenting at Tech4Africa in 2011.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Talk to you soon!

In 1889, during a visit to Naples, Queen Margherita of Italy was served a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag, red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). This kind of pizza has been named after the Queen as Pizza Margherita