Community Building in IT with Becky Scott

Episode Description

Always a natural at connecting people and cultivating community, Becky Scott found her path in community management after years of unofficially facilitating communities for hobbyists, locals, and other niche groups. She drew on this passion to build her career in technical community management, which led her to her current role as Senior Technical Community Manager at JumpCloud.

In this episode of Where’s the Any Key?, host Ryan Bacon talks with Becky about communities within IT — how they form, driving adoption, how remote work is shaping them, how they combine technical and soft skills, and the other dynamics that influence human connection in the IT world.  

The following is a transcription of an episode of our podcast, Where’s The Any Key? Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have in response to this recording. You can find our show on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and wherever podcasts are available.

Ryan Bacon: Welcome to Where’s The Any Key? — the podcast where we talk shop about topics, tips, and trends for the modern IT admin. I’m your host, Ryan Bacon, the IT support manager at JumpCloud.

Introducing Becky Scott 

Ryan: Joining me today is Becky Scott. She is the Senior Technical Community Manager here at JumpCloud. Becky, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Becky Scott: Well, it’s great to be here. Thanks for having me. So I just joined the JumpCloud last month and I will be working with not only the JumpCloud Lounge, but we’ll be working on some greater community projects as well. A little bit of background, I’ve worked with community at Cloudera and Cisco and Verizon. I’ve been in it quite a while, mostly in technical communities. So that’s where I have most of my experience and a lot of fun. I love my technical people and I really enjoy getting to work with them.

Ryan: Yeah. And so what we’re going to be talking about today is communities, and when you and I were talking previously, you had mentioned that you actually got started in managing communities, like, before you even realized that you were managing communities. Can you share that with us and talk about that some so we can reminisce about the old days?

Becky: Sure, yeah. It’s going to make me sound old. I’m not sure I want to share this. No, just kidding. So the funny thing is I’ve been telling the story for a while now. I started this as a hobby and then realized I could get paid for it. But then just about the time I started here, I started thinking back further and I realized, “No, wait a minute. I actually did this and got paid for it a long time ago.” I was living near Palm Springs in Southern California. And there was this little startup that created a site called Cyberville. And it was similar to, like, AOL or CompuServe. This was in about ’93, ’94 ish. And it was dial up and everything and it was just a local community. We had local news and goings on and tried to connect people.

And I was the “Girl Friday,” that was literally my name on the community. And I just did everything. I collected the news and helped people out and got them online, troubleshooting, all of that stuff and ran the community. And that was my job and did that for about a year, year and a half. It was not a really long project, but it was fun. And it was interesting. And that was my first real taste of community, but I didn’t connect it until just recently I was like, “Wow.” That was my first taste of a community. And then it was many years later when I started getting into hobby forums and fishing forums. In fact, I started managing those that I did for quite a long time, just for fun. And then it actually became more of a career path in the last about 10 years or so. And then I was like, “All right, I’m going with it. Let’s do this.”

Ryan: I mean, there are countless hobbyists, communities, and just forums out there covering just about anything you could think of, and most of them are just like volunteer run and have volunteer moderators and admins and that sort of thing. So what really caused the jump between being like, “Hey, I want to do this professionally?” Or even realizing, “I can do this professionally?”

Community Management Skills and Career Path

Becky: Well, I had started out just participating in the forums and then they needed help. So I started volunteering to be a moderator. And then I was good at it, and I liked it. I’m a connector. I like to connect people. So someone would need something and I’d say, “Oh, hey, you should talk to so-and-so, they do that, or they might have the answer.” And then moved up to being an admin and started managing and working on all the settings in the background. And then a friend asked me to help him start a new forum. So he bought some space on a server, and I installed the software and set it all up for him and everything and ran it for several years for him. And I was on Twitter and a friend of a friend was looking for a community person.

