Why are all marketing people seen as useless scum?…

February 21, 2005

Why are all marketing people seen as useless scum? Perhaps because some are useless scum.

Robert Scoble, the king of Microsoft bloggers, posted this sad entry recently. I left a long comment as part of the stream there, but felt the need to say just a little more.

Technology marketing is not easy. Anyone who has ever done it realizes this almost immediately. The new marketer who comes to this realization has three courses of action, 1) suck it up and get better and better by learning, 2) say “screw it” and just do the same things over and again and damn those geeks anyway, or 3) get a job working for Pepsi.

Many people choose option 1. I like to think I am one of those, though some people may disagree. After 15 years as a technology marketer I am pretty sure I am not going to choose option 3. But, I repeat that this is a hard space in which to be a marketer.

Technology products, particularly software, are crystallized magic. They are able to do the unthinkable and impossible simply because someone figured out a way to build a “machine” that lives in unthinkable and impossible land. Convincing others of the value of this is often a hit or miss proposition. Either people get it or they don’t. If they don’t, then the hard work begins to show them enough of the unthinkable dreams they have turned into reality to warrant them using the product. This is really where the fun begins for marketing people.

I work with many many smart people – -marketing, sales, development, legal, finance, hr, etc. The IQ/sq ft in Redmond is huge, and it shows every time I have a conversation with my co-workers. But, some of these people just don’t have any real love or passion or belief in technology. Those people would be much better off working for Pepsi or Wal-Mart or Goldman Sachs.

Technology in general, and software in particular, is special. It is magic (and I can say that without a shred of irony) and you either believe in the magic and respect its power and the power of the magicians, or you go elsewhere.

I believe in the magic. Always have, always will.

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