News

Three years of The Fetch: a look back with feedback from the community

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We recently passed three years since the first humble email digest was sent in Melbourne. The Fetch was just a teeny tiny side-project then with the goal of making it easier to discover all the events happening that the rest of the event and city guides didn’t cover. Since then, we’ve been on a journey, delivering curated goodness to the community week after week – in cities all around the world. Countless hours have been put in by our community of tireless curators, including dedicating our Sundays to prepare so that we could kick off your work week with your local issue of The Fetch. We’re now starting to think about our future. It’s exciting… and scary!

Over the coming weeks, you’ll start to notice many updates to The Fetch – including a new logo, a new email design, the transition to one global newsletter of the ‘Link-love, must-reads’ section, and the launch of a new responsive landing page. From here, you’ll be able to sign-up to reserve a username for the next generation of The Fetch – an app that does a way better job of delivering you events (customized for you, less noise, and more relevancy with social and calendar integration). Most importantly, this platform will allow us to have a better foundation to sustain our activities from – we will be able to spend less time creating and editing The Fetch emails manually – and more time on quality and breadth of content.

We’ve decided that there’s no point in building this app if we don’t have the support of the community we love to serve. After all, if you don’t find it useful or actually want/need it, then perhaps it shouldn’t exist! A good way to understand this support is via crowdsourcing funds so we’ll be launching a Kickstarter campaign over the coming weeks. We hope you back us!

The map above shows a few of the 70-plus requests we’ve had to take The Fetch to more cities. The grey dots are where we’d expand to with the new platform.

In order to get a better sense of what is is about The Fetch that our community values, we’ve asked members from all walks their thoughts:

Avid reader

“I regularly recommend The Fetch to people looking to get involved in their local startup scenes — it’s quick, informative and brilliant. As a weekly reader, I’m a huge fan.”

~ Kathryn Minshew, founder & CEO, The Muse

Curator

“Since becoming the Melbourne Curator, my life has changed dramatically in a very positive way. It’s provided me with the opportunity to meet an exciting network of people across the digital/tech/ creative industries who are eager to connect, collaborate, and share knowledge. The sense of community that can be found amongst the Fetchers is unique and one that has developed in such a natural and organic way – it’s been amazing to be a part of its growth.”

~ Kat Loughrey, curator of The Fetch Melbourne

Event organizer

“The Fetch has helped me grow my community, Girl Geek Dinners Melbourne, from 300 to 850 women in one year. Most recently, we advertised Australia’s first all-female hackathon, She Hacks. An increase in traffic to our website resulted, but there were also many people who I bumped into on the street that said they saw She Hacks in The Fetch. I recommend The Fetch as the best place to find out about events for professionals.”

~ Tammy Butow, senior digital strategist, National Australia Bank

City ambassador

“The Fetch has allowed me to invest in my own growth. I have been able to forge new friendships, develop skills and pursue unexpected interests because of what it’s put in my path. As a result of the things I am aware of in my community, I have become better equipped at guiding other people towards the resources they need to fuel their own aspirations and endeavours.”

Jackie Antig, city ambassador for The Fetch

No. 1 fan

“The Fetch has opened my horizons both professionally and personally in Sydney and in places I travel to, such as Melbourne, London, and New York. It’s brilliant for making connections and putting me in the know of what’s happening in the digital and creative scene. I recommend The Fetch to nearly everyone I meet, and they love it. Since the very first issue came out, I have been a fan, the No.1 Fetch Fan in fact. It has changed and enriched my life.”

~ Mark Woodrow, founder, The Galaxy and now at Yammer

No. 1 sharer of The Fetch’s content

“I feel a bit lost when my week doesn’t start with The Fetch. I’m always on the lookout for fresh job opportunities and local events where I can learn and network, and The Fetch’s weekly email is my first port of call to find them. Even on the weeks where the jobs and events don’t suit my needs, I always know there’ll be at least a handful of fascinating articles to read and learn from. I love it.”

~ Neil Fahey, freelance writer, blogger and online comms guy

Email format lover and partner

“To feel the pulse of a city’s tech scene, I recommend subscribing to The Fetch. Regardless of whether you’re making in-roads into creative communities, or wanting to attend a web metrics meetup, each issue will have you both scrambling for your calendar and reading up on new and interesting projects. A hat tip to their team for creating such a valuable newsletter!”

~ Rosanne de Vries, Community Manager, Campaign Monitor

If you’d like to pass on any feedback about where we’re going and where we’ve come from – or to chat about sponsoring or adding to our list of Kickstarter prizes, please email me kate@thefetch.com.

Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on our changes over the coming months. :)

Kate Kendall

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Job

Featured job: community manager, Thumbtack, San Francisco

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Thumbtack bridges the online and offline world, bringing new work to hundreds of thousands of small businesses and connecting customers quickly with experienced professionals.

They’re now looking for a community manager to help support those professionals in a way that has them beaming with praise and positivity.

As the community manager for Thumbtack’s 400,000+ service pros, you’ll be charged with developing and maintaining a healthy relationship between Thumbtack and their business owners and professionals. You’ll be a member of their marketing team, with a mission to amplify and encourage positive – empowering our service pros and giving them a voice.

About you

You’re outgoing, friendly and relatable with the empathy needed to connect with and influence a variety of different personalities. You’re perceptive, compassionate and enjoy interacting with people, both on and offline. You get excited by the opportunity to discover what our professionals want and want nothing more than to help them achieve it. You’re good at stepping into a community member’s shoes. And not only are you unstoppable at explaining product changes and complicated issues in simple language, but you’re just as great getting people to sing a brand’s praises.

Responsibilities

  • Develop content and communicate with service professionals – largely via email newsletters – to help them be successful on Thumbtack
  • Amplify existing positive goodwill on Thumbtack using social media. Find ways to best honor the community – sing their praises, share their stories and help them be better business owners
  • Encourage happy pros to post their experiences in online blogs and forums, while responding to those that have already been published, making writers feel heard
  • Engage with those posting positive experiences and stories via social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Secret

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Requirements

  • 2+ years experience in managing an online community, specifically using social media
  • Excellent writing skills – ability to write about complex issues clearly and simply
  • Great, positive attitude, even when confronted with negative sentiment. You need to be able to take community criticism in stride and find ways to focus attention on productive and positive tasks (and it’s up to you to decide what these are). This means patience and a sense of humor go a long way!
  • Ability to work independently without a lot of support
  • A passion for small businesses and the Thumbtack mission

Bonus points

  • Knowledge and understanding of social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Google+, YouTube) and how to use them most effectively.
  • Experience managing evolving communities at a startup internet company
  • General marketing and creative know-how

If interested, please apply here: http://grnh.se/34fmn2

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Guest Posts

The four types of personalities and why empathy matters when designing for habits

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If you understand yourself, what motivates you, what barriers you struggle with, you will know how to help yourself or your user build better habits. Laura Pereyra explains.

As human beings, we create habits to build healthier behaviors and more efficient lives. We make it a habit to wake up at 6am to work out or we intentionally block our email or social media through freedom to stay focused at work. Habits are the heuristics of the mind. They just help.

But what might help us build better and healthier habits? The answer is having the empathy to understand yourself or the user for whom you are designing a habit forming product for. It may also be about being empathetic towards yourself as well.

Think about it. There are apps like Facebook, which you check more than you check the weather. There is WhatsApp, which you constantly use to communicate with family and friends. And then there are apps like RunKeeper that work to help a user stay on track with training. All of these apps leverage the motivations that drive people. Using empathy to understand these motivations is something we take for granted but it is crucial to designing better and healthier habits.

At this year’s inaugural Habit Summit, Gretchen Rubin gave a great framework to understand the secret for making and breaking habits. Specifically, she mentions four types of personalities that respond to expectations in their own very unique ways: the upholder, the questioner, the rebel, and the obliger. According to Rubin’s observational and anecdotal research, most people fall into the questioner and obliger types. Some even have a mix of two of the general categories. Which one are you? Or which type of user are you trying to build a habit for?

1) The upholder

This is the user who is motivated by getting things done. They dislike letting other people down or letting themselves down. I can vouch for this type of personality because I have a tinge of upholder tendencies. If I set a goal for myself, I want to accomplish it.

For example, I used RunKeeper to help me keep track of my marathon training. Not only was I internally keeping myself accountable but I had an app that was reminding me every Saturday that I had to go on a 17 mile run (the external motivator). When you are building for upholders know that you may already be building a product that has very ambitious users.

2) The questioner

This kind of user likes to question everything. No really. They want good reasons for why they should do something and if they don’t agree with it the don’t give it the light of day. An app that feeds into this certain persona is Twitter. Why should you follow someone or a conversation? People follow funny celebrities because they say funny jokes or they follow CNN to stay on top of the latest news. There is a clear reason. If it’s worth it, there is the motivation to act and build a habit.

As a person who always questions why I should do things, I can relate because as I watch political conversations on Twitter, I want to know why I should follow certain politicians. Are they representing my state? Are they providing me with valuable information?

If I’m getting valuable information then I want to engage. Otherwise the habit to look back into a conversation is futile. Give these users a reason to engage in the habit that you want to form.

