046 - You Can Ignore Community Strategy, or You Can Leverage It. Learn How with Ashley Taylor

I looked at my phone the other day, and realized how bombarded I was by notifications. Tell me if this sounds familiar: too many Slack groups, a crowded email inbox, and memberships galore. I can't keep up! Some win my attention, but most don’t.

That leaves me with a big question -- how do we create communities that cut through the noise?

When it comes to communities, Ashley Taylor, VP of Partnerships at Commsor, is top-notch. Throughout this episode, she reframes our thinking and answers some hard-pressed questions.

There are a lot of ideas about what community is, and about what it’s not.

The temptation is to view community only as a function of a business, but that view can steal your imagination. Community isn’t one-dimensional. Ashley explains why community touches every aspect of an org, and why it’s not limited to our technology.

“Community is going to happen whether or not you, as an org, intentionally create it.”

Fun fact: Jared and Ashley used to work together at Drift. Want to know why Jared was a “pain” to work with? Tune in.


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Jared Fuller  00:00
All right, what is up partner up, we're back, and a guest that I've been in the trenches with before. So I'm very excited to have her on. In since we last spoke, it was just Isaac and I. So it's back to kind of the regular scheduled cadence, so to speak, or bring on a guest every Tuesday, every once in a while, whenever you have someone that bounces from the show can't make it due to some more important travel or I don't know, I think we threw Allen under the bus enough with the last the last episode, I won't do that again. But I'm really excited to have on our guest of the day to talk about something that I I've been much closer to than I have in the past year, two years. And it feels like it's also having a moment and I kind of want to unpack today, what it might mean for ecosystem literate leaders. And if there's some red thread to pull, if you will, around community, and community led growth, partner led growth ecosystems, it feels very similar. So welcome Ashley Taylor to partner up.

Thank you. Cheers. Thanks for having me.

Jared Fuller  01:08
Of course, of course. Actually, maybe we should go talk a little bit about the background. So we worked in the trenches together kind of building out conversational ABM at Drift and Clearbit, which I got my drift tea on today. So I was born that

Isaac Morehouse  01:22
I just had to throw out my drift teacher and it just it just got too worn out. It was really I was really early you I think you gave it to me. So I was kind of sad to have to do that I might need to, I don't know find a new one.

Jared Fuller  01:37
Well, Flash is happening in Miami. So across the state for me, I'm probably gonna end up going to that later on this month. So I'll see if I can squeeze some swag out of the the branding folks at Drift. But actually, it's good to see on the other side, now picking up partnerships and community and all that consort, I think maybe for framing this conversation, because we're going to be talking about all things community, I'd actually love to start with why you chose community and kind of like the next step versus martech or sales tech or where a lot of kind of like our peers are in the market. Why did you see community is like, hey, there's something here. Right now that seems like a it is also having a moment.

I think it just comes down to the impact that my communities have had on my life and my career. At Clearbit. I was the first partnerships hire and for much of my time there, I was the only person working on partnerships. And so if I wanted to tap someone on the shoulder and say, Hey, how are you thinking about this? Or like, Hey, man, I really need help with Jared from draft. I'm kidding. Then I just I had communities, but I could tap and say like, can you sanity check this? Can you run this by me? How? What would you do in this situation? How did you set up your Salesforce? And being able to see the power of the communities that I was in specific for partner people made it really natural for me to see how powerful this space is, and how nicely it plays with partnerships and ecosystems?

Jared Fuller  03:06
I think there's a pretty easy, you know, self plug there for, you know, partnerships, leaders and cloud software Association. Is that what you mean by that actually, like being able to hop in and, you know, ask for, you know, feedback or role models or examples. It's kind of like a learning center from your peers. Is that kind of where what you meant by going to community to find those answers?

That's, that's sort of the easy explanation, right, like Cloud Software Association, incredibly powerful community of partner people, partner leaders, really great community of, obviously, partnership leaders. One that's newer on the scene is the SAS ecosystem, Alliance, SCA, the belt. And I certainly do mean all of that. And that's probably the easiest place to think of. But communities bigger than that right community is the sum total network of people that I can tap and making sure that that I am able to whether it's a message on LinkedIn, or a post on one of those Slack channels or a DM just able that the ability for me to think of what is my network as my community and see that as a growth engine, as opposed to just like the people that I could potentially do business with?

