Hello, Community.

Hi! My name is Tim Falls, and I’m the author of this blog post. I’m writing this to introduce myself to you, the reader of this blog post 😉 But, not only do I want to introduce me; I want to introduce we.

We are the community team at Keen IO. We are Justin (aka, JJ, elof), Sarah Jane (aka, SJ), Taylor (aka, ATX’s best), and Tim (aka, a guy who just referred to himself in the third person.)

But enough about us; this is actually about you! “You” are our readers and followers, our customers and partners, our investors and advisors and mentors and inspirations, our family and friends, our people — our community.

Our team exists because our community exists; we’re extremely grateful for that fortunate reality.

Community Roots

Justin was the first to be hired at Keen IO with an explicit focus on community-building, joining as the seventh employee and with the title of Developer Evangelist (or was it dev advocate? oh well, tomayto/tomahto.) When he arrived, community was already baked into Keen’s core.

Our founders and earliest employees depended on support from the people around them each time they collectively cleared a hurdle or broke through the ribbons of the company’s initial milestones. Being the thoughtfully reflective bunch they are, they recognized that the symbiotic relationships they’d forged with the humans around them in fact represented the Keen community in it’s infancy; and they realized that Keen’s success was virtually impossible without the contributions of that community.

Today, each and every employee at Keen — whether they spend most of their time writing code or writing website copy or writing the paychecks — can recognize and appreciate the powerful, positive impact that our community has on the company, and vice versa. That’s because everyone has had the pleasure of engaging with our community members and experiencing first hand the magical good vibes that abound in the presence of you all. And in so doing, each individual has detected, with her very own senses, that our community is not just a bunch of people outside our company that like us and/or use our product; it’s not only the smaller number of people who build/support/sell that product; our community is all of those people (and many more) together as one living, breathing, thriving organism.

And we won’t stop

The four of us on the Keen community team have the humbling responsibility of ensuring that our recognition and appreciation for the value of community never dwindle. We get to focus our daily efforts toward supporting and enabling the community around our people, product, and brand. We dedicate our time and creative bandwidth to crafting the most inclusive, valuable, and uplifting place possible for the humans who choose to join in and help make our community what it is today and what it will be tomorrow.

Obviously, we constantly think about this responsibility and continually ask ourselves:

“What can we do to make our community a happy place?”

Sometimes a “zoom out” is helpful in effectively answering this question. In light of my one year anniversary of employment at Keen (Sept 8), I recently un-zoomed to the max. My findings were strikingly obvious…and equally important:

We can forge stronger relationships, by getting to know our fellow community members even better and by making a concerted effort to help you get acquainted with us — as people and professionals.

The first step toward doing just that is, well, this!

We want you to feel more than welcome in this community, and one of the best ways to feel at home is to be in the presence of friendly faces.

Of course, as I alluded to earlier, you can consider everyone at Keen your go-to person for whatever your needs may be, because we all community. But, it’s good to know who is consciously focusing on you at all times, and that’s this little group of people =)

If you haven’t already given one of us a high-five, then we should fix that ASAP. In fact, an internet high-five is just a few clicks away, so we’ll wait here while you do that… If our relationship has moved beyond high-five-land, cruised through hug-ville, and is already at the serious level of direct messages in Slack, then thanks for being here — we ❤ you, too!

Regardless of our current relationship status, we want to take this opportunity to share more of our “personal” details, in hopes that it will help you better understand us as a group of people, why we fervently strive for your happiness, and what you can expect from us.

Under the hood

At Keen, our organizational and operational structure is defined by a document that has been created through the collective efforts of all employees. We call this document the Keen Operating System, and it exists as a Github repo (it’s private now, but we’re considering opening it up to the world if/when it’d be valuable.) Anyone at Keen can contribute to this document (via pull request) at their discretion, and thus everyone is empowered to have meaningful influence on the operational model in which they work.

Reason for being

One section of the document lists and describes the various teams at Keen. Each team is responsible for creating their own page so that everyone in the company understands their mission, strategy, roles, responsibilities, etc. Community is one of those teams, and we’ve copied our team page into a public repo, so you can see for yourself how we represent ourselves to our fellow Keenies. We hope that, in sharing this, we facilitate your deeper understanding of how other teams at Keen see the Community team and how we think about working with you.

Measuring success

Like all business units, we place an importance on measuring our team’s performance. Indeed, community-building can be a tricky thing to gauge — but, even more certainly, it’s not impossible. A lot of our performance tracking comes in the form of intuition — i.e., “ya just know it’s working.” This is a really human thing, and we’re all humans interacting with each other, and those interactions are filled with signals that only our brains and spirits can interpret. So, thanks for sending the vibes — we’re picking up what you’re putting down!

But, also with all business units, “the feels” only go so far in determining whether or not an investment of resources is returning tangible, meaningful benefits to the company.

So, how do we start to quantify the impact of our efforts?

Well, quite frankly we’re still figuring that out. And guess what — we’d love your help! We’ve started to develop our practices in the open, and we’re inviting anyone/everyone to collaborate with us. If you’re a community member, or if you’re building a community of your own, or if you’re just an interested person with a perspective to share, please join the conversation. Beyond serving as a mechanism for receiving your input, we extend this invitation in hopes that it helps to further familiarize community members with our team’s activities, values, and approach to our work.

See you out there!

I hope this rather long-winded introduction to “we” is helpful for you, or at least it was vaguley entertaining. It’s been fun for me, and I’m sooooo glad to finally get a post onto this here weblog, which I’ve admired since way before I joined the Keen family.

If you fancy the chance to reciprocate the sentiment, please get in touch with us through any number of communication channels (see ALL THE THINGS listed on our community page), or just leave a comment below. We’d love to learn about who you are, what you’re working on, why you do what you do, and how we can help you achieve your loftiest goals.

Ta Ta For Now!