Episode 327: Community Management with Becky Scott
Today’s episode is about community management, with someone who does so professionally: Becky Scott from JumpCloud.
- Tom Bridge, Director of Product Management, Devices, JumpCloud – @email@example.com
- Charles Edge, CTO, Bootstrappers.mn – @cedge318
- Marcus Ransom, Senior Sales Engineer, Jamf – @marcusransom
- Becky Scott, Head of Community, JumpCloud – LinkedIn
Click here to read the transcript
Tom Bridge (00:01:17):
Hello and welcome to the MCM Podcast. I’m your host, Tom Bridge. And Charles, it’s fantastic to see you. How are you friend?
Charles Edge (00:01:24):
I am so good. Uh, it was a lovely weekend. We had Violet’s first birthday party. That one year old birthday party is always so fun. Um,
Tom Bridge (00:01:35):
Smash cake. Smash
Charles Edge (00:01:35):
Cake. There was definitely a smash cake And yes, and squeals and glee, and that was me,
Tom Bridge (00:01:44):
and Marcus. How are things by you? I was gonna say, it’s a very exciting time of year down there for soccer.
Marcus Ransom (00:01:51):
It it is where Right in the midst football midst of the football. Yes, it’s right in the midst of the World Cup. Um, you know, so, you know, we, we were discussing this before. It’s very strange for us here in Australia to be able to watch, um, an international tournament at a reasonable time. And so everybody else around the world is having to get up at 3:00 AM like we normally do to watch, watch those sorts of games. So, uh, tonight is the do or die for the Matildas to see if we can actually get out of the group stage. Hopefully Sam Kerr and Mary Fallible will be well enough to play. By the time you are listening to this, you will know if I’m happy or sad or whether my sadness just got, um, postponed to another area of the tournament. But, um, at the moment as you’re listening to this, I’m in, I’m in that, uh, moment where I don’t know what’s coming next and, and that’s fun. But, uh, how are you going, Tom?
Tom Bridge (00:02:43):
I’m fantastic. I’m on vacation, so I I I, I packed up, I I left my work computer in Washington. I am out on the West Coast for the, uh, next couple of weeks with my family. And, uh, coming to you live from the guest bedroom at my parents’ house in Northern, uh, and, uh, I, I am, uh, there is a, a very famous announcer, uh, for the Oakland Athletics who, uh, sat, you know, he always had his microphone, like right on his chest. He had a special holder for his microphone. He was the, you know, Frick Award winner. Uh, his name was, um, uh, bill King. And so I am doing my best Bill King right now. You can’t see it, but my mic is like sitting on my chest instead of attached to a beautiful arm on my desk, keeping it perfectly s uh, uh, stable. So, James, I, I both apologize and, uh, you’re welcome. Um, and so, you know, it’s, it’s great to be on vacation. I’m signed out of all of my work stuff, so I don’t know what’s happening except for the part where I know that my colleague, Becky Scott, who is the head of community at JumpCloud, is joining us this week on the Mac and Mens podcast. So, Becky, welcome to the Mac and Mens podcast.
Becky Scott (00:03:49):
Thank you. It’s great to be here.
Tom Bridge (00:03:51):
The world of community building is so really important. And, you know, we’re gonna be talking with you a little bit about how community management works a little bit, how community management works at JumpCloud. And, but before we do, I would love to get, you know, started on background. ’cause we always love the origin story on the Mac Men’s podcast. How did you get into managing communities?
Becky Scott (00:04:16):
It’s actually a funny story. Um, I started out doing hobby forums just for fun. Um, I was living in San Diego and I did some saltwater fishing forums. I got involved there, shout out to all coast sport fishing a long time ago. And, uh, I really enjoyed it. And I started out as, you know, just a moderator and then kind of moved into an admin and started helping them manage the software and did that for several years. And then one day on Twitter, I saw a friend of a friend looking for a community manager, and I went, Hey, wait a minute. I have those skills. I’ve been doing that
Tom Bridge (00:05:00):
Becky Scott (00:05:01):
Maybe I should apply and see what happens. Yeah. And I talked to them and it was a few months later when someone else was rolling off of the, um, off of the team and they called me back and said, Hey, we, we actually would like to have you. So I technically got my first community job via Twitter.
Tom Bridge (00:05:25):
Charles Edge (00:05:25):
Awesome. A K A X I
Tom Bridge (00:05:27):
Guess. Well, yeah.
Charles Edge (00:05:28):
Yeah. What? It was weird to see the Twitter name on my home screen shortened to just x It was kind of strange. Yeah.
Becky Scott (00:05:39):
And then the little icon changed,
Charles Edge (00:05:41):
Like, oh yeah. A day or two ago, whenever that happened. Um, mm-hmm. , I know that by the time that this is out, Twitter will probably be back to being called Twitter, but whatever, we’ll be called boobies or something like that. We really dunno which way Elon’s guy go. Just, just musk.com. . Oh man.
Tom Bridge (00:06:02):
That is both evocative and, uh, and, and, and disgusting all at the same time. Well
Charles Edge (00:06:07):
Done. Like Twitter, um, yeah, exactly. . So Becky,
Becky Scott (00:06:11):
Maybe we could name it Muskrat. That probably be
Charles Edge (00:06:14):
. I like where you’re going with that. Um, so I love how you got into community management. How’d you get to jump cloud?
Becky Scott (00:06:24):
A very long circuitous route? Um, actually I had been in another company and I got laid off during C O V I D and I was doing consulting working with a few different companies, and a former colleague reached out and said, I know someone, my manager Eric, who is hiring, and, uh, would you be okay if I introduced you? And it turns out that he worked at a vendor at the same time I was using that software and we kind of knew each other, but didn’t realize. And so, um, I talked to them and, uh, yeah, been there over two years now.
Charles Edge (00:07:06):
Becky Scott (00:07:07):
Actually Tom and I started the same week. Oh, that great.
Charles Edge (00:07:09):
Wow. You’re like, pledge brothers. That’s awesome. . Um,
Tom Bridge (00:07:14):
The hazing was brutal.
Charles Edge (00:07:15):
Yeah, I can imagine. Software companies are famous for that or not. Um, so, you know, one thing that I’ve always been, so I feel like my first kind of tech company community encounters were with Microsoft and their M C S E stuff. When I got, when I went through all that jazz and they had this like, gamification system where for every little thing you did, you got points and you got enough points to get like a water bottle or a cozy or something that you would never pay for, but you were all of a sudden stoked to get very
Tom Bridge (00:07:56):
Charles Edge (00:07:57):
Yep. Yeah. Mm-hmm. and I, I, I don’t think that they were able to buy like, off the shelf software, but I also remember like the P H P P B days, I mean mm-hmm. , I guess you could go way back further and
Becky Scott (00:08:10):
V bulletin ,
Charles Edge (00:08:12):
Yeah. And individual straight bulletin boards, but mm-hmm. I feel like a lot of it kind of starts with software. Um, and that’s kind of something that we all connect with. Um, we, we log into a portal or we don’t log in, we just read posts and they’re Googled Googleable. Um, but community.jumpcloud.com is great. Uh, I, I, I don’t think I had actually gone there before my research into the script, but, um, the number of posts and seems to indicate a great thriving community. So I guess on the level, what powers that? Like, did you guys write something custom and go? Or is that something off the shelf?
