Improve the Italian community management landscape

There is one element we’ve heard loud and clear from the retrospective of the three CLSxItaly events organised so far and attendees feedback: the Italian community management scene is in its early stage, with fragmented connections across the “professionals” of this world, especially if compared with other European countries. I have no doubt time will improve the current situation, but simply waiting for the good to come is something outside my way of doing. What if all these community managers working in and/or for the Italian landscape are dots, and we can do something to accelerate the organic process that will better connect them over time?

At its core, CLSxItaly platform was born with this vision in mind, but in-person events alone haven’t provided the speed we expected. So,we decided to start a new project, to proactively scout, highlight and connect all these people and strengthen relationships inside this community of practitioners we all are part of. Please welcome the CLSxItaly interview series.

The idea is to run a short interview with the many people working with communities in Italy, transcribe these conversations and give them back to our community. Here the list of the question we want to ask:

  • Who you are and how are you connected with the Italian community landscape?
  • What’s the best thing you’ve seen happening inside the community, or thanks to it?
  • What has been the toughest challenge you’ve managed building the community?
  • What’s your best tip for a person that wants to start as community manager/leader/builder, for profit or for fun?
  • If you had a magic wand, what you would change or improve in the Italian community management scene?
  • What’s your community superpower? (thanks to Community Roundtable podcast folks for this question)
  • Who is the next person you know we should interview?

As you can see, nothing terribly complex, probably the conversation will end in less than 10 minutes. Of course, feedback to the questions are welcome.

So, there is a simple call to action if you are a community manager working in or for the Italian context: please reach me (or any other member of the CLSxItaly team) and we’ll be happy to have with you such conversation. Or suggest us one of these people to interview, if you aren’t. In any case, see you at the forth CLSxItaly, Nov 25th in Rome.

Community management podcasts I follow

I still consider podcasts a primary element of my information diet, and here a list of the ones I listen with a sharp-focus on community management topics. Not in a particular order and with no mention to other great resources on social media, online marketing and other similar stuff: just for hard-core community managers :)

Community Signal: Interviews to discuss what’s happening around the community word, tales from community managers, lessons sharing and much more. Transcripts, quotes, links and follow-up resources available on the website. Conduct by by Patrick O’Keefe, a new episode every week – Stitcher, iTunes, RSS

Community Pulse: A lot of discussions and insights on the art of community management, with an eye also on the wider world of Developer Relations. Conduct by Jason Hand, Mary ThengvallPJ Hagerty, mostly monthly – Stitcher, iTunes, RSS

Conversations with Community Managers: every episode a different interview with a community manager, generally telling the story of her community, challenges and wow moments. They end the show with a the question: “What’s your community superpower”, same I now always ask at the end of the job interviews I run. Conduct by The Community Roundtable folks, rather quite at the moment – iTunes,

FeverBee Podcast: Another source of community management related topics. Conducted by Sarah Hawk, now discontinued but old episodes still have relevant content – Stitcher.

 

Learnings after five years in Google

Group picture at my second Google I/O, with the whole DevRel team

Recently, I had my fifth Googleversary, meaning 5 years have been passed since I joined Google. In retrospective, it was a flash. An intense, extremely challenging, always learning, positively stressing and joyful flash. A lot has happened and I want to write down some notes on the most important learnings I’ve had.

Disclaimer: this is not a post on Google culture, there are several and more authoritative voices than mine, and the complexity of a company made by tens of thousands people all over the world doesn’t allow to have a “common culture and experience to fit them all”. This is, simply, a wrap-up of my very own peculiar journey.

I spent these 5 years in Developer Relations team we call “DevRel Ecosystem” with the mission of nurturing influencers and their communities all over the world to boost Google technology advocacy, adoption, quality, and perception. So, interacting with tech communities, startups, third-party tech conferences, universities, organising Google-own events etc. Partially a manager of community managers, partially a lot more. I often sign emails for my Italian colleagues with “Your friendly neighbourhood dev-sitter“.

