Thursday, December 17, 2020

What Does It Mean To Be An HCL Ambassador

I get asked this often, as do the other 101 Ambassadors, what is an HCL Ambassador?

Every year around this time, a new class is announced for the upcoming year, as it was yesterday and I am blessed to be included in this list.

The inductees are reviewed based on the past year's efforts.

Given 2020, being an Ambassador was no easy feat, for the review committee nor the nominated individuals.

I have been an ambassador since the first year HCL took over the Lotus catalog from IBM in 2019. Before 2019, I was an IBM Champion for many years, which is a similar designation.

I have posted every year after finding out I was selected, while I try to figure out what I did, or did not, do to deserve it.

In keeping with my CI (Competitive Intelligence) activities lately, I want to try to break it down, so people understand it better.

What we are NOT:

  • HCL Employees - Although, to be honest, some people have been hired by HCL after being an Ambassador and retire their status.
  • Financially Backed by HCL - Everything we do is on our dime. Although HCL may still sponsor some events of their choosing, there is no "pay to play" here.
  • Post Planned Content - Yes, we have information and may retweet things or post them on our blogs, but we are under no obligation.
  • US Centric - In fact, there is a higher percentage of Ambassadors from outside the US. I am one of those outside the US.
  • "Wait and See" type people.

What we ARE:

  • Worldwide - Ambassadors come from all kinds of places. We do not always influence our own country as much as the rest worldwide. In my case, this is especially true, but I am working on it.
  • Customers and Business Partners - Who better to spread the word than the people who use the products every day and sell them?
  • Presentation Happy - Even in a year like 2020 with few in-person events, conferences went on, and Ambassadors spoke at many events and gave their time to various webinars and other efforts to help everyone through a tough year.
  • Prolific - Ambassadors like Ales Lichtenberg or Milan Matejic seem to post things as soon as they are announced. Others post never-ending streams of information on social media sites, and still, more do podcasts, videos, Zero to Hero guides, and so much more. And in multiple languages.
  • Fountains of Support - We all participate in the many HCL forums, Skype chats, Slack channels, Facebook groups, Twitter discussions, GitHub, StackOverflow, and anywhere questions pop up, one of us, if not a few of us, will try to help you. Please use HCL support too, you do pay for it.
  • Realistic - We know it is not easy out there, we have all been in your shoes, and while we also bitch and moan about the same things you do, we balance it with what we can do to make things better where possible. This last point is, I believe, what tips you to becoming an Ambassador.
  • Beta Freaks - While I don't have as much free time to play with everything the moment they come out, I still stay up on what is going on because you need that little ounce of extra juice sometimes for clients. Other Ambassadors are rabid Beta people, installing things as soon as they are available.
  • Go the extra mile - Find ways to do more, for more people, or more products in some way, shape, or form.
We share a lot of Lotus/IBM/HCL product history together because we all came into this space from different places with sometimes diametrically opposite backgrounds and knowledge. 

We know this can be intimidating to some of you when we first meet, but really we are no different than you are. We just started on our journey sooner and with a goal in mind. 

The goal was to help other people, the true spirit of collaboration, in any way we could, and I think over time, we have done this quite well.

How do we top what we did last year?

How do I keep doing it every year?

Honestly, I don't know. Some years were not my best, but sometimes 1-2 things you do outweigh all you did not do at the time.

2020 was my year of daily #HCLAmbassadorTips across Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. 

I set a high bar for myself, time to think about what to do for 2021.

What will you do in 2021 so your name is on this list next December?

Congratulations to my fellow Ambassadors. I hope to see some of you sometime in 2021.

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