Communities and Contributions
Two years back when I was actively updating my profile in LinkedIn I stumbled on a post that read-“Think design” by Women in Product. This topic instantaneously captured my attention and I registered to go.
The idea of building a professional community — a space for all like-minded people to share their ideas in a platform and a silent support group which uplifts each others dream and aspirations, really fascinated me.
So I went to attend my first event as a participant and there was no looking back ever since. I wanted to be part of this community, learn and contribute in the smallest possible way.
As Paulo Coelho said: When you truly want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
I soon became one of the core members, then co-lead and actively involved in planning and executing events that had more than 300+ participants in a very short span of time.
Now a lot of it still happen online with one event per month with a minimum of 100 registrations per event. I really miss in person networking and meeting new people.
Here are a few key takeaways from running a community in my experience:
Fail fast but learn faster
- Mistakes happen but always correct it sooner. Sometimes these would be due to not foreseeing the scenarios or a small operational/ logistics issue. We have had a lot of cover-ups and have meticulously corrected in each and every time we move forward. After all, the great learnings come with a pinch of salt. :)
I cannot stress how important this is. Running community meetups and achieving that within a said timeframe is a challenge that I still try to demystify even today.
Talking to someone about anything on a very general topic is far different than when you are out in a community trying to network. You need to talk with subject relevance and that requires some sort of preparation, interest, enthusiasm and learning.
This point might come mid-way but by far I have benefitted the most from this. Through these communities, I have had the privilege to form my own set of the inner circle whom I turn to for advice, mentorship and guidance. Some have even become close pals who crack lame product management jokes chilling in a pizza place.
Even before being part of a community I used to read a lot. But reading on the topics that you are willing to learn more about ( Product management in my case) definitely need some guidance. I have so far read a lot of books that were recommended by my mentors and said inner circle. It definitely did alter the way I think and process certain information on a day to day basis.
This is a repeated topic and it is easy to slide this word as a part of any conversation but what all of us fail to understand is the amount of work that goes behind this. Every time we say we are passionate about something, we have to really give our 200% without any expectations. Or worse, we might even face situations that would truly test our abilities. Having a 9–5 job, coming back and brainstorming over the weekends about upcoming events, planning and laying roadmaps have always been fun and exhausting task. Sometimes, little compromises were made on spending quality time with family. But in the end, all that mattered was to put a successful event and receiving amazing feedback on them. It really alleviates all the other small shortcomings faced.
Looking back and reflecting on the last one and half years, I have personally had a tremendous learning curve, made amazing friends and mentors who now help me with a lot of critical decisions and guide me at every step. This is just the beginning of many wonderful things that are waiting. I cannot be more thankful to the universe for conspiring all of this for me!