Why another podcast? [Transcript]
Background: Five, four, three, two, one. All engines running. We have it this time! Liftoff! We have a liftoff!
The theme song starts playing
Juan: Welcome everyone to episode one of this podcast, our very first one. My name is Juan M, I am a community manager here at Stack Overflow and I am joined by two of my colleagues—welcome Abby, welcome Jon.
Let me say hello to you all, and then give you guys an opportunity to tell us a little bit about who you are. So, why don't we just do that now? Abby, let me pass on to ya; how are you today?
Abby: I'm doing great, I'm doing great, thanks. Uh, how are you?
Juan: I'm doing okay. Jon, how are you today?
Jon: I am also doing well (laughs)
Jon: I actually have a little bit of a cold, but um, [inaudible]
Juan: Sorry to hear, sorry to hear. Well, in the interest of keeping things brief and concise, and super informative, let me ask you guys first to tell us a little bit about yourselves, so that our listeners know who we are and why we wanna do this thing that we're doing right now. So Abby, why don't we start with you?
Abby: Totally, um, yeah, so my name's Abby as Juan said; if you are listening as a member of the Stack Exchange or Stack Overflow community, you might have seen me around as "hairboat" -- that's kinda my internet street name, I guess, hairboat, I'll tell you that story sometime. I work with the Community Team and the Support Team here at Stack Overflow, mainly I think my role with the Community Team is providing emotional support, that's kinda what I do --
Juan: We need it, we need it.
Abby: (laughs) ... from time to time, we all get there. So yeah, I help out in the Feelings Department, with the Community Managers and yeah, kinda go from there. What I'm interested in what I do [when these guys be] as effective as they can and help the communities as much as they can.
Juan: Yeah, that's great. Thanks, Abby. Jon, let's pass it over to you; Jon, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jon: So, I am a plain old Community Manager; I guess technically, I've got a title of Community Product Manager, but that basically means I'm writing Meta posts and helping people out on the site and thinking about how the site can work better, and handling interpersonal issues that come up on the side, and appointing moderators, and -- well, these days, running elections for moderators and um, just a grab bag full of stuff. Juan, what do you do here?
Juan: Well, thanks for asking, Jon. I am also a Community Manager. I manage a team here internally, and we're looking at our international sites or international Stack Overflow sites; for those of you who don't know, we do have a Japanese, a Russian, a Portuguese and a Spanish site for developers and coders from all over the world to come and ask questions, to learn, share, and grow; this is a place for them to, not only get answers to questions, [they have] built a community to get to know other developers who are interested in the same things that they are. I've also taken a look at the sites for our Stack Exchange network, which is all of our communities that are not Stack Overflow, which is a lot, it's over 170. And so, I'm taking a look at those communities as well, [seeing] about different ways to continue to engage our users, to bring value to these communities, to grow them as well, and so, these are two things that I'm currently in charge of right now. And, that brings me to: why we are doing this podcast?
Jon: Ah, good question.
Juan: This is a collaboration between us all. What we are interested in as Community Managers is people who are wanting to grow and mature our communities and the relationships between our users. We want people to know not just about the site, but we want them to know about the inside. The inside stuff. The inside scoop, so to speak. The meta of it all. And so, we thought it'd be a good idea to have some topics and be able to discuss these things and be able to talk about them in a candid way. And so, let me start off with you, Jon. What are some goals that you would have for this podcast?
Jon: Um, so, I kinda go back in time. I was part of Stack Overflow in the beginning and one of the things that happened was Joel and Jeff built the website basically by posting stuff on their blogs and then reading the comments and then later on they went and did something like UserVoice, which is a feedback thing. And, so, some of you may remember, way back in the prehistory, basically, of the site, there was this UserVoice thing. And one of the things I wrote, a bit of feedback, I asked for a place to have meta discussion. I didn't think UserVoice was the right place. I wanted somewhere where people could talk about the site. And that was part of the reason we ended up with Meta Stack Overflow, initially.
