Community is more important than ever. This show brings you conversations with the top community builders, leaders, and experts in the world. Hear their stories, insights, and advice, and take your community strategy to the next level.
Proving the Business Value of Community with Erica Kuhl
In today’s episode, community consultant and Salesforce Former VP of Community, Erica Kuhl, joins us to share her greatest community growth advice. Years before community was a known industry, Erica used three methods to successfully get buy-in from the Salesforce Executives. She worked with Salesforce users and product managers to strengthen and build the product. She then put the community on the brand new product, creating further excitement. Erica then showed data for how community aligned with the key ROI’s of Salesforce, the resulting revenue impact, and resulting product adoption. Today, Salesforce has a Trailblazer community forum, MVP programs, User Groups and a democratized learning platform, Trailhead, that mentors and educates others to receive jobs and develop skills.
One year ago, Erica left Salesforce to become an independent community consultant. To successfully get her client’s community up and running, she implements the V2MOM strategy of establishing vision, values, methods, obstacles, and metrics. Erica works with her clients to create a program, staff the team, launch, and grow a community. She hopes that community will become integrated into every part of businesses and provide a service to companies as a whole.
Who is this episode for?:
B2B, In Person & Online, Starting
3 key takeaways:
- As an independent contractor, Erica uses the V2MOM plan as a strategic roadmap for launching a community: Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, Metrics.
- Erica’s used 3 methods to get buy-in from Salesforce: Work with the community and product managers to build and enhance the platform, put the community on the new product, and prove the power of community through data.
- Salesforce is now well-known for its variety and strength of communities, including the Trailblazer Community, MVP Programs, an advanced learning platform for mentorship, and many others.
The Past, Present, and Future of the Community Industry, with Jono Bacon
On today’s first ever live podcast, we’re joined by Jono Bacon, Community Consultant and Author. Jono was 17 years old when he discovered the world coming together through the operating system, Linux, and a light bulb went off that he should start joining and learning everything he could about community. He has since become one of the most influential and talented community builders out there, specializing in open-source communities that contribute actively to create an experience or product. Jono gives a glimpse of his new book, People Powered, where he shares the methodology for building community. 1. Be intentional about who your audience is and what your purpose is, and 2. Provide value by serving their best interests and solving their problems. In order to get buy-in for your community, start with casual members who find value in the community, build a habit of them coming back, and then they become regulars and shape your community. He also dives into the renaissance that community is experiencing with the shift to online. People are now sharing what they are doing in communities through books, seminars, social media, events, and more. Whereas, previous to the online community explosion, the platforms and products for building community were nonexistent. Jono talks about the future of community metrics and hopes to reach a point where he can measure happiness and sense of community, instead of obsessing about data and graphs. But at the end of the day, some data metrics of community are better left unknown and that’s the beauty of it.
Who is this episode for?: In Person & Online. Scaling. All types of communities.
3 key takeaways:
- Jono’s methodology for building community is: 1. Be Intentional about who your audience is and their needs. 2. Provide value by serving their best interests and solving their problems.
- Community is going through a renaissance with the societal switch to technology, and community is now talked about on podcasts, social media, in events, and more.
- The true metrics of community are happiness, the sense of community, and trust - but these metrics may always be better left unknown.
How the Future of Community Can Be Found in the History of Open Source with Nadia Eghbal
Not often are experts in community deeply researching at a scholarly level how community works, our next guest Nadia Egbal does. She's the Head of Writer Experience at SubStack and the author of Working in Public, where she dives into the history and evolution of Open Source communities. They ended up laying the groundwork for how online communities outside of Open Source behaved and built culture. Not to mention, how that lead to people actually getting involved and becoming contributors (or not) in those communities. Even in the largest software projects or popular services like Wikipedia, a very small percentage of contributors make up most of the content available.
She also discusses a rarer topic in the world of community, intensive research. Stemming from her work with the Ford Foundation “Roads and Bridges: The Unseen Labor Behind Our Digital Infrastructure”, Nadia has taken an approach of dissecting how community works through a more academic lens. She shares how she sees this kind of research so impactful and how companies, venture capital firms and other institutions might be able to empower more of this kind of research and what those roles might look like. She also shares how she has brought this approach to SubStack and her current community of writers and content creators and the trends she is seeing in the world of written content.
Who is this episode for?:
B2C, Online, Scaling Communities
3 key takeaways:
- The stories and evolution of Open Source communities can tell us a lot about how our current online communities can evolve even outside the world of software.
- The majority of contributions come from a small number of highly engaged users, even from the largest crowd sources communities projects like Wikipedia.
