Why a Book About Community Now

Despite a global pandemic, community matters more than ever

I have been writing a book on community called “Community-in-a-Box” and I am getting close to publication. The final edits are in, the proofreading done, and eBook formatting set. I am incredibly excited and nervous to share it with the world later this month.

One question that I have gotten from reviewers is why write about this topic now and why the focus on events? “Community-in-a-Box” is book about the process of launching and growing communities, using events as a catalyst for engagement. As we have collectively experienced this year though, a lot of what we expected from events and communities has racially changed.

I explain some of the reason why this book is so important now in the book’s introduction. Here then is a preview on some of my thinking about why community matters more than ever and who can benefit from the content I share in my upcoming book. Enjoy!

It is probably a good time to point out that I am writing a book about event-driven communities in a year when the entire world of events has been turned upside down. For good reason, all events and conferences globally have either been cancelled or switched to online to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

With the world still in a state of disruption and uncertainty, why release this book now? Simply because the desire of people to connect never diminishes. In fact, community matters even more during times of extreme duress and hardship. It has been amazing to see the energy and enthusiasm of people finding ways to bring communities together during a time of social distancing.

The Enterprise Sales Forum had the same challenge as every other community. How do we transfer the experience of in-person events to digital engagement? The team experimented with various formats and platforms to find the right mix of engagement and stability, finally settling on Run the World as the online platform for the community.

At some point, the world will beat back the virus. When that happens, people will once again gather together. There may be an easing-in period for the sake of precaution, but there is no denying the fact that the in-person experience will not disappear. If anything, we have gained valuable expertise in managing virtual experiences, which in turn has enriched and expanded the reach of communities.

Many of the best entrepreneurs and startups emerged stronger from past downturns when the economy started growing again. Companies that are massively successful now like Uber, Twilio, Airbnb, Slack, and others, were barely scrapping by during the 2009 financial crisis. This was because the founders of these fledgling startups looked ahead and prepared for the time when business would pick up. The world is in a constant state of change; with every downturn follows an eventual upturn.

In the same way, now is the best time to think about community, both in the virtual and in-person worlds. I would even be so bold as to declare that 2020 has launched us into the Age of Community. Yours could be the next vibrant and successful community, so now is the best time to start building!

Who is this Book for?

I wrote this book with three specific audiences in mind. First, I wrote it for people like me, the lone person with an idea for a professional community, but no idea how best to start. Second, there is the community organizer already on the journey, yet looking for ideas to improve, grow, and scale the community they have already launched. Third, with many companies hopping on the community bandwagon, I wrote it for the person within an organization tasked with building a community around customers, users, partners, donors, or constituents.

However, this is a book that can be helpful for anyone who is looking to rally people around a vision. The gathering of people for a common cause is a powerful dynamic, whether in the corporate boardroom, the workplace lunchroom, the classroom, or the ball field in the park. The concepts shared in this book can be easily applied to harnessing the human potential of groups as we have seen on social networks, open source software development, and crowdsourcing platforms.

With that in mind, the only thing stopping you is getting started. As Guy Kawasaki says:

“A good idea is 10% inspiration and 90% implementation.”

Now is as good a time as any then to start building your community!

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Thoughts on developers, digital transformation, enterprise agility, community building & software engineering culture. Author 👉 https://twitter.com/marksbirch

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