What's coming up on FeverBee in 2019


(Richard Millington) #1

Hey everyone,

I hope you all had a happy New Year and festive period.

I wanted to quickly highlight how the past year went for us and what’s coming up this yer.

I haven’t checked in with our accountant yet, but I think we’ve just had our most successful calendar year ever. This was largely due to a much smaller team and a focus on what we do best; training & consultancy work.

This meant a LOT of high-level consultancy and training work with some really amazing brands (Apple, SAP, Okta, HP, MSE, Which? and many others). During that time we also published a book, spoke at events across several continents, and published the biggest list of community examples around.

It was exciting, hectic, and generally a success. This came at a cost in two very obvious areas; FeverBee Experts and third party projects. I didn’t have the time to be as active here as I would’ve liked and had to turn down almost every opportunity to participate in webinars/content projects by third parties. More on both of them shortly.

This year our plan is to continue to focus on three areas that really matter to people managing communities:

  1. Strategy (everything from planning, resource allocation, member segmentation, emotional drivers, roadmaps, gaining support and everything you’ve seen covered in our courses)

  2. Community experience (community design, optimization, onboarding, gamification, MVP programs, implementation, migration etc… etc…)

  3. Training (benchmarking, resources, online/offline courses)

We’re already working on some big content projects with the above focuses on mind. This is an area I’m pretty excited about. If you fancy volunteering some time to help out, please drop us a line. We have plenty of fun projects to be involved with. I’ll probably be doing less speaking events this year (and hopefully a little less travel).

We’re also at the stage of making a decision about the future of FeverBee Experts. For most of the past year, I’ve been happy to let people engage as befits them and have a less busy place than other areas. Recently, activity has dropped somewhat which suggests it’s not offering anywhere near enough value to keep going as it is. We could close it, but I’d rather not do that.

This generally leaves us around three options (some of which you’ve heard before).

  1. Experts/Exclusive community. Narrow the focus to those who match a criteria of being community experts. This would make more business sense, but enters a more crowded space and doesn’t lead to a direct benefit. It would also means a lot of newcomers would miss out.

  2. Paid membership community. I’ve been dabbling with the developing a membership community which would include access to our courses, a private community, and a panel of paid top experts to answer questions on the key areas of community covered above - perhaps along with a lot of our resources we have in the pipeline now. The downside is we wouldn’t be able to offer those same resources for free and support the same number of people.

  3. New focus for the community. I’m tempted to zero in on a specific area or activity of community. For example, technology, strategy, or creating something completely unique. More a goal-setting/progress following community with mentorships etc. These is probably the most flexibility with this idea.

I’m open to all three options and will probably make a decision over the next few weeks.

I’m probably going to keep turning down most third-party projects at this point. Something has to give and this seems a good one.

Thanks for being with us on this journey so far. I’m exciting to see how this year goes and what this post next year might look like. Let me know your thoughts and plans.

(Luis Villa) #2

Re #1, I’m not sure that exclusivity helps much - the experts are already here and have no compunction sharing (that I’ve seen) when it is relevant. If the real challenge is relevance, not sure that exclusivity helps much.

Possible 1.5: close the forum to members only (i.e., lock out google so that people are less afraid to post challenging questions/admissions that they don’t know things) but make membership fairly easy to get. This is the basic model for https://devrelcollective.fun/ which is very successful in that niche. techgc.co also does this for their main forum.

#2: I’d be game to sign up for that.

I do wonder if there is a space for 2.5: paid sponsorships to improve your ability to commit time/create content, but leaving the main forum open/accessible. This is the model at techgc.co: basic community access is free, and open to anyone who meets basic criteria (must be employed in a relevant role), but then bonus content, early event access, etc., is prioritized for paid members. This gives a reasonable match between critical community mass (gets lots of people involved) and funding for dedicated content.

One other option to consider: I wonder if many of the people here are feeling some social isolation at their roles - literally paid most of the day to talk to communities, but lacking community themselves. If so, moving from Discourse to Slack might be effective - that switches the community from Q&A-focused to social with some Q&A. Again, that’s the https://devrelcollective.fun/ model and it works very well for them.

(Richard Millington) #3

Thanks @luisvilla

I disagree on relevance and expertise. What we usually find is the top people in most fields don’t participate in public communities. So there is (some) logic in exclusivity. Although that would also mean removing a large number of members.

I think 1.5 is an interesting idea, but I see that as getting the worst of both worlds. No SEO benefits without adding anything significant to the experience. i think CMX and others do a really great job there and I have nothing to really add to that.

2.5 with paid sponsorships could also work. But that would put us fairly in engagement trap territory of having to drive as much activity and membership as possible to satisfy the sponsors. So it’s not really where I want to be.

(Joel Rangelle) #4

Says he wants to cut down on travel and third party speaking. Sends out a video on a third party speech at the CMXHub conference in his daily newsletter …


All I know is that you have consistently the best content and insight. I would rather you cut down on the daily FeverBee newsletter – some of your ideas take awhile to fully digest and ponder – to allocate more time to your content projects or the experts community.

I also think it’s worthwhile to continue to build and participate in third party engagements. You’re literally the guy who tells CMs to build indispensable relationships, and that means understanding what other parties are concerned about, what they’re trying to do, or where they’re trying to go. So I think keeping a pulse on third party spaces is invaluable, for you and for us (your lil’ bee hive :honeybee:).