The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

The 8 most important tools for building community — March 15, 2014

The 8 most important tools for building community

tools

Crafting a strong community takes the right balance of talking to your audience and actually listening them. Sarah Judd Welch explains the key tools for cultivation. Yes, content is one of them.

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Curator Year in Review 2012: Hannah in Sydney — December 9, 2012

Curator Year in Review 2012: Hannah in Sydney

As the end of 2012 approaches, we thought it’d be nice to have an update from our beloved city curators.  Hannah DeMilta in Sydney shares some of her most appreciated events, spaces and top moments of 2012.

“H” is for Hannah
Hanging out at the Biennale of Sydney at Cockatoo Island

Best event for meeting people?

It depends who you want to meet, but I’ve met a lot of amazing people over the couple years from Travel Massive in Sydney. We often get people who are passing though on their travels to stop by as well.

Best event for content shared and learnings?

One of the best talks I’ve been to this year was Portable Presents Frank Chimero. Vivid Sydney put on an excellent lineup as part of the Vivid Ideas Exchange Forum this year in general, and that particular stuck with me. ProBlogger Training Day (actually in Melbourne) was another highlight in terms of content and learning. That was an excellent program, and one of the best conferences I’ve been to over the last couple years.

Personal event style preference?

I enjoy a variety of event styles – I think has little to do with format, but rather execution and organisation most of the time. I like having time to meet and chat with others so I appreciate event formats and venues that cater to that (nothing too noisey or crowded). I also love when event hosts take time to introduce and connect people in the room. It adds a lot of value to those attending.

Favourite source of local community news?

The Fetch? Oh no wait… I follow a lot of smart people on Twitter who always seem to know what’s happening. I’m also a fan of the Silicon Beach Google Group for a pulse on what’s happening in the start-up community.

Favourite coworking space?

I’ve actually been have people come cowork with me at my office this year. However, I would say it was lovely to welcome The Workbench to Sydney. I was there for a Jelly day a few months ago and discovered “Laksa Fridays” a weekly (and delicious) tradition.

Favourite cafe with WiFi?

Sur Bourke is an amazing little spot. They have free Wifi, power points, tasty food and coffees.

What’s been a personal highlight and not so high moment of the year?

Good question. This year has felt like a bit of a roller coaster ride. I started a new job with Rocketman Media, and that was definitely a highlight, but it was tough to say goodbye to my colleagues from my previous company. I’ve been blessed with so many wonderful new friendships in Sydney, and at the same time I’ve had some moments of homesickness. I suppose that’s expat life (or life in general) though.

What have you enjoyed about being involved with The Fetch in 2012?

I have loved watching The Fetch grow this year. I know it’s silly, but I still get giddy meeting people at events who tell me they subscribe and enjoy reading it. Its a passion project for me and always means a lot to get that positive feedback. Launching the Community Ambassador program has been another great step forward this year. The community and support from that crew has been wonderful, and I’m looking forward to working with everyone next year as well.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

In terms of The Fetch, I’m looking forward to even more goodness in terms of growth and partnerships in the Sydney community. I hope that the newsletter continues to delight and be a valuable resource to our readers. Personally, I have a few creative-ish projects that I’ll bring to life next year, also planning on traveling to some new places. Fun times ahead my friends!

Interview: SF Local, Ashley Brown — June 30, 2012

Interview: SF Local, Ashley Brown

To kick off our city profiles in the US, Kate chats to Ashley Brown – a relatively-new SF transplant who heads up marketing and communications at local delivery startup, Postmates and loves shooting stuff. (I originally had the pleasure of meeting Ash at the Women 2.0 Conference back in February.) Check out her response below:

Name: Ashley Brown
Website: http://brownashleyk.tumblr.com and www.postmates.com
Twitter: @ashbrown
Works: Director of Communications & Marketing, Postmates

You recently starting heading up marketing and communications at Postmates, can you tell us more about the service and what it offers over other delivery companies?

