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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
How We Can Borrow From Other Traditions and Level Up Our Game
CMX Summit East 2015
___...
I <3 NY
Previously...
Work
Know what community managers do a lot of?
I’ve had the chance to see how community works in lots of orgs.
Justifying ourselves.
It’s exhausting.
Justifying ourselves.
What we do is a lot bigger than startups.
Community = getting a collection of individuals to view
themselves as a cohesive group.
It’s easy to lose sight of our purpose when we’re
facing a constant onslaught.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
If we look at communities outside our day to day, it helps
us see deeper patterns and structures.
I want to help you think about community building outside
your current constraints.
Non-Transactional Giving
Self-Identifying Membership
Alignment of Desires
Customs and Rituals
Empowerment of Individuals
1) Non-Transactional Giving
2) Self Identifying Members
3) Alignment of Desires
4) Customs and Rituals
5) Empowerment of I...
How do these five traits show up in
strong, successful communities?
Alcoholics Anonymous1st Example:
“I have found that the process of discovering who I really am
begins with knowing who I really don't want to be.”
Alcoholi...
What is it?
• “Mutual aid society” - members help each other face their
relationship with alcohol, rebuild their lives
• R...
• Will not tell you whether you’re an alcoholic
• Sponsorship
• 12 Steps
Alcoholics Anonymous
What is it?
Non-Transactional Giving
The Five Traits in AA
Self-Identifying Members
Alignment of Desires
Rituals & Customs
Empowerment...
(image TBD)
Burning Man2nd Example:
“A Disneyland where the participants create all the rides” -- Michael Mikel,
Co-Founder
Burning Man
What is it?
• 65K people in Black Rock Desert for a weeklong
celebration
• Music, large scale art installations, partying,...
• Theme camps
• Effigy burn
• Gifting
• Make a city, break it back down (“Leave no trace”)
Burning Man
What is it?
Burning Man
Burning Man
Burning Man
The Five Traits in Burning Man
Non-Transactional Giving
Self-Identifying Members
Alignment of Desires
Rituals ...
3rd Example:
Linux
“I think, fundamentally, open source does tend to be more stable software.
It's the right way to do things.” -- Linus Torv...
What is it?
• Open source alternative to Windows and OSX
• Free for everyone to use and modify
• Community & corporate sym...
• Linux User Groups (LUGs)
• Community provides support to one another
• Strong countercultural, anti-corporate ethos
What...
The Five Traits in Linux
Non-Transactional Giving
Self-Identifying Members
Alignment of Desires
Rituals & Customs
Empowerm...
Let’s take an example that’s closer to home.
The Five Traits at Stack Exchange
Non-Transactional Giving We believe people want to
help each other
Self-Identifying Members Give away content,
no pressure to sign up
The Five Traits at Stack Exchange
Alignment of Desires Defining “on topic”
The Five Traits at Stack Exchange
Rituals & Customs Community documentation of
our memes & inside jokes
The Five Traits at Stack Exchange
Empowerment of Individuals Creation of Meta Stack Overflow
The Five Traits at Stack Exchange
Communities are weird tangles of
human interaction.
We are the pattern matchers.
If we don’t define what community building is, others will do it for us.
Not every company is going to embrace the five traits,
or the true importance of community.
If you’re not being empowered to do your best work, find
somewhere where you are.
Thank you!
@anoemi
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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: How Community Builders Can Borrow From Other Traditions to Level Up Our Game

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This talk examines the 5 traits of enduring communities and how they play out in AA, Linux, Stack Exchange, and more. Delivered at CMX East 2015,

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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: How Community Builders Can Borrow From Other Traditions to Level Up Our Game