Isaac Morehouse  04:16
You know, it's funny that you said that, because I've been we've been talking about lately communities, rather than community as a necessary way to think about that part of your ecosystem. Because just even for myself, or when you were asked that question, you didn't even immediately have like, oh, there was one Slack channel I went to, or there was one association. And I think about that for myself, like, oh, there's so many times in business where the communities I'm a part of had been a huge help, but you asked me to nail it down. And I'm like, Well, I go to these three Slack channels for this type of thing. And then I've got this friend who's always on Telegram, and then I've got this other guy that I'll text and then you know, it's like, it's this. It's this series of overlap. communities, I think where the real magic is?

Yes, I totally agree.

Jared Fuller  05:06
Whenever you're thinking about this moment in time, I'm, I'm big on this like movement train, because shout out again to drift. And some of the things I learned from like, David cancel, cancel, I, I'll never forget, some of the advice he imparted on me before starting another venture was to always write a macro trend, right, like something that is an undeniable shift in consumer or, you know, person behavior based on bigger things that are much bigger than, you know, the category, the software, the thing, the service that you're providing. And it seems like that there's a new default that's happening, where instead of relying on all of the marketing technology, sales, technology, artificial intelligence, you know, 75 points of attribution, whatever the heck it is, that the marketing organization is colliding with ecosystem and community because of the lack of effectiveness of traditional b2b marketing and sales. So like, why these two things are all of a sudden colliding? Does it have something to do, from your point of view, actually, that the marketing organization is realizing, hey, we have to go where people have trust where people are talking with their peers and learning and making recommendations. Do you feel like that change and shift in how marketing effectiveness is? I mean, I don't know I've been doing traditional marketing for 10 plus years, conversion rates are just continuing to decline, acquisition costs are continuing to rise. Is that part of that, from your perspective? Why is it that like the CMO, cares about community now more than she did five years ago?

Not to be too cliche, but the world changed pretty considerably, almost exactly two years ago. And I think that people found themselves in their own homes and no longer going to an office, they craved that interaction from elsewhere. And that I think, is so much of a big part of why community is growing now and why it's able to be on a CMOS radar. And I think that, you know, I don't know that it's marketing driving towards, oh, we need to focus on community. I think it's that people are forming these communities, and therefore marketing is taking attention.

Jared Fuller  07:18
It's a response. Yes. Right. So the market, the market marketing is a response. I would say that that's a lagging indicator, the community's prevalence, and, you know, splintering, you know, fragmenting, you know, re consolidating that cycle of like, consolidation, bundling, and unbundling. I mean, it used to be, I feel like in community there was, you know, like the sales community, the marketing, the whatever. And now there's many kind of like the both of your points. So marketing kind of stepping up to the plate and say, Hey, let's have a more philosophical or even tactical debate or, you know, idea whiteboard session on how to leverage this phenomenon is a response to those market forces. As I like to say a lot, the market always wins.

A though that community is not necessarily a function of marketing. Community is something that touches much like partnerships that touches every aspect of the org. And there are certainly some orgs, where the marketing team is the one that's gonna latch on there somewhere, think about a support community that is less a function of marketing and more how it ties into success and support, or a product community. It doesn't necessarily have to be marketing driven and facts like you could very easily make the argument and I would make the argument that community should be the lead. And then from there, it touches every facet of the organization, much like partnerships and ecosystem.

Jared Fuller  08:41
So let's unpack that then, because that is why I felt that partner leaders have had such a difficult time in b2b SaaS is that the marketing and sales org, you know, she who controls the headcount tends to control the power. So you had the sales leader that really had a lot of authority, and by cycles and dictating where the business goes, but then you had the marketing or the control, the majority of I would say, you know, spend from a budget perspective ads. events, like these big ticket line items that were not afforded to partner leaders, and yet the mandate of the partner leader is like, oh, yeah, you better impact marketing, you better impact sales, you better impacts Yes, and you better impact product. Yep. If community has those same complexities, how might or how have you seen partner leaders kind of associate with or start to build more intersects across across the organization because you have this now new function that feels like it has similar? I don't know, challenges, complexities. What have you seen, like having that partner, you know, hat on, as, you know, advice or insight on how that same phenomenon happening again?

