Grow and Measure Your Community with Orbit

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Kurt Kemple, Orbit power-user and Principal Advisor at Forthright, explores how you can use Orbit to help grow and measure your community.

Kurt Kemple
Founder & Principal Advisor

In this workshop you'll learn about the Orbit platform and how to utilize it to: measure activity and engagement, tag and categorize your community to better understand who they are, and make sure you're engaging with the right people at the right time.

Kurt Kemple (00:00:03): Oh my goodness. All right, look, we've got the five minute after, we've got a bunch of folks here. So would you say we go ahead and get started diving in on this workshop? So thank you for joining me today, everyone. Super quick intro. I'm Kurt Kemple, I'm the founder and principal advisor at Forthright where I help companies, teams and individuals create better developer experiences. So today, speaking of better developer experiences and this applies to communities and just in general engaging with the community, and that's what we're really going to talk about. So we're talking about growing and measuring, but what are we measuring and what are we trying to grow? And of course the community, but really to me, we're trying to grow important engagement or meaningful engagement. That's really what we want to grow at a community level. So that's what I'm going to kind of focus on.

Kurt Kemple (00:01:00): We're going to go through the whole Orbit EUI, but really I'm going to try to show you all how you can grow and measure how you're engaging with your community and do it in a way that scales. Because one thing that I've discovered and I'm sure a lot of you have too, is that when we have these socio focused roles, you could spend a lot of time doing that. Like communicating and engaging with folks and we should, we should definitely be communicating and it's good to communicate ad hoc and not have everything be organized. But at the same time, there are critical engagement points that we don't want to miss and those are the moments where we can really push people further into the community.

Kurt Kemple (00:01:43): So what I like to use Orbit for is to just generally understand what the community is doing, how we're doing, but then as well as isolating those really key engagement moments and making sure that we're aware of them and able to react to them so that people, when they accomplish something, we're there to congratulate them and see if they're interested in figuring out what's next along that developer journey or any journey, community journey. So that's really the focus for today.

Kurt Kemple (00:02:15): A couple quick notes before we dive in, we'll be going through a UI and it is a workshop, you are welcome to follow along, set up Orbit. I do encourage it, but you won't need to, we can just go right through and you'll be able to see everything. And also it's recorded, so you can come back at any time. So if you want to use this time instead to just focus on the information and ask questions, I strongly encourage that as well. We do only have one hour. This first 10 minutes is dedicated to this. Like, why are we doing this? Why is it important? And getting everything set up, and then we'll dive into setting up Orbit. Then we'll follow up with getting data into Orbit, because it's not as useful if you don't have any data. Then we'll look at what we can do with data as it starts to flow into Orbit. And then lastly, we'll look at how do we react to things, this data coming into Orbit in a way that's scalable and manageable. So that's kind of the wrap up for today of what we're going to cover.

Kurt Kemple (00:03:17): Any questions on that so far? All right. And I see that there is a queue too, so, oh, wait, I have a comment. I have a question. I have an idea. Oh, those are the buttons. Okay. I thought that was like an actual queue. Okay, cool. So yeah. So we've got no questions yet. I assume we're good to go. We haven't covered a lot, so it kind of makes sense. One technical thing. Here we go. Why? Oh yeah. So one thing that I do want to cover, which is, for some reason when I share my screen, it like messes up my camera. So whenever I share my screen, I'm just going to turn my camera off. I mean, be looking at the screen anyway, you won't be missing much, but yeah, we'll get the screen pulled up and I'll have my camera off, but that's simply because it crashes otherwise.

Kurt Kemple (00:04:06): So yeah, that, and then aside from that, let's dive in. So the first thing I want to talk about is why do I need a community growth platform. What is the benefit that having something like this actually brings both me in executing the duties of my job, as well as how do I show stakeholders that the work that we're doing is having impact. So those are really the two things that I like to focus on a community growth platform for, and why you might want to be using one yourself. It's one thing to know that you have a community, we know we have a community, we're talking to people on social media, we're in Discord, we're doing workshops, we're attending events, we're involved. We know the community exists, but easily kind of ephemeral.

Kurt Kemple (00:05:01): You can't put a boundary on it. You can't track the different types of activities people are doing or interested in within your community very easily. You can, but it's a pretty ad hoc and manual process without having some sort of data pipeline. The other issue is we can use other tools, there's other tools that exist that are meant to handle somewhat similar responsibility. The problem is none of them were really made to facilitate engagement and growth of community and more organic communication. Most of the tools are very much focused on processes and pipelines and just not the information that is important to us to understand who we're talking to and how we're interacting with them. And two, to help again, stakeholders understand how we are impacting the business. Any questions on that? Take a quick pause.

Kurt Kemple (00:06:13): All right. Pushing on. Okay. So now we understand why we might want a community growth platform, but what is that? What does that even mean? Well, ideally we want a tool that is aggregating all of the different interactions that are happening within our community from all sorts of different places, Like I just said before, we might be in knowledge based forums, Discord, at events, running our own events, interacting with folks, IRL meetups, all kind of stuff. And it's very hard to get a holistic picture of when you interact with people across all of those systems. So what makes Orbit such an amazing tool just by turning it on and adding a couple integrations, is that we start to immediately just get a data flow. All of the interactions that are happening within the ecosystem, our ecosystem, are surfaced.

Kurt Kemple (00:07:12): So even those things that we are not there to see, or we don't talk to our teammates about, we now understand that communication. Like a lot of times engagement is pretty focused and narrow. We're talking to people and individuals, and then we go off and talk to somebody else. What about the conversations that are happening when you're not standing right there? Those are equally as important. And so just by turning this on, we immediately start to get access, more context, this is the real value we can provide in a DevRel space. Is that context, like the knowledge of what people need in the community, what they're looking for, the pain points they're struggling, with the things they're enjoying, the activities they like, all this stuff, super important information. And we now have access to it and that's just by flipping a switch.

Kurt Kemple (00:08:04): So that's step one. However, it's kind of like the idea, I don't know, maybe you've heard of a data lake. It's very nice to have just this big open source of data and you'll find useful things in it. However, that is still a pretty manual process. We could have thousands and thousands of members and contributors in our community and how do you sift through all that? Even with the UI and a tool aggregating that for you, it's still pretty painful. The beauty of this is we can use things like tags and filters and all sorts of different methods to kind of zero in on parts of the community that we want to focus on at a specific time, even down to specific actions that might be of great importance and we want to make sure that we always are in a place to respond to it.

