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Daniel Franc (Google): How To Grow A Global Online Community

Daniel Franc explains how he began Google's meetup group and gradually grew it into the global phenomenon it is today. Plenty of excellent tips for applying advanced social sciences to build powerful online communities.

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Daniel Franc (Google): How To Grow A Global Online Community

  1. 1. Growing global communities Daniel Franc Developer Relations Program Manager, Google
  2. 2. Meet the massive global universe of Google meetup communities... GDG, GBG, GEG Google Developer Groups: Google has provided support to GDG since 2009, having emerged from several brands since 2007 (incl. GUG.cz) In-person meetup community events, organized by volunteer organizers: mostly technical topics for developers, networking events, hackathons, conferences. 602 chapters in 106 countries, doing over 3000 events in the past 6 months globally
  3. 3. Our place in the community space: We are a primary partner: - not an owner nor manager - we support them and help maintain the platform - we don’t manage them, but we bring various inspirations for their activities Mission alignment is critical to success: They align with our mission to help the developer ecosystem be active, create great apps and technology companies
  4. 4. Driving and sustaining a global growth... ... naturally
  5. 5. “Community Adaptive System” 1 Actors 2 Rules 3 Resources 4 Interaction 5 Network 6 Learning Distributed management Emergent Action Culture
  6. 6. Actors Rules Resource Interact Network Learning Self-identification. People come to you - not you to them. Self-similarity. They feel fitting “in” and want to become “insiders”. Self-motivation. Nobody has to give them anything that the community life doesn’t already provide. Wrong people? Ideally, they shouldn’t even want to join. If they still want to, they shouldn’t be able to enter the community. If they enter it, they should find out that it’s not for them and leave themselves. If they don’t leave, the community shouldn’t let them play. If they still play, an authority has to intervene. How to get the right people? Distribution Emergence Culture
  7. 7. Values: your community DNA. Build only on a few of them, express them by the other layers, use them as a check for community activities. Norms: charters are ok and they can help correct unwanted behaviors. Behaviors: celebrate the desired ones. The “outer shell”: promote stories, legends, heros, rituals, lingo, fashion, in-jokes, ... How to build the culture? Actors Rules Resource Interact Network Learning Emergence Culture Distribution Values Norms Behaviors Visuals, stories, heroes
  8. 8. Actors Rules Resource Interact Network Learning RULES: Rules as in “Game rules”. Make them awfully simple. They define the core behaviors from which the complex swarm action emerges. GOALS: Don’t impose your company objectives to the communities. Look for intersection between your goals and the direction of the community swarm (“patterns” emerging from collective primitive behavior). Support this intersection by: 1) promoting rules that lead in this direction 2) providing resources for the behaviors that support the primitive behaviors Distribution Emergence Culture How can “rules” help your goals?
  9. 9. How to support the community best? Actors Rules Resource Interact Network Learning Emergence Culture Distribution No salaries / wages for community organizers. Remember: motivation comes from the within. (Exceptions may/will happen with platform organizers / administrators). Ideal resources are 1) the most difficult ones to get, 2) covering something otherwise “boring” for the organizers 3) the most impactful ones. Inmaterial resources are easier and “cheaper” to provide. Give just enough: Rather less than more: it’s important for the culture & for geneating energy. Provide resources that support both activities and the platform infrastructure (the infrastructure resources may be crucial)
  10. 10. How to increase interactions? Actors Rules Resource Interact Network Learning Emergence Culture Distribution The more interaction, the merrier. The Interactions are the 2nd most important piece of your community story (after Actors). They support all remaining components, but can’t exist without them. Reduce noise by creating various channels and giving people choice which ones are relevant. Sadly, interactions can’t be enforced. But they happen when 1) they’re a natural way for people to “live” in the community 2) they bring value to the people who interact, not to you 3) all of the other elements are well present in your community
  11. 11. How to create a massive action without planning it & managing it? Actors Rules Resource Interact Network Learning Emergence Culture Distribution 1. Enable free generation of random behaviors 2. Enable these random actions to form semi-stable regularities 3. When regularities survive in time and attract other interactions, stable patterns may emerge Allow for free competition among these regularities and patterns to identify the most viable ones. Make dying out of the patterns easy, simple and fun. Works (almost always) only bottom-up!
  12. 12. How to build the right community network? Actors Rules Resource Interact Network Learning Emergence Culture Distribution The network are the veins and nerves of your community. Make the “nodes” transparent and easy to connect with, and their connections rich, yet not creating too much noise. Create organizer directories, online channels - synchronous / asynchronous, f2f channels - meetups, summits, cross-event participation Break down the community if network doesn’t allow for interactions! Create sub- forums, sub-groups (topical / spatial / any criteria), clusters, but still maintain the network in open for all-to-all access
  13. 13. How to influence the network when you’re not the boss? Actors Rules Resource Interact Network Learning Emergence Culture Distribution You can’t manage it directly: Use distributed architecture principles - the network manages itself. You can manage only the platform hosting the system “components”. But… You can insert stimuli to the network with potential for pattern emergence Informal leaders can function as coaches / mentors / advisors and influence the system. You can influence the system by assisting in choosing these informal leaders.
  14. 14. How to drive community change? Actors Rules Resource Interact Network Learning Emergence Culture Distribution Sharing of experiences and interactions with them. Culture of the #fail. Define what “failure” is - and de-negativize non-catastrophic failures. “Constant reorg” - upgrade the platform to reflect changing actors, behaviors, patterns, resources needed, etc. Listen 10x more than you think it’s adequate. Create channels for feedback for yourself - but everyone else as well.
  15. 15. Now to the stars...And now to the stars. Thanks for your attention! dfranc@google.com http://plus.ly/dfranc