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The Interview: Kevin Micalizzi

I first met Kevin P. Micalizzi @kevinmic at a tweet-up I organized for Boston Tweeple in August. Chatting with Kevin at John Harvard’s he described his background with Avid Technology and the work he did there kick-starting social media. I thought it would be interesting to interview Kevin for the PR Communications, especially when I learned he was looking for a job. Kevin is taking a blogging approach to job hunting; he is building his resume online and is featuring the resume for comments on his blog.

Here's my interview with Kevin:

John: Please describe your background with some of the companies you’ve worked at, how you started in the IT and then migrated more over to web marketing because of necessity?

Kevin: My work in the web space started in 1995 at Sybase doing electronic support.
About a year later, I took over the role of webmaster and continued there until 2000. At that point webmaster meant many things. In my case it was mostly web operations, administration (system and application), and developing software for the web. There was still a strong IT focus at this point.

In 2000 I went to work for Rational Software (now a part of IBM's Software Group) as the web engineering manager. It was at this point in my career my focus started to shift from "what do we need to build" to "what are we trying to solve". Much of my time was split between managing the projects we had and meeting with stakeholders across the company to talk about what challenges we weren't addressing. My team was a part of Marketing through most of my time with Rational.

In 2005 I joined Avid Technology in a project management role. Over time my responsibilities increased, with a promotion to Manager, Web Strategy & Development in 2007. In my time at Avid I started focusing more on understanding the marketing challenges as well as introducing social media.

We re-launched our community forums with customer moderators, created blogs, launched a podcast series, and created a video sharing service (now Just before I left Avid we redesigned the corporate web site to reflect the company's new market focus and make it easier for customers to navigate.

John: You moved to web management and social media, there's been a lot of discussion in the wider community about where the responsibility for social media should sit in the community, from your experience at Avid, what's your opinion about the responsibilities of managing social media and web marketing, and which disciplines should be involved?

Kevin: I found at Avid that we got the most out of social media (especially forums) when we had three disciplines represented: online marketing, customer support/advocate, and web technology.

To answer your question about where it should live, I think you need to have the marketing expertise, technology expertise, and some representation from service or customer advocates--if it's a cross-functional team driven by marketing (like a number I've worked on and with,) it's still an effective way to tackle having the right representation.

If it's purely a marketing function, there may not be enough substance behind the contact to make it worthwhile for the customers to maintain.

If you don't have experts on web technology involved, its very possible you'll miss opportunities to make more available to customers -- or at a minimum make the job of marketing easier.

If it's purely a service/support function it may not support the overall online objectives the company has set.

John: I understand you are looking for a new job at the moment, what would be your dream job?

Kevin: That's always been a tough question to answer--and the primary reason I started blogging about my job hunting process.

The technology is fascinating, but being at the point in the process where you're the one who just "makes it happen" is extremely limiting. I've developed a strong understanding and good instincts from the years I've been working with the web and I want to be in a position to use them. I'm not sure if that means a role in web strategy or director of online marketing or something in product management.

I want to be able to work with customers to better understand their needs, balance that with the business objectives, and develop the roadmap(s) needed to get there. It's tough, but I think I'm even willing to give up ownership of the "how" it gets done side of the process to ensure that I'm better positioned to be making the decisions on "what" needs to be done.

Part of the fun in working with the web is everything is constantly being redefined. Some days I wish the discipline was more mature so I could point to a well defined role and say "that's what I want." But if we were at that point, I think the magic and excitement would be lost. So I'll just have to keep redefining what I want.

John: Thanks Kevin for your insights, and the opportunity to learn more about your background. Check out Kevin’s blog at