I’ve got a new job!
I’m very excited to be joining IBM as an evangelist tomorrow. It’s a new role, based in EMEA, that’s been a long time in the making. I’ll be working with the Marketing Cloud business in London and Atlanta, and alongside some very smart folk from Watson, IBM Commerce and the UK’s top digital agency IBM iX.
But first, THANK YOU to Salesforce.
I am obviously sad to have left because I had many great times there, meeting some wonderful people and working with some incredible customers. It’s not every company where you get to work people like Marc Benioff, Lynn Vojvodich, Paul Smith, Peter Schwartz, Tony Robbins, Will.i.am, Biz Stone, Rebecca Botsman, Jason Bradbury, Coach Krzyzewski or Travis Kalanick. It was great fun!
I was also privileged to work on STEM projects in schools, and with the Salesforce Foundation teaching primary school kids to code with Code.org and Coderdojo. Every company should have a culture of giving back, and in some small way I am proud to have shared Salesforce’s 1:1:1 model on stages across the world, encouraging other companies to do the same. And I will miss Dreamforce!
But time moves on (I have the grey hairs to prove it) and I needed a bigger challenge.
A role that was more than just talking about great technology or sharing customer stories…
I wanted to build something.
And so it was with great pleasure (and some trepidation!) that I accepted the opportunity to join the 5th largest brand in the world as their evangelist. Founded in 1911 and led today by CEO Ginni Rometty, IBM is a 105 year-old company going through a fair amount of changes of it’s own, with technologies like Watson driving it forward. When I was deciding to join IBM, I had a good look behind the scenes and what I saw really surprised me. It was the opposite of how I thought it would be. Instead of the huge corporate machine that I imagined, what I saw felt more like a startup.
It’s just a REALLY BIG startup! A startup built upon traditional values and new thinking.
I also had no idea that IBM technology supported 90% of the world’s airlines, 80% of the world’s banks and 70% of the world’s enterprise businesses.
So, having the chance to join the company that is bringing cloud computing, machine learning and marketing technology to many of the world’s largest organisations, seemed like too big an opportunity to turn down.
It promises to be quite an adventure.
Of course, IBM has an exciting past, but I’m more interested in what their technology might do in the future. Many people know IBM as the company that invented barcodes, airline reservation systems, ATMs, the personal computer industry, space programs and traffic lights ~ but it is also the company that is developing driverless cars, smart cities and cures for cancer, as well as leading the way in cognitive computing and customer experience analytics.
In a world that is changing faster than all of us ever imagined, the role of (good) technology seems more important than ever. Apple’s ex-chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki once told me that the word “evangelism” roughly translates as, “to proclaim good news”. He went on to explain that the role of a great evangelist is to explain how any technology can improve people’s lives. Being an evangelist for IBM sounds like both a privilege and a terrifying challenge, but looking at some of the amazing toys that I’ll get to play with, I think I’ll be ok!
I’m sure it won’t be easy. But I know it will be worth it!
“The past is not romantic for me. The future is romantic”. Raf Simons