My writings about community
In modern day and age, many organizations are adopting retrospectives (a session where you look back and talk about what went well, what went wrong and how we can improve) and post-mortems (how did the project go and where did we go wrong) as part of their day-to-day work.
If you haven’t looked into them, I highly suggest you do so. I think especially regular retrospectives can help you build better team work, better project work and improve the conditions around you.
I have built hundreds of events, many of them with a very small team. The fewer people you have, the more you have to prioritize your efforts. But I don’t want to compromise communications (I’ve seen what bad comms do to an event) for quality time with people and especially not the other way around. So I have learned to build and automate things. This is a story of how you can do it too.
Organizing events is a lot of work. If you are a professional event organizer who’s only job is to do events, you probably already have invested in learning tools that can make your life easier. If you are working in marketing or development, and event organizing is just a tangent of your job, I have collected a few ideas to help you focus on what truly matters: your participants.
If you're interested in learning programming, the scene in Helsinki is blooming right now. There are long-term options as well as weekend workshops, evening workshops and support groups so everyone should be able to find their place in the community. And if you're an experienced developer who wants to share their knowledge, most of the community initiatives are always happy to have new people join as coaches.
This list is not exhaustive – these are just the ones I'm familiar with and new ones pop up all the time. If I'm missing something, please let me know in the comments!
I love Internet. And I have ever since I gained access to it in my pre-teens at the turn of the millennium. There has been so many different steps in my path through the Internet forest but almost all of them are about people.
The Early Days: In Internet Nobody Knows You’re a Dog
These days with Facebooks and the boom of the video, we have an Internet where many people represent themselves with their real name and/or face. But back in the day, it was forums and IRC where you really didn’t know who people were unless you got to know them.
Continuous improvement, life-long learning, staying on top of your game are all things very close to my heart. It's not always easy though: sometimes your life (personal and professional) takes a detour and you end up in a situation where your skills get rusty.
I was in that position almost 3 years ago. I switched my full-stack developer career to community management, moved to Turku and worked on a non-technical job for two years. I wasn't ready to let go of my technical competences however. So I did what every knowledge hungry youngster does: I started inviting people smarter than me to tell their stories and share their wisdom.
Engagement and churn are topics that companies have to think about all the time. How to optimize the on-boarding to keep your users in the platform, how to make your product either addictive enough or providing enough value to get them return.
A customer who doesn’t know enough: either about the field they are working on or your product, uses your product less and is a churn-risk every day. On the other hand, a customer who is a power-user and expert in what they do get more value out of their tools and are willing to invest in them.
_One of the things I learned early on was that everybody has to eat. Most people eat lunch and it means taking a “mandatory” break from work and the busy-ness of business life. I’ve used that knowledge to my advantage by making a lot of connections by asking people for lunch. They don’t have to make room for meeting me and people are often happier when they eat.
Here are some of the ways you can build your networks or strengthen your community with food.
This blog post is a recap based on a talk I gave in Fraktio's Perjantaipresis in February 2018. You can watch the recording here.
Communities are fantastic, I love them. We have had communities for as long as humans has been in existence but in the past few years, it has become a buzz word. With the Internet and tools like Facebook, Twitter, Discord and Slack providing access to everyone globally, it’s no wonder these communities have started to pop up.
Meetups are fun and we are happy to see the culture is spreading all around the world making them more accessible to people. We started Turku ❤ Frontend a couple of years ago with the aim to help people learn new skills, meet fellow developers and make it easier for professional developers and students to find jobs and thus, making it easier for companies to find local talent.
If you have never been to a meetup, it can be bit intimidating. We wanna demystify the experience to encourage more and more people to join. And we are not alone: in Turku, there are many other fantastic meetups — something for everyone.
Quick note of terms used: I use the term professional common and professional to refer to whatever topic your community revolves around. It does not have to be professional as in work or business.
Recently I’ve been talking a lot with different people about communities, community management and different aspects related to it. One of the key differences in how people view communities is what I call professional-leisure divide. (I hope one day I’ll have a better word for it.)
All illustrations in this blog post are by the wonderful Jenny Wiik
I have recently found interesting parallels in building and managing communities and gardening. Understanding those parallels and learning from the ancient art of gardening can provide tools for effective community management.
Finland is the promised land of organizations. Almost every citizen is or has been part of a non-profit organization during their life and most of us have been a board member in one or two or … well, let’s just say some of us do it a lot.
As I grew up here and was for the majority of my life a conservative by-the-book guy, everytime I planned of starting something new, I immediately thought about starting an organization, establishing a board, organizing a founding meeting and monthly board meetings and thinking about the paperwork. Long story short, I didn’t start a lot of things.
Turku ❤ Frontend is a community of (mostly frontend) developers in Turku region that was started in December 2015. Between September and May, we organize meetups at local companies’ offices with talks and beers and during the summer break we just finished our first hackathon.
DSC_0030_2Bringing local developers together for a sunny summer day in August was the perfect start for my holiday. We decided to have this year’s theme as location as it’s the hot topic right now with the blooming success of Pokemon Go and IoT. We set the timer to 8 hours and started hacking – some with teams and others alone.
I’m a huge fan of hackathons. Last weekend, I had the privilege to organize one for the first time after attending a few. Even though being super tired on Sunday evening after a long weekend of very little sleep on a couch, I was so happy being able to organize a successful event.
Here are my top reasons for loving hackathons.
After coaching at Rails Girls Helsinki last November and getting a job in San Francisco, one of the first things I did was checking out if there would be a Rails Girls event here too. And how lucky was I. Last weekend, almost 100 enthusiastic girls and women took their laptops and came to Engine Yard for two-day workshop to learn about web development with Ruby on Rails. Since I already wrote about Rails Girls after the last event, I won’t dig too deep into what it is.
In Helsinki, most of the participants were people who had no previous experience on programming but here in San Francisco it was a bit different story. Many girls had done some coding or even worked as web developers but wanted to learn Ruby on Rails to go deeper to the rabbit hole. From a coach perspective, it makes a difference. When teaching basically same things to people with no experience at all and to people who work as developers, you really need to take a different approach. Coaching both different groups was equally fun but in different ways. In the event, I shared a group of three students with a fellow coach and the event having much smaller student per coach ratio gave us an opportunity to give even better personal coaching throughout the day.
Chicago, Taipei, Groningen, Helsinki, Zilina, Oulu and Dresden. 7 Rails Girls events this weekend all around the world.
Today was my first ever Rails Girls event in Helsinki. I ain’t much of a Rails or even a Ruby, I tend to choose Python as my weapon of choice. However, I’ve been long interested in Rails, done some hobby projects with it and even more than that, I’ve been into teaching new people to programming for couple of years now at the university. So coaching a Rails Girls event was super exciting new experience.