And I read what she was looking for. She was talking about running a community and having all these skills. And I went, “Wait a minute. I can do that. I’ve been doing that.” Thinking that all the hobbyist stuff I’d been doing, and I was like, “I can do this for a job and get paid for it.” And I’d already been introduced to her just as an acquaintance. So I reached out and told her about my experience and she’s like, “Yeah, let’s talk. I mean, that sounds, you’ve got the skills that I need.” And I had done a little bit of that at the university I worked for where I would monitor what the students were doing online, like LiveJournal and all that stuff. They’d talk about the school. And so I would watch to see if there were any problems with any of the school systems, like registering for classes, if that was down, or they were having trouble with the schedule, they wouldn’t always tell us, they would talk about it on LiveJournal or Facebook or somewhere else.

And I just went out and watched for that, not even knowing that that was social media monitoring at the time. And so I started that, and that was a precursor to all the community stuff too. And so I just said, “Hey, these are the things I’ve done.” And she said, “Yeah, those are the types of skills I need.” And we talked for a couple of months and when they had another opening, they hired me as a contractor.

Balancing Technical and Soft Skills

Ryan: Nice. Now, let’s pivot some into tech communities because in my experience tech communities are a whole different beast. So like when you started… What is your view on it? Did you have any culture shock or anything like that when you transitioned into being a community manager for technical communities?

Becky: Well, when I worked at the university, our team was in the IT group and we managed the student website. So we were in IT and we worked really closely with the central IT group as well. So we were already embedded in working with them and doing break-fix and everything. So I was already comfortable in that environment and I was really good at Q&A. I’m good at breaking things. And our team actually really loved that because I could not only break it, but I could recreate it. So they knew how to recreate whatever was going on, so they could go in and fix it. And I just learned a long time ago to go make friends with IT. That should be the first thing you do because they’re your lifeline. And so being in those groups, it was just, I enjoyed it.

I have enough technical skills to… I was always the translator between the business and IT when we would do requirements, we would take the business requirements and tell the IT group, “This is what we need,” and translate it into, “This is what we need developed.” And I just found an affinity for that. So it just fit. So I was working at Verizon and theirs wasn’t really a technical community, but then I started working at Cisco and it was just, I loved it. Developers and engineers and just all the IT admins, they are a group near and dear to my heart.

I just love that you know where you stand. It’s… there’s no doubt, feedback is swift and sometimes brutal, but it’s rarely passive aggressive. Most of the time it’s not mean, it’s just very blunt. And I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of someone who’s a little grumpy and winning them over. I love that because it’s just fun to befriend people like that. So I just have always loved it. And I just have found that space in between being the person that does the technical work, but understanding enough of it to be able to talk about it, maybe just enough to be dangerous. I like to say I have enough technical skills to be dangerous.

Ryan: And you bring up a very interesting point that a lot of community managers out there for various companies, even ones that deal with the tech community aren’t necessarily tech people. The companies are lucky if they get one, get community managers that have a tech background, but a lot of it is just learned through exposure. And as someone who’s interacted with a lot of community managers over the years, I know that you could smell the BS from a mile away. So it’s like one of those things where like, I would much rather somebody be like, “Hey, I don’t know,” or whatever, and be like, “I’ll find out.” But even better than that are the people who like you said, who know enough to be dangerous, where you can… who feel comfortable enough to talk shop with. And to me that’s what makes a really good community manager and really helps to make a good relationship between a vendor and the community.

Becky: Yeah. I was literally just having this conversation yesterday in one of my community Slacks. And we were talking about technical community managers, and one of those skills is at least having enough technical skill, we can carry on a conversation with your technical people. You don’t necessarily have to know everything, knowing your limits, being able to say, “Yeah, I know that,” or, “I know up to this point. And then after that point, I’m going to have to ask somebody. So I might be able to help you troubleshoot a little bit, or I can go find the right person.” Community managers have to be specialists and generalists. We need to have the soft skills. We need to be able to connect people. That’s the big thing, is we may not know everything, but we need to know where to go get the information and be able to connect you to the right resources.

