Thu 12 May 2011
I am community manager for TYPO3 for slightly over a year now and I recently came to the conclusion that being community manager is a real life occupation. Of course I am joking a bit here. There are plenty of communities, but I never realised how many community managers there are. Jos Poortvliet who I already knew from KDE became a community manager for Open Suse.
I recently saw an interview with Jono Bacon that caught my attention and made me investigate a little further. Jono is community manager for Ubuntu. I was even so foolish to suggest to Jono in my Facebook invite to organize a community manager conference, while this guy is already organizing that for a few years now. Blush ;-) Jono organizes the Community Leadership Summit and this year it is taking place in Portland, Oregon just before OSCON. I have already registered for that Summit and looking forward to exchange experiences with other community managers. Jono posted an article in his blog a few weeks ago where he mentioned his three weaknesses and asks for feedback. This seemed like an excellent opportunity for me to ask the TYPO3 community for feedback on what I can improve as a community manager and what can be improved in general in the TYPO3 community and the whole surrounding ecosystem.
So let's roll:
1. Concentrate on the tasks ahead
I know I am easily distracted. You get into one task and others come along as they appear by mail or by Skype. Trying to please everyone as soon as possible leaves other things in my agenda on the back burner even for along time. A thing I do almost on a daily basis is to take regular breaks. I usually take breaks at 11:00, 14:00 and 17:00 to look back on the stuff I did in the previous hours and I try to determine the most important things ahead. That improves my concentration, but still it can be better.
Sometimes taking a decision takes a lot of deliberation and careful consideration. Thinking about a topic can take so long that you can easily forget was actually was the basis upon which to make the decision. Sometimes I need to rely on my instinct a little more. That said does not always guarantee you make the right decision. When I worked as a paper maker in a Dutch paper mill I learnt that it is better to take up that wrench and try to fix that particular thing. If you break it even further that did not matter so much you have at least acted. That does not necessarily mean act before you think, but a better balance can be found. Act!
3. Trying to avoid conflict
As a community manager you try to please each and everyone. I am not that good in arguing with people and trying to get my point across. I hate conflicts. Conflicts make me feel bad. My main mission is to enable people to do the thing they like in the community and do it well. As said before it is hard to please everyone, but that might leave some matters under the table. Although not my number one favourite I also try to see conflicts as natural and belonging to who we are as people.
It is the first time I attempt to get feedback from the TYPO3 community using my blog. I will most likely have missed my worst weaknesses. I will continue to communicate with the community and I am looking forward to your feedback to not only improve our community, but also to uncover areas we did not reach before. In this past year I have seen there is a lot of potential around. We have to find a way to unlock and use that. I invite all of you to think creative, to participate and to communicate with our great TYPO3 community. I am looking forward to your feedback. You can also contact me by email.