- Implementing more research and research roles will help shape not only the communities of our companies but how we can build as a community industry.
How Product School Grew from One to 1 million with Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia
Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia is the Founder and CEO of Product School, the largest community of product managers in the world. After recognizing a gap in the Product Management industry, Carlos created a niche hybrid between engineering and business school. From 1 to 1 million, the community skyrocketed in growth over 6 years and continues to educate, train, and certify product managers globally. In 2013, Carlos moved from Spain to Silicon Valley to work on an online education marketplace startup - Floqq. After four years of grinding, he decided to shift gears and focus on what would benefit others and make them happy, resulting in Product School. Carlos wanted to give back and share his knowledge so he created a space for others to access product management resources and began training and educating people at events. Carlos recruited high level product managers from companies like Facebook, Netflix, and Uber, to mentor, support, and teach the community members. Across the world, Cohort classes of 20 students were created to educate and certify eager product managers, with a lead mentor, guest speakers, career support, and networking opportunities. Ninety percent of resources are free - including recordings, templates, and a variety of training courses, with paid certifications available. Product School now hosts 5 conferences a year and 2 events a day. The community of 1 million is made up of 20,000 alumni, inner circle product leaders, and event attendees, and is the ideal place for product leaders to test out new products and features.
Who is this episode for?: B2C, Online, Starting
3 key takeaways:
- Giving back and educating others with the knowledge that high-quality product managers gained was what made Product School so unique and successful.
- The Product School Community became the best place to test out new ideas and theories, because everyone was learning and growing together with the same end-goals of success.
- Product School filled the void in the market for product management training, resources, and connections and now has 1 million members benefitting from the program.
Creating ‘Default Spaces’ to Empower Marginalized Communities with Gordon Bellamy & Kobie Fuller
Gordon Bellamy and Kobie Fuller take the stage to discuss how they grew their inclusive, pride-focused communities. Gordon speaks about the queer industry unitedly coming out and removing the anonymity that previously existed. Within the Gay Gaming Community, Gordon created ‘Default Spaces’ to create a place for people of different orientations, expressions, or identities to connect and be authentically themselves, without being identified by labels. The nonprofit community provides scholarships, resources, and employment for those marginalized or underrepresented. Gordon’s final piece of advice was, “There’s a difference between waiting for the world to act on you and waiting to act on the world.” Kobie Fuller, the Co-Founder of Valence, then dives into how he developed a solution to the underrepresented black individuals in the corporate setting. He created an interactive database of black talent to celebrate and showcase talented and admirable individuals who previously went unnoticed. Kobie invested $1 million into this product and watched the community grow from a mere 3,000 members to 11,000 and counting. The recent Black Lives Matter movement greatly impacted black community growth and brought black individuals together to unite in power and support. Gordon and Kobie end with reiterating the importance of self-realization and having pride in who you are and what you stand for.
Who is this episode for?: Non Profit, In Person & Online, Starting
3 key takeaways:
- Self-realization and having pride in who and what you are is key to community growth and establishing authenticity.
- Gordon emphasized the importance of ‘default spaces’ to ensure all members are recognized for who they truly are, rather than their label.
- Kobie discusses the need to associate being black with positivity and not as a setback, and using that self-realization to unite in power with other black individuals.
How Slack Built Their Community Events From Scratch with Elizabeth Kinsey
Elizabeth Kinsey is the Senior Marketing Manager at Slack and runs the in-person community, Slackcommunity.com. The Slack community consists of developers, power users, admins, builders, as well as segmented pockets of community. The in-person volunteer led community gathers to discuss different aspects of Slack, whether that’s developing, building, or administering. Each segmented community within Slack has a different focus, for example the San Francisco group is primarily made up of Founders so the meetups emphasize monetization and integrating apps with Slack. Elizabeth discusses how Slack hosts events to complement its community and meet the needs of all members. She also discusses the need to let go of control and hand the reins over to community leaders with regards to posting and hosting events. Slack provides clear brand guidelines for chapter leaders to keep the Slack brand image consistent. Elizabeth shares her tips for successfully executing events and encourages community leaders to be clear and exact with sponsors, stay organized with an event agenda, and be proactive with attendee communication.
Who is this episode for?: B2B, In Person, Starting & Scaling
3 key takeaways:
- Slack executes successful events by providing guidelines for chapter leaders and handing over the reins to give leaders a voice and flexibility.
- Personally reaching out to customers before and after events is a key way that Slack maintains and grows its community.
- The Slack community continues to grow with its segmented community groups across the country, constantly developing, sharing, and learning more about Slack and its capabilities.