There is something from a group I’m in called The Community Round Table, and they have this community skills framework that’s really cool. It’s this whole wheel of community skills. And I think there are about 70 different skills on it that you can rate yourself as a community person. And because there are just so many different things, — it’s technical skills, it’s marketing, it’s engagement, it’s a little bit of sociology and psychology and motivation, and all these different things that you need to work on. And if you’re lucky, you have enough technical aptitude to be able to dive into those too. Sometimes you’ll find someone who is really technical, who can learn those other skills and they can jump from being technical to also being a community person too.

Ryan: Yeah, definitely and actually I’ve found that, when I’m hiring for IT people, when I’m looking to build out my team, I view the whole IT team as essentially the community managers for the internal IT community for the organization, because we are the, what the employees see. And so I get what you’re saying about the soft skills being super important — so much so that, when I’m hiring I look for… I’d be more willing to give somebody more leeway on the technical side of things, because in my mind it’s easier to learn technical stuff than it is to learn soft skills. So it’s interesting that you brought up the technical person and then teaching them soft skills, but maybe that’s just, we’re talking about different types of people here. So like a lot of people that I know they get technical stuff really easily, but teaching stuff like nuance… it’s a little bit more difficult.

Becky: It can be. So sometimes if you can find a community person who has a little technical aptitude, you’re right. I used to have a manager at Cisco that really liked people who had other than technical degrees. Like I have an English degree. And so that’s what my undergraduate degree is in. And yet here I am, in a tech field, but it gives you some of that roundedness of other things, communication. I mean, really what do we do a lot besides video? We do a lot of writing. We all do. So having those, being able to communicate in writing as well as face to face or face to video is an important thing to have as well as being able to look at tone and how you’re coming across. Those are those soft skills that you do have to really worry about and think about. And so, yeah, you’re right. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and you can coach somebody on those softer skills, if they just don’t have enough experience in that.

Ryan: Part of it is awareness and willingness to learn. Especially when it comes to soft skills, that’s a big hurdle and from my experiences is the willingness, and as you said, a lot of technical people are straightforward and blunt, direct to the point. Not trying to be rude, not trying to be passive aggressive, but that’s how you get stuff done. If you’re facing… When I get like that — and my wife, she refers to it as I’m in problem-solver mode — so it’s like, “Okay, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this.” And these are the things we’re facing and it’s very clinical.

Becky: Yeah. It’s very prescriptive, right?

Ryan: Exactly.

Handling Change Management

Becky: It’s funny when you’re talking about people who like to learn and like to adjust and those that don’t, because I’ve worked with — in community you have people that are just wanting to learn and adopt new things, and then you have those laggers that are just happy where they are and they don’t want anything new and they don’t want to change. And I’ve run across people that we were trying to get rid of, of mailers and move into community to make knowledge more broadly shared. And they were still using text-based email and they didn’t want any HTML email. They didn’t want any pictures, any formatting, nothing.

It was like, “Leave me alone. I don’t want to be on a community. I don’t want to do any of this.” So from a community manager’s perspective, you start with the people who are more willing and you just leave them alone. And eventually when everyone else is on board, they’ll come along reluctantly and you have to control them a little bit to get them to come on. But one of our, kind of, how we approach things is… Have you ever read Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm?”

Ryan: No, I haven’t.

Becky: That’s a good one to read about some of this. It’s like those early adopters and you get people who adopt, and there’s a certain number of people who adopt. And then you’ve got this big chasm that you have to jump over before you then have this wider adoption. And it’s that chasm that you have to figure out, how are you going to get the adoption in that space. And I know I’m butchering the analogy, but it’s really interesting how he talks about that adoption curve.