Kurt Kemple (00:08:54): So that kind of how I, again, like how I see Orbit. One is the high level. We have our community lake, we have a rough idea of the size of our community, the level of engagement we're getting across all of our channels, and then we also have that ability to put the microscope on, zero in very much into a niche part of the community and see what's actually happening. So those are the reasons why I'm a big fan of Orbit. So that is kind of what we're going to look at today. Let's get Orbit set up. Let's take a look at getting some data in, and then let's take a look at how we can one, look at a more high level of our community. And then two, zero way, way, way down into individual interactions with an individual group of people. So that is the goal for today. Sound good?

Kurt Kemple (00:09:44): All right. Heck yeah. Okay. So with that, we are going to move to the next phase. So the next thing we're going to want to do is if you haven't done this already and you want to follow along and set this up yourself, actually, I'm going to start sharing my screen. So video off, hopefully my mic still works. Please message and chat if I lose audio, I'll try to fix that as well. Hang on one sec. All right. So video off, I should still be good audio wise. Let me get my screen shared and we're going to share this one. Don't need system audio. Okay. So I'm sharing my screen and everyone should still be able to hear me. Audio's good. Seems like we're good. All right, cool. We're in good place. Okay.

Kurt Kemple (00:10:33): So what you see here is the landing page for Orbit. So if you don't already have an account and you want to follow along, you can go to and go ahead and hit that sign up button. It's a pretty standard sign up flow. There is a free tier too, so you don't have to worry about that. You should be able to sign right up and immediately start using the things that we want. There'll be one feature that's in beta that I don't think you'll technically have access to yet, but I am very excited about it and would love to show it to you at the end.

Kurt Kemple (00:11:13): Thank you, Aaron. Yeah, I should have typed that into the chat. Ha ha, good call Warren. Good call. Yes. Automations. All right, so I'm going to give like another minute, just go ahead and let folks kind of get set up. If you have any questions or issues, go ahead and drop a message in the chat or use the queue. You can do like specific questions. And what I'm going to do here is I'm going to, well, I'll just wait and then I'll move over a tab once everybody's ready. I love gifts. More gifts, more. I feel like, what's that meme? The Star Wars one, Kylo Ren, more.

Kurt Kemple (00:12:25): Yeah, I'd be down for that, Brian. Absolutely love chatting automations. I love chatting all things automation and honestly, that was going to be my end spiel, but like, I'm just going to throw it out there now. One of the biggest things, the biggest boost you can give to your productivity is better understanding automation tools and figuring out when to automate away parts of your process. It can be a real time saver, remove the ability for human error in certain cases. It can be pretty powerful. I rely on it a lot, especially because community teams, and DevRel teams again, very socio driven roles, lots of human interaction, which means lots of coordination both internally, like cross-functionally and externally across an entire community. But rarely do we have the resources to have a dedicated program manager. So automating away a lot of the program can really help fill that gap.

Kurt Kemple (00:13:39): Daniel asked, where are the office hours? So those are held in the Orbit Discord. I'm sure somebody could probably grab a invite link to you for that. Absolutely. I bet Brian's typing it out right now. Let's see. Boom. There it is, like magic. All right. That's one thing about doing events with community driven people or people who do live streaming and all this other stuff. It's like, I don't even have to get the resources, everybody just grabbing them and dropping them in the chat. I love it. All right. So we're going to assume that everyone has Orbit roughly set up or logged in. So the very first thing I want to do is we're going to take a look at what you land on when you drop in the home page. Now we're not going to start digging through the UI, we're actually going to come back to that.

Kurt Kemple (00:14:26): And the reason why is I want to jump to getting an integration set up, and I'm hoping that even before we leave this workshop, if you're following along, you'll have data in Orbit and be able to start looking around and messing with this. So we'll do a quick pass at the homepage, but roughly this is where you land. This is your quick access dashboard. It's going to highlight the most important metrics or high level things, activities that are happening in your community right now. Some of the stuff, like the more interests you have, the more things will show up. For me, then again, this is my Forthright community, which is really more of like a test bed and a place where I use and test out the features of Orbit and stuff like that. But I have actually been taking a Twitter break, which is funny because I see my mentions and follows are way down.

Kurt Kemple (00:15:18): And it's like, that makes sense because I've not been engaging on social media, and so my engagement is down. Makes perfect sense. But yeah, so this is, will kind of tell you your most active members at the time, anyone newer with high reach or new and promising, your high reach members and then those who are drifting away. So that's extremely useful. Who is starting to engage less with us over time. We've got a couple quick wrap up reports. We're going to dig deeper into reports, so don't worry too much on that. Sources, where's our activity coming from. And then just some rough numbers for the last seven days, month, I don't remember, current period, May 3rd, June 1st, last month. So yeah, for the last month. All right. So what I want to, actually, before I move on, any questions on that? I encourage them, even comments. Even if you just want to say, hey, this is pretty neat. I'm open to that as well. Anything at all. I live on engagement.

Kurt Kemple (00:16:28): Okay. So let's see here. So what we're going to look at now is we want to get data into Orbit. Engagement is my fuel. Yes. I should get like a drifting. It is very cool to be able to monitor, and these are the type of things that just by having this on, we haven't done, I'm not doing anything. This is just what it does out of the box. And so to know, who's starting to engage less and move away, like you said, is an extremely powerful tool. Right there I know there's opportunity for me to see what's going on with these community members. And now the thing is, we're not trying to force people in the community. I'm not saying now you rush out to them and you go, oh, hey, wait, wait, wait, wait, don't leave. Come on back.

Kurt Kemple (00:17:13): They're making the decisions they're making for a reason. It could be a miscommunication, something happened, they don't know and you could be able to resolve it. But even if not, you might be able to find out what it was that is pushing them further out. And that is good information to know for next time to prevent the next person from wanting to go. Zoom in a little more to follow along. Yeah, let me see what we can do here. Let's get that going. I'll go until the UI breaks. That looks good. Is that still, is that a little better? Yeah. Okay. All right. I see it. All right. Cool.