Abby: So it's your fault.
Jon: It's my fault, in part.
Juan: It's on record, Jon. You can't take it back.
Jon: It is on record; if you go back to the blog post that announces it, my little UserVoice thing was quoted there, which was kind-of a surprise, I hadn't realized Jeff had paid any attention to that. And that's part of the reason that we have meta, right? It's because we want to give people the idea that we're paying attention to them. And that's been hard, right? As the site has grown, as our company has grown, it's been harder and harder to give people that sense of feedback. So this is, I think, a piece of that puzzle, this podcast.
Juan: Yeah, that's good. Abby, do you have any goals for this podcast that you'd like to share?
Abby: For sure. This is one link in a chain of -- initiatives is a generous term -- thing that I'd like to see do that that I call "share early, share often". We have this kind-of "default public" policy both internally and externally, which loosely stated means that if there is no good reason to keep something internal or secret or whatever -- no financials, no personal information or whatever -- we should let people see it; we should let people know what's happening. And I think something that we've gotten a little scared of over the last couple years, as a company, and also in our team, is doing that, is sharing things early and often, even when we might be wrong about something. Just sharing "let's chat about this thing, and see if it's worth talking about or not". We're a little bit afraid of people saying "oh, they're going to do it!" or "oh, that's a terrible idea and they're going to do it and I hate it!" or whatever, instead of just having a conversation about what's important, what our values are, what we think we might need to do, what direction we might want to go in, and letting more people from the community and the company be part of those conversations. So that's kind of the "share early, share often" campaign that I hold near and dear to my heart. And I see this as a really good opportunity to just informally, not really trying to get a message out there, but just show people, what is it like when we get on a Hangout together and talk about whatever's on our mind, whatever the issue of the day is. Like the really early early Stack Overflow podcast, literally just record our Hangout meeting, as we're trying to wrestle something through, or figure out what to do next. And I really love that idea, I hope the people who listen to it -- if they listen to it -- really like that too.
[skip to 10:52]
Juan: So hey, real quick, what would be your favorite site in our network?
Abby: Oh ho ho ho, that is a loaded question.
Juan: It is a loaded question. Ok so here let's make this easier. What would be one of your top 10 sites?
Abby: That's a little better. I got one on the tip of my tongue—top of my mind actually. So I run internally a weekly segment. We send out a little fireside chat to all the employees of the company that's got updates and news and there's a weekly segment on it called the "Question of the Week". And I go around the network or I take suggestions for a cool question that been asked recently that's a good example of what that site's about. You know, it's upvoted, it's not closed, it's got interesting answers and good conversation. Maybe presenting a couple of different perspectives. And I always find myself going to Worldbuilding for that segment. I have to go back in my notes and say "Oh wait. I did a Worldbuilding one last week, so I can't go there this week. Fine. I'll try, you know, some other cool site that has interesting information." And I'll try to switch off technical and nontechnical. But I always go back to Worldbuilding. Man, there are so creative and curious and there are just the questions that get asked there even are like, man, I don't know if anyone could possibly answer that. And then I eat my hat or stick my foot in my mouth 'cause I scroll down and there's 70 great answers with really good ideas and theories. So I always have a good time when I go over there.
Juan: Alright, so one of the top ten for Abby is Wordbuilding. Jon, what about you?
Jon: Well, so, there is one site on the network that will always have my heart and that is the Biblical Hermeneutics site.
Jon: I don't know how many people know this, but I was a beta user on Stack Overflow, and then I quit. I was like, "uh, I've had enough of this. Voting is terrible, because there is all these awful incentives and it makes people write stuff, that's, you know, [not] high quality", and I was like "this is lame, I'm quitting this site."