And sometimes you just have to, you get those early adopters, you get them in and then work with them to bring in some of the people who like to wait and see, “Let’s see what happens.” It’s like when a new release comes out on, like, macOS, it’s like, some people will be like, “I’m going to let everybody else do that and see what the bugs are, letting them deal with that. And then when a bunch of people have done it, then I’ll do it, because then I don’t have to deal with all the buggy stuff.” And some people are like, “Yeah, man, I want it first thing. I don’t care if there are any bugs, I’ll report them and I’ll help be one of the ones that helps get it all fixed.”

Ryan: Yeah. And I definitely, for macOS updates, I fall into that “wait 90 days” camp because I’m tired of day one bugs.

Becky: I normally wait and I fell into that trap the other day, and I updated my system and you know this story, people listening don’t, but I updated with a security update and something weird happened on my computer. And then every time it went to sleep, it would crash when I tried to wake it up. So I’m not going to do that again. I’ll wait then.

Ryan: In all fairness, yours was the recent critical security updates. So it’s like sometimes you don’t have the luxury of waiting for it to come out.

Becky: I know, I thought I was doing a good thing.

Ryan: Well, you were doing a good thing. And I’m trying to draw a connection here between that and doing community adoption but… You kind of touched on it where sometimes, in order to stay relevant, if old technologies are expiring or anything like that, or being unsupported, you may not have a choice, but to push to a new platform, a new delivery method, so to speak. And so you have to rush through and try to get people to adopt. So there’s a lot of parallels between community adoption as well as the system or process adoption with IT. I mean, it’s all, you’re all dealing with people. That’s what it is.

Becky: Yeah. Well, the big thing when you’re thinking about that, when you’re trying to introduce something, whether it’s a new IT process or whether you’re trying to get people to adopt a community, or you’re doing end of life, it’s about change management and it is about how are you going to manage the messaging? Let people know what’s coming, what to expect, when it’s going to happen and how it’s going to happen so that they understand it. And it’s communicating early and often until it really gets through to them, because we know that it takes several times of communicating before people really start to pay attention, right? Like you can’t just tell them, “Oh, next week we’re going to make some updates and your system’s going to reboot and everything’s going to look different.” You tell them that once. And then the next week they’re going to be like, “Oh, what happened?”

Becky: It’s… you have to do it several times before they do it. I mean, we did that all the time in community. Like if we’re updating the design of the community or migrating to a new platform, you have to show people what’s going to happen, and when it’s going to happen and remind them several times, “Okay, next week, this is going to happen. Reminder, next week is going to happen. Reminder, at the end of the week. Reminder, day after tomorrow. Reminder, tomorrow.” It’s that change piece. People don’t like change a lot of the times. And I know that in a couple of companies I’ve worked with, they tend to change tools every few years. And what we called that was change fatigue or tool fatigue, because it just happened frequently enough that they’d feel like, “Oh, I just got used to this tool. And here you are two years later you’re changing it again. And now I’ve got to get used to a new tool or new process, a new way of doing things and aah.” Complain, complain.

So you have to come up with ways to help people through that, whether it’s through training or videos, walking them through it and things like that. And community managers learn a lot about change management and doing those things and really trying to help people through that because for whatever reason, we all get comfortable and we can, as a whole, kind of get scared of change.

Recognizing and Avoiding Community Fatigue

Ryan: Yeah. Well, that’s interesting you bring that up. So you talk about tool fatigue and change and stuff like that. And I think there’s also such thing as, I don’t know if this is the technical term or not, but there’s community fatigue. In the tech field, in IT there are a ton of communities out there. You have SpiceWorks, you have TechNet, you have StackOverflow, you have all the vendor specific ones…

Becky: There’s Slashdot, there’s Reddit, there’s GitHub…

Ryan: Yeah, exactly. Even if you look at just Reddit, how many IT subreddits are there? I mean, there’s a ton out there and people only have so much bandwidth. And this is a challenge that’s kind of been laid onto your lap here. So at JumpCloud, we’re looking at building out a community. We’re not necessarily going for specifically JumpCloud-centric. We’re looking to build out an IT community. This podcast is part of it. Our JumpCloud Lounge is part of it. And we’re looking at other avenues as well. So like, that’s going to be a huge challenge for you. Like, how are you going to overcome that hurdle of being just another one of just a drop in the ocean of IT communities? How do you get onto people’s radars? How do you battle that community fatigue?