Postmates operates at the intersection of local commerce and delivery. With our app, Get It Now, users can order from any restaurant or store in the city and have items delivered in less than an hour. Order from Little Star Pizza, Papalote, McDonalds, Nordstrom, the Apple Store, you name it. Our fleet of Postmates will purchase your items and deliver them; payment is done entirely through the app so there’s no fumbling for cash or swiping your card through a reader. Currently, there is no startup that offers the same extensive functionality as Postmates. There are several “task” startups that we are seeing pivot into our space, but no other company currently has the same product capabilities and focus on local commerce. Prior to Postmates, I was on the agency-side, working with startups like Siri, Klout, Wolfram-Alpha, Roku and Beluga. In my experience, the companies that succeed are those with a rock hard vision, unwavering dedication to product and strong technical chops. We have our sights set a lot higher than just sandwich deliveries and I’m excited to be a part of the team that has paved the way for what is becoming a huge market opportunity.

What do you like best about working in the marcomms/PR/community intersection for startups?

I touch everything that has a public face. Whether it’s an article, an internal blog post, a push notification or web copy, I work with Bastian (our CEO) to create messages that communicate both product function and company ethos. It’s a LOT of work, but we’re at such an exciting stage in our life cycle where we’re still small enough that I work directly with our founders to manage PR and marketing as well as partnerships and sales. When you’re small, you can’t have an ego. Everyone plays their part and wears multiple hats to get the job done.

Tell us more about the Sandhill Golf & Gun Club – do you like shooting stuff?

I love shooting. I was always afraid of guns, but it’s true that the more familiar you become with your fears, the less daunting they become. I prefer shotguns over handguns and rifles, but I do shoot all three. I enjoy the sport aspect of skeet and trap shooting much more than target practice. It’s social, it’s competitive and here in San Francisco especially, you’re shooting in the beautiful outdoors.

You’re also a member of the Sandbox Network – what’s it about and how did you hear about it?

Sandbox is an international network of entrepreneurs under 30. Members work across various industries, but everyone has the same goal: we want to make the world a better place. There are rocket scientists and journalists. Startup CEOs and founders of non-profits. Writers and designers. The list goes on. I have met some of the most incredible people since I was accepted two years ago. I originally found out about Sandbox during SXSW from San Francisco ambassador, Max Marmer and have since connected with members in NYC, DC, Austin, LA, Melbourne, London, Paris, Zurich, Berlin, Beijing, Hong Kong, Nairobi, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Amsterdam – just off the top of my head!

You moved from Austin to SF a year ago – what do you think of the startup and creative scenes in each city?

Austin’s startup community is a topic of many a happy hour conversation and blog post. The startups in Austin often complain that there’s a lack of exposure or that Silicon Valley is overrated. They have lofty goals for how to build the city into a hub for innovation. And I have no doubt that they’re capable of it, but the fact is, Silicon Valley is increasingly more well established. There is an unlimited source of hungry developers, access to funding, and the opportunity to watch trends and markets develop. As a consultant that needed to have an understanding of the market as a whole – players involved, trends, new competitors, publication shifts, etc. – I found that spending time in the Bay Area was extremely important and ultimately felt that living in SF was the best decision professionally. It doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. 😉

You interned a bit in your earlier career – what recommendations do you have for upcomers and recent graduates?

I attended a relatively competitive university in DC, so internships were the norm. Most students interned on Capitol Hill but I also had friends working for non-profits, law firms, design agencies, and news stations. I worked everywhere from a Swiss news station to a web development firm to a lifestyle magazine to an ed-tech startup, all before I finished my undergrad. I firmly believe students need to experience a balance of the rigidity of higher education and the responsibility of work at a real company. One of the best pieces of advice my parents have ever given me, was to experience as much as possible within the safety of college. You’re expected to change your mind about your career constantly and take risks. Don’t miss out on that opportunity. In my experience, the students that were laser-focused on the career they “thought” they wanted, are now either miserable or taking time to re-focus.

Who else do you think is doing cool stuff in our communities?