I think the fact of the matter is that community is going to happen whether or not you as an org, intentionally create it. You are going to have users that loves you, hopefully you are going to have prospects that are curious about you, you're going to have an audience that sees you in the periphery because their network uses you or their network has heard of you. But I think that it really comes down to how intentional you're going to be about curating and providing resources and thinking about the experience, to sort of transform this audience in this kind of community that that's happening into a really intentional part of your business strategy. Much like an ecosystem, where your your customers are going to be if you're a SAS, will your customers are going to be using your tool very likely, in conjunction with other tools? Do you want to get ahead of its you want to create those relationships and that interoperability so that they can have the best and stickiest experience possible? That's kind of where I think about the similarities and sort of my thinking on that all starts?

Isaac Morehouse  10:48
Do you think there's an element of like, trying to get really serious about and being honest about what is your core value prop, because I, cuz there's some companies that are like, you come for the community, you stay for the products, and then some are the other way around, you come for the products, and then maybe the community is where you go for that product support. And that can have really nice effects on, you know, retention, and even, you know, referrals and things. But I think everybody wants to say that they do both, but like, You got to be honest about if, what are your What are your customers value the most and not trying? Because I've been in communities where it's like, Hey, this is our community, and you don't know what it's for? Is this, it's just kind of a mess, like, is this for support tickets, basically? Or is this? Are we giving product feedback? Is that you know, so i don't know i How do you think about identifying like, which comes first? I know that they inter interplay, it's not necessarily one in the other order. But just knowing what how do your users behave? Like? How do you How have you seen companies do that? Well, where they kind of identify what role is community is predominantly a success role, or predominantly a sort of first interaction with your company will?

Totally, I think it comes down to what the users and the members of the community need the most. And with different companies, that's gonna look different, much like with different companies, partner strategies are going to look different. Think about Salesforce, that their, their product is such that someone could build an entire career on being an admin of their product. And so for them, it makes a lot of sense to have a community that is support to these people who have built their careers on top of the Salesforce product to be able to learn how to do more and take both what they do in Salesforce and how they translate that to career farther, and get support from each other and learn from others who are in the space. Whereas in other communities, that that may not be as necessary. Maybe a more, I don't wanna say straightforward, but a product that is has less of the complexity than Salesforce.

Jared Fuller  12:57
unpacking that a little bit further, something that's been interesting to me is like, this debate that's happening around building the new ecosystem centric business, whatever people are calling it, you know, partner led growth, what have you is, there's kind of two mindsets, there's the how do you build an organization that's ecosystem centric? Or how do you build an organization that's community centric, versus having a strategy for leveraging communities for your business or leveraging existing ecosystems for your business? How have you noticed any similarities from that being a partner strategy, for example, like, I don't know, clear bit you going out and building, you know, industry first features and functionality with existing products and companies that exist in market? From a Marketo integration for enriching? You know, or bringing down accounts for marketing automation, to, hey, we need to have our own ecosystem of partners and people building on the Clearbit API. Is there similarities in that same kind of like, do we build it? Or do we leverage it? As like a first principle? How have you thought about that it comes on and like, kind of what you're doing now? or what have you seen in the market?

Yeah, it's a really interesting question. And I know that, you know, being a longtime listener, but first time caller, your your mindset is much that you win another ecosystem before you build your own. And I don't know that I disagree with that. I do think that the two can go hand in hand, though, if I'm in your ecosystem, whether you like it or not, you're on mine. And so I think that the strategy can be two prong in that sense.

Jared Fuller  14:36
That was a great, succinct quote. Right? If, if I'm in your ecosystem, you're a part of mine. I mean, that's it. To make a what could be complicated debate, very simple. I think that's very crisp. And I think one layer deeper than that is not just the philosophy of the company, but how the roles are structured with those objectives in mind, like I just this morning I was talking to Scott Brinker Who is the He's the VP global global like VP lead of HubSpot for ecosystem also have noted fame chief Mar tech. So if anyone's seen those gigantic martec I think, though that you can call them graphics anymore. It's like nation states is how many technology companies are just in the martech stack alone? I've seen some interesting things. So he posted a what was it an ecosystem evangelist role? Yes. That's new. Right? Yeah. Is that the first time you've seen it too?

I think so.