Becky: Yeah. So I was just having a conversation on Monday with Eric, my manager about that. And we were talking about this and about people talking about Zoom fatigue, and I think it’s bigger. It’s digital fatigue is what I talked about because it’s not just being on video, it’s being on the computer. And even the entertainment we consume, a lot of it is, a lot of people consume that on their computer or their iPad or things like that as well on tablets. So there’s this bigger digital fatigue that we’re dealing with now. So we don’t have all the answers yet, but what I’m looking at is what can we do to help cut through some of the noise for people and make a place where IT admins can come and talk to each other about more than just JumpCloud or more than just MFA or MDM or things like that, but greater things like, what’s the impact of what we’re doing, if we’re trying to go domainless, or we’re trying to go into cloud directory or a hybrid cloud model, we’re trying to implement Zero Trust or kind of follow that model, what’s the business impact of that?

Or, “I’m in IT. I have been in this a few years, how do I keep my skills relevant?” IT used to be, you manage the computers, you manage the phones and the access points, and sometimes you had responsibility for the media center too, and now it’s security and it’s in office and out of office and just all these different things. It has grown so much. So how do you stay relevant? How do you grow your skills? How do you move through a career in IT? Like maybe you want to stay in a hands-on role, but maybe you want to grow into a director or a VP, or even a CIO or a CTO.

What does that look like? “I’ve never done a budget before, what do I need to do there?” “What does it mean to have business impact as an IT person?” These bigger conversations that I don’t think are really going on in any one place. Like on some of the sites, you will have conversations around, “I need to switch voiceover IP providers, do you guys have recommendations for those?” But then what we also want to talk about is, what’s the impact of doing that? Like, what am I not thinking about? Besides just switching providers, is this going to save me money? Is this going to help my business in some other way, or did somebody else before me already do this, and they had more downtime than they planned? Did they have to do something different to their network to accommodate it?

Different things like that. Like those greater impacts, those bigger conversations, we want to host those for IT people, and what I would like to see is having to only go to a couple of sites rather than having to go to five or six to get everything you need. I would like to see us be more of a one-stop. Now I realize that’s a really lofty goal before we’ve really gotten anything in place, but if you don’t have big ideas and shoot for something big, then why bother? I mean, let’s go big. But we have a lot to do in the meantime. I mean, we’re just getting started on what’s our strategy and things like that, because we want to do this for our users.

I mean, that’s the biggest thing. So I’m getting ready to have conversations with people. I’ve had some internally, but it’s the users that are the most important. So, what do they want? What’s missing for them? What would make them come to a place like that every day or several times a week? And what’s missing in the sites that they’re visiting right now that they want to see? Where are the gaps? What can we do to bring people together and talk about some of these things? And are these the conversations that they want to have? I mean, like you, you’re one of the prime examples of someone we want to talk to on the community as people who listen to your podcasts. So like what’s missing for you right now that you would want to see in a community that would make you go, “Hey, I really want to go see this and visit this?”

Ryan: Yeah, that’s… Something that you said earlier, a little bit earlier on, really struck me and plays into this: you’re talking about digital fatigue. And I started thinking back that over the past year, since going full remote — before then, every day I allotted some time every morning to go on there to community pages, to look at news and everything like that. But the more and more I got into remote, the less that happened, because you’re right, I feel like I’m just on my computer 24/7, and I just got tired of it. So I’m thinking like, what would it take to get to reinvigorate? And me going back onto community and stuff like that. And I think it would be something new.