And then I kinda got sucked back in a little bit with the Philosophy site, because I thought that was fun for a few months. And then, someone had proposed, on Area 51, a Biblical Hermeneutics site, and I love doing Bible studies, I have one every week, in fact -- on Thursday nights. And, um, so I love doing it and that site just captured my imagination and I decided I was gonna be the top user on that site; I was gonna totally become the very best Bible interpreter on that site, and I went for it and I eventually became a moderator, and so, that is easily my favorite site.
I've left so many questions and answers on that site that I'm constantly getting pinged from these old things I wrote. Right around this time of year, this is just before Christmas when we are recording, there are questions that relate to the Christmas story that I asked and I get answers to them, which is great -- it's a lot of fun to see that people are still engaged with my content from years ago.
Juan: Yeah, that's pretty awesome. So, we've got Worldbuilding, Biblical Hermeneutics, that's great.
Abby: Yeah, what's yours, Juan?
Juan: Mine is, I mean, near and dear to my heart will always be Stack Overflow en español, that's my baby right there, I love that site. And so, for those of you who don't know, I came to Stack Overflow with the intention and for the purpose of building that site, of creating it, you know, managing it. The site has graduated, it's doing well, I think it's in the Top 5 of our network's sites. It's moving, and, you know, for good reason, right? There's so many people who speak Spanish, and yeah, it's great. So, that's a site I really really like; I will always visit it, even if I don't understand. I'm a little more like Abby than I am Jon here, in this regard. The technical stuff tends to baffle me, so I use crayons all the time. I'm asking Jon to bring his crayons, just so, you know, for my sake. But yeah, I'm using crayons all the time, that's right. I try to read as much as I can, I'm really hanging out more on the Meta site of that community anyway.
But yeah, it's just really good, people are people -- [no] matter what the topic is, we're going to be able to find something in common and work together to build a stronger community.
Jon: So, when the Spanish site graduated, did you purchase a "mission accomplished" banner to put behind your...
Juan: (sighs) No... I didn't.
Abby: How do you say that in Spanish, though?
Juan: What? "Mission accomplished"?
Abby: Yeah, yeah.
Jon: That's a good point.
Juan: ¡Misión cumplida!
Abby: There you go.
Juan: Misión cumplida. No, I didn't. What I did, I had some posters made that we distributed, and we put them up in universities and things, advertising the site like "hey, we're here!", you know, "come learn how to code, get your answers to the questions that you've got", and-- so yeah, we did that, but now there wasn't anything. As a matter of fact, I did get -- uh -- a little "hacky-sack" Jon laughs from a user. Yeah, a little. I mean that's how I used to call it.
Jon: Yeah! So--
Juan: Yeah! It's a little ba-- Yeah! It has a little smiley face on it, for the colors of the sun (which is yellow). So this thing has been with me for (yeah) many years.
Abby: I love that. I hope the user is, uh, listening out there knows there is a meaningful little smiley face that guy gave.
Juan: Me too. Me too. Me too.
Juan: Well, awesome. Well -- well, as we continue talking about this, your podcast, um, are we in competition with anyone? Do you guys feel we are going to riffle any feathers? With the content we will be creating?
Abby: Our -- our podcast, you mean?
Juan: Yeah, our podcast.
Abby: Uh, I can imagine us rifling Jaydle [Jay Hanlon]'s -- Jaydles's feathers because he would like to -- he would like to be Juan laughs invited on our podcast, and as we know inaudible. Uh, once he gets wind of this, he might be jealous that we didn't invite him on. Maybe we should invite him on.
Juan: Maybe we should. Maybe he could be a guest--
Abby: There we go. We could have him as a guest, Joel, David-- the whole Stack Overflow podcast gang. We could say, hey, look, come hang out over here. It's a lot easier, takes a lot less time.
Juan: It really is. Abby laughs It really is.
Abby: That's what I'm most excited about.
Juan: What about you [Jon]? Can you think of any?
Jon: Uh, I don't think Cereal is quaking in their boots right now because, um, Jon laughs. I-- our audience is going to be much smaller, and, um, that's fine because we have a very specific group of people that, uh, we want to talk to and that's our super engaged users.
