The Original Developer’s Kind of Marketer Finds a New Home

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OpenSolaris in Palm Springs

Originally uploaded by clairegio.

Some of you might recall that a couple of weeks back I caught up with some friends of RedMonk that had news. Well, one of those pieces of news is now public, as Senors Berlind and Shankland picked up: Sun’s Claire Giordano has made the difficult decision to leave one of our clients, Sun, to join another friend of RedMonk at Amazon’s A9.

Though she’s worked at Sun for 16 years, my first real contact with Claire came back in April – just before I moved, in fact – when we chatted briefly about some of the plans for the OpenSolaris community and launch. In his comments on the news, Berlind used the occasion to drive home the point that technology marketing is going to have to evolve to leverage the new channels and mediums developers frequent (a point I couldn’t agree with more and have often made myself), saying:

Moving forward, the people who fill the jobs like the one she’s leaving will need to be marketing maniacs who can do all the traditional marketing stuff with one hand while holding the blogosphere equivalent of a megaphone in the other, marshaling a community of passionate loyalists (employees, partners, developers, customers, onlookers, passers-by, etc.) and leading the discussion about anything that’s even remotely connected to whatever it is they’re hocking.

It’s because of precisely that context that I was so impressed with Claire when we first connected. One of her questions to me at that point was: what should we be thinking about? How should we be marketing? At that point I began to wind up for my lengthy spiel about Bottom Up Marketing, alternative channels, etc. Before I could really get going, she simply asked: “oh, you mean things like del.icio.us, Flickr, and so on?” While it’s a simple question, it represented the very first time that a vendor marketer had brought those channels up to me, rather than vice versa. To be fair, she cheated a bit, b/c she came to marketing via engineering 😉 But this recognition led me to tab her a Developer’s Kind of Marketer.

Thanks in no small part to her efforts, that particular project has been a real success story for Sun. Having watched the traffic on the osol-discuss lists, spoken to individual developers and ISVs, and witnessed the birth of some really interesting OpenSolaris derivatives, it’s difficult to conclude otherwise. And given that I’m the one who told News.com that “the best aspect of [the OpenSolaris launch] for me is seeing a rather large software organization actually recognize the audience they want to be speaking to–in this case the developers,” it should come as no suprise that I think the unconventional marketing practiced by Claire and the rest of the OpenSolaris team played no small part in that. I’m definitely a believer that the community is off and running, and though she never would I think Claire should stand up and take a bow for her own part in that particular story.

Ironically, the very success that OpenSolaris has experienced has played no small role in her decision. In her comments linked to above, she says in part:

OpenSolaris is now well on its way and I feel comfortable leaving it at this point – there is a lot of community support and leadership to move the project forward.

While I don’t know a ton about what she and DeWitt will be getting up to at A9, I do know that she a.) plans on remaining an active member of the OpenSolaris community (hence the shirt) and b.) is excited about the new opportunity. Congrats to A9, because you’d have a hard time finding a better, more developer friendly resource. And while we won’t be working together as analyst/client (at least for now ;), I wish Claire nothing but the best. Look forward to grabbing some lunch with you and Senor Clinton in Palo Alto sometime soon.

One comment

  1. Stephen:

    Thank you. I’m humbled. Coming from you, this vote of confidence means a lot to me.

    As I told you already, I remain a fan of RedMonk and of your blog and of your approach to the business of being an analyst. To quote a friend, “no matter what my badge says.”

    I know the OpenSolaris community (and I’m still part of it!) will continue to thrive. And in the meantime, I am looking forward to joining the excitement at A9. 🙂

    Thank you. And,”yes” to lunch. –ClaireG

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