Becky Scott (00:09:03):
If I had developers, we might do something like that, but no, it’s, uh, it’s a vendor called Kross. They used to be called Lithium back in the day, so if you’re familiar with Lithium, then now it’s kros and that runs it. And we did the typical, you know, let’s look at different types of software, look at our requirements, and we went through, um, a bake off and everything, trying to figure out which one was gonna work. Now, funny enough, um, four, this is the fourth community I’ve had that runs on this same platform, so I’ve been using it for a while. But, um, I wasn’t the only one making that decision. We really did go with a committee to make sure that was gonna be what we wanted, but there’s lots of them out there that are great. And, um, this one is, is really good and has a lot of features that we like and some ones that we’re going to use later on. So it works really well and it gives lots of good, uh, metrics and analytics and things like that, which is really important for a community manager if you’re gonna show what the community’s doing and show it’s viable. And r o i and all those good buzzwords.
Marcus Ransom (00:10:23):
In, in the time, in the time that you’ve been a community manager, what are some of the features that you’ve seen in platforms? Like, aside from metrics you mentioned there, what are some of the other things you’ve found that have really, um, helped to sort of create thriving communities in some of these platforms? Like what sort of things should people be looking for if they’re choosing a, a platform for a community?
Becky Scott (00:10:44):
Well, they have to start with what their business requirements are. I mean, it, you could, you could just go in and choose a random, um, piece of software, but I always, when I’m talking to other people, I say, it depends on what your goals are and what your business needs are, and then you go from there. But, uh, ease of use is important. You want your end users to be able to use the software fairly easily. Um, having some various different features, like not just, we have forums and knowledge base and ideas. I, I like having that variety, but, um, and gamification, some of the, like, like you were talking about Charles, about Microsoft. Um, some communities have a robust gamification system, some do not. And I think that it really helps to have at least the option to do that or something you can plug in to do
Charles Edge (00:11:44):
It. Yeah, because before my Microsoft stuff, n Novell had never given me a cozy, and that 30 cent cozy was like, why would I use Novell anymore?
Becky Scott (00:11:57):
Speaker 1 (00:11:59):
Becky Scott (00:11:59):
Little tip. The scale. It’s scale. Funny, what motivates isn’t, you know, . Yeah. I have so many pens and, um, like I, even a friend brought me back a, uh, this little, its a little, it’s a carrot top. I know people won’t be able to see it. It’s a little pen from Aruba that looks like the, the pen clip is a tie, and then it has bright orange, fluffy hair , and it’s just a goofy,
Charles Edge (00:12:26):
It does look like carrot top. It’s adorable
Becky Scott (00:12:28):
Charles Edge (00:12:29):
Becky Scott (00:12:30):
Bit. I love it. Yeah. . And I also have, um, some socks which are, uh, also from Aruba that my friend brought me. And they have cute little unicorns on them.
Charles Edge (00:12:45):
I love those unicorns. So I, I I love art with those bold lines like that, like on the outline mm-hmm. . And then, uh, the, the listeners can’t see the socks. Sorry to go on about,
Becky Scott (00:12:56):
You know, the art. No, I know, but maybe I’ll have to post a picture of it when I, when I share it once it’s out because it’s so cute. But, um, yeah, stuff, stuff like that is, is fun. You find, you know, different people are motivated by different things. I’m a little bit of a gamer, but not much. So I am maybe not as motivated by gamification, but I really like helping people. So you have to look at different types of things for, um, different parts of your audience.
Charles Edge (00:13:25):
Yeah, I, I feel like the motivator thing is the key to a whole lot of business things, but that’s a potentially another episode, . So we might have to have you out a second time before we derail the script entirely.
Speaker 1 (00:13:42):
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Charles Edge (00:14:49):
You know, I find the community is sometimes way more in touch with the pulse of customers than no good, horrible, awful, terrible. Product managers seemed to think, um, or CEOs who were great product managers back when they were a Level Zero ranger, but now that they’re, you know, um, they’ve switched their class to a palate and they’re not quite nevermind anyways, what would you say are the topics, um, in your forums, and not that, uh, your whole job as we’ll get to later, um, in the, in the podcast is looking at software, but what would you say are the topics that kind of recur the most in the MAC admin space?
Becky Scott (00:15:38):
Okay, first of all, I have to say I love my product managers . They’re awesome. I mean, so , I don’t wanna perpetuate the no good horrible product managers because we have some
Tom Bridge (00:15:49):
Amazing ones. It’s okay. It’s really okay. ’cause you know,
Becky Scott (00:15:53):
Well, I mean, I’ve worked with some horrible ones, but the ones we have at, uh, at GCloud are just awesome and amazing, and I love them. They regularly come on our weekly, uh, livestream show the IT hour and, uh, talk about what’s going on. So, but anyway, to answer your question, we started out as a community of practice, and that is a community where people come together based on something they all do. And in this case, it’s IT admins, they are IT admins. They work in it. And so we invite them to come to the community for that reason. But what is interesting is because it is hosted by us, we tend to get a lot of customers coming in and asking questions about the software. Uh, it could be how to set up a PowerShell script or it could be a question that they’re struggling with with the product.
So those types of questions come up a lot more than than we had planned on, although we were kind of expecting it too. So it’s not a, a big surprise. But, um, the other thing that happens a lot is people have requested a script repository. So that happens a lot as well. People contribute those. So, um, we work really closely with our product managers and they actually come in and ask questions of the community, what they think about the product or new features we’re getting ready to release, or do you wanna be in the next beta? So it’s usually the majority of stuff is around product in some former fashion.
Charles Edge (00:17:39):
Love that. And I guess since we have Tom here, um, and either of you can answer this by the way, we can talk through feedback loops. Um, and I guess this is fairly vendor agnostic. We hope. I, I mean, I, I kind of tend to assume most vendors act the same way, but who knows? Um, I’m curious to find out. So how might that, that you find or surface, I guess, and, and some of those trends that you just pick up on maybe organically or even using, uh, analysis tools, um, how might that drive product division, uh, decisions or maybe even content the documentation team creates, if not actual end product
Becky Scott (00:18:26):
Features? Do you wanna go ahead, Tom, and then I’ll jump in?
Tom Bridge (00:18:29):
Well, yeah, I’ll talk about it from the product side because I think that this is a really interesting, you know, concept. And one of the things that I’ve really learned about the product management, you know, journey that I, that I’m on right now. ’cause I mean, I’m what, two hours? Two, two hours. Uh, I’m, I’m two and a half years into, uh, you know, being a product manager at this point. And good ideas come from all sources. And I think that there are a lot of PMs out there who think that only they can have good ideas or that, uh, you know, that, that, uh, there are limits on your ability to understand the platform or the, the product that you’re working on, and that you just don’t have, if you’re inside the company, nothing could be further from the truth. Good ideas come from passionate people, not necessarily, you know, people who work for your company.
Um, and you know, at at at Junk Cloud, I get a lot of great ideas from our community. I get a lot of great ideas. We have a Slack lounge, um, where our customers can gather and ask questions and, and a and and say, Hey, would, it would be really rad if it did this. And you know, there have been a couple of those over the years, uh, you know, over the last couple of years where it’s like, oh, I get it now, now I see what the value is on this particular piece. Having multiple classes of feedback, having multiple streams of feedback is so critical to the product vision because you have to listen to your customers and meet them where they are not necessarily where you think they ought to be.