Jared Fuller  15:34
What's crazy is I hate calling out Jay all the time, the partner prophet, but in his what's so crazy is in his trifurcation of the channel piece. And it was one that it's definitely one of those seminal pieces that started flickering off nodes in my mind. And I was like, There's something here he said that traditional channel managers should become community managers. And then I see Scott posting a roll like that. And I'm like, Huh, you have the analyst that's calling the shot in the market before it becomes a reality. You have some of the smartest people we know, like Scott, who's not a novice at any of this, then making those roles happen. I foreshadow something really big happening here, where there might be a blend of, you know, ecosystem evangelists, to me that just screams Community Manager, just in different words.

Yep. And you know, who does a really nice partner community is intercom actually has a Slack channel where, you know, everyone who's developed an app can get feedback and ask questions and learn from each other. And they've done a really nice job of really merging partners and community to, you know, to be able to further that cause.

Jared Fuller  16:44
Do you think that that that function or that role, like in Scotts case is rolling up to him? But from an organization perspective, you could go big or small? Where does that ecosystem evangelist? Where does that community manager for, let's say, outbound communities, just to use a distinction between like managing your own and then going and participating in others? Where do you think that function should roll up to? Do you think that should roll up to the ecosystem chief or to the community chief?

Yeah, now he just opened the can of worms, huh?

Jared Fuller  17:14
Yeah. Because that's, I feel like there's this convergence happening. And ecosystem chiefs are gonna have to, like take a stand here and either partner with marketing, if they're the ones generating this means that it's not coming from marketing, where is it coming from?

Yeah, I think it has to come from the absolute top down. Like you really need a CEO and just full scale business leadership team, that is body and on both ecosystems and community. Like, I think that at the end of the day, that's what differentiates community lead or ecosystem lead, or partner lead, is that it's not just one function in an org driving for it. It really is the entire org partnered together, working towards this and keeping it as just a core tenet of who they are and how they think about things.

Jared Fuller  17:58
It brings up so many interesting questions on how you build. I mean, if you're a builder, and you've scaled teams, and you've had to hire people underneath you and say, you know, roll up to that CFO and give a personnel model, right? So productivity per per hire or per rep. How do you start to model capacity? So like in this, it'll be interesting to see where Scott goes with this, because the thing that was lacking from Jays prediction is, okay, you're saying that they're no longer going to own let's say, a vertical and, you know, a territory. So let's say it managers in the northeast, you're saying that they're going to own X number of communities? How do you build capacity on top of that, to where you're not just throwing headcount at communities, you know, communities, it seems like we're missing some of those components. But perhaps some of that content, some of that mindshare, and that knowledge is building the plane while you fly it so to speak. Have you seen any indicators or models that we can kind of go take a look at? Because that's something I really want to dive deeper into is like, how do you actually structure this? If this is the way that, you know, trust is more equally distributed amongst peers than it is from businesses to individuals? Have you seen anything around that? Actually,

in terms of how exactly to schedule that role? I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that we're building the plane as we fly it. I don't know, I'm very much learning right alongside you and sort of everyone else on this. I think that, you know, again, coming back to first principles, like what is the goal? Why are we even creating this platform evangelist role, like what what are they supposed to accomplish? And then solving backwards for like, okay, so if you're going to be involved in this number of communities and not number of events, what do we expect to accomplish from each one? I'm a big believer in like taking a big impossible goal, breaking it into its component parts and fighting off one at a time and I think that that's just sort of whenever you're, you're kind of building something new that's, that's the approach that I take anyway.

Jared Fuller  20:00
which there's a there's a great book out right now that kind of talks about the the foundation piece of this. I think you picked up and we were talking about over slack, which was the cold start problem.

It is right here on my desk. Next up on my reading list.

Jared Fuller  20:14
Yeah. So like, maybe, versus trying to work backwards from perfectly like, Hey, here's the capacity model for community and ecosystem evangelists. And here's exactly how it integrates in the Oregon, blah, blah, blah. Maybe we can talk a little bit about some of those traps that people are falling into with community right now, which I think is kind of the the basis for that book. I think it was written by Andrew Chatham Berg's. Yeah. Andrew Chen. That's right. There's the bay. There's the YouTube plug. So I got to get the YouTube plug in every time Isaac's telling me kill YouTube. It doesn't work. No, I'm kidding.

No, this on YouTube, I have some hearing loss. So podcasts are usually a waste of my time. And I love that with the video, I can actually get something out of it. So partner up is my favorite podcast, if only because it's kind of the only one that's accessible to me. So thank you guys.

Jared Fuller  21:02
There we go. There we go.

Isaac Morehouse  21:04
The bus unnecessary. Jared. Oil.

