Joining the Slack Community

Contributing to the Blog

Hosting a Meetup

Speaking at a Meetup

Joining the Community

We are thrilled you have decided to join our data community. We have a growing Slack community where current and aspiring analytics leaders discuss and share lessons and challenges from their experience working with data. It’s a great place to start building your brain trust!

If you have not already, please reach out to ask for an invite to our Slack group. In your email, please tell us a little bit about yourself and why you’re interested in joining our data community.

Participating in the Slack Community

In general, we trust that the Locally Optimistic community will behave in ways that they believe are appropriate. The guidelines below are intended to help steer you in the right direction and to promote organic growth and discussion.

Everyone

  • Read our code of conduct. We expect everyone to adhere to these requirements and we will not tolerate harassment or intolerant behavior. 
  • Enter your full name (this community will work best if we are all real humans), but feel free to add a custom “display name”
  • Add a headline in the “what I do” box (can be “title @ company” or anything that helps people know who they are chatting with)
  • Add a profile photo
  • Introduce yourself in the #introductions channel

Vendors

We appreciate having individuals who build and sell data tools as part of our community. It’s incredibly valuable for our data community both to find about new tools and solutions, and to be able to provide feedback that helps shape those tools to really solve their problems. We want folks contributing to our discussions and engaging, regardless of their employer, but also to ensure that LO is still primarily a place where discussions do not begin with a vendor agenda – so we have specific guidelines for our members who represent data vendors.

What is a vendor? 

  • We use “vendor” as shorthand to refer to community members who represent a company that sells products and/or services primarily to data teams or data team members. Regardless of your role within the company, please err on the side of being overly cautious when it comes to your approach to communicating about your own tool or direct competitors.  Vendors include employees of SaaS companies, consultants, freelancers, etc.
  • A vendor is still a community member. We hope that outside of conversations about your own tool or competitors, you feel empowered to fully engage with the community. 

Do:

  • Keep the tone civil, always. 
  • Note your vendor affiliation in your Slack name (e.g. Jane Doe @ Vendor Co.) so that those reading your commentary can understand your potentially biased position. If in doubt about whether you represent a vendor, err on the side of transparency.
  • When a community member mentions a problem that your product could help with, wait at least one full business day for the community to discuss and offer opinions before hopping in to introduce yourself and your tool.
  • Feel empowered to create #tools-toolname channel and announce it once in #general to allow interested users to opt into conversation related to your tool. We appreciate publicly searchable conversation, so this is preferable to having one-off conversations in DMs. 
  • Share content and events freely in #vendor-content.

Don’t:

  • Directly private-message someone about your product without being asked.
  • Contact someone outside of the Slack channel (e.g., handing their contact info to your sales team).
  • Comment on a competitors’ technology aside from comparing specific nuances and differences. Simply saying “alpha is bad” or “gamma is better” would violate this guideline
  • If content is hosted on a vendor website, it should definitely go in the #vendor-content or specific #tools-channel.
  • Promote your own product outside #vendor-content or your specific #tools- channel unless a community member has asked a question directly about it. If someone asks what tools solve a certain problem, a vendor could say “the big three service providers are alpha, beta, and gamma — I work at gamma so I’m biased toward that one. If you want to discuss more about the details, hope into #tools-toolname.” Do not simply post “you should check out gamma”. Though of course this should be posted after one full business day (see rule above).

Solicitation

This community is built for data practitioners to discuss the work that they do, the ideas that they have, and the things that they are learning. It is not intended to be lead generation for vendors or recruiters. It is not appropriate to directly reach out to community members to recruit them for a role. You may post a JD in the #jobs channel and invite interested candidates to reach out to you directly.

Reach Out to the Admins

If you observe anyone violating these rules or guidelines (or you just see something that makes you uncomfortable or you believe is hurting the community) please reach out to an admin (@scott, @michael, @ilan, @sam swift, or @caitlin moorman) and we’ll address it. You can also send us an email. And, of course, we expect that we will need to continuously evolve as a community, so joining the #communityrules channel is a great place to participate if you have thoughts on how we can make the community better.

Contributing to the Locally Optimistic Blog

We are very excited to publish blog posts from current and future data leaders on LocallyOptimistic.