When you and I talked about community, like not long after you started, we talked something about curated content or have a situation where there would be an article or blog post or something to lead off the conversation, and then the community kind of runs with it after that, with the community managers or whoever jumping in to add to it. And I was thinking probably more, that’s the kind of content I’m more drawn to now, because previously when I was checking everyday I’d find myself just going down the rabbit hole of random discussion threads or random Reddit posts and stuff like that. Still IT-related stuff, but a lot of it wasn’t relevant to anything that was going on in the organization, in my professional life, anything like that.

So I think that kind of thing would be… You see it some on places like SpiceWorks, but more of that, or more polished, more… that but more polished. And then another thing was seeing that in what you’re referring to in career guidance, because that’s one thing that, even if I’m not looking for a job or anything like that, and I’m happy with the way my career is progressing everything like that, I am still interested in that because I mean, part of it is just I’m just interested in it, but on a more professional level, it’s now part of my job as a team manager to help nurture and guide the people who report to me.

So reading that kind of stuff is helpful in that, getting different perspectives and staying up to date on what is useful, what may not be useful, that sort of stuff. So, for me, that kind of stuff would be interesting, but that also leads me to another hurdle, another friction point, and that is that our industry is just so broad and has so many facets that the curated content is only interesting to those people who it really applies to, so in a way it takes a lot of effort to put out, but the question then becomes, do you get a lot of return, you know, what’s the ROI on doing curated content?

Community-Driven Content 

Becky: Yeah. I think what’s fun about community is getting to experiment and see what works, and really it’s about asking the users like, “What do you want to see?” Or seeing how they vote with their feet, what they’re reading and what resonates with them and what they’re posting about. Like when all the SolarWinds stuff went down, I would have been seeking out like, “What are people on the ground thinking about that? What are IT people saying about that?” Are they going, “Oh, no,” and running to check and make sure that they don’t have any problems with that, or are they going, “Oh yeah. I checked out a long time ago. I knew to check that.” So just to see what practitioners are saying about it, but I think there are a lot of different things we can do.

And so one of the things we have to do and be careful about is focusing on the most important things in the beginning: what can we do and do well? And then you expand over time and you experiment and see what works and doesn’t work. What I love about being in a technical role and working with technical people is they totally get it. You try something, see if it works, if it doesn’t work, then you try something else. And that’s actually really freeing and fun because you don’t do the same thing over and over again; you get to experiment. I had a manager that used to tell us, “Fail fast, fail often, fail fast. Just get out there and do it and kill your darlings.” It’s a sunk cost thing. It’s like, if it’s not working, don’t worry about what you already put into it, toss it. You tried it; it didn’t work.

Don’t keep trying to revive it; toss it and go to the next thing. Think like an inventor and try 1,000 different ways to do it and just keep track of what worked, what didn’t work and use the scientific method with it. But yet have fun with it too. Getting the community involved is really important. What I think doesn’t matter nearly as much as what the community thinks. I have my ideas of what’s going to work, but I have to vet it with you.

Because that’s the most important part. It has to work for you. It really doesn’t matter as much what I think will work. I mean, I’m going to try what I think will work, but I’m going to get the community opinion on it because that’s going to be the most important part. And that can be hard sometimes for companies to understand, is that they’ll have all these big plans and they’ll get ready to do something, but they don’t vet it enough. And I’ve seen it happen in other companies where they’ll make all these great plans with community, “We’re going to do this, this and that.” But then it doesn’t get as much adoption as they thought it would because they maybe didn’t vet it enough with the community.

Ryan: This gets me thinking, like trying different things and taking an iterative approach to community management. This is, I imagine, where you get a lot of experimenting with different channels or different vectors of community. So, when looking at multiple channels, what is your experience or what are your thoughts on what a successful community needs? Do you think that it’s almost mandatory to go into multiple channels, multiple vectors? I mean, do they need the message board? Do they need the YouTube channels, the podcasts, the TikTok channels? In today’s world, in order to have a successful community, do you really have to go and check off those boxes, or could a more focused approach work?