Jared Fuller  21:12
No, he Isaac does it you have high standards for? You're like, hey, let's launch a newsletter. You're like, no, let's do a daily. So that's more what I mean. You have high standards for content in our YouTube channel definitely needs some love and some views. Only if you've kind of like picked up steam there. So going back to cold start problem. I'd love to hear how you're thinking about like the traps that people are kind of falling into with that that cold start problem. The first handful of people, there's nothing, anything that you've seen with? Because you mean you have community club, right? That's like a community of 1500 Community Managers. I think that's like, this sounds like the epicenter of like innovation is happening. Kind of like right there.

Yeah, absolutely. And so everything that I just said about figure out your goal, break it into pieces solve backwards. The other important piece of that is like, just jump in. Like what and again, this is this is getting a little bit more philosophical than just community are just partnerships. But having been the first partner person now at two startups, at a certain point, you have to just acknowledge that you may not know the answer, and you're not gonna find them till you learn. So at a certain point, you have to just jump in and try and try something. And if you're gonna fail, fail fast that you can try something else next. But yes, community club is has I want to say about just shy of 4000. Members?

Jared Fuller  22:30
Well, I was way off 4000. Wow.

Yeah, just hide that in our Slack community. And it is all community professionals coming together to learn from one another. And obviously, in a community and partnership leaders, as well has 1000s of members, as does CSA and SCA. And there's a ton of value in the size of the network. But what, what is the value when it's just someone who says, hey, I want to start a community? Well, look at this, there are three of us on here right now. And I don't know how many listeners you regularly have. But couldn't you argue that that is community? And that even though there are just three of us, we're creating something that hopefully adds value to the audience who's listening? And couldn't that be the starting point of a community?

Jared Fuller  23:17
I think going back to the last episode around first principles, there's something there because I think we probably got I mean, Isaac, you've mentioned to me in the past how you're like, I just got too many slack communities and groups, right? Like it is at some point, it's just like the sidebar in Slack fills up the red dots, you know, keep on stacking unread numbers, and you're like, I give up. I think actually, you come, you come back to a very good first principle that having a forum for conversation is a very narrow lens by which to view community. Because if we're all just thinking about, hey, let's spin up a Slack group or a discord or a forum. The medium almost doesn't matter in comparison with, you know, where you start.

I mean, I think it comes down to what is a community, I would say that it's a group of people who are in some way growing together. And that can be we think of it online as slack communities or discord or everything that you just threw out. It's also my neighborhood. It's also the Rec Center where I've started swim lessons this weekend for my nine month old, like, community is so much bigger than just what we're doing online. I think that just especially two years ago, when the world changed was when the internet caught up to like, creating the best proxy for real world connection. And these powerful things have happened. We're now leaders of certain functions can come together and learn from each other. And I'm not just learning from other people in my org. I'm now learning from partnership leaders all around the globe in orgs of all different sizes, who are further ahead and further behind in career and that's just something that that, you know, is totally new for me as the last few years. Yeah,

Isaac Morehouse  24:55
it's yeah, sorry, the Eurozone. was like a question you can ask yourself like, because it's, it is easy to say, Okay, we've got to have a community. Let's, let's pick a let's pick a tool, Slack or whatever it is telegram and then let's set it up and let's get it all and then nobody comes and it feels really dead. And it you know, it's a very, like, it's risky. It's embarrassing, but it's almost like, if you start with something real and tangible, like you mentioned a podcast, okay, just do a podcast and start talking to people. You know, do an event, do it, do a meetup, happy hour, start talking to people. And then whatever, whatever it is that you started with. If you asked the question, if we created a Slack channel, can I think off the top of my head of like 20 people who would immediately say, Yes, I was hoping you would do that. Right? And once that answer is yes, now maybe is the time but if the answer is no, that's maybe where you take Gerrard's approach and say, Well, where are people engaging already? Can I go join that existing community? Until it is a sure yes, until there is a bunch of people that were just dying for me to say, Okay, we're formalizing this into some kind of place where everybody can connect with each other.

Yep. And that's our partnership leader started. It was Chris and Asher and Ty and their network. And they turned it into the just thriving community with regular events and paid membership and just phenomenal content. And they have their own community ecosystem. Like a few years ago, that was just a handful of partnership, people who were trying to figure out how to learn from each other.

