Sunday, November 29, 2009


Dear Community,

This morning I went to Wal-mart with my mom. I'm leaving for Dublin today and was in need of underwear because I have a packing problem and always bring useless crap instead of things like socks and underwear. As in, I bought 4 pairs of running shorts (for Dublin in the middle of winter) and 2 pairs of underwear for a 10 day trip. Im an idiot.

Anyway. Here I am in the underwear isle there trying to decide if I wanted hot pink with stripes or teal with Hawaiian flowers (what happened to white?), something neat happened. All of the Wal-mart employees gathered and then some manager looking type (and by that I mean she was wearing a fake tie with her vest) started reading off Wal-mart sales information. Pharmacy was up by 14%, liquor was up by 7, floral by 3. People seemed eager to how their department had done. When manager type announced that the Miley Cirus line was up 23%, a women yelled 'I set up those displays'.

And then they did a Wal-mart cheer. As in, high school football, give me a 'W' style. That was weird.

But the meeting itself was really cool. I mean, come on, this is Wal-mart. People there probably don't think about their work as a 'career' but listening to them was a little bit inspiring. It would be easy to treat employees like 40 hour a week labor, but by making them part of the larger mission of the company, it not only motivated them, but it recognized their contribution to the success of the company. For a company that gets tons of flack for being terrible to employees, I was impressed.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Under The Sea

Dear Community,

I think people suffer from "career satuisfaction misatribution". (Maybe, if we all start using this phrase, people will casually throw CSM around at bars "ya total case of CSM- if you know what I mean", and wearing ugly rubber braclets with 'CSM awareness' printed on it- although I think the bracelets would have to be a gross tan color because its pratically the only color left that has not been claimed by some cause).

I digress. The point is, I don't think people understand why they like their jobs. I think most people would say they like their job because its interesting, or because they have a lot of responsibility- and while these are true, I think the reason we always forget is "the people I work with are amazing" (it should also be noted that, when we hate our job, we frequently think to blame lame people, but when we love it, its usally not returned).

Which brings me to these Sea Monkeys. My coworker in the office next to me gave them to me today. I always complain that I don't get mail (probably because I don't order things online) and so he put these in a box and delivered them to me. He actually does these things all the time. And, it wasn't until I was sitting around with all of my friends, complaining about the woos of being in your 20s and having a job that you didn't love- that I realized, these little jestures make me love my job. They really do.

I think we all want to be a part of a community where we feel appreciated- where we feel like people notice when we are not there. This is why people like responsibility- it gives us the chance to show up, do something great and have people notice. But what we forget is that you don't need responsibility to do this- you can just show up. You can let people around you know that you are thinking about them without them asking. And when this happens- its like magic. Magic because there is no apparent motivation, no explanation, its just kind, and for me, this type of kindness feels magical.

So I want to figure out how I can grow this magic in all of my communities. How I can inspire people to be kind and giving without a call or a demand, without a title or an incentive. Because it not only makes your job wonderful, it makes your life wonderful.

So cheesey, but so true.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dear Community,

The AdWords Help Forum just turned one! My friends think its weird that I talk about this online community in the same way that I would my small niece, but they just haven't managed a community before now have they.

To celebrate, I decided the most fitting thing to do would be to bake all of the forum members a cake. So this weekend, I settled on a pumpkin recipe because its fall, and forum kind of sounds like pumpkin, if you really force it:

This makes the cake look gross. But my stand mixer looks good, so I left the picture in.

Into the oven! It should be noted that I put the cake in the oven originally without turning the oven on. I kept thinking, man this is taking a long time to bake....

And it turned out! I frosted the pumpkin cake with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting. And I topped it with a candle- so you are all entitled to one wish. Ready- blow!

I know virtual photo cake is not nearly as delicious as the real thing, but I wanted to do something to thank all of you who helped make this forum grow over the past year. Maybe if you lick your computer screen, you can detect some of the fall flavors. Then again, people might just think you were weird...

Happy Birthday Everyone!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Anything you can do, I can do better

Dear Community,

I know it has been awhile since I posted. I have been busy. First there was the apple- bob competition (which we did blindfolded, after performing bat spins. don't ask), followed by a bake off, paired with a 2 liter soda chugging contest, a pumpkin carving competition and finally a pie eating extravaganza (and by that I mean, how fast can you shovel a pie in your face with no hands).

Its almost embarrassing to tell you this- outside of the bake off and the pumpkin carving, most of the activities make me sound like a crazed freshman in some bad fraternity hazing scheme. But, I'm not gonna lie, it was fun. Mostly because I am really good at chugging 2L of soda. Step right up, I'll take you down, sight unseen. It also turns out Im pretty good a eating pie with my face quickly. Who knew?

Which made me realize, its not so much about the content as it is about the competition. I love to win. If there was a how fast can you ingest plain white paper contest- Id be there. How long can you sit perfectly still on a bench? sounds like a blast. I can't quite figure out why this is. There were no prizes involved (except for the fact that I can remind people of just how fast I am at drinking huge quantities of carbonated soda) so it really is "winning for winning sake".

So, as a community manager, I think I need to create more of these opportunities for users to "win". Because, if you're like me, what starts as a "contentless win" turns into a real affection for the activity. Maybe forum wide soda drinking contests? Ready, go.