Learning day by day

In DevRel-focused conferences I attended, we often define us a “community of practitioners” because we’re literally crafting our own job day after day, and very few companies have the DevRel org structure and needs Google has: definitively a job with no repetitive tasks and where personal initiative is a key element. For me in particular. I left my job as Android dev in Funambol on Friday afternoon after a mojito party with colleagues, flew to San Francisco 14 hours later, on Monday moved to Mountain View for my first day in Google for the welcome training to collect my badge and laptop. Then the second day back in San Francisco attending Google I/O, thrown into the nonsense madness of such big events, with no idea about my role there, who my team and my colleagues were, even where my manager was and how to reach him. With 5000 attendees asking me any sort of things because I was a Googler. The week later, back in Italy, during my first one-to-one call with my manager, I asked him “Now that I/O is over, what’s the next step for me?” and he replied: “Well, we hired you because you know the Italian dev ecosystem better than me, so it should be you telling me”. When the meeting ended, I banged my head on the table multiple times, thinking about my life just 12 days before, when I was an happy Android dev, shielded from the external complexity of the world by the comfortable shell where every dev “code, breath, repeat”.
So, from that second day in San Francisco onward, I’ve been exposed to a continuous and unique learning experience with lot of autonomy. Everything has been a great playground where exercise my Kaizen approach to life, to learn and improve. But it hasn’t been easy, kind of an endless and restless run, where I was alone and on the wild for the first three years, until I had the first team-mate sitting my side, sometimes a marathon but often a sprint, always with a potential stress factor behind the angle. I still enjoy it because the way I am, but I recognise is not for everyone.

Relevancy, focus and happiness

Easy to imagine, this generated struggle in my work-life harmony, especially at the beginning. Because I’m more toward the perfectionist side, I believe there is always room for improvement: in crafting the idea, organising a project around, execute it and sharing back the experience. And the cost of this perfectionism is my time. During some stressful moments, my whole day time. Luckily, two epiphany moments helped me to find an initial harmony.
First one happened when a colleague said “This company is a machine that produces more tasks than you can manage“: I understood I have to accept the fact I cannot do everything I would love to do within the full and huge spectrum of potential activities available. So, being good in the prioritise only the very relevant balls you want to juggle with and understand what is that relevant in the company context were crucial steps to grow. In DevRel org, and in Google in general, we have so many projects, opportunities, stimulus and extremely unique challenges not yet solved that, added with the positive anarchic culture of the team, it’s easy to lost the north if there is a lack of focus.
The second moment was when my first son was born. In choosing how to spend the non-working part of the day, I’ve always been driven by the approach “use your time to find happiness pursuing your passions and embracing new learning occasions outside your comfort zone“, and being a father added duties that changed the entire time balance of my day. After some try-and-make-mistakes cycles, and thanks to meditation, I understood differentiating among family, personal, work, relax etc time had no sense, that my day is a continuum and finding what’s really relevant in different contexts, over a period, and stay sharp-focused on these things only, and literally nothing else, creates the harmony I need, allowing me to don’t feel overwhelmed, but happily busy and alive. It’s impossible to catch up with everything, quality over quantity and whatever makes people around me happy is time well spent: my family first, then all the rest in no particular order, including my team members, my users, my friends, my manager, myself etc. I haven’t found the perfect harmony yet and it still happens I need to sacrifice some extra hours of sleep but, if I look back, overall life now is better than before.