Jared Fuller  26:29
And that trust in that shared belief is kind of what unites them. It's Isaac and I kind of have somewhat of a, it's more like economics, but some political, maybe more philosophical background, going way back, do not Google our names and search YouTube, which means that people will probably do that now you'll find some interesting talks from probably the two of us back in the early 10s. It feels like there's something there around the trusted shared belief. And why I'm calling this a moment or a movement feels very similar to political movements that have happened in the past, because what underpins both of these things are all of these things. It's trust in a shared belief. And it used to be in business, that you had to go to authority in order to get those lessons or those learnings or those insights. There's a book an author, something that centralize and now that those learnings and insights have been much kind of like fragmented. And that's something that I'm seeing as a phenomenon having been a part of communities that I've seen span the test of time. So something like a modern sales pros, where I've learned about most tech that I bought for sales stack, through MSP and through my peers in sales and leadership and sales operations, what works, what doesn't work, how to solve a problem. I mean, that started as a Google email listserv. You talked about the worst possible UX for a community. It's that it's it's sifting through and setting up a filter in your Gmail inbox that's like MSP and then you just get hundreds of emails a day, hundreds of emails a day. Yeah, that UX is horrible. But it's span the test of what, seven years now. So like, I don't think the forum matters as much. But I think MSP is an outlier. What I'm seeing now is there's multiple communities that were popping off that I was a part of, and now it'll be days between posts. Like those conversations aren't happening. It seems like community decay is also something that needs to be addressed in this kind of maturation of having this approach as a business or even having your own community. Let's talk a little bit about that, like, these kind of cycles of bundling, or unbundling or like community, hey, this committee is great. And then kind of stale over time, what, what phenomenon do you think is the DRS that nationally or what have you seen?

My guess would be that those communities you're referencing, may perhaps not be listening to their members. Because much like a good product needs to evolve with the needs of customers. And a good partner program needs to evolve with the needs of partners and customers, the community needs to evolve with the needs of members. And what is absolutely brilliant today, if it does not evolve, and it does not change as members needs change. may be exactly what you just describe six months from now.

Jared Fuller  29:14
Let's get even more tactical. I hate to use Pete and MSP is like the example again. But there's some things that I've seen where it's like, Hmm, he did it this way. Other community did it this way. One of them succeeded. One is self promotion. Right. So in MSP it's kind of hilarious actually, actually builds culture. I think I think community has a culture just like every company has a culture. And if your culture decays, your community is going to decay. So an example of that would be someone you know, ask a question, hey, what's the best e signature software out there that integrates with Salesforce? If one of my directors of sales at Panda doc posted, oh, yeah, Panda doc were the best whatever. Pete would come with the ban hammer and would ban you for 30 days and he would do it publicly and he would shame you. Right. He would make you feel really Bad and look really bad. Conversely, I've seen in communities where, you know, in the general channel, right, like in the front and center, you have these very self promotional like, hey, we built this solution for you, blah, blah, blah. And if that goes on check for a while. It seems like it starts to lose a lot of that trust.

Yeah, I also think it comes back down to the purpose of community, I'm in a community where the purposes of are the purpose is uplifting women entrepreneurs. So self promotion is totally encouraged in that community. And like, it would be weird if there wasn't a whole bunch of like, hey, celebrate with me, I built this cool thing. So again, it comes down to listening to your community and understanding what they need.

Jared Fuller  30:43
I think there's there's a ton to unpack there. I think you also have a I really liked this this sub sites that Consort has you had community club for the community managers? And then there was the other one, which was what's the other site? community led community led community led.com Or community led? growth.com?

Right community? led.com? You're right. Okay, community

Jared Fuller  31:03
led.com. And there's a there's like a, what's the what's the title of the report that you can kind of get this like the assessment to see where you're kind of?

Yeah, so there are a couple of different resources on that community led itself is the concert started, but really a declaration owned by all the companies that are committing to being community led and resourcing their communities and not having them be sort of this this side dish but but really like a main piece of the strategy, you can get a community led report. It's, it's the community version of crossbeam, state of the industry. And then there's also like the ability where you can answer a few questions and see sort of how mature and how developed your community as well.

