The Community Club

Discussion on: AMA with Holly Firestone

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Mac • Edited on

Hey Holly, thanks for taking the time to do this AMA!

How do you balance your community's needs with those of the business? Is that process significantly different for larger enterprise companies compared to smaller companies and startups?

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Holly Firestone Ask Me Anything

I always say I work 50% for the company and 50% for the community. I think I can attribute a lot of my success to that mindset. Yes, the company pays my paychecks, but without the community, I wouldn’t have a job at all. So it’s not hard for me to justify maintaining this balance. I also share this when I’m interviewing for a role to gauge reactions and to be clear about how I view building community. Trust is the most important, and I can’t build an authentic, trusting relationship with the community without that balance. The members of the community confide in me— issues they are having with the company, the products, an employee, another community member, some aspect of the community programs— everything, really, and I am there to help get their feedback or concerns to where they belong in a way that makes them feel comfortable. If I don't do that, they'll stop confiding in me. Those trusting relationships lead to some of the best and most important feedback. You can't risk losing that.

Now, the hope is that the needs of the business and the needs of the community overlap, a lot. If they don’t, you might need to rethink your community strategy. I don’t think it differs too much between large and small companies. It really just depends on your leadership team and your strategy.