Servant leadership and team culture

I started to lead a team of 6 people, more or less two years ago, and I discovered that is not an easy task, it’s time consuming and it’s also one of the most empowering experiences I’ve ever had. Leading the team, for me and probably also because of company culture, has something in common with the role of a community manager: you are there for the development of the community with no room for your personal ego; you’re successful only if the community is successful and community members are happy to be in your community; you cannot change or control community members, only guide and help them evolving with your influence and support; a sense of community (team culture) is necessary for the community to survive in the medium-long term.
Because the way I am, my team management style resonates very well with the concept of servant leadership, and the team culture is the glue that keeps us connected together. A culture where it’s OK to make mistakes, but always new ones, where we all have a clear vision, concrete goals and we run all together toward them activity after activity, where we retrospective what’s happened and plan the future all together regardless our roles or seniority, reserve a little bit of our own time to experiment with new things, disagree and commit, provide gentle feedback to others, focus on our own sweet spots and try to connect them together in order to cover as much as we can as a team, know the reasons, the core whys, we are doing what they’re doing, in order to match personal passions with team duties, lead by example.
A team where we share and discuss the ideas we have to improve and solve the projects we’re working on, because when ideas circulate, everyone can enrich them and an open and sharing culture allow to achieve more, both from results and personal growth side. It’s not easy to achieve that while we’re spread across 4 countries and 2 different time-zones, but it’s one of my main responsibilities as manager to allow circulation of these things, and the chats I have with everyone, at least one hour every week, a weekly meeting to share and plan together the next days and a 2-days in person summit three times a year, all together, have been making the job, at least until now.
Merits are assigned on the ownership and the execution of the projects and I would consider a personal failure if a person joins the team and later leaves it with no new ideas, new tools, new experiences, new perspective in its pockets. Does it means we’re all good friends? No, but we like to spend time together, to solve and work on professional needs and, sometimes, also for personal pleasure.
Among the many resources on the topics, I suggest the podcast “The Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast“, a monthly source of invaluable resources on leadership topics, and the book “The 4 Disciplines of Execution“, that helped me to align the team toward unique goals and improve ways to pursue them, quarter after quarter.

Forgiveness, charisma and data

Moving inside a corporate environment isn’t always easy, and I’ve experienced moments where I felt like chained to the ground due to other colleagues behaviours and decisions, luckily very few times during these five years. Once one of my managers told me “When you have such energy and you know what you’re doing, you should ask for forgiveness and not for permission“. It was an important lesson of humility, trust and maturity together, even if I don’t think it can work in all the companies, but Google culture may tolerate that, sometimes and if you choose carefully.
Nowadays I prefer the “influence with charisma” approach, even if it’s slower and more difficult to exercise, but allows a broader impact and when politics start getting into the environment, it’s the only way of achieving what I hope to be able to achieve.
On top of both approaches, I’ve learnt availability of data to support my opinions really can make the difference. Quoting Barksdale, “If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine“, so having good data to use can put everyone in an advantage position. Of course collecting meaningful data is another art to master, requires discipline, it’s an ongoing process to improve every day and often not easy to keep focused on the non-vanity metrics or researches. And have a good narrative to tell others that data is equally important.

Remote working

Another element I now consider a crucial asset of my job is the possibility to remote working. I have two hours commute time daily and, even if I’m able to work the majority of this time, even if I value the fact I arrive at the office already focused on the next steps and I can dedicate extra time to cool down or finish some tasks on the way back home, even if offices in Google are, generally, among the best I’ve seen in companies, working remotely has way more value than money and time saved. Context matters, and be where I want to be, in a park breathing the blooming spring smell, relaxed at home, next to a person I care, provides an incredible flexibility everyone should be able to experience.
It doesn’t come for free, of course. First, and foremost, a proper remote working culture is required. It starts from a personal responsibility to commit your duties, be easily reachable for the people that need you (hardware equipment, bandwidth quality and reliability, time availability etc), soft skills to interact with the others over a remote conversation, team processes calibrated around this scenario and more. Google offers rooms where I enter, press a button on a display on the table / monitor and I’m connected with the other sides of the meetings: it’s fantastic to have this no-entry level barrier to interact.
Finally, a good balance between remote and office work is necessary, as remote cannot totally substitute in-person presence: the chance others can enrich what I do is simply not available when I’m far from them, coffee machine chats are really a thing, the importance of bonds with colleagues outside working topics, how quickly some questions could be solved simply going and speaking with someone.

