Yesterday, I spoke at the So Cal Action Sports Network event, hosted by Bryan Elliott. I met Bryan at CES in Las Vegas and found him to be passionate, thoughtful, and quite the connector. When he asked me to speak at his event, I said yes in a heartbeat, because Bryan is caretaking for what is turning into quite a passionate community.
In only a few month’s time, Bryan has brought together some really great people into the group. We held the meeting at Oakley‘s official headquarters, thanks to Pat McIlvain, who is yet another of Bryan’s network members. (More on Oakley in a subsequent post.) Bryan will point out the other sponsors of the event, like Optimal Nutrition, who cooked a really awesome organic chili, and in all, it felt like everyone really came together, from a community perspective.
Pirate Move- Value the Network
Bryan’s a pirate. He believes in the value of his community, and knows that it has within it a strong core of great people looking to bring their marketing and other talents up to new levels. He facilitates this by organizing people together both on the main site, as we as through a LinkedIn group (which brings him new potential recruits all the time). Why Bryan’s a Pirate is that he’s maintaining a set of values that he hopes will protect the network, that will develop lots of valuable cross-company networking connections, and that will be mutually beneficial, while not plundering the group to his own devices.
Pirate Move – Build the Network
Bryan brought in several college students from nearby to get into the So Cal Action Sports Network. These students knew that they were valued, knew that Bryan cares about them, and knew that he’d brought them to a place where they might well be meeting their future employers many times over. He values their own knowledge, as we all know that college students know more about social networks in some regards than we all do (sometimes). And Bryan knew that the students would help his network grow, would challenge the assumptions of the core marketers, and that they would be giving back a little something for all his efforts. (Just in case it comes up, that woman isn’t a college student. She’s Tsin-Tsin Ong from Optimal Nutrition.)
Pirate Move – Share the Stage
Bryan spoke a little bit at the beginning of the event, but he made it about his community. He brought together a panel made of members of the network itself, which gave the audience a sense of who else was part of the community. He then gave the stage to me, with a great introduction and a lot of deference. He made me feel like a star from the moment my plane landed (strike that – from before my plane landed), and that feeling carried through with everything he did during the event. By sharing the stage in this way, Bryan showed a humble restraint that points to his belief in the future longevity of his network.
The Power Bryan Can Tap
Bryan has more c-level and senior level marketers in his group of a few thousand people than some folks have in groups 10 times his size. He has dozens of college students, who can react and explain and share the perspective of the youth market (which is obviously important to a bunch of action sports marketing types). He can pull favors from a few friends and stretch experiences out from being decent to being really great.
The previous was part of the Pirate Moves series. Here’s the first post.
Cautions for You, Should You Wish to Develop a Community
The best way anyone can keep a community thriving is to give it experiences that validate and affirm the members. The easiest way to break apart a community is to horde the praise and opportunities to yourself. The next best way is to start selling directly into that community that you’ve developed, either directly, or by putting your network directly into the hands of another organization who intends to sell to them with impunity.
Treat your community like it’s gold and it will return the favor. Bryan is, and I believe he’s someone to watch in coming months and over next year. In fact, I offered him some speaking time at the Inbound Marketing Summit, because we had so many great conversations over the last few months that signal to me that he gets it, and I want him to share his take on things with you.
What do you think? Do you belong to a community like this? Would you want to?