Kurt Kemple (00:17:51): Awesome. Perfect. Okay. So yeah. So brain work. Okay. Yes. Right. So what I was saying, shoot, what was I saying? I don't remember. Oh yeah. Yeah. It doesn't matter. We're going to keep moving forward. That thought is gone. I don't know where it went. Thank you ADHD. Maybe it'll come back. Maybe it won't. It's anybody's guess. Anyway, long story short. This is very much custom hard relate. Yeah. Yeah. Right. This is very much like your home page. All right. So we're going to move on now. What we're going to talk about is let's get the data in. Oh, that's right. That's what I was saying. Orbit is only as useful as the data you have in it. Like if we're not taking data in from the different places we're interacting, then we're not going to get a lot of useful information. So what we can do though, is under the settings tab in the left menu, there's this third tab here, integrations.

Kurt Kemple (00:18:56): This is where you can set up your data ingest. So this is the data we want to flow into Orbit. Now they've got a bunch of integrations that are clicking a few buttons. They've got some that take a tiny bit more setup. And then they've got ones that might require you to use an API and other stuff. But all of that is possible. You can get data from any source into Orbits because not only do they have these integrations, which we'll take a look at here, but they also have an API, which I don't see listed here anymore. I wonder where, normally it used to say, Orbit API, am I tripping? I might be, oh, I guess this moves because this is just the integrations now. That's right. We'll still look at the API anyway.

Kurt Kemple (00:19:48): Yes. Yeah. I've got the docs open for the API as well. So boop. And we're going to take a look at that. But if you look here, we've got integrations for basically every pretty popular source that you might want to pull things in from, even other automation tools. So we don't have to just rely on service to service, we can use kind of like that middle automation tool like Zapier or NAN, Pipedream is quickly becoming one of my favorites as well. I'd love to see that integration in here one day for them. They're really great. Anyway, I won't derail into that, but again, if you are into the a program management automation thing, definitely check out Pipedream. It's like if you are familiar with programming, I should add, it's like Zapier, but for programmers kind of.

Kurt Kemple (00:20:48): Okay. So once we start to set these integrations up, so for the LinkedIn, the Twitter and the Discord, these should all be doable through an OAuth workflow. So what I recommend now is if you're following along, go ahead and pick one and you can unconnect the integration at any time. So you could do, like if you have access to your company's social media, you could make sure you're signed into Twitter on their account and then you could go through the flow and you'll connect that. You can connect your personal account as well for now, just to check it out. If you'd like to, you could connect the Discord server that you manage, GitHub repositories. I mean, you can take a look at this list. There's a significant amount of them. LinkedIn, that's one I recently added.

Kurt Kemple (00:21:38): Yeah. So just a lot of really useful integrations. I'm going to go ahead and pause here for a second, just in case anybody's setting them up. And if you have, yes. Make a note of Pipedream, like seriously, Pipedream is so good and Pipedream also, they do the UI OAuth flow for you. And they just like embed your tokens into the little code block that you can write. But also they support serverless functions. So you don't just have to run it like an automated job, you can actually say, oh, this is like a Webhook, but I'm going to control the response. So you could run all these steps, like notion and integrating with all these services and then return a response at the end, is super powerful.

Kurt Kemple (00:22:28): I'm actually writing a blog post right now on using Pipedream for serverless functions. So you'd be good to go. Oh, nice. Yeah. Okay. So at this point you should, if you're, actually I won't make assumptions. At this point, you've either attempted to set up an integration and been successful or you haven't attempted it at all. If you've attempted and you've hit an issue or you're still setting one up, please let me know and I will hold, otherwise I'm going to assume we're all gravy and we'll keep the train rolling. Ooh, thank you. I will definitely do that. Oh yeah. Yeah. If you're not an owner of certain things, then it's hard to set up the integrations.

Kurt Kemple (00:23:15): Definitely. Yeah. Like if it's like GitHub repos or work Twitter accounts, it's best to be logged in or have that level of permission. Ah, yeah. I'm sorry. You can come back to the recording and also you can reach out to me anytime on social media, like on Twitter, you could DM me. And when you get to the point where you can set it up and I'd be happy to help you out, just if you need it. Yeah. Yeah. If you want to test, I like doing my own Twitter account because you can always remove it. Yeah. Okay. All right. So we'll follow along for now. If you don't have it set up and we'll keep on going. So now that's our data ingest, right? So this is how we're getting data in, but I want to take one more second to talk about my favorite Orbit feature, and that is the API.

Kurt Kemple (00:24:04): It is almost impossible to control where your community lives. We can set up hubs where people in our community might gather, but you don't control where your community is. You go where they are in a lot of cases. And because of that, it can be really hard to ensure that where your community is integrates with basically anything. And because of that, I absolutely love having the Orbit API. We can record all of the same activities that any integration can, we can add new members, we can do all of that stuff right here through the API. Now that again, we're talking about getting data in, later we're going to talk about getting data out. Some of the really core functionality that I enjoy about Orbit is the ability to add tags to users. It's a very powerful feature that allows one for very detailed filtering, so we can really zero in on a particular audience within our community.

Kurt Kemple (00:25:12): But secondly, because then we can start to do programmatic decision making and automating based on who it is we're dealing with. And so what do I mean by that? If we are using activity tags or tags on members to identify them as potential champions or champions that have accepted and things like that, you can start to build a lot of again, program management automation workflows, but also things like an entire microsite that highlights your champions program members and their recent contributions. Like it starts to become more than one, just understanding and showing the impact. It can actually become a tool to really push and further the engagement and the trust and just appreciation of the community.

Kurt Kemple (00:26:05): We should always be trying to give more than we take and one of the best ways to give is to be able to use the platforms that we have access to to highlight people and their achievements who might otherwise not have access to those same platforms. It is one of my favorite ways of rewarding people who help me in any form or fashion, aside from like monetarily things, which to me is always just the best. Like here's a gift. Thank you so much for your help, it's appreciated. But when all else fails, you can't do anything else, you probably have access to a platform. And that is a great tool to use. Sorry, I'm digressing. Okay. Rolling it back. So the API is amazing, and just to give more tangible, here's one way that I use it currently. Whenever somebody schedules a meeting with me through Calendly, I record that as an activity, that's a form of engagement.

Kurt Kemple (00:27:00): Somebody taking the effort to actually schedule time to talk with me is important. And so I track that. So I have a Webhook set up, hits the Orbit API. I'm actually doing it through Pipedream, but it hits the Orbit API and sends in the person with their email. It gives me all the, in a note, all the information about the call and stuff like that, or the meeting and what it's for. And so now I just have all this. And that's what I want you to start to think about, which is what is meaningful engagement to me and to our community or to our business. And you can start to add these tags and identify people who do what I like to call these activation levers, who pull these activation levers. And now we have an automated process to either be notified about the event or even respond to it, and we'll talk a bit more about how we can do that. Step one is getting those events into Orbit. Does that make sense?

