Archive for December, 2008

Community editors…hot or flakey?

December 23, 2008

Marshall Kirkpatrick writes in read Write web that Community Manager jobs “are hot”, but the first comment wonders if the job might be risky in this economy.

My take on this, is that it all about the stability of the company, and the importance to the company of the job, and how it affects revenue.

In our company we are not dependent on advertising, we can justify this purely on “being really nice and useful to our customers”.  If the CommEdit can do that well, their job is very safe!!


Creating a “Community Editor” job…a missing link?

December 23, 2008

Welcome…more astute readers will notice the Darwin connection, and the rather gentle (or was it weak?) pun on the one-time family businessI rather suspect that this will turn out to be almost as vague as creating a “web designer” job, but maybe with the help of others we can exercise this meme a bit.

Why are we doing it?

  • For the customers, and therefore ourselves
  • We have noticed that there are lots of good bits of FOSS that is pretty useless to many people because the documentation is really innappropriate to non-“technical experts”, or in some cases plain rubbish!  The FOSS finds it hard to cross the chasm from being interesting to the club of “techies” to being a main-stream and widely used product
  • We think that creating a community will help us to do this (on a commercial basis), so that when a customer pays for us to install some FOSS on a box or in the cloud, then they will be empowered.
  • We develop our products in 3 grades of quality (alpha, beta, gold), and we want to get a real discussion going so that we can “learn” quickly how to enable the products to graduate to higher levels of quality…quicker

What we hope that the Community Editor will do

  • Build a useful knowledge base for our customers (but not just taking dictation/interviewing the developers).  Sure one can get started with the developers, but once users start to use a product then it takes on a life of it’s own.  Which leads onto the next bit
  • Encourage forums for interested parties to discuss the products, and how to use them…well usefully for them!
  • Liase with the support team, so that when there is a support call/email, where they think “we could have handled that better”, then we DO go ahead and handle it better
  • Build Special Interest Communities, based around the technology and applications of our products (current and future).

Why I am nervous about it

  • There are lots of balances that we must strike (“interesting stuff” vs “balanced knowledge”
  • There might be quite a culture shock for someone joining our company

Why I hope that this will be an attractive job

  • Money!! (well half time job pro-rata £72K PA)
  • The new business model that we are working on is pretty innovative (we have not seen anyone else do it before)
  • We are very committed to making a success of this

What I would really like to share (yes I do mean both ways)

  • What are the management challenges
  • How should we develop the role
  • What kind of people are well suited to the job
  • How we should measure the success of the projects
  • Some simple case studies
  • oh…and I suppose what the job actually is, and how it relates to the other depts

Hello world!

December 23, 2008

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