Value diversity and have an open mind

Google has immersed me in a hugely diverse environment that can really boost everyone’s personal growth, because of a real multicultural, time-zones and countries spread workforce, where is possible to still make new discoveries after years. I don’t mean only gender diversity, but the whole set of diversities. As for remote working, simply putting together diverse people doesn’t make the magic, and there are several prerequisites needed: among the many, the perception of an open environment, in term or reciprocal respect and trust, freedom to be themselves, possibility to make mistakes, availability to receive feedback and suggestions, understanding of implicit biases we all have and how to deal with them, a personal availability to put additional care to what’s happening around us, that our opinion is simply one of the many and not always the best one, the ability to say a sincere sorry when mistakes are made.
Travelling is another great possibility I have, and inside my team is relatively easy to go everywhere in the world if there is a reasonable working reason. Of course I try to avoid serial travelling (mostly because of I have a family), but meeting colleagues where they live and, thanks to my job of manager of community managers, I can breath the local environment and meet local people, listen to them, go where they go, be a guest, not a tourist, in the local ecosystem.
Nothing more than a semi-empty mind, ready to be filled by the context and able to adapt to it, helped me growing. Because what’s around me is the mirror reflecting, so shaping, who I am.

Put on user’s shoes

Every DevRel role depends on the external users and their (hopefully) happy relation with your products: I value this continuous exposition to the external world as an incommensurable treasure. It fosters diversity, keeps my mind open, allow a flow of new ideas. Even if one of Google’s mantra is “User first”, I’ve sometimes interacted with people maybe too closed in their own bubbles. And this is one of the biggest differences between a well-established company mindset and a successful startup mindset I’ve discovered: startup is forced to always have users and their needs in mind, and the rent to pay the roof covering employee’s heads depends on this ability to understand the customer and speed in execution thanks to a razor-sharp focus. In a well-established company, instead, generally that hurry is less perceived because there is a fix salary, and sometimes a manager / the team / the org / internal complexity / processes could become “the ultimate customer”. After all, putting on user’s shoes is not trivial and exit from the comfort zone requires effort, so making assumptions or serve a different master than the user is the quickest and less painful way. In short, be lean.
Luckily, interacting with “influencers” of the tech ecosystem, like community members, conference organisers, experts in their own tech field etc, remembers me where my attention should focus, my last goal in everything I decide to do, how bad is to expose them internal company complexity, to assume nothing, the many learning occasions this “exercise” can provide me. I’ve found this attention to put myself in someone else’s shoes extremely useful also when dealing with colleagues, friends, family, random people: everywhere there is human interaction.

The one big fight I had. And it was with myself

I want to close this long introspective journey with the most traumatic experience I had in these 5 years: it was about the switch I did from being a developer to cover a Developer Relations role, dealing with communities, project management and manage a team. After the initial period, where the lack of time to code was well surrogated by all the unicorns and rainbows of a new job in Google, I started to realize weeks could pass without me writing a single line of code. I was warned about that, nevertheless was a huge internal conflict to deal with. I wrote my first program when I was 13, I started my first full time job as developer at 19 and I moved to Google when I was 33: nothing less than 20 years dedicated to the art of coding. If you’re passionate about development, you know it’s not a 9to5 job. It is, instead, a passion, maybe even a curse, a delicious curse to deal with, because we’re all happy to pay such high time and commitment tribute in exchange of the positive emotions derived from the happiness of creation, the satisfaction of bringing order and logic where chaotic and unmanaged information was, the pleasure to discover new stuffs and challenge ourselves using them to improve, the pride in teaching others about our craftsmanship. And after 20 years of days and nights immersed in this world, shaping and measuring my professionality and myself through the lens provided by it, switch and reinvent who and what I am was deadly hard.
How I solved it? First, it was something I wanted, it wasn’t an unexpected shift. Then, I’ve applied introspection, a development plan and discipline: I first understood coding wasn’t the only thing able to keep me happy, but I’ve found sweet spots in other areas of my job with positive and impactful effects on me, in particular dealing with communities and supporting them. Then I posed myself the question: “How do I see me in 5 to 10 years from now, both personal and working life, maybe still in Google, maybe not?“. Again, lot of introspection through meditation, and I was finally able to figure-out a satisfying and actionable reply. Now, it’s just a matter of discipline to keep connecting the dots between what I’m now and that picture of myself in the future. And, in the meantime, smile, breath, live and help others to smile too. Let’s see in five year from now ;)