Becky Scott (00:19:54):
And I love that our community is so vocal about things like that and that they feel comfortable coming to us and telling us, Hey, we really like this, but this could be better. And so them feeling like they have an open space to do that and not just feel like it’s gonna go into the void, um, is, is really important to us. And I love that they know that we’re responsive and that we’re going to, um, take it back to the, to the product managers and see what we can do. But that ac extra input really helps. And even you mentioned, um, content from the documentation team, we get feedback on that all the time too, and we’ll take it to tech writing and say, Hey, um, we’ve got someone asking a question about this, or this is unclear, and they’ll go, they’ll go edit it and fix it or add something to it or create new con new content. So they’re really good about that.
Charles Edge (00:20:59):
Well, I love hearing that those feedback loops exist, and I’m assuming that your customers would as well. So just leaving that there ,
You know, I, I do feel like I, I mentioned P H P B B and there are, you know, whether it’s MLA or Mambo or, you know, hundreds of these, uh, these kind of platforms, some of which are embedded in some of these community management tools. But I think we’ve all seen how some of those can go horribly ter, terribly awfully, um, whatever other adverb adjectives that I use to describe product managers earlier when they’re not moderated. So, um, I’ve definitely seen that happen with things like scripts. And I I noticed that you guys have a collection of those in your, in your community as well. Um, and I’m assuming this wouldn’t be the community manager, but does someone actually test all those?
Becky Scott (00:22:04):
Actually, no. We have a disclaimer on there that these are community submitted scripts and use, you know, use at your own risk, um, because we didn’t feel like we had the resources to test all of those and vet them. And plus it gets complicated with whether or not this is, you know, like a jump cloud approved one, and then if something does go wrong, it’s like, eh, you know, so we worked with our legal team and put a big disclaimer on there that says, uh, we don’t, we don’t check these. Now we do have, um, we do have some people working within the company who also play around with some of the scripts and, and post their own too, but the official ones are in our documentation
Charles Edge (00:22:54):
Tom Bridge (00:22:54):
It. Yeah. We also have a, a fairly robust GitHub repo, um, and there’s a script library templating system that’s built into our commands environment that can pull from those environments. And those are written and tested by our solutions architects. Uh, big shout out to the team led by Joe Workman, uh, at JumpCloud who, who does a lot with those, uh, to really make it expand out and use not just, you know, scripting languages, but our own a p i and our own PowerShell module to kind of make those more robust. So there’s a lot of, you know, there’s a lot of stuff going on in that space. It’s really hard to do well, right? Like, I mean, I think it really
Charles Edge (00:23:29):
Is. Yeah. And,
Tom Bridge (00:23:30):
And you, you wanna make sure that people are safe, but you also want to let people, you know, spread their wings a little bit and say, Hey, this worked for me. Maybe this is a, maybe there’s something you can glean from this. Maybe it’s a, a for loop, maybe it’s a, you know, a, a, a PowerShell know module, or it’s a, it’s a, it’s function that you can, a adapt and use as your own. Um, it’s so powerful to be able to share those out in the community and to be able to say, I’m doing this. Tell me what you think. Yeah.
Charles Edge (00:23:57):
Tom Bridge (00:23:57):
Mean, and yeah,
Becky Scott (00:23:58):
And for people to, um, you know, for others just say, Hey, I tried this and this didn’t work. Um, can you help me? Or, I need to do that, but just slightly different. Can you help me? And so there’s this really great back and forth on there too, where people are asking each other questions and collaborating on it. Um, the goal of community. So that is, yeah, exactly. That, that’s a really cool aspect. And another shout out to Joe Workman because he’s a favorite on the IT hour. They just love him because he goes into demos of how to, how to better use PowerShell and stuff. And they, they really love that.
Marcus Ransom (00:24:36):
Also, everybody’s environment is different as well. So what works beautifully in one environment may spectacularly catch on fire in a, in a different environment because of things that they’ve got in there. So I think, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s always really important to test things you download from the internet, um, regardless of how official or unofficial, um, you, the, the location you get them from. Um,
Charles Edge (00:25:05):
I would also,
Becky Scott (00:25:06):
And please, please don’t test them in production. , please have a test environment to do that.
Marcus Ransom (00:25:11):
And please have a test environment that’s not your production environment. Yes. Mm-hmm. ,
Charles Edge (00:25:17):
I, I would definitely applaud the foresight into, not into a engaging legal, and b, not committing to these will work great for the next 20 years. You know, um, the operating systems change quickly, yada, yada, yada. I mean, there’s so many reasons for that. Um, I had had a follow-up question that I don’t need to ask, which is, oh, do you do that for each rev of the operating system? But luckily you obviated the need for that, so we can move on. to the next question.
Marcus Ransom (00:25:51):
I was gonna say, another important thing about finding scripts on communities as well is, um, you know, and somebody had to point this out to me a long time ago, is to scroll right to the bottom of the conversation before testing things out and, and also pay attention to the date. It’s great when you see a question that answers your specific problem. And when you see that it’s a post from 2008, um, it may not be the answer you’re looking for today. It might be be, there are some that still work, but there’s plenty that I get messages
Charles Edge (00:26:29):
On Slack no less than once every other week about scripts I posted at least 15 years ago. And I’m like, of course it doesn’t work. I’m sorry.
Becky Scott (00:26:45):
Yeah. That’s when you, that’s when you need to have an archive, um, kind of plan. Yeah.
Charles Edge (00:26:51):
Mm-hmm. , I, I mean, I have 6,000 posts on my personal website, which makes me no money. So I get a, a frequent number of these where I’m just like, I’m sorry, that doesn’t work. That’s actually no longer possible in the operating system. Or, you know,
Marcus Ransom (00:27:09):
Maybe, maybe just a comment in, in the header of your scripts that says, if you’re using this script, script after X, x, X, you maybe need to consider some of, I mean
Charles Edge (00:27:19):
Life choices. The blog post says,
Marcus Ransom (00:27:22):
Charles Edge (00:27:22):
2009 or 2008, or
Becky Scott (00:27:25):
, at least yours has dates. I read some that don’t even have dates and it drives me nuts. ’cause I’m like, how is this new? Is this old? Is it recycled? Is it 15 years old?
Charles Edge (00:27:36):
And or the,
Marcus Ransom (00:27:37):
Or the comment ins. Yeah, the comment in the post where you see the last, the last comment in the post was 12 years ago, and somebody’s like, this is not working. Has anybody got any, any other ideas? Um,
Becky Scott (00:27:52):
Does this work on Max Silicon? Yes. It was written for
Marcus Ransom (00:27:57):
Becky Scott (00:27:58):
Pretense. Oh yeah, it was written for O S eight. I don’t know, .
Charles Edge (00:28:04):
That would be awesome actually. Um, and I, you know, I guess that brings up the next thing. Um, so community, community building skills are more soft skills kind of, but also this knack of picking up tech. And you mentioned that you were, before we started recording, I think you mentioned that long ago you were doing website stuff. So you obviously had this like, tech background, but, you know, moderation is just one part of this kind of community building skillset. So I guess we mentioned a enough of a background in tech, not to get totally waylaid with the words people are using, but what are the other key ingredients that you see out there to kind of making a community flourish?
