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Good Morning!Dear Reader,

Many of you follow me on twitter – for those that don’t, I’m @calevans. For those that have been following me for a while, you know that I start most mornings off with a good morning tweet.  My good morning tweets usually encourage you to make it a good day, do something for someone else, or just generally stop and smell the roses once in a while.

People ask me all the time “How are you able to be that upbeat, that early in the morning?”. It’s really simple, I am not. See most people miss the purpose of those tweets. They aren’t for everyone else, they are for me. They are to remind me of things like:

  • I can’t control what people do to me today, I can only control how I respond.
  • This life is short, make every day count
  • Days are what you make of them
  • Helping other people is one of the best ways to spend a day

I am sorry to be so narcissistic but I don’t tweet to remind you to make it a great day, I tweet to remind myself – even of the days I really don’t want to –  to get my fat butt out of bed and get going.

This may not work for you. I’ve found that tweeting a positive good morning message helps shape my attitude, and thus my day.

To paraphrase Steve Martin from “LA Story”the lovely and talented Kathy’s favorite movie:

“There’s a good day out there for everyone – even if you need a pickaxe, a compass, and night goggles to find it.”

I know how cheesy this sounds, but I try to tell myself this every morning.

“Find a way to make it a great day, because today is the only today you will ever have.”

It works for me. :)

Until next time,
I <3 |<

Photo Credit: Good Morning by ario_
Used under Creative Commons License

p.s. Original quote from LA Story is “There’s someone out there for everyone – even if you need a pickaxe, a compass, and night goggles to find them.”

I was interviewed at WordCamp Nashville 2014

Dear Reader,

Most of the time when I am behind the microphone, I an the interviewer. It is my job to pronounce the guest’s name correctly, ask interesting questions, and try not to say “Ummm…”. (It’s harder than it sounds) Back in May though, I was the guest on a podcast produced by Clark Buckner of Technology Advice. It’s fun only having to worry about not saying “Ummm…” :)

Until next time,
I <3 |<

My next great adventure

Dear Reader,


I now work with Pantheon as their first full-time Developer Advocate.

Long version

First, no, it’s not another job, it’s an adventure. For me, coding would be another job. I know I can do that and am pretty good at it. (although there are those that are much better at it than me) This shoves me out there in the spotlight again, a place I am most definitely uncomfortable. This time, like the last time I held a Dev Advocate role, it is with a community that doesn’t know me. (Well, a few of them do, but not many)

At the end of October, I got a call from my boss at the company I was working for. It was the usual “…we’ve decided to go in a different direction, your services are no longer needed”. It’s the corporate version of “It’s not you, it’s me…”, and it’s about as sincere. But that’s fine, we parted friends, I’ve got nothing really bad to say about them. But that left me with a problem. Not being part of the independently wealthy set, I needed a job. So I set out to find one.

My Process

  • I have 3 companies on my short list that I want to work for. Every time I consider a change, the first thing I do is ping them, and like every time before, the timing just wasn’t quite right for all 3 of them.
  • I blogged that I was on the market. I got a LOT of responses from that. Those responses turned into a few interviews. Alas, in each case, it just wasn’t the right fit. Most of them I was ok with losing, there are a couple though that I thought would be a good fit. C’est La Vie.
  • Finally, I reached out to my LinkedIn network. I sent a email out to about 90% of the contacts on my LinkedIn network letting people know that I was looking. One of the people in my network, David Strauss, forwarded it over to his VP of Marketing, and I got an email.

I did receive quite a few responses from posting to my LinkedIn network. Partly because I have a decent sized network, partly because I have been very careful in who I add to my network, I have rules. So I learned that large network + curated network = responsive network.

Standing Out

This one stood out though. I got an email, then a phone interview, then a flight to SFO. All within about a week. I left with a handshake agreement and the promise of a contract. (due to the holidays, this took longer than expected but I share in the blame for that as I was slow to respond at times) I’ve been a hiring manager before, I understand the process. I like the way that Pantheon hires. Whenever I am hiring, I know what I want, and I don’t have to see every candidate to make the decision. I interview until I find what I want and then pull the trigger. I love that because to me it shows confidence in the people and the process. Pantheon did just that. They actually told me, we won’t be interviewing anyone else for the position.

They were open an honest with me in the negotiations. Open to the point that I felt comfortable sharing my salary history with them, something I don’t usually do.

Why Advocate and not Evangelist?