3) The rebel

This user is looking to defy rules and is motivated by their sense of freedom and self-determination. A great example is Apple. This company gave people the freedom to create by being the first personal computer. They wanted to bring computers into the home of the regular Joe and tell everyone that if they wanted to make something happen all they had to do was use Apple. It’s inspirational to the rebel motivations. If you don’t believe me, just rewatch the 1984 ad.

4) The obliger

Obligers like to be accountable and not let other people down. Facebook is a good example of a platform that helps people build habits because it creates an external accountability factor with friends. You announce that you want to have a goal and your friends can help keep you honest.

In fact, so many people have developed a habit of sharing and exploring their friends’ lives on facebook that a lot of people become afraid of checking it for fear of missing out.

Keep in mind that all of these examples are not based on hard science. However, it’s worth thinking about how being empathetic to the type of ways you or your user responds to expectations can help you design better.

As Nir Eyal puts it: “When you design for everybody, you end up designing for nobody.”

You have to build a habit or habit-forming product for a persona and have the empathy to understand what the barriers they face are and how they look for solutions.

So as you’re designing and building a new product or building a new habit, ask yourself, “what kind of motivators am I trying to satisfy? Where does the user I’m trying to help build a great habit go to solve their problems?

Whether a user is an upholder, a questioner, a rebel, or an obliger, learning how to be empathetic and knowing what motivates each personality can definitely help build better habit forming products.

About our ambassador // Laura Pereyra is a communications manager at a digital design agency in San Francisco. She loves connecting her love for politics, design thinking, tech, and women leadership. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. Follow her on @laurapereyra7.

Image credit: Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo

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Interviews

Hello Erin – our New York curator

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“I always thought I was crazy with the amount of side interests I like to pursue and projects I like to take on outside of work – until I moved here and realized I had found my tribe!”

After our beta launch in New York last June, it’s been so great to see the warm reception and organic uptake of The Fetch in the city. We now couldn’t be happier to share that Erin Greenawald will be our new curator in NY. Erin has been a subscriber since the beginning and by day, is an editor at career-loving startup The Muse. We took a few minutes to ask Erin about her background:

How did you end up where you are today? 

It all started when I dreamt of being an actress on broadway at age nine. While I haven’t stepped foot in the theater since I moved up to NYC almost a year ago, I managed to make it up here somehow. I wasn’t in love with what I was studying at school in DC so took a chance at a virtual internship in a different field with a startup while I finished my degree. Before I knew it I had a job offer from them (before I graduated – the dream!) and was asked to move to NYC ASAP. Since then I’ve been happily working as an editor helping give non-boring career advice by day at The Muse!

Why did you want to get involved with The Fetch?

Networking has never exactly been my thing – I’d generally prefer to be curled up on my couch with a good book or cooking with a friend. But when I moved here with almost no network to be seen, I knew I wanted to push myself to get out there and get to know the vibrant tech and startup community surrounding me. It’s been a wild ride so far, and I know I still have so many more fantastic people to meet – and I think The Fetch will really help take me to that next level.

What things excite you about our community right now? 

I’m so thrilled to get the chance to connect with so many different people – both in NYC and around the world – who are all passionate about getting the most out of their city that they can! I think everyone in The Fetch community is incredibly busy and interesting, but also very welcoming and excited to welcome others into the circle, which is something that really resonates with me.

What events do you recommend in NYC?

I like trying to find events that are a different format than your typical networking event (see above). So panels, hackathons, dinners – anything that’s not standing around mingling keeps me interested!

What’s your favourite thing about your city? 

I love that this city is always surprising me. I’m always reading about events or festivals or art exhibits or new concept bars or restaurants and thinking “that exists?!” But of course – it’s New York City. It really feeds into my love of trying new things, and they’re often things I didn’t even know I wanted to try.

What’s unique about NYC?

I always thought I was crazy with the amount of side interests I like to pursue and projects I like to take on outside of work – until I moved here and realized I had found my tribe! So may people have their main job (which is usually pretty cool in the first place) and then the company they’re trying to start on the side or the artistic interest that they manage to keep thriving in their free time. It’s such an inspirational and motivational group of people to be around.

Where can we find you in NYC? 

During the week Flatiron is my stomping grounds (the dog park in Madison Square Park is better than coffee breaks and I can’t wait for Madison Square Eats season). On the weekends, Brooklyn usually! Once the weather finally gets nicer you’ll likely see me at the Grand Army Plaza farmer’s market and Prospect Park almost every weekend.

How can we connect with you? 

Reach out on Twitter @erinacously or email erin@thefetch.org.

If you didn’t live in NYC, where would you be? 

I’ve always felt the pull of the west coast. Seattle or Portland may be in my future, though I’m a little worried about the rain!