Becky Scott (00:28:54):
Funny enough, I know a lot of community managers who don’t have a ton of technical skills, but they can still be effective managers if they have technical resources who can help answer the technical questions. Um, so moderation is one path. Uh, you could be an architect or a strategist. So there are a lot of different things, but really at the heart of it, it is about those soft skills. It’s about people skills. It is about helping people find answers, helping them feel heard, helping them feel like they’re interacting with a human, like a person, not just, you know, the, the company speak. I have been on communities where it was harder because they have very strict rules about how you interact with people and what you can say and can’t say. But here at JumpCloud, um, they give us a lot of leeway for, for most things, unless it’s a very specific thing going on where we have to stick to a script, but for the most part, we are able to just be ourselves. And I think that makes a huge difference.
Marcus Ransom (00:30:18):
So we, we know that the MAC admins community’s different from a lot of other tech communities. So what are some of the elements that you like to foster in communities that you’ve been involved in?
Becky Scott (00:30:29):
Well, um, like, like I was saying earlier, it’s building relationships with people. Um, to me it’s really important to make a connection with people, to feel li for them to feel like they are being heard and that someone cares what they’re saying. That it’s not just, oh yeah, whatever, just go post something. It really is, when I approach it, it is about helping people connect to each other and to people in the company and things like that. When I did the, even the saltwater fishing, it was, we talked online and then we met up in person and went fishing together. So watching relationships build and flourish, it’s so fun and great to see. Um, I love seeing that in the Mac admins community because, uh, I was, I was kind of jealous that I didn’t get to go to the, um, to the P S U conference, but just hearing about how much everybody loved it was, was amazing. And so when you start to see relationships like that form over time, and you can just kind of step back and let them interact with each other, oh, that’s, that’s just one of the best things for me. And, and making sure that people are feeling like they are being heard.
Charles Edge (00:31:57):
Um, I, I feel like there’s stuff in there about your motivators, you know, like what you, like helping people and building community and making people feel heard. I, I think in tech especially, because as Tom can tell us a lot more about than me, there’s always competing priorities. So someone can say, oh my God, this is the best thing ever. I need this, need this, need this. And you know, Tom’s got probably 500 of those to weigh, and that’s hard. Mm-hmm. , and maybe that’s the only human that wants that kind of workflow to be enabled, but it’s like a 10 priority for them out of five, you know, and mm-hmm. . Um, so I, I, I’ve never really, um, judged the choices I think the product managers make because I don’t feel like I have access to all the competing prioritization, uh, mental algorithms. But I I, I do think making them feel heard when, oh yeah, something else is a higher priority is kind of mm-hmm. key. Well,
Becky Scott (00:33:20):
And we try to be honest with them too and say, Hey, you know, thank you for submitting this. We’ll try, but we have these other things going on right now too. And I’ve been in communities where communities they were like, too bad. I want it anyway. But what is really great about our community is that they are so invested in us succeeding that they, they really do hear us when we say, please go put in a feature request. We’ll do our best, but we’ve got these things going on, but we are listening. We do hear you, and we have put out features that they have requested, and then we say, this, this came out because of the, because of the users or our community. So I think that helps too. Like, it, it doesn’t feel like things are going into a void. Yeah, we will, I, I’ve seen Tom say, you know, that’s great, but sorry, we can’t really do this right now. It’s just not high on the list. But we’ll, we’ll keep it in mind.
Tom Bridge (00:34:33):
I always, you know, it, it, it’s a really tough balancing act, right? Like, I mean, if I had infinite resources, oh man, uh, all the things I would do, uh, but, you know, if we think about doing the most for the most, i i is really what you’re after as a PM at that point, because I, I was having a, a long conversation with my wife, who’s also a PM and, uh, she wrote a really great blog post this week that I’ll find for the show notes about, uh, everything she’s learned in her first two years as product. Uh, ’cause she has also made the transition from practitioner to product manager over the last period of times. Uh, Charlie is really tired of all of our dinnertime conversation, um, being deep work nerdery, um, or, or he’s getting the world’s best, uh, product management curriculum.
I, I’m not sure which. Um, but, you know, if, if we think about what the prime skill of a product manager is, it’s executive function and prioritization, those two things kind of go hand in hand in terms of just evaluating what’s out there, evaluating what is coming in on the, you know, the fire hose of feature requests. And, you know, here I want to give a, a huge shout out to one of my coworkers, URA Reda, who helped us design, uh, a, a system to kind of manage all of that so that we can say, Hey, look, every pm, every, every, uh, you know, every product idea that comes in gets prioritized because it gets information about the customer that submitted it. It gets information about the date that’s submitted. It, it gets information about their priority level of this particular request so that we can differentiate between, you know, Hey, it would be nice and oh my God, I need this.
Um, and it allows us to co mining for features out of all of that data set. It is a huge data set that we can, you know, uh, mind for ideas, mind for alignment mind for additional information. Um, and there, and, and, and my favorite part about it is that when your feature requests are, when, when your, when you’ve built up, uh, when’s called an initiative at JumpCloud, um, there are many different names for it, many different places, initiatives or epics or however your, however your Jira is set up. Um, , when those features go to production, I get to send my favorite emails, which are, Hey, we built a thing. We’d love for you to go take a look at it. It’s a direct result of your, you know, feature request. Um, please go give this a look and take a look at it. Also, anytime you’ve submit a feature request to me, it’s almost like you go on the ea the early access list, because I wanna make sure it makes, it makes those, uh, you know, the, those cuts so that we can talk to you about, Hey, this is what we built in response to your feature request. Is this what you need? Or did we miss the mark? Hmm.
Becky Scott (00:37:17):
And what’s really great about our community members is they love giving feedback on those sorts of things. They love being a part of ea uh, betas, all those things. And they’re great at giving feedback. So we’re looking at better ways to capture that, um, you know, kind of all in one place. ’cause you know how it is when you get feedback. It could be on a call, it could be in an email. Mm-hmm. , it could be, you know, in a post. So we’re looking at how do we kind of collate all of that. And I’ve been talking a lot with the product team about best ways to do that or even do some prioritization out loud where we say we’re thinking about working on, uh, I’m, I’m really pushing for this with the product team. Tom’s already heard me say it, but we have these 10 things we’re thinking about in the next half of the year. They may or may not come to fruition, but we’re thinking about these. So tell us which ones you would, you know, vote for the ones you like, and then give us feedback on why and what else would you like to see in addition to that. So, um, it just gets complicated when you have all these different systems that things have to go into. Yeah. But, uh, I really think that our community members would be really excited about that.
Charles Edge (00:38:37):
I love the fact that you mentioned what’s good for the most people and not the most revenue, I think. Mm-hmm. an easy trap. And this came up in my pragmatic, ’cause I did do the pragmatic product management, uh, certification stuff. Um, and I, I feel like they were saying, whatever makes you the most money. And you’re like, well, that’s arguable. Are you talking about short-term, long-term? ’cause long-term it would be whatever the highest number of tenants or, or organizations mm-hmm. using your tool is over the short term, it might be whatever helps you close the next massive customer. And I gotta, I gotta just say, um, while we’re not in a Sari James moment, because this happened in Sari James moment, Marcus is holding the kitten and the kitten is no longer a kitten, but a beautiful Calico. Yeah.
Marcus Ransom (00:39:32):
She’s a Calico. Mm-hmm. . And she’s, she’s at that awkward teenage
Charles Edge (00:39:36):
Age. Oh yeah. Awkward teenage kitten. Yeah. Been there. Um, and, and it’s quite distracting in the best way. So thank you Marcus,
Marcus Ransom (00:39:45):
For, and the reason I’m holding her is because it was holding her before and she bit me and I’ve had to pick her up again to stop her meowing. And I’m, if, if you can sense the fear in my voice, it’s because she may bite me again.
