I’ve got you. Seriously. We can do this.
I had a dear friend and active member of your community (we’ll call her “Jen”) reach out and tell me what’s been going on. Knowing my background, she asked if I might be interested in stepping in to help out or possibly take over. The answer was an immediate “uh, maybe” followed by lots of questions and then a “that sounds awesome actually”. I reached out to SM and we’ve come to an agreement we’re both happy with. Effective over the coming weeks I’ll be stepping in fully to take his place.
Ok, so who the heck are you?
Hi there, I’m Josh! I’m a designer living in LA who cohabitates with a deeply opinionated dog named Mochi (see profile pic). My focus the last half-decade has been building, growing and maintaining communities. I love it. I love getting to know users, figuring out their needs, and helping to build a place where everyone can have a positive experience. I’m here to help, and I’m excited to get to know you.
A few reasons I’m a good fit:
• A few years ago I was part of a team that built a very successful 30k strong community for a really exciting industry. My focus was on community management and engagement. We had a very passionate user base and a lot of the organic lessons I took from that could apply to your community.
• These days I’m working on building a similar platform for my dayjob’s 30mm monthly users, doing a deep-dive into community needs. I think I could apply some of this methodology and focus to help guide possible improvement efforts – though I’m certain you all have a list :)
Cool. Why are you doing this?
Seriously, I want to save your community. And I get it. I wasn’t a member of PB before today, but I’m part of a few communities I really cherish and have been part of a few others that have died off. I’ve lost a few very close online friends to sites shutting down, and I understand the pain that causes. I don’t want all of you to have to experience that, and I’d like to make sure you can stay where you already feel at home.
And wow, you all really remind me of the best parts of what I loved about the internet 15 years ago. The rawness and freedom that anonymity can provide is so refreshing to me, especially in this age of massive social networks and walled gardens. Preserving that is important to me on kind of a primal level. I had already made the decision to help before I did some digging, but now that I’m getting a sense of the community I’m honestly excited to be involved. In short: I like u.
So is everything going to change now? Are you going to start charging like OD?
No. Definitely not. I think a paid tier is something worth exploring eventually – with community input and involvement – but there will always be a free tier. Full stop.
Are you doing this for the money?
Nope! I am not taking over this site to make a profit. As things are today it barely breaks even, but I’m not looking for any kind of ROI. This is a labor of love. I pledge to all of you here and now that I’m not going to turn on crazy popups, giant banner ads or malware to make an extra buck. And ideas around monetization will be fully transparent and proceed with your input. You have a good thing going here, I don’t want to mess with that.
What about site improvements?
For my non-dayjob work I’m partners in crime (and childhood best friends) with a very talented developer who will be helping me to make sure the site is in a much better place going forward. I intend to be transparent about the features we’re working on, soliciting community input every step of the way.
Are you gonna bounce on us in a few months?
No. I’m in this for the long haul, and in the coming weeks and months will be working to put together a roadmap for 2018/19 and on into the future. I’ll be sharing this with all of you as it evolves, and I’ll absolutely need your help with this. This will be a group effort.
What if things get crazy or overwhelming?
I’ll be honest with you. If things start to get overwhelming I’ll ask for help. Look, I don’t know you yet and you don’t know me, but I’m looking forward to giving each other a chance. I want us to trust each other, and I’m looking forward to earning that.
How will you pay for the development work?
Honestly? TBD. This first stretch of shoring up the site will be pro bono, but after that we’ll need to strategize. I saw that many of you mentioned being open to donations, and I think that’s worth exploring once we hammer out a roadmap. I promise to be completely transparent and up front with any development costs, and would love to hear feedback and ideas on what feels good to all of you.
So, help me become one of you. Let’s do this. Any community-centric lingo I should know about? Memes? In-jokes? I know you’ve got some.
Happy to answer any questions, and really looking forward to getting to know each other and growing together.
Last updated May 31, 2018