Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Building the Firebrandz Community

We certainly did make a few promises when we re-launched Quality Solutions as Firebrand Technologies in April at the Firebrand Community Conference. Building the Firebrandz Community website was one of the promises that we have been working on throughout the summer. As our company has evolved to include more and more publishers, our lack of available community based support became painfully evident. The old days of exclusively providing custom training documents and on-site support are gone. During a Community design session at the conference, overwhelmingly, our community members requested a robust Discussion Forum. So that was the first tool we have built. We now have well over 100 Community members at, but the activity in the forums is very light. It is clear that we need to continually seed the forums with new posts to build participation.

We have had a much higher level of participation with our new Webinar series, however, with dozens of users joining in each session. We recorded these videos for later viewing by Community members, although we had a couple of mis-steps on delivery of these.

We are also on our third pass at dialing in the sign-on and activation of new users on the site, and the latest round promises to provide a nicely integrated, single sign-on for all of the community tools - Discussion Forums, Wiki for training resources, Videos and the rest.

The first couple of months of the summer were quite hectic, with brisk activity in sales - talking with lots of publishers and demonstrating Title Management, working on the webinars, working with clients and going to conferences. I never quite attacked those summer projects which I was holding on for the 'quiet' time. But this week, I am getting that sense of aloneness - when you shout 'Hello??' into an empty building and the only response you get is an echo. So now I have been working on a few of those tasks which simply must be done - like better documentation of key functions, working on Flash objects for the community and so on.

Of course, this is just in time for my own vacation. If you shout 'Hello??' into my Loft next week, the only sound you will get back is that lonely echo.