Guy Kawasaki has a series on top ten lies for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and now engineers. For the sake of hitting back – Seth Godin says All Marketers Are Liars ;-). It does sound funny, but it is pretty interesting if we try to gauge the preset mindframes of the marketers and engineers. Does it put them against each other?
I don’t agree with all the lies mentioned, some of them can be genuine on occassions. Some lies can be valid reasons if they can be backed up with justifications and facts. I have witnessed some instances where there is less than trust between the two groups. A couple of my friends are ready for a wild-wild-west cowboy duel to defend themselves (or their profession!). However, with more and more such episodes, I wonder if it has to be like this. Why is there a disparity between marketers and engineers? The reasons I know mostly relate to the sheer size or beureaucracy which inserts layers of humans between them. There are arguments, sometimes blaming games, about everything – right from estimates to features to management, without really understanding what is going on either side.
Marketers are the people who can bring financial and business success to a good product. Similarly, marketers cannot deny that a shoddy job by engineers can make their job a nightmare. More cohesion is required between the two groups, or rather all the groups involved. Jason Fried @ 37signals elevates this to a new level by making them one.
Building and improving Rails is PR. Designing great interfaces is marketing. Providing quick customer support is advertising.
They are too intertwined to lock them in departments. They are all a cohesive unit. The marketers have to understand the problems faced by the engineers and vice versa. Only then will they be able to use each other to sort out issues and make a successful business. I hope Guy doesn’t call this a lie :-).
Copyright Abhijit Nadgouda.