Charles Edge (00:39:58):
Yeah. My 15 year old teenager does that too. It’s not just the cast . Um, so,
Becky Scott (00:40:04):
So does my 15 year old kind guess you
Charles Edge (00:40:07):
A little bit. I I meant human child, but close enough. Yeah.
Becky Scott (00:40:11):
Oh yeah. Oh, mine too. Yeah. It’s a human, it’s a human child that is taller than I am
Charles Edge (00:40:17):
At this point. Yeah. Mine’s not taller, but, uh, maybe someday. Who knows?
Speaker 1 (00:40:22):
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Charles Edge (00:41:48):
So I, I do feel like, you know, we talked a little bit about motivators, so picking up on that, um, let’s talk about Mythic Quest. So , I
Becky Scott (00:41:58):
Like Mythic Quest, .
Charles Edge (00:42:01):
Some people are motivated by the corner office and the Mythic Quest community manager definitely has, doesn’t have a corner office. So is your office actually in the basement, like the community manager from that show, like Sue ?
Becky Scott (00:42:19):
Um, wow. Probably would’ve been at sometimes. Uh, but no, I, I get to work from home, so I get to use one of my spare bedrooms as an office. And this is the first time that I’ve ever had like, an actual room where I can close the door and step away. It’s always been in the corner of my bedroom somewhere, because I lived in a small enough space that I’d have a desk next to my bed. Mm-hmm. . Um, so this is, this is nice. Uh, actually what’s really great about our company is all of the executives are super supportive of community. It’s one of our key initiatives. Our c e O is very supportive. Um, one of our core values is making connections. So that plays right into being a part of a community,
Speaker 1 (00:43:17):
Tom Bridge (00:43:18):
So, one of the questions that I’ve had, and especially ’cause you mentioned where you got your start, how would you say managing a community of admins is different from, say, managing a community, a community of sports, uh, fishermen or, or accountants or lawyers or what have you?
Becky Scott (00:43:32):
Technical communities and technical resources are my absolute all time favorite audience. Um, I keep coming back to it, you know, I was at, at Verizon, I was, um, dealing with consumer stuff and then went to Cisco and had, um, technical resources, and then Cloudera also technical. And then while I was kind of laid off in the middle of Covid, I did some other consulting work on different communities. One of them was a marketing community, and I was like, no, I gotta get back to, to tech. I love it. Uh, they are tough people. Until you get to know them, you have to establish that credibility and build those relationships. But once you do, man, they’re awesome. They will tell you exactly what they think, no holds barred. If they’re happy, unhappy, you will know. You won’t be confused. . You won’t know whether they like or hate something.
And I just really like that honesty. Um, so many people in tech now, now this is a, this is kind of a sweeping generalization, but a lot of them are into gaming and a lot of nursery. So managing a community like that, you have this way to connect with people when you geek out over stuff. So for those groups, you find a way, um, it’s different with sport fishermen because it’s kind of like working in construction. It was, uh, it was one of the harder ones I’ve done because you actually went in person and you went fishing together. And I was one of very few women. And let’s just say it was, uh, it was hard at times, but it was also a lot of fun. I made a lot of good friends, friends that, um, almost 25 years later, I’m still friends with. So it can really be great when you make those, those connections.
Charles Edge (00:45:40):
Being friends 25 years later means that they were authentic connections and not just mm-hmm. , like,
Becky Scott (00:45:46):
Yeah, not just superficial, because we, we talked a lot about fishing and what was biting and what wasn’t, but we also got out because I lived in San Diego, so it was perfect for going fishing. And we’d go catch tuna or Yellow Tail or Barracuda, and we would get out in person and share a rail together and bond. We bonded online, but then it really seals it when you get to, uh, go do something together in person. And it’s actually the same way with, um, some single parent communities that I’m a part of, because we started out talking online, but we’re all in the same area, and we went the other day to go see a movie or we’ll plan a lunch or a dinner. So being able to do that is, is really neat.
Tom Bridge (00:46:40):
So that really nicely segues into where I was headed next, which is, you know, communities have to expand and you know, there’s, there there’s no, you know, there, there there’s no like buck, you know, hard box that you be, that you can put a community in. And so how does a community expand beyond just a forum or a slack or become more than, you know, a, a a a collaboration of people online?
Becky Scott (00:47:05):
Well, interestingly, at Gem Cloud, we call all of our efforts total community because we have several things involved. It’s the community forums, it’s Slack, it’s a presence in MAC admins and on Spiceworks and Reddit. You know, we have a subreddit. It is meeting people where they are. Um, I think, and we’re, we’re trying to do some more in-person stuff too. Like I have a, a Raleigh meetup group that, uh, is, is growing and there’s a lot of good people in that. And, but it’s a little harder post covid to bring some of that into the real world. Uh, it can be a bit of a struggle to get people, first of all, it’s hard to get the word out. It just isn’t the same, you know, where you used to just hang up a flyer and people would see it and come do something. And so, because so many people are working remotely, they’re not gathered around an office where you can just tell someone, Hey, tell your office that we’re doing this.
And then everybody would go out and get a beer and have a, a meetup. When I was at uc, San Diego, there was, um, I was in student services, but we worked a lot with the, um, student IT and co and the, um, other IT group that handled all of the, all of the main, like the business systems. And they would go meet at the pub after work and have a beer. And those are some other people that I’m still friends with. And that was 20 years ago too. Um, so that getting together in person, I really think is, is key. And we’re, we’re still working on that because our IT admins are all over the place. So finding a big enough cluster to get them together is what we have been trying to do. But it’s, it’s not easy. It works in some places and not in others.
Charles Edge (00:49:13):
And I guess, you know, physical fragmentation is one way to have like a fragmented kind of community, but how do you navigate the existence of multiple communities engaging around similar, similar-ish subjects? So I think I’m thinking about Microsoft recently announcing their own MAC admins community on Yammer. There’s Jamf Nation, there’s yours, there’s those from other vendors. Um, Jamf Heroes, the second one from JF kind of-ish. Um, and then the larger Mac admin Slack, um, it’s like, we don’t want fragmentation, but we do want everyone to find the right thing for what they need. Or I think like one of you said earlier, meet them where they’re at.
Becky Scott (00:50:05):
Yeah. Um, so one of the concepts when we first started the community was trying to create kind of a one stop place for talking about Max Windows Linux, because we manage all of those, um, platforms. And so trying to find something that, that works, but you are never really going to get people to only visit your space, which is why we have total community and having someone in Mac admins having someone in Reddit and different subreddits, because people are gonna do what they’re gonna do, and you’re not going to force them into your space. All you can do is try to create a welcoming space that has the information they’re looking for. Like, you have to have the content and the activities and events that people are going to really enjoy. And that’s one of the cool things about our weekly streaming, the IT hour.