I really love what Path is doing. It’s a simple concept – creating a micro community – but, it’s the same segmentation and implementation of actual human behaviors that I admired in Beluga. I’m a sucker for products that integrate communication research. One of my other favorite companies is Liquidspace. They’re most notable as “the Airbnb of workspaces” but they have this entire vision for underutilized office space, that is not only environmentally compelling, but has incredible market opportunity and ties directly into the already established collaborative consumption trend.

What’s next for Postmates and yourself?

At Postmates, we’re focused on perfecting our model. I’ll be the first to admit, we may make it look like a simple, but there’s a LOT that goes into this. Once we have that down, we’ll be expanding to new cities reasonably quick, so I’m preparing for that. Personally, I’m having a ball just exploring this San Francisco and the entire Bay Area. I work long hours, so my boyfriend and I try to go for a drive at least once every weekend – out to Marin, Tomales Bay, up to Mendocino, down to Carmel, etc.

Interview: Sydney Local, Scott Drummond — June 25, 2012

Interview: Sydney Local, Scott Drummond

This fortnight, our Community Ambassador, Annette Slunjski (GM of Lucidity Marketing Communications) chats to Scott Drummond about social interactions, creative ideas and how his young son’s successful blog inspired a photographic exhibition.

Name: Scott Drummond

Website: http://scottdrummond.org

Twitter handle: @scott_drummond

Works: http://hostsydney.com

What are you working (work-work or play-work) on right now that makes you jump out of bed in the morning?
I’m always trying to work out new ways for brands and people to come together socially and make each other’s lives better, so that’s a great daily work-work/play-work challenge that I’m always up for!

How do you keep up with what’s happening?
I try to listen and look out for interesting happenings in all the usual online haunts, but to be honest most things come to me by way of people I know. The best recommendations always come from the friends I have – they are into all sorts of wonderful stuff and I’m always learning from them.

What is fastBREAK and who would get the most out of it?
fastBREAK is a series of monthly short breakfast talks produced by Vibewire, an innovative non-profit youth organisation whose mission is to help young people participate in the conversations that really matter. On the last Friday of every month 5 inspiring speakers speak for 5 minutes each in response to a monthly theme. There’s coffee and delicious breakfast supplied by the amazing Black Star Pastry in Newtown. fastBREAK is the perfect wake-up treat for the intellectually and creatively curious, ad it’s also a great place to meet fascinating people.

Which fastBREAK speaker was the most facinating?
Impossible for me to say – I’ve found so many of them fascinating for different reasons. I’m always hanging out for the next speakers. On Friday June 29 I’m really excited about our line-up: Lord Mayor Clover Moore is joined by Annalie Killian (Director of Innovation, AMP), Marita Cheng (2012 Young Australian of the Year and Robogals founder) and Luke Geary (Managing Partner, Salvos Legal and Salvos Legal Humanitarian). They’re all responding to the theme ‘Stuffed’ so I’m fascinated to see their different approaches.

What’s the most memorable creative idea you’ve awarded as part of the Awesome Foundation?
It would either have to be Physique, an 80s-inspired freestyle aerobics night that runs in Redfern weekly or Scott Brown’s project to build a sensory-feedback device for sensory stimulation between a young autistic child and her parent. Both projects are totally awesome for such different reasons.

Moving on the The {Tiny} Times (previously The Tiny Satorialist) – the blog where young Marshall (with some help from Mum Karla) photo blogs about his {tiny} world; what made The Tiny Satorialist gather such a strong following – enough to support the photographic exhibition?

[Enter Karla and Marshall, exit Scott]

Early on, wordpress.com put selected one of our posts for their “freshly pressed” homepage feature, which had a huge impact in terms of page impressions, exposure to the wordpress community and subscribers. This first bit of exposure is what also led to the great deal of press that has followed. I was lucky enough to chat with some people from the wordpress team this year at SXSW and their feedback was along the lines of: simplicity, consistency and original content is what attracts them to certain blogs. The {Tiny} Times has a very simple formula – photos and short captions with practical information about where we are and the clothes we are wearing. I post 3-4 times a week and use only my own photographs. And I love doing it – and love is contagious 🙂

What are you working (work-work or play-work) on right now that makes you jump out of bed in the morning?
Play-work projects are the real things that get me out of bed. Currently, I am knitting Marshall a purple Ziggy Stardust cardie and taking a photo after each row so I can turn it into an animated GIF, something like this.