Kurt Kemple (00:28:02): Any questions on that so far? Yeah. Facebook might not be there, but you could probably set. That's true, yeah. I wonder about that. Again, that probably, Brian shared a link. If you scroll up in the chat a little bit, that links, I guess all the integration requests, it could be there. Maybe see if that's going. All right. Okay. Oh, nice. Okay. So we kind of covered how to get data in. We've got literally a lot of options ranging from click a few buttons and be logged in with the right user ranging all the way to, I just have an API that I can use to literally do whatever it is I need to do. Dev2, I thought I just saw dev2 in there. Maybe it's not a completed integration, maybe there's more work, coming soon. Oh, it got me. Had them in the first half. Yeah. Okay. I don't know. I would check that link again. Oh, I think I feel a sneeze coming on. There we go. All right.

Kurt Kemple (00:29:16): Okay. So we took a look at getting the data in. Really should be this week or soon. You heard it here first folks. That's awesome. That is really cool. That's a big one. Yeah, exclusive, dropping only in this workshop. That's so funny. All right. So the next thing I want to talk about is want to go through the UI. I want to talk about how we can make even more use of all of these things that are available to us. Yes. Oh yeah. Product managers are so mad right now. They're like, you cannot promise things, Brian, that's the sales team's job to do that. All right. But wait, there's more. Slap sort of Orbit. You could fit so many integrations in this thing.

Kurt Kemple (00:30:18): That's amazing. Okay. All right. So let's take a look. So we've talked so far much about the IC level of Orbit. How do I, as a community manager, developer advocate, DevRel folk, community advocate, as any of these things, how do I come into Orbit and engage better with the community? Which is amazing and we need to know that, we need to be able to do our jobs better, more effectively, but we also need to tell other folks how we're doing our jobs and how that is resulting. And this is another reason that I really like Orbit. Now, I don't really view engagement alone as a success metric. It is, we have to engage. But I like to focus on, again, those more granular key engagement points. Some like to call them like DevRel, what is the term? DevRel something leads. DevRel qualified leads, not meaning it's a lead to a sales thing. Thank you, DRQL. Thank you, Brian. More meaning that it's a lead to another stage within the community or another step within them becoming a bigger part essentially of the community.

Kurt Kemple (00:31:38): Oh, nice. Very cool. That's amazing. I love that. Yeah. Right. And so what essentially that means is what qualifies as an engagement point that we highly value both as a business and ourselves as the team that we can lock onto to then report on that. So that's what I like to use for success. However, just understanding your engagement, I think is very important to the team metrics, team success level, and better understanding that, even all the way up to your DevRel org and head of that. And honestly, it's just nice to share with folks when your community is growing as a whole. I just like to avoid specific engagement metrics being our only source of truth, because as we all know, engagement ebbs and flows, and there can be things that spark something off and then it can go down.

Kurt Kemple (00:32:30): And so if we want constantly increasing engagement overall, it doesn't really tell us anything anyway. Like a bunch of people could be talking on Twitter, but if that's all they're doing, our engagement might be high for that channel. But that, that's right. Engagement can encourage bad behavior. There's a very different between positive and negative engagement. We see social media fall victim to this all the time and it surfaces engagement and doesn't care if it's positive or negative, it just surfaces it. And so, yeah, exactly, engagement alone is not enough. And so we really want to zero in on what are we doing that is important engagement but we also do want to know is our community growing, how many people are getting more and more, closer to our business.

Kurt Kemple (00:33:22): And so let's start looking at how we can use Orbit to do that. Now some of it is right here on the homepage. We can already see who our most active members are within the last 70s. Actually, hey Lezer, I believe you're here. How's it going? Look at you, hanging out. And there we go. So we could start to see this engagement high reach, who are the members in the last seven days who have been active that have high reach. Look Rich. Hey, rich.

Kurt Kemple (00:33:51): New and promising, we've got so many folks here and then drifting away. I'm going to go message all these folks because one, I love them. And two, but anyway, they should be drifting away. I haven't been active. I've been taking a little Twitter break. So it makes sense that I see that there. That, again, like I said, is very important at a high level, just to know. We've also got reports, which we're going to dig into next. We can see kind of who our new members are, active members, and we can get way deeper into that. Our sources, like how much engagement is coming from our different sources.

Kurt Kemple (00:34:27): These are actually my meetings. And this is the kind of thing that, I mean about thinking about engagement kind of outside of the box or your standard platforms and thinking about how you as a person every day have to interact with others. Before I was recording this, this is so much understanding of the community and people I interact with that I was missing. And it's more activity than even Discord for me right now. That's interesting. Interesting. And so, these things can be very insightful. You get a lot of good insight metrics from here. All right. Let's start digging into the UI and how this can be useful.

Kurt Kemple (00:35:08): Ooh, yeah. Sentiment analysis, that is huge on my list, also would love to see the sentiment analysis. I will definitely be upvoting that. Absolutely concur there Warren, that'd be cool, but that can also be a bit of a trap, it's tricky, but I do want to see it. It's again, insight metrics. Good to know. So here we've got our members, and so what we could do here is we could search by anything. So by their name, their user email domain, and we can filter down by their activity types, organizations, titles, location, pretty much anything. This page is invaluable, and not just to you, this is invaluable to everyone at your company. When I was working at a polygraph QL, and we brought on Orbit, I started introducing other teams to this and it was a huge boost to three or four different teams productivity.

Kurt Kemple (00:36:15): SA is dangerous. That's right. That's right. It can be. It can be very dangerous. You have to be very careful with things like that. It's oftentimes will, yeah, yeah. Oh for sure. Oh, I'm sure. And besides again, we treat things like insight metrics, and we have to understand that in order to really know what's happening, we have to dig deeper, that's the key. Jumping back to this, how this is useful. Because this is grabbing organizations, like if their GitHub is connected, it will pull in languages they're familiar with. We know content folks have created, it can be listed here, engagement they've had with us and others. We can see GitHub contributions to open source repositories. This information becomes absolutely invaluable. Customer success teams can come in here and find developers from the organizations who are within there, who are contributing and make note of it and do something for them.

