From 2018 – 2020, I ran Future Careers (FC), a Slack group of ~2,000 people across a range of experiences in tech with the singular mission of helping folks get from where they were to where they wanted to be. FC was pivotal in either landing people jobs, raising funds, creating life-long friendships, resulted in the creation of some notable projects out today, and is the basis of all of my learnings around community.
Across everything that I've done at FC to turn it into the vibrant place it was, I probably tried everything in today's metaphorical community guidebook and added a few pages into it myself. A non-exhaustive list of some of these things:
Played around with seeding a #dailyq channel everyday that was easy, low-hanging fruit for new users to engage with and meet new folks through. Some of the questions I used here
Wrote our community Code of Conduct
Ran public community feedback sessions with 10 – 20 community members every week
Checked all of our channels every month, pruning them down / archiving them with inactivity
Wrote out a document that detailed community monetization and a 8-quarter community plan of where we wanted to be by then / what we would do if we weren't (alongside Larry Zhong)
Built a reverse job board that highlighted kickass folks that jobs and recruiters should look into
Bullet-pointed a breakout list of vetted, high-growth startups that were a degree of separation away from FC to accompany the reverse job board
Crowdsourced a document of total compensation across unique job titles, making things more transparent (worked on iterations for industries outside of tech — what pay splits are like for food, side hustle economies, etc)
Kickstarted a play to bring career-hacking outside of just jobs in tech
Every day for almost 2 years, I would personally onboard every new person that joined FC. I built a simple automation that would ping a Slack channel whenever a new user joined our Slack group and started a DM with them from my personal account. Although in hindsight, this was very unscalable and led to me answering greeting DMs almost around the clock, hypothesis tests proved that time and time again, new users would interact with a person almost 3x more times than a greetbot / cold greeting from a non-human account. Besides, these greetings always led to some awesome interactions:
As a result of juggling all of these conversations, I got to know each and every member on FC pretty closely. To use this knowledge to really connect the points of community, I built an exhaustive database of keywords from all of my conversations that allowed me to make easy connections on the most granular factors — similar alma maters, hobbies, or hometowns, for example. Once I got really good at these, it wasn't hard to immediately think of 4 – 5 people that would be perfect for a new community member to meet.
These led to the beginning of easy, game-changing connections for a lot of folks minutes after posting a quick introduction (which were made easy by filling out a template) — with value on that quick of a turnaround, it wasn't hard to convince folks to stay
In the best way possible, I've lost track of how many messages I've received about how many new roles, products and friendships these serendipitous introductions have formed. This really valuable first experience really encapsulates the magic joining FC often brought about!
FC also had some really cool projects that came out of it! Some public examples:
The 2019 Investment Team at Dorm Room Fund — I worked with Chauncey to hype up the roles within FC and helped populate the funnel with an awesome group of students on FC
Interns was an early initiative I started for students to provide unbiased, transparent views of internship experiences and ultimately, through community, make new cities feel less lonely. The vision over summer was that I'd be able to collect enough raw content (video logs, text testimonials, etc.) to build more holistic job "descriptions" for companies. In 2 weeks, I had help produce over 50+ pieces of content from students across the world working in virtually every field. Below are the 3 that I released:
All of the pieces were dropped on our Twitter (that I'm dropping here mainly to show off the sick handle that I snagged): @1nterns.
At peak pandemic, I spun up a quick collaborative list of in-community favors and goods so that FC could connect folks in truly tough times. Items ranged from socially-distant spaces for home-displaced folks in my apartment, having me deliver essentials to your doorsteps, etc
To really concretize our vision in helping folks get to where they wanted to be, I took the first stab at our content vision, pulling together advice from threads that senior folks in the community talked in to create a document around breaking into product management. Advice comes from the hard-won experiences of folks like Kevin Lee, Ryan Hoover, more! Alongside this, I was compiling other threads around design, engineering and other unobvious things ("What are good questions I should ask in an interview?", etc)