How do you keep up with what’s happening?
I don’t really 😦 Conversations with different people in my industry (media) help me stay in touch with what is going on. I read sites like Colossal for creative inspiration, Wired to sit down for some good longer reads or good ol’ Mashable for the digital what’s what.

[Back to Scott]

Scott, what’s the coolest thing happening around community at the moment?
I think it’s exciting to see so many people getting off the couch and meeting up with like-minded people in person. I’m obviously an advocate of the power of digital technology to connect people, but I also think it’s great when those people are moved to meet up and create new opportunities together.

What is the one issue you are most passionate about?
How humans can connect with each other to build valuable relationships that help us to collectively address the most important challenges of our day.

What are some upcoming events you would recommend to the Fetch community?
It’s quite a long way off still, but I’m very excited about ISEA 2013.

About our Ambassador // After a long time in technology marketing and communications, Annette still loves the wonderful nerdiness and envelope pushing that is IT, especially the amazing things happening in the Australian startup scene. As GM of Lucidity, Annette helps tech companies tell the world about their goodness. Connect with Annette via @luciditymc

Interview: Sydney Local, Renae Mason — April 29, 2012

Interview: Sydney Local, Renae Mason

Renae Mason

Name: Renae Mason

Website: awesomefoundation.org

Twitter handle: @awesomefoundsyd and @missnae

Works at: Boomworks by day, Awesome Foundation by night

Sydney has a chapter of the awesome foundation, which is awesome. Can you tell us a little about it?

The Awesome Foundation provides micro-grants for micro sparks of genius and creativity. Every month ten trustees chip in a collective $1000 of their own cash to fund a project, no strings attached. There are currently about 33 chapters in the world providing a great support network and sharing so many inspiring stories, it can be hard to keep up with all the good news!

What do you think is awesome?

Well that’s easy. Every month there’s something new to choose from in the world of Awesome! One of my favourite projects is The Oxford St Design Store, where a variety of quality, local and handmade goods are sold for $1, $5, $10 and $20 respectively. They are also hosting events, an artist-in-residence and a co-working space. It’s great to see this happening right in the heart of Sydney, where rental prices can make this kind of gathering very difficult to pull off.

Some of my other favourite projects just demonstrate what a big kid I am. In Awesome Boston, they built the world’s biggest hammock in a park for all to enjoy. In Awesome LA they installed guerilla swings in interesting locations all over the city (imagine the joy of swinging under a boardwalk as the tide rolls in!), and in Toronto there was a night of cardboard fort building. The designs were epic!

Who do you think is doing cool stuff in our industries?

I like a lot of stuff that’s happening at the edge of industry, with events like Pecha Kucha, TEDx and Trampoline Day. These events empower people to come together and share their unique perspectives.

Also, I’m a huge museum and gallery fan and the work of the White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale really stands out from the crowd. The passion for Chinese contemporary art, cultural exchange and audience engagement shines through in everything they do.

Where do you get your information from?

All over the place! I’ve got to admit – my feed reader is bursting with loads of interesting things I will never get the time to read. Mostly I find great links and stories from people I know via Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Goodreads, Foursquare, Instagram, Path, LinkedIn. Yes, I’m an app junky.

What are some awesome upcoming events you would recommend to the Fetch community?

We’ll be holding an epic event as part of Vivid Sydney festival this year. It’s called ‘Awesome Soup’ and the idea is that folks will pitch their projects to the audience, who will then vote for their favourite project, whilst sharing a delicious meal. It’s going to be awesome! Anyone can apply to pitch their awesome idea on the night. Tickets are now on sale on the Vivid website.

How do people learn more or get involved with the awesome foundation?

We’re about to launch our own Sydney website, but for now you can find our more about us here. We’re also on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to be considered for a position on the board, we’d love to hear from you at any time – just email sydney@awesomefoundation.org. Likewise, we are open for applications all year round, so head over the website to apply.

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