The GetEvangelist function
In advance of each trip that Mike, Jinesh, or I take, we create an entry on our Evangelists Wiki. We fill it in with the anchor events for our trip and leave some time open for meetings with interested parties — often developers and entrepreneurs.
At that point, anyone who’d like to meet with us is more than welcome to find an open time and to reserve it by simply making an entry in the wiki. We do appreciate a confirming email which includes any information that you don’t want to leave out in public.
To date every one of these meetings has been very worthwhile. Everyone has been very respectful and protective of our time and they’ve gone out of their way to make sure that the events on our schedule will fit together with just the right amount of time to spare. In fact they will often suggest ways to optimize our schedules, must-visit local restaurants, and so forth.
At first the wiki was used to make sure that pre-planned trips were action-packed. However, last year, one of our “fans” created an entry in the “Possible Trips” section at the bottom of the page. He invited us to come to New Zealand and promised that he would help to set up 4 or 5 meetings to get things rolling. Mike used this one wiki entry as the basis for a very successful trip to New Zealand and Australia.
The private meetings are very valuable to us. We get to hear from users and potential users, and we take their feedback seriously. Part of our discipline while on the road is to write a trip report at the end of each day. We recount the presentations and meetings and do our best to pass along what we’ve learned. If you give us some feedback in the course of a presentation or a private meeting, it will be in inbox of a number of members of the AWS team within a matter of hours. We take care to call out requests for new features and even for entirely new services and route these directly to the appropriate planners and managers.