Kurt Kemple (00:37:15): Talent acquisition can come in here and find people who are engaged in the community, working with the languages for the roles that we need. And we can filter that stuff down. And so not only is it used for us marketing, I like to tag people with potential speaker or potential collaborator, things like that. Marketing can filter down a list of people within a given specification who are open to collaborating and doing talks, workshops, etcetera. If you're using those activity tags and you are setting up that data ingest, you can create these really amazing workflows and views and reports that will not just benefit you, but your whole company. And this is the thing that I always try to impress. I'm going to take a two minute derail here, two minutes I'm going to give myself to talk about this.

Kurt Kemple (00:38:10): To me, the real value of community, community management engagement and DevRel is context. In its simplest form it is the information that we accrue both internally and externally and that third culture that we develop that is what is valuable. It's not us as a person, we have to go out and do the work of engaging and getting that information and distilling it in a way that is, I shouldn't say easy, but in a way that others relate to, that matters to them. And it's about finding those connections between company goals and community needs, or honestly misalignment between those things. And so when we think about that, a tool like Orbit, it's collecting so much context for you. All these things you normally have to hold in your head about who works where, and what they're into, and what they're doing is now laid out for you digitally, and you can search through it through a database.

Kurt Kemple (00:39:13): So not only does it remove the need to keep track of all this completely on your own, I still recommend tracking your relationships with others, individual of Orbit as well, like just as a person to do your job more effectively. But a lot of that core information should live here and your notes should say, look in Orbit for that deeper info. So now we know, we can use, I did it two minutes. We can use this, this system to empower everyone else within the company, sales teams it's useful for, it's useful for pretty much everybody. So do not discount out of the members page and the search functionality. I often see people talking about reporting or automations or getting data in there, setting up a champions program, but I never really hear about people saying, hey, I'm giving every department in the company access to segmented information about our community as a whole. And I can't think of a better value add than that.

Kurt Kemple (00:40:25): Okay. So we understand now the members, let's keep moving. Similar to members, we also have organizations. I'm not going to spend a ton of time on this, but it could be really interesting and useful. I don't know why Ken is showing up here as an orgo, but that's pretty awesome. I'm going to tell him that he's now an organization. And so we've got all these different organizations showing up here. Oh, major league soccer. What, what? I used to work there you all like way back in the day. I say that it's really not that long, feels like it. 2015 to 2018. It was cool. It was cool.

Kurt Kemple (00:41:01): All right. So, yeah. So you can come here, look, even Orbit's in here. Orbit is in my Orbit. It's like very inceptiony. Oh, look, because I've had some meetings with folks from Orbit and I track that. So they show up and their organization is pulled in because of the other relations that I have. And boom. Then we have lots of info. That's the other cool connections that you can make that you might not have made before. Like, oh, I'm looking at this organization, that's right, this person works there. Oh, I want to talk to them because of X, Y, Z, maybe this person can help me.

Kurt Kemple (00:41:38): And then going to demo mode with Kurt later. Ooh. Okay. Okay. I like this. I can't wait. All right. So we've talked about organizations, moving on. Activities. So activities are, oh, no, thank you for to follow. Appreciate you all. That's awesome. Oh man, I held up heart hands, but you can't see because my camera's not on, but just know they're there. My hands are in a heart right now and much appreciated you all. Okay. So this is all your activity feeds. You can filter it down, but this gives you the what's happening today, this week or this month, what are people doing right now. Is a way to track the organization's competitors. That's pretty interesting. Yeah. That is interesting. I mean, you could draw those connections yourself through tags. So you could say, organization colon something for all of their competitors and that would allow you to get one step. But I do, that's not built in.

Speaker 2 (00:42:48): Yeah. What I was suggesting to is something similar to Owler,

Kurt Kemple (00:42:53): Oh, okay.

Speaker 2 (00:42:56): ... where you see the company. So let's say I want to know who Orbits competitors are, so that way you're not either kind of going against them-

Kurt Kemple (00:43:09): I see what you're saying.

Speaker 2 (00:43:09): ... or suggesting that other company, that's their competitor.

Kurt Kemple (00:43:16): Yeah. Yeah. I see what you mean. Yeah. That's interesting. Yeah. It'd definitely be useful to have that just exist and be a thing you not have to build yourself.

Speaker 2 (00:43:24): Exactly.

Kurt Kemple (00:43:24): Yeah. 100% agree. Yeah. And just as a follow up again, is that, what I've discovered is that if something doesn't exist in Orbit yet, they've done a really good job of laying the foundation, it gives you the flexibility that you can generally get these things to at least work to large degree without having the actual feature. So that is just something to take into account. Activities and tags are very powerful features and you could do a lot with it. Things I like to do is for every event registration, we don't add a tag that's a registered event, that's the activity but we'll add the tag about the specific event that they attended. And this gets really interesting because when you're having conversations with people, you can understand what they've been doing. There we go. Sneak peek.

Kurt Kemple (00:44:20): Yeah. There we go. That's so funny. Yes, you all, keep that product feedback coming because that's how we make Orbit better. All right. So diving back in. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So we've got our activity feed, is very powerful. Let's get into reporting. So this is one of my favorite tabs in Orbit now. You can set up really good reports and understand what's happening over essentially a rolling 30 day, seven day, six month, 12 month period. So now when we think about reporting to stakeholders, yeah, love me some reports. We can see that we can quickly come in here. One, we can do members or activities. So what activities, and this is again, why I said, I love to focus in and zero in on the engagements that really matter to us. Like most times, yeah, the growth report is nice. Most times I feel you, when it comes to community, I get it.

Kurt Kemple (00:45:26): I don't want to sum up community in numbers. It's never a fun exercise to convert the people that you talk with every day into graphs. But I think it's important that we understand that companies are data driven and eventually they rely largely on quantitative metrics over qualitative. The qualitative is still important a lot of times, but for the high level it's quantitative. And the reason why is because just as businesses have become so accustomed to this, it's something that people understand a little bit easier and it's our job to help draw the line between the numbers and the work that we're doing and build that trust with folks so that they understand how these numbers are impacting them, but yeah.

