Community Leadership Summit 2017: Building Believing Belonging

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.”  —Vincent Van Gogh*

Last weekend I had the opportunity to “return to my roots” by attending the Community Leadership Summit (CLS) in Austin, Texas.  Why did it feel like I was returning to my roots? My personal journey into Open Source began in 2009 and it just so happened that the first Community Leadership Summit that Jono Bacon organized was in July of 2009. The format has certainly tightened up and it has more formal organization. CLS has developed it’s own brand and even has trademark that  can be licensed so you can hold your own CLS if you so choose.

It always feels like I’m visiting with family when I attend.  Think of your family and all the personalities. Some you like, some you don’t, some you see only every 10 years, and some you would die for.  Communities are like that. It’s a diverse mix of people, experience, personalities, attitudes and more. However, there is a common interest, goal, desire that brings everyone together at CLS: COMMUNITY!  We all, at some level, look for a sense of belonging to or something greater than ourselves. 

Think about all the different types of communities you engage with outside the open source/open hardware communities (education, religious, sports, music, art etc)  and how some leaders make you want to engage and others make you want to start your own community and do it better.  For me CLS, brings me up close and personal to the needs of the wider community.  I can see what the experienced community managers/leaders/organizers/catalysts/evangelists are facing but also hear what those who are new to open collaboration and community are wanting to learn about.  It’s also a reminder to NEVER stop learning.

Keynote Speakers and Topics for this event included: (I don’t have the links for their slides but if I can get them, I’ll link to them as I do):
Day 1

  • Jono Bacon – Introduction and Keynote
  • Sherrie Rohde – 5 Keys to a Successful Top Contributor Program
  • Jen Wike Huger & Rikki Endsley – How to successfully run a community publication
  • Matthew (Brender) Broberg – Community Metrics are a Trojan Horse for Real Relationships
  • Todd Lewis – Organizing World Class Event

Day 2

  • Stephen Walli – Ask Not What Your Community Can Do For You
  • Katie McLaughlin – All Contributions Welcome
  • Jason Hibbets – 5 things I wish I knew before I became a community organize
  • Abigail Cabunoc Mayes – Open source as a social movement

The morning keynotes were educational and insightful.  I wish all conferences kept their keynotes to 20 mins or less. The afternoon sessions were in unconference style in that they were proposed and given by those who were attending. Participants drive the content not the organizers of the event.  I’m looking forward to bringing this style of event to the networking and hardware communities (stay tuned for more on that) .  Photos from the event can be found here.

Are involved or interested in Open Hardware or Open Networking?  Would you be interested in attending a CLS style event around networking software and hardware?  If so please let me know.

About the quote:  The quote used in this post starts Chapter 1, Edition 1 of The Art of Community, by Jono Bacon and has always been one of my favorites.  It reminds me that I should always know what the big picture is going to look like, but it’s the small things when brought together on a canvas (collaborative environment) at the direction of the artist (Community Manager) are the pallet and brush strokes (people and products in the community) that  create the art.  Much like art each community is as unique as the artist who paints or architects it.



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