Conference Tips: badges that work

How often happens that, talking with a person during a conference, you take a look to her badge to remember or check the name. And, as consequence of Murphy’s law, the badge is flipped on the wrong side, the one without the name.

Two possible solution to solve this situation: print badge both sides with the same information, name of the attendees included. The drawback is the lost of half of the informative space (used generally for sponsors, conference map or agenda etc). Otherwise, simply connect the badge to the lace in two points instead of one, so the badge won’t flip anymore. It may cost a little bit more, but allow space to print information both sides of the badge and makes it rock-solid.

Thanks to Codemotion for this tip, part of the “Conference Tips” series.

Cosa hai fatto ogni giorno per insegnare il bene, per insegnare l’amore

Oggi, forse, ho aggiunto un altro tassello importante nella ricerca introspettiva della mia ragione di vita, del mio “perché sono qui e ora”, dopo che qualche tempo fa ho finalmente riconosciuto a me stesso, e accettato con gioia, che la vera essenza di quello che mi rende vivo, che mi dona il sorriso, è aiutare le persone a migliorare la loro condizione. In qualunque ambito o situazione, esercitandomi e crescendo nella compassione, con un’accezione più buddista del termine, rispetto al significato latino. Senza la pretesa di aiutare solo “chi ne ha bisogno”, perché la disarmante e candida realtà è che tutti abbiamo bisogno di aiuto, e tutti ne meritiamo.

Ieri ho visto un tweet che parlava della Siria e di come, probabilmente, siano state usate armi chimiche sulla popolazione, con foto di bambini all’ospedale. Oggi leggo un altro post, e da li un altro ancora, ma dello scorso anno. Le immagini mi colpiscono con una forza devastate, sento il profondo bisogno di fermarmi e meditare per non lasciarmi scorrere addosso questa sensazione. Una sensazione che ha risucchiato in un lampo tutta la mia energia, mi ha lasciato grigio e senza sorriso, in un buco nero profondo come la tristezza, lo sconforto e la passiva accettazione negli occhi dei bambini delle foto. Svuotato del mio giallo.

Le facce di quei bambini mi fanno pensare a quella di Leonardo. Grazie a lui sto scoprendo quanto un bambino piccolo sia totalmente indifeso dalle azioni di altri e ne possa solo subire le conseguenze, con una tale capacità di accettazione solo perché ancora sta imparando come si vive. Quando gli succede qualcosa di inaspettato non si arrabbia, al massimo piange, cercando di apprendere e di normalizzare, di creare così la sua aspettativa su come funziona il mondo diventando, per emulazione, parte stessa di quel mondo a cui viene esposto. Essere così innocenti nell’approcciare la vita, così indifesi e in balia dell’ambiente che li circonda, così genuinamente aperti a qualunque cosa accada, mi fa spesso riflettere sulle implicazioni profonde e immense dell’avere la responsabilità sulla vita di qualcuno, sulla sua crescita. Nei loro occhi ho visto gli occhi di mio figlio e di tanti altri bambini che incontro in giro, e mi ha fatto male. Tanto male.

