It's a crisp Monday morning in Prague. At 8:30 am, the doors of our venue opened, marking the beginning of our extraordinary two-day adventure. The air was laced with the smell of freshly flipped pancakes, mingling harmoniously with the electric buzz of excitement. Community builders from across Europe, the United States, and India converged, savoring their breakfast delights and finding their seats in anticipation of our grand introduction. Welcome to the Community Rebellion Conference—a celebration of community builders like none other!
First up on the agenda was an introduction from me and Tiffany, our Talkbase COO. We got the honor to welcome our friend, Talkbase Advisor, and amazing human to the stage as our MC - Jenny Weigle. With her infectious enthusiasm, we opened our conference by introducing the concept of the “rebellion,” introducing our conference values and setting the tone for the exciting days ahead.
First up, Ilker Akansel took the stage for his session "Changing lives, saving lives: Lessons in community intentionality through Impact of developer communities in Turkey." As Ilker shared his experiences, the audience was inspired by the transformative power of intentional community-building efforts. Ilker got the crowd gasping after holding a 7-second moment of silence to remember the recent earthquake in Turkey. We applaud you, Ilker, and the amazing work you do!
“Community members want to embark on a journey where something is produced” – Ilker Akansel.
Helena Brandist followed with her talk, "Explore the Miroverse: Inspiring vast possibilities in a creator-based community." She took us on a journey through the Miroverse, showcasing how a vibrant community can spark creativity and unlock endless possibilities within their Miro creations. We loved the fact that Helena reviewed the presentation she showed us with her community before. Helena made sure to give a shoutout to her community members and showed us what close collaboration with the community team and its members looks like!
“Every template is just a window into someone’s story and journey.” – Helena Brandist.
After a short break for coffee and conversations, Jamie Langskov took the stage for her talk titled "No. Is a Complete Sentence." With humor and insight, Jamie explored the importance of setting boundaries in community management, reminding us that saying "no" is vital for nurturing healthy and sustainable communities.
“Stay true to your North Star. If it feels wrong, it probably is.” - Jamie Langskov.
Sofia Rodriguez Mata then enlightened us with her talk, "Don't believe everything you see on the Internet! A case study on community experiments." Through intriguing examples, Sofia challenged our perceptions of online communities and highlighted the value of experimentation and critical thinking. She shared her insights with us from real experiments she conducted, giving us a glimpse into her thought process and daily work.
“We spend a lot of our time building legitimacy. Through experiments, we are able to learn new insights and think outside of the box.” - Sofía Rodriguez Mata.
As lunchtime approached, Valentina Ruffoni captivated us with her talk, "From events to experiences: crafting memorable meetups that everyone will be talking about!" Valentina shared her expertise in curating events that leave a lasting impact, transforming ordinary meetups into extraordinary experiences. In her talk, Valentina referenced the venue and our conference itself as a real-time example, making it even easier for our audience to visualize her advice in practice.
“Tapping into the senses can enhance the overall engagement of attendees. In doing so, they will be more likely to remember the key messages and talk about them after the experience.” – Valentina Ruffoni.
Following a delicious lunch filled with laughter and connections, Tiffany Oda from the Talkbase team delivered an opening talk titled "Community as the cross-functional center of excellence." Tiff's insights emphasized the pivotal role of community in driving cross-functional collaboration and excellence within organizations.
“Just like in community, trust, transparency, and communication are keys to making cross-functional partnerships with your teams successful.” - Tiffany Oda
The afternoon continued with Mathew Krawczyk's talk, "Communities: Breaking the mold through web3." Mathew delved into the world of Web3 and showcased how decentralized communities are challenging traditional models, paving the way for innovation and inclusivity.
“With the rise of Web3, Community teams are at the wheel and are more important than ever!” - Mathew Krawczyk.
Tali Vasilevsky then took the stage with her talk, "Growing Local Communities with Minimal Resources (or remotely)." Tali shared her strategies for nurturing local communities, even with limited resources, and highlighted the power of remote engagement in expanding community reach.
“My biggest takeaway from building this program is first of all – build the foundation and build your relationships. Relationships are key.” - Tali Vasilevsky.
Richard Millington was the penultimate afternoon session with his talk titled "How to solve any community challenge (and ensure you're prioritizing the things that really matter)." Richard's expertise in community management illuminated the path to overcoming challenges and prioritizing the aspects that truly drive community growth and impact.
“Great mysteries are everywhere” - Richard Millington.
Yurii Lazaruk closed us out for the day and injected a dose of fun into the conference with his talk, "How to disrupt the community world by having fun!" Yurii's engaging presentation highlighted the importance of injecting joy and playfulness into community-building efforts. Yurii shared with us his story of becoming a community builder, launching Community Life, and running the first-ever IRL Between Two Watercoolers, which was a huge hit with attendees. It was the perfect ending to the first day's talks.
"Be mindful. Be courious about people's life stories. Make small steps every day, week or month. And choose which project you continue, and which you give up." - Yurii Lazaruk
We rounded out day one with a quick thank you note from Jenny, Tiff, and myself expressing our gratitude and reflecting on the day. After that, we enjoyed some aperitifs and live piano music outside the venue, and we ended the day with more snacks, drinks, and networking!