Jared Fuller  31:47
I think those, those moments in the kind of the lifecycle are very important to pay attention to. And I think there is a lot of overlap between the maturity of an ecosystem and a maturity of community. I mean, you can just think of so many parallels, if, if your tech partners are just trying to sell, you know, their integration and their solution. And that's all they're doing into your customer success organization, like, your CSM aren't going to be like, yeah, that tech partner is really annoying. They just come in for leads all the time. That's all they care about. Right? They don't care about customer success, same way community members coming in and just just bringing their own solutions, you get a lot of not just a K, but I think, oh, just grow tired of it. We're marketing to too much. Too much. I mean, like, we look at our phones, how many notifications we got since we've been on this one. Right? All the time.

Isaac Morehouse  32:41
Yeah. You just made?

Jared Fuller  32:45
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. You know, 47, Chrome tabs open.

Isaac Morehouse  32:51
You know, one thing this is this is going back a little bit. I know we're talking about community decay, but kind of back to the the beginnings of a community. And I'm just thinking as we're sitting here, because I have to, I have to make parallels to things that I know well, since as I said, I'm relatively new to this, this world of partnerships and things. The concept of learning out loud, is something I've spent most of the last decade working with people getting their career started. And what I always tell them is learn out loud. Because if you have if somebody Google's you when you're applying for a job, and you have a handful of blog posts, and it's just like, hey, you know, my attempt to set up a MailChimp drip drip sequence and use document your process, an employer who sees that, even if you don't do it, well, they're gonna be really impressed. Right? They're gonna want to it increases your your, you know, your signal, your luck, surface, etc. And I've seen communities formed in this way where somebody is just sharing their learnings out loud. And so rather than like, Okay, I've got to build a community or we have to build a community, what do we do? You can just start by documenting things that you're already doing, or go find others who are doing that. So I have a friend who does this all the time. He's a real hacker type. And every time he does something new, he just writes a blog post about it. Hey, I found and he used to work for me. I hired him at my company. And he would write blog posts about things he was building for us, like, hey, there wasn't an integration between, you know, type form and slack. And so I hacked one together using Zapier and this and this and this. And every time he did this, these companies would come to him, they would feature and stuff on their blog, they would kind of pull him into their community. And then he always had an inn and all these companies, if we had something break, you'd be like, Oh, I'll go hop on. Because they love me because I tweeted about them one time, and I did a tutorial about how I use theirs. So either either doing it yourself, just starting with learning out loud, and other people who are like going through the same thing will say, hey, yeah, this is really helpful. I like that and it'll kind of accrete around you or finding others who are learning out loud in the same space and kind of, you know, forming a community around that.

I think community is the great equalizer, right? Where no matter how far you are on your career, you're still learning, I hope, I'll still be learning throughout the entirety of my career. And I will always benefit from other perspectives from someone who's done it differently from someone who I can shoulder tap and say, hey, does this make sense? And so if we really are all in the same boat and community is the great equalizer?

Isaac Morehouse  35:24
I think this is where that's the promo clip right there.

Jared Fuller  35:29
There you go. There you go. I think this is where the OG Malcolm Gladwell comes back in, you know, connectors, mavens, and you know, salesman, is being that connector or being that Maven, that person that's just sharing that experience over time. That's how you get to build bridges between relationships and communities. And I feel like, those are the those are the foundations for those people that end up being. You know, evangelist is a roll. That's actually a new phenomenon that I've seen. There's actually been several b2c companies where I've seen founders that I know, like, wow, that's an awesome CEO. Oh, that's an awesome CEO, or CTO. And then Chief Evangelist. I'm like you, that's in the founding three team is Chief Evangelist. And why? Because they put so much out there. And they built such mindset share and trust that spans across communities across ecosystems, that when they speak, they are a connector, they are amazing. They know how to connect people, and they know how to educate without selling. And I feel like that's, that's an opportunity for everyone that's kind of like diving down this rabbit hole in ecosystem and community land, that even if everything changes in terms of how we operate our businesses today, you know, how communities are built and the models and the structure, this seems fairly timeless. I mean, it's the same thing that Malcolm Gladwell was talking about, in some of the seminal reads, right? It's still happening today. And instead of trying to just only do the thing that's like for the role, I think that's probably the most interesting part right now is that there's a lot of echo chamber stuff happening in community and partnerships where we're talking to each other. And I feel like the people that are really going to crush it, and community and really going to crush it. And ecosystems are the ones that develop that voice for their market. So then that's it, right? I think they've set the best example, there's like, I don't know, anyone seen those, like, top 50 women leaders in it channel like channel, awards, all of those things, these people are really good. You might say, Oh, it channels outdated. There's a lot of connectors and mavens and it channel a lot. And they know how to influence it buyers and build trust and be in communities. So like maybe there is something to like, look backwards from the past that doesn't change, kind of coming towards the future. You know, Isaac, you've seen that time and again, with praxis and the people that have just been producing content connecting the dots. There's a lot of places for this.