Juan: Yeah, you know, they're often moderators or very heavily involved in moderator activities on other sites. You know, all sorts of our sites. So, those are the folks I really want to talk to, and I can give up being a famous podcaster if we're able to, uh, to talk to the people we want to talk to and hear from them. And, hopefully that's you, that we're talking to.
Abby: Yeah, yeah.
Abby: I think that the peak potential audience for us in this podcast I would put it around 700 people, maybe. Y'know, thinking of moderators around the network and a few other folks. Y'know, not going for broad interest here; we are going for indepth, curious about what we talk about, what we're thinking about, what might be coming down the pike, or whatever. We want to give that insight and hear from you. Maybe, I think. What you would like us to touch on? Are you curious about-- what we have been weirdly cagey about, and maybe we can provide some insight into. Maybe we can't also, you know, no promises.
Juan: Yeah, yeah.
Abby: Yeah, that's what we're really going for, that's what I'd like.
Juan: Yeah, that's also--
Juan: the reason-- go ahead Jon.
Jon: Also, I hope my mom will listen.
Juan: Yeah, yeah!
Jon and Juan laugh
Jon: 801, 801!
Juan: Right. Yeah, yeah. Jon chuckles
Juan: You got to get your mom proud. You gotta make Mom proud. So, the reason why I'm asking if we have any kind of enemies, or if you see any of that coming is that-- any of that coming down-- is because we don't want to get in the way of our advertisers, right, and the big bucks are going to be paying us to produce the show.
Jon: Oh, yeah, that too.
Juan: And so, we don't want to have a conflict of interest here, and we really want to keep things as tight as we can. And so, I know we have a few advertisers that are already coming in, and, uh, Jon is the one who responds to these,
Juan: Jon, do we have any of those?
Jon: Yeah, um, we did get a big truck of money that came and backed up with that inaudible word. And it was from the Ask a Question Wizard, and the reason they're advertising right now is because it's a new initiative. Well, we've been working on it for a while, but it's finally going into testing, and send it to new users, about half of the new users, who ask a question will see this, and it's a guided way of asking a question instead of getting this box with nothing in it, and you have to fill an "Okay, what's my title? Okay, what are my tags?". This is a guided approach, and it goes through a step-by-step process you think replicates the way questions are asked on the site. And hopefully, we'll have questions. Anyway, Ask a Question Wizard, we spent a lot of money to get it going, little inaudible. Might as well say it, Juan or Abby laughs that's it. Truck full of money, that's good.
Juan: We need pictures, or it didn't happen.
Jon: Yeah, I think we got a tonka truck, and it Juan laughs was handy, but it was a truck full of money, so--
Abby: It was technically a truck full of money.
Juan: It was a tonka truck with the--
Jon: With the--
Juan: Chocolate. With the chocolate coins coming down to the--
Abby: To the right! Yeah!
Jon: Yeah, those are the best.
Juan: Those are expensive though Jon laughs! Have you ever got one? They are actually very expensive! And awful! They taste terrible!
Jon and Juan start laughing
Jon and Juan start talking at the same time, making the audio inaudible
Juan: We need to rework the contract a little bit, yeah Jon starts laughing.
Jon: Instead of just vaguely saying "truck-loads of money", we may actually need a dollar next time.
Abby: We may only--
Abby: specify that we want dollars and not--
Jon, Juan, Abby: Hmm, yeah.
Jon: It's true laughs
Juan: Yeah, we'll need to talk to marketing about that.
Juan: Well, with that, let's end our first episode. Thank you so much for watching, for joining us and listening today. We do look forward to hearing from you; we're gonna have more announcements and more features coming up in the future. Hope to see you in the next episode!
Jon: Yeah, looking forward to it.
Abby: Sounds great, thank y'all! Bye gang!
exit music starts