Community Building

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Logo del TQV Cancun

Since I left college I have been living a nomad life, sometimes it hasn’t be so nomad, others it has. I love it but coup mechanisms and the dream of improving the community mixed with the selfish feeling of entertaining hobbies with like minded people had driven me to embrace (and sometimes take over) communities.

Whenever it has been virtual or analog, communities and groups have been a part of my life and this blog I want to celebrate them. Most of my communities have been technology driven although I have always surrounded myself with people that have had similar tastes like hiphop, basketball, and anime.

However building and planning a community is something that although it could be organically it also something that could be reflect on and take measures to make it better. One small plan was to have a set time and place for meetups, just like virtual communities, a reliable communication channel is always something that shows the health of the community.

In Tequila Valley Cancun, this was a meeting called #JuevesDeDesarrolladores or DevThursday. The meeting happens in a local Starbucks, we are able to go from having a good time, to engaging in heated discussions on technology, development, education, entrepreneurship etc.

Second thing was to discover projects in common and ideas that can improve the overall awareness of the group. Discovering things in a group makes the potential for common projects to emerge on a more rapid cycles. Working together can also strengthen bonds and peer-review work. In TQV there were many projects on both, business, pleasure and private.

  • business – have a client and one or more people work together.
  • pleasure – no client, and done for fun
  • exploration – no client, but hope to become a new business.

Another experience was doing event showcase, our opportunity to give back to the society about what our goals have to offer. In this case, technology. It’s not a sales pitch but rather a knowledge showcase, usually making it a very academic-like event.

Events also help us become more inclusive and accept people from other fields to join and learn about the topics and get involved in solving them. From education, to politics, to quality of life.

Understanding relationship also is useful to make join ventures with universities, businesses and media to help push forward the know how of society. However events could become a big distraction, because many communities get stuck on them and don’t get the true factor of change.

Is always important to understand what the ultimate goal is and that’s why planning is important. Whenever is create new companies, new services, or engineer true innovation.  This mind map show an version of the organization in a snapshot.

ImageOne important thing to keep in mind is to understand how to manage the community egos, recognitions and encourage contributions. Many people want to contribute, but when they are not recognize resentment could occurred. Also forks of the communities can happen as well, and even some kind of bad blood could start flowing between their members.

Sharing knowledgeAll these are rules of social interaction and is key how to handle such conflicts. Many people have strive to learn programming so they can understand what others talk about. When they fail, frustration and even resentment could occurred in the same manner.

Another big factor is money, when money doesn’t come or money comes to only a few. Then it becomes a matter of discouragement. Is a bit illogical since these groups are not meant to discourage success but to encourage it. So one people success should be proof that the community is moving toward it’s goal of creating more businesses or getting some kind of financial leg to evolve.

When people struggle to grasp this concept they think people are making money out of their efforts and decide to move their efforts to a different source. This usually happens in open source software, when the developer deploy for-pay services many people shy away from it. Even think is no longer open source, even i they see the code available for everyone. In a community, there is no indicator to think the community turned “closed” or in this case commercial. So usually these concepts should be understood by the bylaws of the community.

Sometimes this is not the way many communities goes, so anticipating such issues could be beneficial in the future.

 

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