Uh, we started it just to kind of talk about post webinar stuff and talk a little bit about, uh, new product features as they come out. And we’ve been doing it for about a year and a half now, and it has built up to this really cool, loyal audience who comes every Friday morning. And, um, we talk about what everybody’s doing for the weekend. We talk about what coffee everybody’s drinking. I think, um, I think we did get into a wine discussion one day. Uh, it’s done on a platform that has the ability for people to be interactive. Um, we do it on a platform called Crowdcast, and everyone can see everyone else’s comments. Um, you can react to them and things. And we get a little bit, you know, snarky, we talk about IT news, and we might be snarky about the latest zero day, um, attack or, or something like that. And it just makes for a good outlet and a place to have fun. But we’re never gonna tell people, oh, if you, if you come here, you can’t go anywhere else because that’s just not gonna not gonna work. Um, I’m a part of a community of practice for community managers and, um, it’s called the Community Roundtable. So, hi Jim , I’ll, I’ll send you this. And they have these t-shirts from the conference that we go to yearly and it says, control us for amateurs.
Marcus Ransom (00:52:46):
Becky Scott (00:52:47):
Because you, you are not going to completely control the conversation. All you can do is do the best you can and provide something that people are gonna value and want to be a part of if you’re lucky.
Marcus Ransom (00:53:03):
I, I remember back when I worked at the university, they were looking at onboarding Lithium there, which is now Chorus. And the folks from Lithium gave ’em this amazing piece of advice when they were trying to structure out how these, and it was, it was creating a, a community forum for, um, crowdsourcing and, and self solving IT solutions. And they were saying, look, don’t try and put too much effort into building out what you want this community to be upfront, because the audience may decide it’s going to be something different to what you wanted and e exactly. That don’t try and control, actually listen and observe, and then build the community in the direction they wanted to go. And as it turned out, nobody wanted to use that community for managing or dealing with it. It turned out student student services was where they had a, so people had created their own channels in there for dealing with student services issues. And after a while it was like, okay, I think the community’s spoken here. This is now no longer an IT tool. This is moving over to student services. And as far as I know, it’s still going and running beautifully. And that was, that was a really interesting insight to hear from them. That, and, and very much reflects what you are saying, saying there is, um, you know, herding cats is probably not the, not the solution.
Becky Scott (00:54:25):
Yeah. In fact, when we started our community, we started very narrow on purpose, um, a place to talk about the product because we, we know it has the JumpCloud name in it. And so people are gonna talk about the product, uh, even though we wanted to attract them to talk about just IT in general. And then some things about software and hardware networks and security, and then a community space where we can update about, you know, new, new, um, releases on the community. Like, um, introducing the community team, talking about different things that are happening. And then as it went by, uh, people wanted scripts and they kept saying, Hey, you know, it’d be really great to have a script repository, or it’d be really great to have a place to talk about home labs. So, you know, you spin it up, you try it for a little while, and if it doesn’t take off, you close it back down.
Like you give, you give it a chance, but you don’t keep something there that is just going to be have tumbleweeds rolling by, you know, because that hurt your, that hurt your community. In fact, I recently went back and took a couple of forums and consolidated them because it didn’t feel like they had enough traffic to warrant staying open by themselves. It’s better to let things grow. In fact, Kross actually has a philosophy on this, um, where if you have a certain activity level and it gets to be overtaking everything else, then you split it out. Like you wait until the activity, um, makes it possible. One thing I didn’t say was that I actually worked for them for a year after I worked at Cisco. I actually, when, um, lithium bought Jive X, which was the external part of Jive, I actually went over and worked on their go to market team for that, um, for that product and getting it into Lithium. And then right as they, they merged with Spread Fast was when I got laid off. Mm. So, but I was there about a year. Mm-hmm.
Charles Edge (00:56:31):
. Yeah. I feel like Cisco picked up a few different companies trying to solve that puzzle. I, I think it’s interesting.
Marcus Ransom (00:56:39):
One, one of the things I love about the, uh, you know, you can call it the fragmentation of communities, is that they have found their own place and found their own purpose for existing their style of doing things. And so it, it actually allows, when you’re searching for information, trying to find things out, understanding the different styles of doing things in the different ways of doing things can lead you to get very different results and, and better success. Trying to find certain information in one, one community, um, over another, um, like, you know, uh, Jamf Nation for example, you get a lot more validation from the community because it is in a, a platform designed around this for, you know, get timestamps on things. Has somebody found this successful? Did it actually solve their question? Whereas in something more sort of, um, free range like Slack, you will see someone post a snippet. You’re less likely to see the person who asked the question go back in and say, um, yes, this solved my problem. Um, this worked. Um, because there isn’t that gamification element of it with, you know, people wanting to, um, go in and, uh, and tick something as solved because they’ll, you know, they’ll get some, some swag for it.
Becky Scott (00:57:59):
Get some points. . Well, what what’s interesting about Slack is that a lot of people are in it for work anyway, so it’s very immediate for them. So there is a group of users, members that, um, I don’t like really calling people users. I’m more like users of the software. Not, I don’t like calling community members users, but the people in our Slack, um, some of them don’t want to move over to the community forums. And that’s, that’s okay. But if we have something that’s really useful, like, like somebody did come back and say, oh yeah, this worked. Thank you. Then we try to encourage them to post it in the community for longevity, for Findability, Googleable and Ss e o. Yeah. Because, because you’re not gonna be able to Google that and find it in
Charles Edge (00:58:54):
Slack. I mean, slack is also gonna be like an almost immediate response for a lot of things compared to, oh, I posted something on a forum. Like I posted something to an Apple developer forum and someone responded to it like three years later. You know, , I mean, sometimes that’s definitely not immediate . No, it wasn’t Quinn. But Quinn is the only person I, that’s not fair. Quinn is the most likely person to respond with, uh, helpful things. So , well, I don’t think their title, um, is, uh, has anything to do with developer relations or community building. I think they’re just like super nerd snipy in a, in a super pausey way, you know? So that’s
Marcus Ransom (00:59:46):
Really the dream of a community manager, is it not to have those people who, as well as doing that actual job, love to actually help people
Becky Scott (00:59:57):
Charles Edge (00:59:58):
Becky Scott (00:59:59):
I can’t, you know, he, he is always, uh, in Slack helping people. And that’s amazing and incredible. And so yes, when you can find people like that, that just loved answer questions, then that’s where a super user program might come into play. Mm-hmm. , where you actively engage those types of people, um, to well recognize what they’re doing and to hopefully encourage them to do more .
Tom Bridge (01:00:29):
And that takes us to our bonus question here at the Mac Admins podcast. We wanna say a special thank you to all of our Patreon backers. The following people are to be recognized for their incredible generosity. S Stu Bacca. Thank you. Adam Selby. Thank you. Nate Walk. Thank you. Michael Sy. Thank you Rick Goody. Thank you. Mike Boylan. You know it. Thank you. Uh, Melvin Vivas. Thank you. W Bill Stites. Thank you. Anus Ville. Thank you. Jeffrey Compton, M Marsh, Stu McDonald, Hamlin Cruin, Adam Berg. Thank you. AJ Reka. Thank you. James raci. Tim Perfi of Two Canoes. Thank you. Nate Sinal, will O’Neill, Seb Nash, the folks at Command Control Power, Steven Weinstein, chat, Swarthout, Daniel McLaughlin, Justin Holt, bill Smith and Weldon Dodd. Thank you all so much and remember that you can back us if you just head out out to patreon.com/mac ADM podcast. Thanks everybody.
Charles Edge (01:01:29):
Yeah. And we have two, so you can pick
Tom Bridge (01:01:32):
Either, I’m gonna pick the second one ’cause I bet, because I bet that this group of people has a really good set of answers to this second question. Um, you know, one of the things about being, I don’t know the age that we are, uh, you know, we were around when the old magic was, was invo. Right? In a lot of ways we were here when the internet was invented in a lot of ways. What was the first online community that you joined, Becky?