Le foto di una guerra, l’ennesima, che ha portato i bambini all’ospedale, i dottori che provano a ricucire cicatrici, fisiche e mentali, che sappiamo tutti non passeranno mai realmente. E dell’innocenza dei bambini a cui viene imposto tutto questo. C’è sempre un piccolo dubbio che mi rimane quando sento dire che “i civili non hanno colpa in una guerra”, perché in una visione più olistica magari anche il perpetrare una cultura che non ripudia completamente l’odio, ma lo supporta anche solo con quasi impercettibili sfumature giornaliere, può contribuire a portare la guerra all’uscio di casa. Magari, sottolineo ancora. Ma ora, da genitore, non ho il minimo dubbio che i bambini siano innocenti e che sia inequivocabilmente sbagliato e ingiusto esporli a questa forma di male, di dolore, di crudeltà. Anche, più banalmente, a piccole occasioni di non-amore: da quando vengono maltrattati per la noncuranza o egoismo di qualcuno (ancora ricordo la sera al pub con una mamma che aveva lasciato il bambino solo per almeno due ore, a giocare al tavolo con il telefono, mentre lei parlava al bancone con altre persone, e gli occhi tristi di quel bambino e di quante volte avesse chiesto di andare via o di andare a dormire), a quando li si sgrida per colpe che non hanno, ma che dipendono da nostri comportamenti o aspettative. Figuriamoci coprirne il corpo con del sangue, loro o di altre persone. Non hanno colpa di essere li, non hanno deciso, stanno semplicemente subendo le decisioni di altri.

E, durante la meditazione, ho realizzato con chiarezza due cose:  la prima è che non si può combattere per il bene, è un ossimoro. Ma si può provare a diffonderlo, ogni singolo giorno. E la seconda è che, pur non avendo ancora afferrato il “perché sono qui e ora”, nel frattempo voglio misurarlo sul cosa ho fatto ogni giorno per insegnare il bene, per insegnare l’amore. In attesa di arrivare a capire il senso stesso delle mia vita.

Non posso salvare tutti i bambini esposti alle guerre e alle occasioni di non-amore quotidiane. Ma insegnare è il cardine, è l’atteggiamento attivo potenzialmente in grado di portare un cambiamento. Senza, vincerebbe ciò che istintivamente siamo in termini evoluzionistici: esseri viventi con un forte individualismo che lottano per la loro sopravvivenza e supremazia. Un individualismo antitetico al nostro tendere a diventare esseri sociali. Individualismo che, alla fine, porta a bombardare i bambini con armi chimiche.

Per referenza, queste sono le tre foto, tra le molte presenti, che mi hanno colpito piu’ di tutte. I crediti vanno ai rispettivi fotografi (Sameer Al-doumy e Abd Doumany),

The importance of asking to the team why we do what we do

Months ago I’ve asked to my team the reasons they’re doing what they’re doing in our Developer Relations team. We were reorganising a little bit our internal structure, and knowing the true reasons moving each one is a great way to understand if we’re assigning the right projects to the right people, potential career paths and, if the matches are done in the right way, it helps to attenuate stress and make the team empowered and propositive in the daily work.

I planned to frame the conversation during the usual in-person meetings (1:1) we have: it’s not an argument suitable for a discussion around the coffee machine, as it could go very passional and personal (and generally does) so an environment able to provide the right privacy is fundamental. In addition, these may be the kind of discussions requiring a decent amount of time, half an hour at least, so 5 mins break in the middle of other duties is not enough.

In order to avoid the “out of the blue” effect when asking the question, I first sent an email quoting Simon Sinek’s video discussing the importance of the motivations in what we do, an anticipating that I would have been very happy to have such conversation during one of our next 1:1, in order to discover the real team passions and build or refine future activities, even potential 20% projects, on top of that.

Then I prepared myself. For transparency and equality, I needed to be ready to provide my personal reply to the question, my whys, if asked. Maybe not everyone would have been interested (turn out everyone was!), but in this case doesn’t count if you’re the most junior or the most senior team member: it’s all about us as human, so we’re all equal.