Kurt Kemple (00:46:21): So yeah, we can see our activities. We can come here and see them by source. We've got our activity types. So we can start to break down. I love that Ken is an organization. I just, I can't, it's the best. By region, country. Right. Okay. Your DevRel team is growing. You're trying to figure out what you want to focus on next. Maybe it's a good idea to start doing things geographically. That makes a lot of sense. Where do we begin? Where do we start? I don't know. Well, let's see where we're getting the most activity. Does that make sense? You sort of see how these reports can become very useful, not just for showing success, but for insight. And this is what we want. This is how we can one, start to make more data driven decisions, ourself, and again, numbers are not infallible, we should always be doing the work to make sure that we understand what we're looking at.

Kurt Kemple (00:47:17): 100% of people that confuse causation with correlation eventually die. Which is like, it is true, everybody dies, but there's actually no relation between the death and them believing that or confusing correlation with causation. So it's important that we don't do the same. That just because we have some correlative data, we don't give it the moniker of being the cause of things without further investigation. Okay. So we've taken a look at that. And then here we go, growth is in beta. So this is nice. A very high level. Like honestly I was building this myself. So I'd love to see this because you could build custom sources and dashboards so you can put together your own charts, but here we don't need to, I can very quickly get an overview of what is going on.

Kurt Kemple (00:48:15): Does that make sense? And also I really started in January. So this makes sense, big old flux, then it kind of dipped down, went up a little bit. I went on my social hiatus right about here. So we can see that it's starting to trend down and as I'm actually going to be going back on social media probably next week, it should start ticking back up. It shouldn't scare you. It shouldn't scare you because we have to remember that growth can ebb and flow, but it is good to know, it's useful information. One of my favorite things to do is take other charts from other things like products monthly active usage and overlay them over things like our growth chart or activity charts that are related. Because when we see spikes in that, you'll find that oftentimes they line up with spikes along your activities as well.

Kurt Kemple (00:49:09): So when we talk about how are we, when we want to draw that trust between impacts, we can say, hey, when you all saw that spike of 10,000 plus users, right after our event, we can see the correlation, now we need to dig in and see if it's causation. How do we do that? Go engage with the community, ask people if after that they went and did the thing and how they found it. That's how we confirm, we get that confirmation. So that's how you can start to use these reports both internally to show success, as well as getting insight and just being able to further dig into, I love playing the lab technician or scientists. Going in there, looking at metrics and saying, why is this doing it? Let's dig in and see what's going on, doing experiments and seeing what the outcome of that is.

Kurt Kemple (00:50:03): All that stuff becomes possible now because we have this huge data playground essentially to explore. So we're coming up here on the end. So I don't want to go too much into it, except for a few things real quick. You can add collaborators to your workspace here under the collaborator. You can get API tokens. If you need to use the API right here under the API tokens, you can see and create your activity types here under this activity type tab. So you can see custom, I have gum road purchase, custom meeting and so you can make your own. And yeah, this really powerful way to segment folks, you can block people, so that's very important, definitely good to be able to do. And some of these features, again, it will depend on your plan, but most of the, actually everything that I've shown us, actually now I should roll that back.

Kurt Kemple (00:51:01): Everything before this tab that I've shown is possible with the free tier, recording a bunch of different sources are available on the free tier, the members page, the homepage, reports. It's just the number of custom views or custom reports you can make changes, but you can do all of this stuff on the free tier. The last thing that I want to talk about, because it's very important here. Exactly. Of automations. Thank you, Warren. This is what we're going to wrap up on. So we've talked a lot about setting it up, getting data in and what to do with Orbit. Now we're going to talk about getting data out of Orbit because honestly that is equally as important. One, for automations and two, you could actually set up automations to further push data downstream into data pipelines within your company. This information, this engagement can get mixed in with your business analytics, which becomes super powerful.

Kurt Kemple (00:51:59): So we talked about that data lake before, a lot of companies have one now, having all of the engagement in there means then you could draw causation between things like event timeframes and product usage and other things like that. You could track people, so if the name is in Orbit and it's in somewhere like Salesforce and it was in Orbit and then shows up in Salesforce after, and then they became a paying customer, you have just drawn a direct line from your community work to revenue, which is very difficult to do. Very difficult. All right. But that's the kind of stuff that we can empower as long as we're integrating with the rest of the company. And that's where automations come in. So I don't have any setup here but let's go through what it looks like.

Kurt Kemple (00:52:48): So when I click in automation, the first thing it's going to want is what is the name of this. So for me, I might say something like, send new members to Salesforce. It could be anything. I don't know, I'm just going to pick it. And so then a new member is added to your community and we choose an action. We could send a Webhook, that's what this would be most likely. We could get notifications in Slack. We can even add tags to the member. So if somebody does something, a specific thing, I could add tags to them and not have to use the API or do something else like that. So this is a very powerful tool, so if somebody, so I might call this add event tag to new registrants, that's a very real example. And so then what I would do here is an activity is added to a member or no, a new member, yeah, an activity is added to a member.

Kurt Kemple (00:53:49): So the activity type in this case, I don't have it, but it would be registration, like the event, registration event is the one that I like to use. And then we could do, based off the activity description, it has to contain this. So maybe it's the event name, like GraphQL summit 2022. Oh my gosh. That's like a real thing. I check it. Oh, I see. Maybe it created the option for me. And then associate members with these tags. So I don't want to do this, that's fine. But I could do only affect members that have this tag. So here's one, somebody schedules a meeting. That's the event. The member has the tag champion. I do something else, and the third thing, because I want to make sure that I don't miss it or they talk to the right person or other things like that.

Kurt Kemple (00:54:45): Does that make sense? I hope this is starting to, just kind of share how you could go through and create all these different things. So now I could say, add tags to member and I could say, GQL. So here we go. It's add tags. I could say GQL. Oh my gosh. GQL summit 2022. And then it would add that tag to them. So now every registrant is always going to have these tags. So it's a real nice way to set that stuff up if you want to, there's other ways, you could do through automation, you could use the API. It just really depends on what workflow works best for you or whoever it is. The one thing that I will say is that there are so many entry points to do things like add tags or add members or other folks.

Kurt Kemple (00:55:34): I like to keep a list of the different entry points and automations I have set up so that I don't get in situations where I'm adding tags and then an automation is trying to, or I create some kind of automation flow where something like recursive flow, where it's like constantly going through. But other than that, I don't know if there's a max on tags, but I personally haven't hit it. So if there is one, it's high. And so here, let me come out of screen share, stop sharing, see if my camera will work. It won't. So I have no camera. Hopefully you can still hear me. I hope I still have audio. If I do, we're good. But look. Oh, great. Great. So still have audio.