In 2005, when I started at Zend, we didn’t have the term Developer Evangelist. I was “The Community Guy” at Zend. It wrapped up well what I did. I wasn’t the “Community Manager” because you can’t manage the PHP community, it is it’s own entity. My job was to speak to the PHP community on behalf of Zend and to speak to Zend on behalf of the PHP community. Most companies forget that second part. Zend, to it’s credit, did not.

That shaped my impression of the role that many companies have come to call Dev Evangelist. (DE) I prefer – and chose – Developer Advocate. (DA) This is more than just a marketing role, although I answer to the VP of marketing. I see my role as standing for the company when speaking to developers, and standing for developers when I speak to the company. This doesn’t mean that the company will always do what I say, but they have hired me to do this role so they are serious about listening. It is my job to manage the relationship between Pantheon and the developer community; I can’t do that as an evangelist.

Personally, I think more companies should concentrate on Developer Advocacy instead of Developer Evangelism. I have found in 100% of the times I have tried it, helping others is better marketing than simply promoting myself or the company I work for.

Wrap up

So I am back to helping develop communities. I still work in the PHP community, although I will be focusing more of my attention on Drupal than I have in a while. I am excited, and I hope they are too.

So…let’s talk Pantheon, Drupal, hosting, and of course, PHP! :)

Until next time,
I <3 |<

I love you all so very, very much

Dear Reader,

“…so I pinged Naramore…”

That’s my favorite line from my birthday party last night thrown for me by the Lovely and Talented Kathy, and attended by a few close friends. It was a wonderful evening of fun and fellowship.

A couple of highlights of the evening:

  • Jacques Woodcock and Paul Jones both bought me bottles of Ron Zacapa 23yr old rum. I now hate you both. I had been happily drinking their regular rum. Now that I’ve tested the 23yr old, I can never EVER drink the other stuff again. It is THAT good. Thank goodness I have 2 bottles…and 2 awesome friends.
  • The lovely and talented Kathy gave me an iPod. It’s not the gift that is remarkable – although I do love it – it’s that after 30 years, she still listens when I say things.
  • My son – whom for most of his life I’ve loving referred to as “the boy” – bought me the soundtrack to the movie Xanadu on vinyl! This more than makes up for the fact that on the tumblr page his comment started with “…some would say that you’ve been like a father to me over the past years, but I think of you more as an ATM that has been taught to love”.
  • Ben Ramsey telling the tale of how my foot got sliced open at PHP Appalachia ’08.

There were so many other great memories of the night, I want to thank all of you who attended for helping make my Birthday special.

The party however was just the beginning. Many of you know now, what I was going to find out. The PHP community got together and helped celebrate my birthday in ways that sincerely humbled me to my core.

First, a tumbler page – “Happy Birthday Cal Evans” – was setup so that friends could wish me a happy birthday. I pride myself in knowing what is going on in the PHP community and I didn’t hear a peep about this till Kathy brought it up on her ipad at the party to show me. I was floored. The outpouring of love, the well wishes, the stories, the videos, and Michelle’s happy birthday song, were almost more than I could take. It took me a long time to read all of them, watch the videos, and listen to the song. I had to keep stopping and cleaning my glasses, damn things kept getting wet and had to be dried off.

Second, many of my friends, more than I knew I had, all chipped in to buy me a present. Together, they raised enough to buy me a Bitcoin! (1.35 to be exact) Honestly, I was speechless. They presented me with a paper at the party telling me what had been done and it was all just so overwhelming. It really wasn’t until this morning, after the fun and fellowship of the party, after the afterglow with my wife and son, and after the rum wore off, that I began to understand just what all of you had done for me.

Third, this morning I woke to be greeted with another tribute from another good friend I’ve never met, Khayrattee (7php) Wasseem had posted a page of birthday wishes from friends. Again, it took me way longer than normal to read through them.

I say with all sincerity that I am not worthy of the love that has been shown to me this weekend. I am amazed, I am happy, but most of all I am humbled.

I have said it before and I will repeat it here. The community is the greatest asset that PHP has. Not me, all of us together. There are so many giants in the community and I am just honored to be a small part of it.

Thank you to each and every one of you who had a hand in the party, the gift, the tumbler page, or 7PHP’s page. Thank you to each of you who tweeted happy Birthday to me, sent me birthday wishes by Facebook, or dropped me an email. I can’t fully express to you how much I love you and appreciate what you’ve done for me.

One day I hope to grow into the man you all see me as; until then, I’ll just have to keep trying.

Until next time,
I <3 all of you! =C= p.s. Thank you to the following people for participating in the Tumbler page, the 7PHP article, the awesome gift, and my birthday party. I love you all so very much.