Chapter 13. Hiring a Community Manager

“I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”

Jerome K. Jerome

Like many folks, I have had the good fortune and opportunity to do my fair share of travel to conferences as part of my work. As a result, I have been able to experience many of the conferences I once dreamed of attending, but there were still some I never quite had a chance to get to.

One such show was Ohio Linux Fest, a midsize community-run conference devoted to all things Linux and open source. I had always heard great things about the show from a member of my team and members of the community, but for some reason the Fates always conspired against me and I was busy every time the show was scheduled: I was either traveling, in meetings, on vacation, or otherwise unable to get out to Ohio.

Back in early 2008, though, I received an email about the show inviting me to speak. Knowing full well that something was going to get in the way at some point in the future, I slam-dunked the dates into my calendar with a little note next to them:


I responded to the email expressing interest, and the organizers kindly offered me the keynote speech. Somewhat flattered at the invitation, I happily accepted.

As time meandered on toward the show, I started working on the keynote and created a presentation that would eventually become the foundation for writing The Art of Community. It was that talk specifically that inspired much of the thinking behind ...

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