Kurt Kemple (00:56:21): Wow. Hosted over 100 meetups. Dang. Good. Good for you. That's awesome. That's a lot. And yeah, you want to be capturing all of that and tagging it. But I get you, yeah. Over 100 already, should be okay. And honestly, nice. So Aaron can also verify that they are still removing tags from an accidental tag creation fiasco apparently. That is amazing, Aaron. Amazing. But yeah, folks, so I hope this hour has shown how powerful something like an Orbit, a community growth platform can really be for you, your team and your company. And I'd like to leave the floor now for any final questions anybody might have.

Speaker 3 (00:57:11): So Kurt, two questions from me. One on the API, I'm sure for everybody that does email marketing ConvertKit or similar. Can you hear me okay?

Kurt Kemple (00:57:23): Yeah. I hear you great. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (00:57:25): Yeah. ConvertKit or similar competitor is used for email. And so, right now at least through Zapier, ConvertKit I think it's fairly limited. You can't actually see or import anybody that's opened or clicked your email unless you go through CSV. So I wanted to ask a question with regards to that specifically, and we can answer that offline. I don't want to waste your time here. That's huge because then you're basically just setting up a zap for every single tag you have in ConvertKit, which gets messy. Which brings you to my bigger question, which is tag management. I actually have tags in ConvertKit, I don't actually have any in Orbit. So once upon a time with Erin, she was starting from that same position. So I'm curious, do you have any framework for how you should think about kind of tag management because it's kind of one of those things where if you start and you build it and then you realize, oh shit, I've done this totally wrong.

Kurt Kemple (00:58:21): That's it.

Speaker 3 (00:58:21): And you're going to be spending a lot of time. So I'm just curious what you think about that, it seemed like with the colon you kind of had the action-

Kurt Kemple (00:58:27): You got it.

Speaker 3 (00:58:28): ... potentially the space, so I'm curious if there's any method to the madness.

Kurt Kemple (00:58:31): Yeah. There's a little bit of method to the madness. I want to answer the two questions. I want to start with the second one because I remember it better. I'm going to need a refresher on the first. But yeah, but for the second one, you're right. It's a 100%, if you build it before you use it, you're going to end up in a situation where you're removing things, shifting things around. I like to look at these activities that I record as very granular. When people first set up Orbit, you want to start seeing that data coming in and so it becomes very common to start setting up a bunch of activities. I think let the data that Orbit is capturing come in, let that be the bulk of it and reserve those activities for the things, like I said, this is where you get to zero in on that engagement that really matters.

Kurt Kemple (00:59:15): So event registrations, that might be something you want to capture. So you're definitely going to need to have that tag. Now with the way they've set up automations, and when that'll be coming out, I really think you could have event registration, but there might also be event speaker, event organizer, event volunteer, event something. So what I'm essentially doing is I take the biggest ideas within our things, responsibilities, and those are our entities essentially. Like we have events and that covers our one day events, conferences, and other things like that. Then you might have other stuff that's in there. Like I have live stream engagement or from Twitch or something like that, that's important.

Kurt Kemple (01:00:00): Like I said, meetings, just get a meeting, there's no colon needed because there's not other actions really. But if I want to expand it could be meeting registration, meeting canceled. Maybe I want to know if they cancel to counterbalance the at addition eventually. So you could start to do these things, but it's really about figuring out what is the core kind of activity and then are there sub activities that exist within it. That's what I use the colons for. Does that make sense?

Speaker 3 (01:00:32): Yeah. Makes perfect sense. And I think that's key because not all of events are made equal.

Kurt Kemple (01:00:36): Exactly.

Speaker 3 (01:00:36): Like I host three day retreats, one hour wine tastings.

Kurt Kemple (01:00:42): Totally separate. That's a great point. So yeah, a one hour wine tasting is much different. You're actually going to do a ton of activities within the three day event. So then we can start to funnel those down, like event panelists or event things. And then you can even get into attendance. Like event attendee is one that I like to add to folks. And then I add another tag with the name of every event that they attend. Does that make sense?

Speaker 3 (01:01:08): That makes perfect sense. It's just a lot.

Kurt Kemple (01:01:09): It is a lot. It is a lot and that's why we don't overdo it. That's why we don't rush in and say, okay, we're going to track this, this, this, this, and this before we really know we're focusing on it. The way I like to do it is start from goals and work backwards. What are the company goals right now, or community, if it's not a company, what are the department and team goals, and then I'm going to focus on setting up the automations, tagging or particular activities that are going to help us measure our impact towards those goals.

Speaker 3 (01:01:41): Yeah. Perfect. And then I guess just on that first one, that use of the API.

Kurt Kemple (01:01:46): Oh, that's it.

Speaker 3 (01:01:47): What are the easy ways, I guess, because one, it could be add the email ConvertKit and be like, hey, you really should have an internal tag for people that actually open the email and then click it. And the only way to download that right now is through CSV, which is super bulky.

Kurt Kemple (01:02:05): Oh yeah.

Speaker 3 (01:02:06): But then I'm curious about the API, which is technically that data does exist in ConvertKit, it just isn't part of their Zapier integration, so I can't automate.

Kurt Kemple (01:02:14): So I know ConvertKit has an API, correct?

Speaker 3 (01:02:19): Yes. It definitely does.

Kurt Kemple (01:02:21): Okay. So if they have an API, something you could do is set up either on like Pipedream or somewhere else, a recurring background job and it pulls that information from the API and adds it to Orbit. Orbit's pretty good at de-duping things, you're not going to be able to add the same tag to other people and stuff like that. Tiffany's got an automation question. So I definitely want us to give her time.

Speaker 3 (01:02:43): Thank you so much.

Kurt Kemple (01:02:44): Yeah. And again, like I said, I'm going to be back on social media. I'll see you later, have a great one. I'll be back on social media, early next week you can DM me on Twitter @theworstdev, let me put it here and chat real quick. And so hit me up if you have more questions. Absolutely. Tiffany hit me with it. Floor's yours.

Tiffany (01:03:03): Yeah. So one of the things that I struggle with is that one of the accesses of my community is a forum. I really love that people are talking in the forum and that that're writing posts, but I honestly don't care if they're responding to their own topic with a post. So I'm looking for a way that I can identify people who are responding to multiple topics that they did not originate with post.

Kurt Kemple (01:03:31): Interesting.

