Category: small business

Community Management as Stewardship – and Happy #CMAD!

: the conducting, supervising, or managing of something;especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care <stewardship of natural resources>

In the run up to Community Manager Appreciation Day, I’ve had a lot of conversations about the evolving role of the community manager. One topic keeps surfacing during all the conversations, no matter how varied the duties and perceptions of the role may be: that of stewardship.

Contexts, duties, community purpose, member demographics, and many other variables can be unique to each and every online community , but one thing remains the same – the role of someone to care for the network of relationships over the long haul… and hopefully to leave the community in a better place than it was when that particular community manager started to engage.

As we honor all of our Community Managers today, I would encourage you to think about the concept of stewardship as it relates to the work of community management – the intention to care for the network over time. The commitment required, and the long-term value inherent.

To all the Community Managers out there: Happy #CMAD! You are all doing important and impactful work. You rock. Thank you.

Online Communities: Surviving & Thriving Webcast

The archive for Online Communities: Thriving in the Economic Downturn Webinar”>Online Communities: Thriving in the Economic Downturn Webinar is now available.

You can view an archive of the video / audio from the webcast here:

On the webcast today, I was joined by Thor Muller of Satisfaction, Chris Kenton of SocialRep and Scott Wilder of Intuit. Topics discussed in the webcast include:

– Buffalo culture as a new metaphor for your online business
– The customer relationship as a currently squandered opportunity
– Rethinking “ROI”
– The social history of marketing and media
– Setting social media policy and training staff – “Guidelines and guardrails”
– and much more.

Participant bios:

Thor Muller – CEO & Co-founder, Satisfaction

Thor Muller is CEO & Co-founder of Satisfaction, a startup delivering “people-powered customer service for absolutely everything.”

He is also the co-founder and former Managing Director of Rubyred Labs, a San Francisco-based web apps firm. Since its founding in 2005, Rubyred has developed social software for a range of startups and leading portals.

Prior to Rubyred, Thor was a first generation Web entrepreneur, creating Web success stories for companies such as Yahoo, Dell, Bank of America, Intel, Virgin Records, Fujitsu, Discovery Channel, and Sony. In 1995, he started and ran one of the early Web development boutiques, Prophet Communications, later acquired by Frog Design where he served as VP Digital Media. He subsequently founded Trapezo, a venture-funded company that made Web software for syndicating content, acquired by Perfect Commerce in 2002.

Christopher Kenton – CEO & Founder, SocialRep

Christopher Kenton is founder and CEO of the enterprise social media SaaS startup SocialRep, and cofounder and consulting partner at MotiveLab a social media marketing agency. Chris was formerly Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy at the Chief Marketing Officer’s (CMO) Council, and its corporate parent, the international PR firm GlobalFluency, where he managed global business development, client consulting services and program development for business communities including the CMO Council, the Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum and the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME).

With an extensive background in strategic marketing and software development, Chris specializes in market development, competitive positioning, marketing effectiveness and measurement, with a special emphasis on marketing technology and social media.

Scott K. Wilder, Group Manager, Intuit

Scott K. Wilder is currently the Group Manager of Intuit’s QuickBooks Online Community and User-Collaboration Web site. Previously, he served as Vice President of Marketing and Product Development at and eToys. He also has held numerous senior management positions at America Online, Apple Computer,, and American Express. While working at America Online, Scott helped create the first Web-based online advertisement and commercial Web site. Wilder has a Master degrees from The Johns Hopkins University, The New York University Leonard Stern School of Business and Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching Program.

Bill Johnston, Chief Community Officer, Forum One Networks

Bill Johnston works as Forum One Network’s Chief Community Officer. In this role, Bill drives the editorial vision for Forum One’s series of conferences related to online community, leads the Online Community Research Network, and leads the commercial community consulting practice.

Johnston has been building large-scale online communities since 1999. He came to Forum One from Autodesk, where he served as the Online Strategy Manager, with responsibilities including a portfolio of online communities and blogs. Previously he oversaw user experience tasks at TechRepublic, an IT professionals community (now part of Cnet). He also directs the Online Community Roundtable, an invitation-based professional networking series for online community professionals to share best practices and experiences.

Local Community and Radical Transparency

I think a lot about the concept of community, and community member’s responsibilities back to the “commons”.

I live in a small town in Marin called Fairfax. If you have ever driven or ridden from San Francisco out to the Pt Reyes, coast, you have probably passed through. Among the many things that make the town special are it’s collection of small, locally owned businesses. One of my favorites is BookBeat cafe, which, as the title describes is a bookstore and cafe. I recieved an email earlier this week from the owner (I’m on their mailing list), and I was really floored by Gary’s frankness in the email. There has been a lot of talk about transparency in the business world latley.

Here is what it looks like folks:




Everybody seems to believe that BookBeat is successful. Thriving, and growing richer every day. In some ways it is. It is rich in community. It is rich in it’s music scene. It still holds it’s own as an independent bookstore and cafe. Financially, however, BookBeat, is not doing well at all. I began BookBeat 8 years ago with the community in mind. I envisioned a place that would be vital to the social, artistic, and literary world in which we reside. A place that would support a 90 year old artist who had lost his memory, or a child with only one parent who could find help when in need. A place to showcase school aged poets and musicians. A place to meet and discuss how we can best live our lives. A place that could become emergency headquarters when we had a devastating flood. A place to show independent films. A place for kids to safely study after school while they wait for their parents. A place for us to meet and get to know the community in which we live. BookBeat has become all of this and more. And there has been much reward for me in this.

However……I still have to feed myself and my 2 kids.

As BookBeat has become busier, I have had to face the additional cost of more employees and also the rising cost of most goods. I have rarely been able to pay myself anything these past 8 years and in fact have borrowed a great deal of money to keep open the doors.

And now I ask for your help.

I am so thankful for everybody who already supports BookBeat. If you would like to see BookBeat remain open, here are some things you can do to help.

1. Shop as often as you can at the store. Do you have gifts to buy for others? We have books, hats, ceramics, shirts and sweatshirts, journals, gift certificates, and more. Meet friends there and have breakfast or lunch. Come out to our evening music events and enjoy food and drink.

2. Please, please, please, forward this email to anyone you know in driving distance to BookBeat. Spread the word that one of the last Independent Bookstore/Café/Music Venues is in great need of support. Not many of us want to see this building turned into a nail salon.

3. Sign up for the BookBeat email list so you can know what is happening.

4. Sign up to be on a list of volunteers who could help do things for the store when there isn’t money available. (Such as hanging up flyers for upcoming events, painting walls, or even waiting tables during a busy evening). You can email me your contact information and let me know what things you could be called upon to help with.

I love BookBeat and I know many of us in this community do also. Please help me keep the doors of BookBeat open. I can’t do it without you.

Thanks, gary

gary Kleiman BookBeat

email: gary@bookbeatfairfax.comphone: 415-256-9060web:

I’m not sure how I what I would do in a similar situation, but I applaud Gary for having the guts to hit send on this.