Over the course of the last year, I've seen a community grow into a thriving resource for all its participants. Engagement, both online and through offline events, is through the roof. It's a high quality, experienced, and focused community of participants who have leveraged each other's knowledge to get a ton of value out of it.
Its not a fluke, though. It's the result of an incredibly detailed, well executed, and continuously adjusted plan--a science, if you will. There is a lot of careful seeding, and hands-on curation going on. Metrics are tracked in detail, and logs are kept on what works and what doesn't work for the future.
The community is the First Round Capital portfolio and the best Community Manager I've ever seen is Brett Berson.
We don't talk too much about the internal resources we provide our entrepreneurs, but there's a ton going on at First Round for the period of time *after* the money hits the bank account. That includes a custom online community as well as a comprehensive series of in-person events. Without giving away the playbook entirely, what I can say is that everything Brett does to foster our community platform is done through constant testing an interation. Learnings are taken from every launch and every event that become part of the plan for the next one. It all goes to building up a perspective on how great communties are built.
It's the kind of process and philosophy that I find lacking in many of the folks who carry the Community Manager title. Pithy phrases are tossed around all the time about the importance of "passion" in community management and "loving your users." I don't think communities are built on candy and puppy dog's tails alone--they're exercises in execution. After watching Brett work, if I were to hire a community manager, I'd want someone who was metrics driven and who had a clear playbook for fostering engagement. It's a science just as much as it is a labor of love.