Live in New York? Sign up to our weekly event-packed email digests now!

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Guest Posts

How meditation changes your world

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As technology has become deeply intertwined in all aspects of our lives, it’s become increasingly more difficult to find space in between each moment. Dr Elise Bialylew talks to us about how mindfulness can change your life and the lives of others through her innovative fundraising challenge, Mindful in May.

Technology is developing exponentially, and at the click of a button we can access an infinite amount of information. With this privilege, comes the potential cost of information overload, increased distractibility and low-grade background anxiety as we try to keep on top of things.

With invisible umbilical cords connecting us to our devices, staying focused is an increasing challenge. Our attention buzzes around with the restlessness of a mosquito fluttering between, emails, Facebook, Twitter, and text messages. Many of us are suffering from what Dr. Ed Hallowell, specialist psychiatrist in ADHD, coined as Attention Deficit Trait. He describes it as “a condition induced by modern life, in which you’ve become so busy attending to so many inputs and outputs that you become increasingly distracted, irritable, impulsive, restless and, over the long term, underachieving. In other words, it costs you efficiency because you’re doing so much or trying to do so much, it’s as if you’re juggling one more ball than you possibly can.”

If we wish to remain healthy, happy and clear-minded we need to upgrade our “inner technology” to meet the demands of our increasingly complex world.

We are standing on the precipice of a potential paradigm shift with an exciting dialogue unfolding at the intersection of science, technology and the world of wisdom. Leaders in the field of science, technology and meditation are coming together at extraordinary gatherings like Wisdom 2.0 conference or the Mind and Life institute, to explore how we can bring more mindfulness into the digital age. There is a rapid growth of scientific research, revealing what the Buddhist monks have known for generations but couldn’t measure with machines: Meditation is a powerful tool for enhanced well-being and mental focus. Meditation teaches us how to use our inner technology to understand the workings of the mind and in so doing re-sculpt our brains for the better.

Meditation is not about becoming passive or giving up on your goals or future plans. In fact, it’s a perfect companion to developing your capacity to think more clearly, be more effective and find wiser solutions to challenging problems.

Leading companies in the world, including Google are offering mindfulness training to their employees, recognizing the benefits of meditation in supporting more clarity, innovation and productivity.

Science is supporting the fact that just two months of regular mindfulness meditation can have  significant benefits. When regularly practiced, meditation has been shown to increase our immune function, grow our prefrontal cortex (required for strategic thinking and problem solving), and possibly even protect against DNA damage caused by ageing (through increasing a protective enzyme, Telomerase).

To really benefit from meditation, the problem is you actually have to do it. Meditation commonly falls by the wayside for even the most enthusiastic amongst us. Just like physical exercise, bringing a habit of regular meditation into your life can be quite a challenge. So often it seems like there’s not enough time or we just “don’t feel like doing it”. The thing is there is research to suggest that even 10 minutes of meditation, five days a week can improve our attention and focus.

Sometimes we need support to follow through on our intentions. Having the support of others or doing something that helps us feel we’re making a meaningful difference in the world, can boost our motivation. This logic has fueled the creation  of Mindful in May, a one-month meditation campaign starting on May 1. Delivered online, it will teach you how to meditate and at the same time help bring clean water to those in developing countries. To date the Mindful in May global community has raised enough money to build water projects in Ethiopia and Rwanda helping transform the lives of thousands of people. You’ll get a one month meditation program including 10-minute guided meditations on a weekly basis, access to exclusive video interviews with global experts in the field of meditation, mind wellbeing and a daily dose of inspiration through curated internet links.

In the developed world most of us have our survival needs met, but it’s our minds that can cause so much of our suffering. The World Health Organization predicts that depression will be the second-leading cause of global disability burden by 2020. In the developing world, its something as basic as a lack of access to clean, safe water that causes so much suffering. Contaminated water is still one of the leading causes of disease and death in the developing world. Mindful in May addresses both of these issues by offering people a way to learn how to become masters rather than slaves to their minds, whilst helping to improve the lives of thousands of people living without access to safe drinking water. It’s ten minutes a day of meditation to create a clear mind for you and clean water for others.

The challenge starts on May 1 so register, donate and invite your friends or colleagues to create a meditation fundraising team to help bring clean water to those in need. Together, let’s see how far we can spread this Mindful Ripple.

 

About our contributor // Elise Bialylew is a doctor, coach and founder of Mindful in May, a one month online global mindfulness meditation campaign. Mindful in May has inspired thousands of people around the world to learn how to meditate, whilst raising money to build clean water wells in the developing world. www.mindfulinmay.org

Image credit: Rafaël Rozendaal

 

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