  1. 1. Standing on the Shoulders of Giants How We Can Borrow From Other Traditions and Level Up Our Game CMX Summit East 2015 __________________ by Ana Noemi @anoemi
  2. 2. I <3 NY
  3. 3. Previously... Work
  4. 4. Know what community managers do a lot of? I’ve had the chance to see how community works in lots of orgs.
  5. 5. Justifying ourselves.
  6. 6. It’s exhausting. Justifying ourselves.
  7. 7. What we do is a lot bigger than startups.
  8. 8. Community = getting a collection of individuals to view themselves as a cohesive group.
  9. 9. It’s easy to lose sight of our purpose when we’re facing a constant onslaught.
  10. 10. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
  11. 11. If we look at communities outside our day to day, it helps us see deeper patterns and structures.
  12. 12. I want to help you think about community building outside your current constraints.
  13. 13. Non-Transactional Giving
  14. 14. Self-Identifying Membership
  15. 15. Alignment of Desires
  16. 16. Customs and Rituals
  17. 17. Empowerment of Individuals
  18. 18. 1) Non-Transactional Giving 2) Self Identifying Members 3) Alignment of Desires 4) Customs and Rituals 5) Empowerment of Individuals These are the five traits of every vibrant, enduring community:
  19. 19. How do these five traits show up in strong, successful communities?
  20. 20. Alcoholics Anonymous1st Example:
  21. 21. “I have found that the process of discovering who I really am begins with knowing who I really don't want to be.” Alcoholics Anonymous
  22. 22. What is it? • “Mutual aid society” - members help each other face their relationship with alcohol, rebuild their lives • Religious influence • Free and inclusive to all Alcoholics Anonymous
  23. 23. • Will not tell you whether you’re an alcoholic • Sponsorship • 12 Steps Alcoholics Anonymous What is it?
  24. 24. Non-Transactional Giving The Five Traits in AA Self-Identifying Members Alignment of Desires Rituals & Customs Empowerment of Individuals Sponsorship AA doesn’t diagnose alcoholism Working to get well Meetings Anyone can start a group Alcoholics Anonymous
  25. 25. (image TBD) Burning Man2nd Example:
  26. 26. “A Disneyland where the participants create all the rides” -- Michael Mikel, Co-Founder Burning Man
  27. 27. What is it? • 65K people in Black Rock Desert for a weeklong celebration • Music, large scale art installations, partying, self-expression • Bring your own food, water, shelter Burning Man
  28. 28. • Theme camps • Effigy burn • Gifting • Make a city, break it back down (“Leave no trace”) Burning Man What is it?
  29. 29. Burning Man
  30. 30. Burning Man
  31. 31. Burning Man The Five Traits in Burning Man Non-Transactional Giving Self-Identifying Members Alignment of Desires Rituals & Customs Empowerment of Individuals Gift economy Culturally abnormal activity ‘Leave no trace’ Effigy Burn Theme Camps
  32. 32. 3rd Example: Linux
  33. 33. “I think, fundamentally, open source does tend to be more stable software. It's the right way to do things.” -- Linus Torvalds, Project Lead Linux
  34. 34. What is it? • Open source alternative to Windows and OSX • Free for everyone to use and modify • Community & corporate symbiosis • Leading operating system on servers Linux
  35. 35. • Linux User Groups (LUGs) • Community provides support to one another • Strong countercultural, anti-corporate ethos What is it? Linux
  36. 36. The Five Traits in Linux Non-Transactional Giving Self-Identifying Members Alignment of Desires Rituals & Customs Empowerment of Individuals Built by volunteers Linux User Groups Anti-corporate ethos Lots. Of. Shouting. Pull requests Linux
  37. 37. Let’s take an example that’s closer to home.
  38. 38. The Five Traits at Stack Exchange Non-Transactional Giving We believe people want to help each other
  39. 39. Self-Identifying Members Give away content, no pressure to sign up The Five Traits at Stack Exchange
  40. 40. Alignment of Desires Defining “on topic” The Five Traits at Stack Exchange
  41. 41. Rituals & Customs Community documentation of our memes & inside jokes The Five Traits at Stack Exchange
  42. 42. Empowerment of Individuals Creation of Meta Stack Overflow The Five Traits at Stack Exchange
  43. 43. Communities are weird tangles of human interaction. We are the pattern matchers.
  44. 44. If we don’t define what community building is, others will do it for us.
  45. 45. Not every company is going to embrace the five traits, or the true importance of community.
  46. 46. If you’re not being empowered to do your best work, find somewhere where you are.
  47. 47. Thank you! @anoemi

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