LEGO Wasn’t Always Open to Your Ideas

LEGO might be open to your ideas now, but it wasn’t always like that. Afraid of legal blowback, they once turned away ideas – and largely ignored their adult fan base.

Jake McKee helped form LEGO’s first community team, and usher in a new era of openness at the company. He opened the lines of communication between adult consumers of their products, who had more discretionary income than the kids, driving home the understanding that LEGO was not just a child’s toy company. Plus:

  • Finding the job you want, not necessarily the job that’s posted
  • How Jake made busy people find time to talk about community
  • Building super user programs

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He Hacked My Website

Jared Smith found my community when we were both teenagers. He got to see me early in my career. He became a great contributor to the community, as well as a moderator. He also hacked my website.

In high school, he couldn’t find any other Van Halen fans, so he joined an online community. That took him down a road that led to him co-authoring 2005’s Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress, and building a career. Plus:

  • phpBB’s insularity problem, that helped create an opportunity for Jared
  • The shift away from chronological order online
  • Russia’s manipulation of opinions online, through online communities and social spaces

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Why Ubisoft Created a Community Content Team

Ubisoft’s community content team helps the gaming company’s community developers and managers by creating polished content, inspired by and sometimes derived from the community.

After spending time as a community developer himself, Zack Cooper was tapped to start this team, and has led it for the last 3 and a half years. We discuss:

  • How the community content team benefits the community team
  • Zack’s favorite stories of content that has come from the community
  • If this model could make sense in other industries

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From Civil Engineer to Community Manager

Lana Lee spent 15 years as a civil and structural engineer, before switching careers and, shortly thereafter, becoming a community manager.

On this episode of the show, we discuss what drove that change and the similarities between the two roles. Plus:

  • What Lana did when she was worried that some teams wouldn’t take the company community seriously
  • The community bootcamp program she’s working on
  • Why Facebook might be the greatest use case for pre-moderation I have ever seen

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Making Plans

January 22, 2018 update: We’ve decided to extend this into a brief hiatus. We’ll be back next week, with some news about the show! Thank you for your patience.

Hey all,

I’m sorry to have to take another week off so soon, but we’re making some long range plans for the show, and figuring out what the next step looks like. In taking some time to think about that, we just weren’t able to get a show done this week. I’m excited about what is to come, and looking forward to sharing that. I hope to be back next week! Thank you for your patience.

Patrick

Ending the Millennial Conversation, Customer Experience Insurance and Other Short Stories

Not every segment we record on Community Signal makes it into the final episode. One of the perks of being a supporter of the show on Patreon is being among the first to hear bonus clips and cut for time extras.

That’s what this episode consists of: A group of clips that were released to Patreon supporters between June and July of 2017 and have only been heard by them – until now. With new insights from past guests Maggie McGary, Christopher Carfi, Kim England, Tracey Todd, Bob Hubbard, Scott Moore and Venessa Paech, this edition of the show is like a collection of short stories for community professionals, including:

  • Lessons learned from fighting for buy-in for more than a decade
  • When your community is deleted by a disgruntled employee of your web hosting company
  • Candid reactions to Facebook’s inconsistent moderation manual

Continue reading “Ending the Millennial Conversation, Customer Experience Insurance and Other Short Stories”

The Making of Community Signal (Episode #100)

For the 100th episode of Community Signal, we’re talking about the show itself. How it came to be, what drives it and how we make it each week.

My guest is the producer of all 100 episodes, Karn Broad. Karn is my creative partner in the show, but if he does his job well, you never think about it. This episode really gives you a sense of the rapport than Karn and I have, and how we work together every week to produce Community Signal. Plus:

  • How Karn and I met
  • Why I ended the first community management podcast that I hosted
  • The process of creating the show each week

Continue reading “The Making of Community Signal (Episode #100)”

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays! Community Signal will be taking the week off, but we’ll be back next week for episode #100. Can’t wait.

Thank you to everyone who has made 2017 a great year for the show – our listeners, subscribers, Patreon supporters, sponsors, guests, Karn (my producer), and everyone who has spread the word about our program. See you in 2018!

90%+ of Members Felt Less Alone After Joining This Community

Sue Ryder, a well-known charity in the UK, provides support for end of life care and bereavement. In 2015, after more than 60 years of operation, they launched an online community.

For a majority of the its members, the community serves as the first touch point between them and the organization. Not only that, but in a survey, more than 90% of members said that the community made them feel less alone and more able to cope with their situation. Community manager Priscilla McClay joins the program. Plus:

  • The research that led to the launch of the community
  • How the community has shifted to focus primarily on bereavement
  • What Priscilla does to cope with the nature of the community

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Online Communities in the Post-Facebook Era

Matt Mecham‘s code has powered far too many online communities to count. Developing popular online community software since 2001, he worked on YaBB and founded Ikonboard, before co-founding Invision Power Services, the company behind Invision Community.

Given his long view of the industry, Matt sees the timeline of online community as progressing through a few eras: The early years, when he began developing software. The middle years, where platforms became more cognizant of UI considerations and SEO. The recent years, Facebook opening to the public and the resulting impact. And now, which he refers to as the “post-Facebook era.” Where will online communities go in that era? Plus:

  • The community software business shift from licensing to SaaS (software as a service)
  • New features vs. bloat
  • Why he turned down a job offer from vBulletin

Continue reading “Online Communities in the Post-Facebook Era”