As the sun peered through the curtains on day two, our energy was reignited, ready for another day of fun, connecting, and learning. Day two started a little differently with french toast for breakfast, and with full bellies and minds ready to learn, people took their seats as, together with Tiff and Jenny, we welcomed everyone to another day of Community Rebellion.
To kick the day off, Max Pete took the stage with his session, "Healthy community, healthy you: prioritizing your health as a community manager." Max emphasized the importance of self-care and provided valuable insights into maintaining personal well-being while nurturing thriving communities.
“Kick the shame out of the way. We all need help at some point, don’t be ashamed to ask.” - Max Pete.
Peter Van de Voorde followed with, "Growing the heart of your community." Peter shared his experiences in cultivating a strong community core and highlighted the significance of nurturing meaningful connections within the community ecosystem. Peter reminded us how not to lose our passion and love for community building.
“Community Manager - it’s not your community. It’s your member’s community. You are there to be the leader & cheerleader.” - Peter Van de Voorde
Corina Gheonea's session was all about "Community gaining executive support." With her expertise in leading a community of 2M+ members, Corina guided us through strategies to secure executive buy-in for community initiatives, ensuring that communities receive the necessary resources and recognition they deserve.
“Remember, you are the executive of your community. You have a mandate to represent your community. Learn from your executives about how they make decisions, learn how they do things, and what level of detail they need form you.” - Corina Gheonea
Tiphaine Cuisset illuminated the stage with, "Which came first? The community or the operations? A case study in introducing community ops into your team structure." Tiphaine's insights shed light on the crucial interplay between community and operations, showcasing the importance of aligning the two for seamless community team collaboration. From documentation, process all the way to tech stack.
“Operations will be here as soon as you launch your community. Have a plan early on to tackle operational tasks within your team.” - Tiphaine Cuisset
Next up Max Rothery took us on a journey of community being everything everywhere, all at once. His session, "Intersection between community & culture: How to get buy-in across the entire business." Max delved into the symbiotic relationship between community and company culture, emphasizing the significance of garnering support throughout the organization while incorporating fun pop culture references throughout his presentation.
“Your empathy is your superpower. Your ability to listen to others has the potential to change the course of your company. Nothing matters except kindness.” - Max Rothery
After lunch, I had the opportunity to step on stage and talk to our audience about "The future of community tooling." We took a glimpse into the evolving landscape of community tools, exploring and sharing trends that will shape the future of community management together with our mission at Talkbase. Send me a DM in case you want to learn more!
The next speaker was Siavash Mahmoudian, a fellow tech founder in the community space. In his talk titled "Beyond the norm: Rethinking traditional approaches to community engagement," he presented unconventional strategies for engaging with the community and shared tips on using AI to handle tedious tasks. He also provided insight into his approach to building a community.
“No, of course, AI will not replace us. It will just do the boring stuff so we can actually spend more time on the things that are exciting.” - Siavash Mahmoudian.
Milly Tamati shared her inspiring journey during her session on "How I bootstrapped a global community from a remote island in Scotland." Milly's story showcased the power of determination and resourcefulness in building thriving communities, even from the most unexpected locations.
“This is the kind of culture that we have created. Where folks are intrinsically motivated to contribute, they know their ideas are valued and that I'll give them all the support. Because a rising tide lifts all boats.” - Milly Tamati
The afternoon took an exciting turn as Brian Oblinger took the stage. With his session on "The future of online communities in an AI-driven world," Brian explored the intersection of artificial intelligence and community, revealing how AI-driven advancements will shape the future landscape of online communities.
“Communities will get worse before they get better. There's going to be a whole bunch of experimentation. Hopefully, we'll learn from the mistakes, take a step back, and reassess.” - Brian Oblinger.
To end our wonderful day two, Alfredo Morresi closed our conference with powerful "Leadership lessons from a team of community builders." Alfredo shared valuable insights and leadership principles gleaned from his experiences working with a dynamic team of community builders, highlighting the importance of collaboration and inspiration in community management. What a way to wrap up day two sessions!
“The most contagious metrics are emotions and storytelling. Most people are not too interested in numbers. So pack it into a story and search for the heroes in your community.” - Alfredo Morresi
Hosting the Community Rebellion Conference was an exhilarating journey full of crazy ideas, hard work, and dedication. We wanted to build a space that reflects how we feel about community. Our hearts are overflowing with laughter, knowledge, and memories that will forever hold a special place in our community-building souls.
To all the amazing rebels who joined us on this wild ride, we extend our heartfelt thanks. Together, we forged connections that transcended borders, defied norms, and sparked fires of inspiration in every corner of the conference.
Thank you, rebels, for being a part of this extraordinary experience. As we part ways, remember that the Conference was just the beginning. Keep spreading joy, connection, and rebellion wherever you go. Until we meet again, stay rebellious, stay connected, and keep building communities that change lives.
With heartfelt gratitude (and a rebellious spirit),
August 3, 2023
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