23-24 november 2020

Interview with keynote speaker Jono Bacon

Jono Bacon (i mitten) med sitt team på Ubuntu.
Foto: "Community Wranglers" av Jono Bacon
Jono Bacon (i mitten) med sitt team på Ubuntu.

In a way, “community manager” sounds like an oxymoron. After all, communities are groups of peers getting together to further a common cause, right? But of course large communities need structure, processes and, yes, management. And no one has covered this subject better than Jono Bacon, community manager at Canonical where he oversees the community for Canonical’s Linux distribution Ubuntu.

Jono Bacon wrote the book on community management. He arranges an annual conference about it. In his day job he handles a community with several hundred thousand contributors. And he is coming to the Internet Days this November.

– I am going to be speaking about the evolution of community collaboration and best practice and how this evolution has brought fundamental technical and social change around the world, he says.

– This will be illustrated with many examples, stories, and anecdotes from community success (and in some cases, disaster) stories.

Ubuntu is the kind of product that one almost instantly associates with a vibrant user community – a free, open-source Linux distribution that “belongs” as much to the users as to the vendor. The situation is a bit different in the commercial world, where the most significant relationship usually is money flowing from users to vendors, but corporations have realized that they too need to build user communities. Jono Bacon has consulted about community management for a number of commercial organizations, including e.g. IBM, Intel and Deutsche Bank.

– There is always a delicate balance when building communities with a commercial stakeholder or steward. Fundamentally, all communities are built on a platform of clearly defined expectations, governance, and collaboration. If the remit and focus of the commercial entity is clearly defined this can result in a symbiotic relationship between non-commercial stakeholders.

However, this relationship requires care and feeding: these expectations will change over time, particularly if the commercial entity experiences significant growth. A generational shift in the user community can be another difficult challenge, or the brand has to evolve in response to market changes.

– This is why community management is so important; to help balance these changes and help the different pieces fit together.

We are happy to be able to welcome Jono Bacon back to Sweden – this will not be his first visit here.

– I was fortunate enough to visit Lund and stay in beautiful near-by Malmö as part of some consultancy I was providing over there. Within hours of getting to Sweden I had already fallen in love with the country; the people, architecture, cuisine, and culture was wonderful to see and experience.


Keynote: 26 November, 9.00

Topic: Community Collaboration

Web: www.jonobacon.org

Work: Ubuntu Community Manager at Canonical

Book: The Art of Community