Isaac Morehouse  37:59

Jared Fuller  38:03
All right, actually. I think we were probably gonna pause this, we're doing a big, we're doing a big, I want to tease it so bad. There's more to come on this topic. Ashley and I are working on a piece right now that I'm very excited about, which we'll have to put in partner hacker daily, which is going to be kind of like a measured path, maturity model, if you will, on this very topic of community. So the second that that's available, we're going to do a small little event together. We'll definitely be putting that in partner hacker daily. So if you're not subbed, go check out partner hacker.com redirection to the website, drop in your email, and join the hundreds of people that are getting the PhD every single day. I got to give Isaac a shout out here because he's consistently maintaining a 60 plus percent open rate on a daily email. That's not normal.

Isaac Morehouse  38:57
It isn't normal. It's like 65 right now so far. So hey, I guess I guess there's really engaged community in this stuff. So we have another plug, don't we, Jared. And we have the the conference that has another

Jared Fuller  39:12
plug because we have a speaker on this call. And it's not either one of us.

Isaac Morehouse  39:17
Well, and that's probably good, because I noticed during this call Jared, you and I would take like, like five minutes and tons of words to ask a question as we're like thinking out loud. And asked he would just bam like one cent away more locked and loaded. No. Yeah, yeah.

Jared Fuller  39:33
So you say build out loud or learn out loud? Like we're literally thinking out loud on this podcast. It's like half of it is this is how we're learning. It actually is like showing up and being like, boom, no, I'm gonna. So you're speaking of sass connect, right, actually.

Yes, speaking of sass connects talking about my experience being the first partner hire and what it's like to build out that function from zero to one.

Jared Fuller  39:52
Awesome. So that's, I'm always messing up the start date, April 27 28th,

April 27 and 28th in San Francisco. Perfect.

Jared Fuller  40:01
Go check it out, folks. And then also there's a discount code. So partner up, you can get 50 bucks off the registration there. So, yeah, we'll see you live and in person actually can't wait to meet up again. I think it's been Gosh, was it the sheriff's office? Does that that that will

meet up in March 2020. And obviously that trip gaki Oh, yeah,

Jared Fuller  40:21
that is right. That ended up being zoom. Yeah, it was crazy. Wow. To your two year anniversary, crazy world. And then I also want to say some things I didn't on last week's and I'm sure next week, it's going to be even crazy. Keep in mind, we're one week behind, kind of like schedule here. And it's been a crazy hard two years for everyone. I talk about kind of my story and heritage, from Panda doc in terms of cutting my teeth. And Southland. If you don't know that story, and what's happening with Ukraine and Russia, in particular, the panda doc one is just poof. So we have employees and friends that are stuck there that have also fled Bella rousse. So Luca Shenko, basically faked an election, they fled Belarus to Ukraine, and now we're being attacked on both sides. It's changing by the day on where you can make an impact in terms of like donating or sending your support. But I would encourage everyone in the tech world, there's tons of things that are built in Ukraine, there's some amazing people there. So I feel like again, the the organizations to support are changing day by day, stay close to it, and you know, make some contributions there as well. Because pandemic to conflict in Europe. It's been a tough past two years. But I don't know, I'm also very encouraged by I don't know, the community that's rising in Russia around the world that is standing up to something that is objectively objectively wrong. I don't think there's a lot of hope in this stuff that we're talking about these connections in this digital world, where it's being reported on from the front lines, and I think there's a chance for good, good terrain and tying back from last week actually, that's an unstable system. Isaac, having a dictator that's like on on his last breath holding on with power and might and I think these decentralized systems, communities and ecosystems, over time are going to be what's what's winning, but for now, I think everyone needs our support. So I'll leave on that somber but inspirational know that I think that what we're doing is, is impactful and creates a more natural and stable world. So with that, we'll see it SAS Connect. We'll see on the next partner up and in the inbox on the partner hacker daily. Ashley, it's great having you.

Thanks for having me. Alright, y'all, we'll see you next time.

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