Becky: I think that depends on your audience.

Ryan: Fair.

Becky: So you need to meet your audience in part where they are. You also need to consider how your audience likes to consume things. So a lot of times, with IT, we know that they’re already at their computer doing a lot of stuff, so it makes sense to have something that they can easily access on their computer. There are times where I don’t like video content because I’d rather be able to skim something than to sit and watch a video, depending on how much time I have. But there are a lot of times where video can really help you visualize something and you can always speed it up. You can watch it at one-and-a-half times. You can get through it quicker. I think that, again, it goes back to listening to your community and seeing what they want.

We are going to be experimenting with different ways of doing things. We are planning to revamp our office hours a little bit in how we do that. We may mix it up on how we present it. Right now we’re just doing weekly office hours where we do it on GoToWebinar. We’re looking at changing that up a little bit. And we may even think about live streaming that once in a while and see how that goes. I don’t think we have anybody on TikTok that would be really interested in what we have to say there, but I mean that there’s a lot of people that go on Twitch, so I don’t know if that would be a good avenue or not.

I think it’s going to come down to experimenting, maybe Clubhouse, maybe things like that, but it’s all going to be part of the content program and the bigger goal. Eventually, I would love to have user groups and maybe even meetups if people are interested in that and get back to some of that networking and face-to-face stuff where people can learn from each other in person when it’s safer to do that. I think that would be a lot of fun. And there are some great examples out there of companies that do that well. I mean Salesforce’s Trailblazers, they’ve got a lot of user groups that do that. HubSpot’s user groups are big and they do a lot of get-togethers. All of these user groups were pre pandemic, but there’s something about that in-person connection. And just even getting to meet your community members in-person and letting them talk to each other and hearing from them directly, I think is a really big piece of it. And I think it’s just fun.

Ryan: It is a lot of fun. I remember my first time going to a SpiceWorks meetup, a SpiceCorps group. That was really interesting because it gave me some chance to talk to people who are still in IT, but who are doing IT in different industries. There was somebody doing it at an assisted care facility, there were some people who worked for the fire department, and all this other stuff. It was really interesting to see that and be able to talk to different people and kind of compare notes. So, yeah, that’s my favorite part of being part of a community like this.

Becky: Yeah, that was the same for me when I went to my first community managers meetup, or conference, seeing all the different people in the different industries — nonprofits, community associations, and enterprise and small businesses and all these other community managers where we might be doing it for different types of businesses. There might be some in marketing and some in support and some that we’re doing more of a branding or community of practice, all these different types, but there are certain core things that we all do that we have in common.

So you can think of community managers getting together as a community of practice, the practice of community management. And it was fun to get to talk shop. Now you all, as IT people, I mean, you’re all over the place, right? You run into people all the time who do what you do. But for us, it was like, “Oh my gosh.” To finally meet somebody who does what I do and I can tell them what I do and they get it and they understand it and they know what I’m talking about. It was awesome to start to see that about 10 years ago, where you start to build these connections with other people who do what you do. This is surprisingly small, but it’s a big industry, but it’s still really pretty small.

Closing Remarks

Ryan: So that’s all the time that we have for today. Joining me again is Becky Scott. Becky, thanks so much for your time. It was really great talking to you.

Becky: I had a great time, Ryan. Thanks so much. It’s always fun to geek out over stuff, especially community, so thanks for having me.

Ryan: Sure thing. 

Thank you for tuning in to Where’s The Any Key? If you like what you heard, please feel free to subscribe. Again, my name is Ryan Bacon. I lead IT at JumpCloud where the team here is building a cloud-based directory platform that provides frictionless, secure access to virtually any IT resource from trusted devices anywhere. You can learn more and even set up a free account at

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