Starting tomorrow, November 6th, I will no longer be Autotask’s Community Evangelist. I’m extremely excited to be joining Apprenda as Director of Business Development. The work that Apprenda is doing is game changing, and there is no place I’d rather be at this point in my career.
I’ve been with Autotask for 2.5 years now, and it’s been an awesome ride.
Just over a year ago we launched the Autotask CommunITy, which originated as a “skunkworks” project of mine. From the initial idea, to its conception and continued improvement, the Autotask CommunITy has been my full time responsibility at Autotask for the last year. In that time, it has grown incredibly into a thriving community of over 13,000 members and has radically impacted the way Autotask as a company operates. To cap it off, last night we were awarded a coveted ITSMA Marketing Excellence Award, specifically for the work we’ve done with the Autotask CommunITy. That honor is just as much the claim of the thousands of brilliant IT professionals that make up the Autotask CommunITy, as it is any of ours.
In addition to the Autotask CommunITy, I was also able to help Autotask launch its product on the global market back in 2006 (my first project). Then in early 2007, I was able to help introduce Autotask’s first mobile solution (Autotask LiveMobile). I’m extremely thankful for the work I’ve been able to do with Autotask over the course of the last 2.5 years. It’s been challenging, fulfilling and rewarding. As their 65th employee back in 2006, they’ve now grown to over 130 people, and last week were awarded the New York Capital Region’s Best Places To Work award for the 5th straight year! No other company has ever received the award so many years in a row, and it’s really a testament to the great people that I’ve had the pleasure of working with there for the past 2.5 years.
I want to thank all of my co-workers at Autotask, and all of the members of the Autotask CommunITy for such a wonderful experience. I could name names and go on for pages thanking individuals, but I’ve made it a point to personally speak with many of you already.
Thank you all, and best wishes for continued success.
I participated in a webinar earlier today focused on building B-to-B communities. There was a question about how to manage a community, and Jeff Sandquist of Microsoft gave an answer that I really liked. He said that managing a community is like bartending. If you’re a good bartender, you should be a good community manager.
Here are some thoughts on why:
- - Both need to know how to engage people that are lonely
- - Both need to know when to step back and just listen
- – Both need to know when to send someone home/away that is disruptive and harmful to the experience of others
- – Both need to know when and how to restore order and calm disputes
- - Both need to be approachable and welcoming
- - Both need to work at making people want to come back again and again
- - Both need to clean up after others
- - Both need to know what “the regulars” want/like the most
Can you think of any other competencies that good bartenders share with good community managers?
I thought this was an excellent quote by Yihong Ding, found in this RWW post about the value of Community Managers:
“As we know, most of the Web 2.0 companies are built upon user generated content. Philosophically, User Generated Content is embodied human mind. This embodied mind is generally the fundamental asset for the company. Maintaining a proper community so that users may embody their mind with high quality is thus a central issue for the growth of the company. The duty of community managers is to supervise and maintain the high-quality production of the fundamental mind asset used by the company. Therefore, I would say that community manager is a critical job title for most of the Web 2.0 companies.”
This holds true for any company, not just Web 2.0 companies.
Every company today needs to recognize this. While user generated content may be a core component of many Web 2.0 companies’ business models, the conversation and “content” provided by a company’s users/customers is of the utmost value to all businesses.
Therefore, ensuring that it is sought after, provoked, nurtured and communicated appropriately and applied correctly is of immense importance.
Still not satisfied?
I’ll give you one question: Who in YOUR company is responsible for listening and engaging your community?
If you have to think about it, you’re in trouble. It’s time.
“There’s a reason that the words Community and Communication are so similar.” – Me
Think about it…