Becky Scott (01:01:59):
Well, I didn’t have a computer at home. I lived way out in the boonies, and so it wasn’t like there was any internet connection. So it wasn’t until I moved to California, and I’ve got two answers for this, because one was a o l because that was all I had could join. But I was, um, a, a few months ago I was thinking about my very, very first community job. And I usually say it was, you know, to get paid to do it was, was Verizon in, um, early teens of 2000. However, as I thought about it more, and I stumbled across, um, something old. I actually, in the early nineties, was a part of a company that they did their own local sort of CompuServe, A o l. They built it. Um, and I was managing it like I, it was just a small dial up.
It was only local to Palm Springs where I lived at the time. And we did local news and other things that were going on and I manually put all of that in, like copy and paste pieces of news articles and referring people to it. And it was called Cyber Vet. Hmm. . And I kick myself that I no longer have the t-shirt that had these two little mountain ranges and a little sun coming up behind it. And, uh, I wish I still had that. I think I do have a newspaper article where we were in it for, you know, for um, promoting it at the time. But I at one point was just like, eh, I don’t need this t-shirt. Not realizing that there’s, there’s nothing that there’s, except for finding one newspaper article in the Desert Sun from a long time ago. There’s no evidence that it ever existed. And I got rid of that shirt and I kicked myself. ’cause it was like this, this was my real first I got paid to run a community and uh, I was called Girl Friday. ’cause I couldn’t think of anything more. Um, interesting because I was, uh, helping everyone, you know, I was, I was the concierge for the community.
Charles Edge (01:04:29):
So a literary ish reference. Love it. Yeah.
Becky Scott (01:04:34):
Charles Edge (01:04:35):
So, Charles, how about you? Oh, goodness man. I’m too old to know that. I, I, I would like to say, um, in high school I got access to a bunch of phyto net, uh, bulletin boards, and I accidentally met some people who were interesting, I think, and I eventually met them in person at Defcon a few years later. But, um, I, I would say that was my first community. I don’t know if you even consider that community, it was just, you know, um, but yeah. But yeah, phyto net bb, uh, bulletin board type, you know, early, early stuff there. Um, and because I’m old, it was the nineties, you know, um, ask Art was the closest thing to Art . Yeah. Oh yes. Oh yeah. .
Becky Scott (01:05:37):
Yeah. You know, it always cracks me up when people are, are terrified of meeting people from online because I’ve been doing it since the late nineties, you know, meeting the people from, from the fishing forums and stuff and getting on a boat together, uh, which is extra scary. So when people are like, just
Charles Edge (01:05:55):
Throwing that out there, ,
Becky Scott (01:05:59):
Well, yeah, we were stuck on a boat together, but there were, there were people there that were, you know, the captain and the crew, and they were all cool. Um, but yeah, just to, people would be like, oh, you, I’m, they’re terrified to meet people from the internet. And I’m like, I’ve been doing it for over 20 years. . But that was before,
Marcus Ransom (01:06:17):
Before the internet got scary,
Becky Scott (01:06:19):
You know, before you buy something on Craigslist and get, get robbed. Well,
Charles Edge (01:06:22):
I mean, now it’s just like, oh, you meet your Uber driver on internet ish, right? you door Dasher who’s dropping stuff off on the front porch? I, I don’t know. It’s, it’s like, yeah, I remember, um, the first time that someone said that they dated someone that they met online, or the first time, like, some of those early ones where I was like, I, I hate to admit it, but I was like a little bit judgy at the time, but it was like 1996 or something, . So it was kinda, but I, I definitely wouldn’t be now. But, um, but yeah, it’s, it’s interesting making that human connection, you know, mentioning your, your user group earlier and phishing and mm-hmm. and all that, but, and the, the Mac Admins conference stuff, I remember when I met some of those, especially Greg Nagle, some of them where I’m like, you’re way less grumpy than you seem Mom, ,
Marcus Ransom (01:07:15):
Charles Edge (01:07:17):
You know? How about
Becky Scott (01:07:18):
Marcus Ransom (01:07:19):
Um, so for me, while I was at university, it’s, it’s something completely unrelated to tech. Um, but it, but it’s interesting hearing Becky, it’s the same sort of parallel. So, you know, I was part of a subculture in the early nineties where we all listened to 1960s music and dressed up in suits and rode around on motor scooters and discovered this listerv, um, for people all around the world and hearing you say, ask art where you’re on pine trying to view these emails and there’s like, you know, 1500 line as art that people are creating their male signatures with to try and get creative. And, um, and seeing, seeing that sort of, you know, meeting people all around the world and, you know, sharing information and making friends and, and then, you know, going over, you know, decided to go on a holiday when I finished university, to go over to the UK and go to a, a scooter rally there where everyone headed over to the isle of White and being able to go into another country and go and walk into a nightclub and already know a bunch of people there, who, some of them still today, uh, really good friends.
And that was not something I expected. Um, but you know, it, it happened and it was really, really quite interesting. But then the other side of that can be, I remember in the late nineties, a relative had started creating a family tree and we’re having a look at it, and the link on my name was a hyperlink on this family tree and clicked on the hyperlink, oh, what’s this going to be? And it was a link to the archives of this forum mods list and just going, oh, no. And having to talk to the other people on this forum. And it’s like, so this idea about having our archive of all of these posts publicly available on the internet maybe isn’t such a good idea. Um, because none of the conversations in here were anything like, you know, they, they, they fell into two buckets. There were the conversations that people had that maybe were gonna be bad conversations for other people to read. And then the other ones that were just downright embarrassing that if, you know, completely out of context or maybe even still in context and just several years later, you’re reading stuff and going, yep, no, no, no, no, please, no. So so the archives of that are now
Becky Scott (01:09:44):
I look at my old Twitter that way. Yeah, exactly. My old Twitter feed that way. I’m like, oh my God, what was I thinking?
Marcus Ransom (01:09:50):
Yeah. It’s, it’s also interesting to see, you know, I’ve even come across people from the old days of Mods list, where in tech and in the Mac admins world where you’ll start talking to someone and then it’s just this moment and it’s like, ah, you were such and such. Oh, you were on there and realized straight away you’ve got this link where you realized you both, you know, you may not have known each other from, from back then on the forum, but then you both knew the same people or anything like that. And seeing, seeing different communities overlap is really quite strange. But, you know, that’s the world. I think
Becky Scott (01:10:27):
I, I remember the first time I went somewhere related to fishing where people called out my name and yelled at me, and I had no idea who they were, but they knew who I was. It was the most bizarre thing. But then again, I was, uh, an admin on like the biggest fishing forum in Southern California. It was huge. And so when we would get together before people would go fishing, and even if you weren’t going fishing, we’d go have lunch or tailgate at the, uh, at the docks. And yet people would say, Hey, uh, let’s see. Well, my username at the time, but they would also know me as Becky. And they’d be like, Hey Becky. And I’d be like, hi. Like, do I do, I know you, am I to know you? But I, you don’t wanna hurt their feelings by saying that, but you’re like, okay, this, this may have gotten out of hand because now people know me and I don’t know them.
