on geeks and flakes

Scott Sehlhorst reminded me about Geek Marketing 101 by John Dodds.

John writes,

It is so named because I see amongst many geeks a pervasive misunderstanding and consequent distrust of what marketing is, and a failure to recognise that much technology marketing is no longer geek to geek since complex products are increasingly being bought by non-geeks. Of course, these observations are equally applicable to geek to geek and non-geek businesses.

Scott adds,

Don’t let them know, but we’re on our way to understanding how this stuff works.

I spend time with marketers and developers constantly yet I often forget about the chasm between the two. A marketer says "Talk to me like I was a five-year-old," a phrase which translates for a developer to "I don't know enough to work here."

Technical people are often obsessed with technology--the "how" of the product--but people don't care about the 'how' until they understand the 'what'. Marketing people are often obsessed with competitive positioning, the unique selling proposition--they are more concerned with the "what" than the "how"--but customers don't really care how you're better until they understand what you're gonna do for them.

Geeks and flakes need to meet in the middle: what are we going to do for customers?

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson was a founding instructor at Pragmatic Institute, a role he held for more than 15 years before he left to start Under10 Playbook. In his return to Pragmatic Institute, Steve supports the complete learning path for product teams, ensuring they are fully armed for success. 

Over the course of his career, Steve has helped thousands of companies and tens of thousands of product professionals implement product management processes. He has worked in the high-tech arena since 1981, rising through the ranks from product manager to chief marketing officer. Steve has experience in technical, sales and marketing management positions at companies that specialize in both hardware and software. In addition, he is an author, speaker and advisor on product strategy and product management.

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