Tiffany (01:03:32): It would be amazing if I could do this in Orbit.

Kurt Kemple (01:03:35): Oh yeah, for sure. So I think you could do a decent amount of it. And so what I mean by that would be, it just depends on how things are set up. Do you know which, I'm sorry, which forum is it? Do you know if there's access to events that happen?

Tiffany (01:03:51): It's Discourse.

Kurt Kemple (01:03:53): Oh, it's Discourse. Okay. I would have to double check, but I'm pretty sure Discourse allows you to, basically like Webhooks, like respond to when things happen. Like somebody posted a comment or a new post. I'll dig further into this and can follow up with you afterwards. But essentially what we need is if the service that we are using doesn't provide some sort of reactionary Webhook thing, Like user did this, you can send a Webhook here. Then we have to build some kind of job, like background process to either access their API or in some cases I've seen people scrape websites, forums, and other things for this information. So there's still going to be some manual process, however, you can definitely get that information into Orbit. And if you're tagging them with things, like saying contributes to others or you'd have to figure out what the name is, like collaborator, something like that. Then you can start to tag, filter down and soar on them in Orbit. That makes sense?

Tiffany (01:04:58): It does. My concern is that I was told that there are a few integrations that we really can't touch on the back end because you guys have made them all as a package and GitHub and Discourse were two of them.

Kurt Kemple (01:05:12): Okay. I'm sorry. Well, one, Erin might actually know.

Erin (01:05:15): I was going to say, I'm going to jump in. Hi, I work at Orbit. I'm the Orbit robot for these because I already gave my talk earlier today. So you're getting post talk Erin, but my ADHD brain can't resist a good spiral. Hit me up Tiffany and we can do some magic. I know the developer who built that really well, depending on what you are doing and the specific use case. Could you do it? Yes. Is it going to require a similar custom development solution maybe on you all's end? Possibly.

Tiffany (01:05:48): I mean, I'd love to hear it. I'm also the person that's been probably annoying you all about the fact that the topics and posts aren't matching up.

Erin (01:05:55): It's okay. Oh, and fun fact, I actually did get to the bottom of this today. This morning I found a cool one. So this is an exciting one and then I'll pass it back to you. There's a really interesting, so fun fact, if anybody is doing an external service, as much as we'd like to be the absolute source of truth for absolutely everything ever, let's be real, it's just not realistic. It's a little weird in data world, especially, like insert dystopic nightmares. But if Orbit does not, we are not a data management platforms. We don't hold the data technically on our end, it is still getting piped in through other platforms to us, we just sort of look at it externally and evaluate.

Erin (01:06:40): What that means from a data perspective, if someone deletes a tweet, someone deletes a forum post, if someone and how that forum post is edited, deleted, modified in the API, can dictate and show discrepancies. Because we had it come up in GitHub discussions today in a very weird instance of GitHub discussion where someone was using a third party bot in a GitHub discussion and it wasn't registering in Orbit and it creates a discrepancy. So check all your bots because we also don't measure bots activity.

Kurt Kemple (01:07:11): Interesting.

Tiffany (01:07:11): I think we've held that. I think we've held all other things equal at this point.

Kurt Kemple (01:07:19): Cool.

Tiffany (01:07:21): Because I mean we checked for deleted posts, we checked for.

Erin (01:07:23): Yeah. I know your guys' case is definitely.

Tiffany (01:07:31): It's separate, it's different by hundreds.

Erin (01:07:34): Yeah. I need to go look in, I'll pull that up again right now just to dive into it. And so without having it right in front of me and you're getting post two day conference brain Erin, my brain's kind of scrambled up top. So I will nudge them again on that because I do know that was one that we were seeing and GitHub discussions is a place that we surface it.

Tiffany (01:07:57): Yeah. No, this one was in the Discourse.

Erin (01:08:00): Yeah. Yeah.

Tiffany (01:08:00): Thank you guys so much. I look forward to hearing Kurt, how I might be able to do that and if it's possible and Erin, I look forward to hearing about this.

Erin (01:08:12): Yeah, of course.

Tiffany (01:08:12): ... bug I guess.

Kurt Kemple (01:08:13): Yeah, right.

Erin (01:08:15): It's always, we love building.

Tiffany (01:08:15): There's a glitch in the niche.

Kurt Kemple (01:08:17): Bug in the glitch room.

Erin (01:08:18): Glitch in the Matrix it a great-

Kurt Kemple (01:08:20): Glitch in the matrix, I love that even more.

Erin (01:08:22): And thanks Kurt, as always, I mean I'm always excited to hear people talk about Orbit that's not me. I feel like also, you're not saying that I have a Pipedream window open on this other window because I'm like, wow, this is what I've been doing in glitch for like three months.

Kurt Kemple (01:08:35): Oh, I'm telling you, the Orbit to Pipedream pipeline is real because let me tell you, it's like anything that I can use to relieve the program management workload is huge for me.

Erin (01:08:52): I will send you a DM on Discord Kurt, because I have a workflow I'm building that I feel like one, Pipedream solves this problem but two, I feel like you'll get a kick out of it.

Kurt Kemple (01:09:00): Oh I can't wait. I can't wait. Before we go, any other last questions? Anybody got anything else? Well, all right, then I guess that is a wrap. Thank you all so much for the folks who were still here. I hope this was useful. I hope you learned something today and I'm around, hit me up if you have any questions, I'm just going to keep checking my DMs every day just to make sure. But yeah, I appreciate you all, have a good one. I'll talk to you later.

Erin (01:09:28): Thank you all.

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Data-Led Community Programs and Strategy
Data-Led Community Programs and Strategy
Community as a Practice: Trajectory and Trends
Community as a Practice: Trajectory and Trends
Grow and Measure Your Community with Orbit
Grow and Measure Your Community with Orbit
Using Orbit to Communicate the Success of Great Events
Using Orbit to Communicate the Success of Great Events
Using the Orbit Model to Demonstrate Community Value
Using the Orbit Model to Demonstrate Community Value
Building a Beta Group or Champions Program in Orbit
Building a Beta Group or Champions Program in Orbit
Git it Right! Measuring What Matters in OSS Contribution
Git it Right! Measuring What Matters in OSS Contribution
Building Go-To-Community Strategy for your Pitch Deck
Building Go-To-Community Strategy for your Pitch Deck
How to Increase Participation in Your Community
How to Increase Participation in Your Community