And it’s weird . But I got over that. ’cause then we all, we all eventually knew each other. Um, and another place that that happened was in blogging. So I was started blogging, um, way back in the early two thousands. I had seen a, there was a local magazine, Charles, I don’t know if you saw this when you were in, in San Diego, but it was called Computer Edge. And it was a free magazine that was put out everywhere. And they had a, um, they had one, oh, what’s it called? They had, they had one week of it where it was about blogging. And so I read that and I was like, oh, this seems kind of cool. I had like space on, on my I S P at the time, which is Time Warn Cable. So I’m like logging into my I S P and creating a blog just for, just for, um, fun. And I got started in that and then got part of a network a few years later. And then it just blew up with all these people where we knew each other. And like you said, Marcus, we got together in person at a conference, uh, a blogging conference. And it was like seeing old friends because it was like, oh, hi. You know, I, I’ve been reading your blog forever and now I get to meet you in person. And it was just, it was a really interesting love that time on the, on the web.
Charles Edge (01:12:46):
It’s almost like blogging killed zines. ’cause I always thought of that, that one as more of a quote unquote zine back in that era. Yeah. Um, but who needs to photocopy things cheap and bind them together yourself when you can just post them on the internets,
Tom Bridge (01:13:06):
Post ’em on Blogger. Yeah, yeah,
Charles Edge (01:13:07):
Yeah. Bad, bad. H TML has, has replaced Bad Circle, maybe .
Tom Bridge (01:13:12):
That is exactly right. Yeah.
Becky Scott (01:13:14):
I mean, mine was literally a, a weblog. I started out just listing things that I was reading and I think, um, probably reading Will Wheaton at the time too, and just kind of start out from there before I started doing actually telling stories and doing some some personal things and things like that. But it really was just a chronicle of things I found on the internet that were interesting. Lost a time though. I didn’t keep a, a backup of any of that.
Tom Bridge (01:13:39):
So yeah, I had a radio user land blog back before, back in the, before Times and then moved to Movable type. Mm-hmm. And then moved to Type Pad when you could do hosted movable type. Yeah. And then, yeah, all of those things. Mm-hmm. , most of those are thankfully lost to to time. But I
Becky Scott (01:13:54):
Even did Live Journal.
Tom Bridge (01:13:55):
Oh, yeah, yeah. There’s there, yeah. Uhhuh, I mean, yeah, yeah, yeah. Been there
Becky Scott (01:14:01):
Just because it was easy. Right. It was much easier than, than trying to do all of my stuff by hand. But yeah, I had movable type and there was another one to, um, well, there were several, but they, oh, expression Engine. Mm. They had offered some free, some free software to people, and so I took advantage of that. But
Tom Bridge (01:14:19):
Yeah, I was gonna say my community, yeah, my communities go back far. Um, you know, I was gonna say, I grew up in, in Northern California in, in the nineties. And so I, there was a local B B Ss that I called into that was in Davis, and that was free. But if you wanted to play the good games on the internet, you had to go to the, you had to dial into Sacramento and pay by the minute. And so there was a part, there was a group that was the Compass Rose, uh, here in Sacramento area, and was there, and then it was part of a, an online community, um, in the early aughts where I met my wife, uh, who was at the time living in another city. And so that was around, if you’ve ever seen the movie ai, uh, there was an alternate reality game.
In fact, the first alternate reality game, um, you could figure out a puzzle in the movie poster or do some Googling or some searching up and, and you would find a movie credit that didn’t make any sense. And that led you to a phone number, which led you to a website, which led you to a dozen websites with none of which made like a whole lot of sense until you started putting together that it was outside of, uh, you know, normal reality. Um, the puzzles that they created as part of that were meant to be solved by community. And so there were 6,000 of us in a Yahoo group and a few hundred of those people in an I R C channel back in the day. So, yeah, I was gonna say, I’m, I’m one of those weird people that met their spouse online before.
It was cool and before the, uh, the, the era of dating sites. Um, and, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a whole, it’s a whole big thing. I’ve been doing online communities for as long as I’ve been online. And, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s a real special place. It is different than a lot of other ways. ’cause you meet people that you wouldn’t have met anywhere. And, you know, due to the Mac admins community, I have friends all over the world due to the cloud makers. I have friends all over the world, and due to Jump Clouds community, I have friends all over the world. And it’s so cool to make the world smaller with things like the internet. It’s why I think at the end of the day, I’m still on the side of maybe the internet wasn’t a mistake. Um, even if sometimes it feels that way.
Becky Scott (01:16:27):
There are people in my life that I would not have without the internet. One of them lives here in Raleigh, and I met her when my oldest was a baby, and we met at the blogging conference mm-hmm. . And she also had her baby with her, who was, um, maybe two or three months younger than mine. And we, you know, had to take our, our little ones with us, and we bonded over that. And then lived in, I lived in California for a long time, but then I moved here and she’s here. And so, you know, one of my closest friends, and it’s just really neat to, I won’t, I, I can never just say that the internet is completely horrible because of how many people it has brought into my life in a very positive way. And it allows me to work from home. I’ve worked from home since, uh, 2008.
Speaker 6 (01:17:21):
Yeah. So before it was cool. Can’t
Becky Scott (01:17:23):
Speaker 6 (01:17:25):
Becky Scott (01:17:26):
Yeah. I had no problem during the pandemic. I’d already been doing it for so long that everybody’s freaking out and I’m going, huh, this is same old, same old . Except for the not being able to, not being able to go out and shop for
Tom Bridge (01:17:38):
Becky Scott (01:17:38):
Yeah. That part was not so awesome. Things like that. And see my friends, that part was not so awesome, but the adjustment to working from home. Yeah. I was already doing it.
Tom Bridge (01:17:45):
Becky, thank you so much for joining us this week. It was a great pleasure to talk with you about this. If folks wanna find you online, where should they go? Look?
Becky Scott (01:17:52):
Well, they can find our firstname.lastname@example.org, and also on the it hour with Fridays at 1130 Eastern. It’s a lot of fun. We, we love to have fun there. That link is more complicated. Put in show notes, so we’ll have, we’ll that in the show notes. . Yeah. And, uh, I’m playing with Blue Sky and Threads and things like that, but I haven’t really found a home, so I, I can’t really say. I mean, like, I’m sort of, kind of still on Twitter. Yeah. X but
Tom Bridge (01:18:22):
Some, all the places for now.
Becky Scott (01:18:23):
Yeah. Yeah. X yeah. I’m kind of all the places, but I’m not really, I’m not finding that I’m doing anything with them. I’ll log in and look a little bit, but it’s not a constant, I guess. Unfortunately, Facebook is where I, I wind up being because that’s where my family is, so,
Tom Bridge (01:18:39):
Yep. All, all tough things. Well, thank you so much for joining us this week. It’s a great pleasure to talk with you. And of course, thanks to our wonderful sponsors this week. That’s Kanji Collide and Simple, m d m. And thanks everybody. We’ll see you next time.
Speaker 6 (01:18:54):
See you next time. See you later. Yeah.
Tom Bridge (01:19:07):
The Mage Men’s Podcast is a production of Maced Men’s Podcast, L L C. Our producer is Tom Bridge. Our sound editor and mixing engineer is James Smith. Our theme music was produced by Adam Koga the first time he opened. GarageBand sponsorship for the Mac Admins podcast is provided by the Mac admins.org Slack, where you can join thousands of Mac admins in a free Slack instance. Visit mac admins.org and also by techno missionary L L C. Technically we can help. For more information about this podcast and other broadcasts like it, please visit podcast dot mac admins.org. Since we’ve converted this podcast to A P F S, the funny metadata joke is at the end.
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