Finally, during the first 1:1 available and without incumbent duties coming, so the atmosphere was relaxed, I started to ask. Ask if it was ok to ask such question. Ask if, to make the conversation more comfortable, I should have first started with my motivations. Asked if there were additional questions about the reason I was asking. Once cleared all the doubts (and the email I’ve sent really helped to set the right tone and expectations of the discussion), people started to tell me their whys.

And it was amazing. And I felt privileged to be part of such conversations, to discover so much about my colleagues.

I wouldn’t say something totally unexpected has been surfaced, at the end we know quite well each other and DevRel team is auto-selective enough that you don’t stay if you aren’t highly motivated, with lot of passions well known and shared. Instead, I was surprised by the accuracy of the particulars, all the little things, often very hard to spot, that added together clarify a lot why it’s so obvious that this person is your colleague, the life paths that have brought her in the team, how much diverse and peculiar we are, even if we share lot of common trains.

And that it doesn’t exist (yet) a school or academic curriculum that brings you to a Developer Relations or Community Manager career path.

Highly suggested as team building activity!

More Community Leadership Summit X (CLSx) events in Europe!

The blooming of European CLSx event in 2016 (Milan, Paris , Rome, London, Madrid) has laid the foundations for one of my 2017 bets: help growing this network, organizing more and more Community Leadership Summit X (CLSx) events across Europe and, why not, the rest of the world.

Why this idea?

There are several reasons, and the most important is I’m not alone believing time has come to make it real.

Since October, in fact, Jono, Alessio and I have been discussing about a plan, and one of the first activity we did was validate it, reaching several other community managers spread all over Europe to get their feedback. Well, they all agreed on the genuinity of the vision, offered concrete support for running a CLSx event in their own city and added some important suggestion to the basic format. I’m happy when people feel empowered by an idea and offer their time to contribute!

Another element supporting the plan was the lack of similar european-wide initiatives to share, discuss and peer-learning about community management topics. Of course, we can be wrong here, so please comment with the experience you’ve: we really want to be collaborative, and not competitive, with other groups already acting in this field.

Also my personal passion plays an important role here: half of my soul is deeply committed to the world of communities, so want to jump on this challenge both as an occasion to improve in this field and to give back.

Strengthened by all this backing, we consolidated the idea of having more and more events in Europe about the art of community management, with a special, but not unique, focus on online and offline (face-to-face) tech communities. Have a preferred target is important, but all the other kinds of communities are welcome: non-tech, open-source or co-working oriented, just to mentioning a few. And, of course, the nature of Community Leadership Summit X events will remain the same: very localized, “for people, made by people”. We’re all volunteers and there are no companies or economic interests behind. Passions and self-improvement drive us in pursuing this vision. And the licence frames very well the boundaries.

How do we want to reach this goal

We have a plan in mind, but it’s a draft plan and so we want to iterate on that. Right now is made by three major steps.

As first move, we’re reaching our connections asking if they would like to facilitate the organization of a CLSx event. We’ve already received positive feedback from cities like Amsterdam, Berlin and London, in addition to previous CLSx event locations in Italy (Rome and Milan), France (Paris) and Spain (Madrid). It would be great to have 10 or more CLSx events happening in European cities in 2017.

Secondly, we want to make the organization of a CLSx event as effortless as possible: an event-in-a-box guide to use as template, global sponsorship agreements to cover the very basic expenses like food, site templates, graphical resources to use for printing t-shirts, roll-up, mentorship on what works and what doesn’t  etc, so event organisers can focus on the most important thing: create the local network, invite people, fire-up the discussion, enjoy while doing all of that.

Third, we want to create a “place” where share, discuss and improve our own knowledge on community management topics: a community of community leaders and passionate. In our mind it should be an online community with an initial focus on Europe, with CLSx events as the occasions to strengthen relationships through face-to-face interactions: we’re social beasts, after all.

Forth… well, let’s start from that, and then iterate ;)

 

Do you like the idea? Do you see missing points? Do you want to propose yourself as facilitator for organising an event in your city? Are you already part of a similar movement? Ping us, we’re eager to receive your feedback.