My keynote on building and growing technical communities.
COMMUNITY: THE FAQ
C42 Engineering & TrustedRishta.com
Founding moderator: BRUG
Founding organizer: RubyConf India
Founding member: Devcamp India
Member: Barcamp Bangalore, BangPypers, etc.
WHY TALK COMMUNITY?
WHY TALK COMMUNITY?
Good tech communities create immense value.
Community is a decisive factor in the success of a technology.
An excellent example is the global Ruby community.
This doesn’t happen “automatically.”
This conference is an example.
Creating a valuable community takes commitment.
Creating a valuable community takes resources.
Most importantly, it takes time. Years.
Understanding how valuable tech communities were built help
us replicate those successes.
Why, how and for whom?
Somewhere, a hacker creates something valuable.
Somewhere, another hacker has the same problem.
Even if it’s boredom.
Somewhere, a customer is willing to pay for something valuable.
This, and everyone in-between, is the community.
COMMUNITY == ECOSYSTEM
HOW: MOVING VALUE
Fun, Learning, Contracts, Employment.
Recruiting, Tools, Products, Partnerships, Revenue.
Contractors, Tools, Products.
A valuable community facilitates bartering value.
Bartering depends on trust. Trust depends on reputation.
A valuable community facilitates tracking reputation of its
What opinion do we have of each-other?
These two contribute to the reputation of the community as a
whole, attempting to answer the question:
What is this community good at?
Solve a stakeholder’s problem.
For a new community, it’s easy: Focus on education.
Dedicate time. Be systematic.
Regular meetups. Active lists.
Keeping to a regular schedule is critical.
Identify and promote contributors.
Remember, it’s about reputation and value.
Hackers that educate.
Businesses that contribute money or meet up space.
Customers that swear by your technology.
Identify the value chain.
Who are the stakeholders? How do they beneﬁt?
Stakeholders don’t always realise how much they can beneﬁt
from actively participating.
Help them understand. Bring them into the fold.
Facilitate bartering value.
Help members of the ecosystem work together.
Reputation and transitive trust is critical.
Encourage face-to-face interaction.
The internet is nice, but meeting people is great for trust.
BE WILLING TO PASS ON THE
A NOTE ON PATIENCE
Communities are never perfect.
Ecosystems naturally seek…
Systems in equilibrium change slowly.
Therefore, communities change slowly.
Most successful communities take years to build.
A NOTE ON CULTURE
The most visible examples are the ones that are followed.
Rude people beget rude communities.
Elitists beget elitist communities.
Nice people beget nice communities.
Personal favourite: MINSWAN
Matz is nice, so we are nice.
Nice people make the best value transfer facilitators, IMO.
The larger the community, the more entrenched the culture.
There is no superuser.
Be ﬂexible. Avoid ego-trips.
Set the right example, early.
A NOTE ON MARKETING
“Build it and they will come” is a fallacy.
Constantly strive to understand stakeholder problems.
Maybe they don’t have learning resources.
Maybe they can’t hire.
Maybe they can’t ﬁnd customers.
Express how these problems can be solved.
Rails’ scaffolding demo from 2005.
Communities exist for and because of stakeholders.
Businesses and customers are a part of the community too.
Communities facilitate the barter of value among stakeholders.
Effective facilitation depends on creating trust.
Trust depends on reputation.
Building a reputation takes time.