A few ground rules:

  • The editorial team at LocallyOptimistic has the final word on what content gets posted. We reserve the right to reject any post for any reason at any time.
  • We do not publish posts that are designed to promote a specific product or service.
  • We do not compensate authors.
  • We do not take compensation for publishing (no payola).

If you have an idea for a post you would like to write, reach out to someone from the editorial team on Slack, and we will add you to a post-specific channel, where we will collaborate with you to prepare your post for publication. Here is the process:

  1. Review our licensing policies and make sure you’re okay with licensing your content under our rules.
  2. Create a shared google doc with your content and ask for a review in the channel for your post. The editorial team at LocallyOptimistic will review your post within one week and request changes.

    We will give critical feedback on your post — but our goal is for you to publish something of super high quality that will be a long term reference for our community – the feedback will all be constructive. We can give feedback early in the writing process if you want more structural feedback, or later if you prefer to share a more finished product.

    Please refer to our style guide for specific style statements.
  3. Once you have made all of the requested changes, we will mutually determine a publish date and will walk you through the process of requesting a custom illustration for the post.
  4. We will invite you to WordPress as a contributor, where you will create and schedule the final version of your post.

If you want to workshop post ideas, we have a channel for that in the Slack group at #blog. If you have other questions or concerns, please reach out on Slack.

Hosting a Locally Optimistic Meetup

We host periodic events and welcome community participation. Some of our best events have come from ideas from the community. LO events are highly interactive, and we encourage community members to both ask questions and provide their own points of view within the conversation. The events are fairly small in terms of attendance – we usually have 10-40 folks show up in real time, and more folks watch after the fact. This is helpful in facilitating interactivity, and makes hosting a great public speaking opportunity for those who may have less experience.

If you are interested in hosting, it is helpful to attend or watch videos from a few events to understand how they usually go.

A few ground rules:

  • Only Tool Talk events allow speakers to promote a specific product or service.
  • We do not compensate speakers or hosts.
  • We do not take compensation for hosting events.
  • All events are recorded and posted on our events page.

If you want to host:

  1. Reach out to someone from the admin team on Slack with your event idea.
  2. Align with the admin team member on topic, potential panel members, and a 1-2 week range when the event should be scheduled. Diversity of our speakers is very important to us, so please note that if you propose a panel without members of under-represented groups, we are unlikely to approve the panel without changes.
  3. Reach out to panel members individually to gauge interest.
  4. Once host and panelists are confirmed, the admin team member will invite you to a meetup planning channel. Start a thread to align on specific date and time with the panelists and admin rep.
  5. Once date is finalized, share the date, the list of panelists, and a short description of the talk with the admin member. They will add it to the event calendar and announce in #virtual-events.
  6. Host is responsible for refining the topic and sharing questions ahead of the event with the panelists. If you would like to market the event outside the #virtual-events channel (in a channel more closely related to the topic, for example), you are welcome to. You are also welcome to share it outside Locally Optimistic.
  7. While moderating the event, please ensure that you are guiding the panel to equitable participation, and ensuring that no panelist dominates the conversation. Leave time for attendees to ask questions or answer questions posed during the conversation as well.

Tool Talks

Tool Talks are educational events that allow our community to learn more about up and coming data products. We love giving folks an opportunity to learn about the diversity of tools available in the marketplace, but are very protective of Locally Optimistic’s tool agnostic viewpoint and lack of solicitation.

The guidelines for tool talks are designed to encourage that balance:

  • Hosts will give a ~20 minute talk or demo within a 60 minute total session. The majority of the time should be dedicated to community-generated questions.
  • Hosts should plan to bring an actual product user or two so attendees can ask them questions as well – no need for the users to prepare or present, just another brain to pick during Q&A to get real world input.
  • Of course, the existing community rules about vendors apply – please don’t DM attendees afterward or engage in any behavior otherwise discouraged above.

If you are interested in hosting a tool talk:

  • Reach out to someone from the admin team on Slack. We will consider whether your product is an overall fit for the tool talk program. We are more likely to approve tool talks from founders who have already demonstrated real engagement with the community, outside of simple vendor promotion.
  • We will propose a potential date range, and collaborate on a specific date/time. We limit the number of Tool Talks scheduled, so at times this date will be several months in the future.
  • The vendor host will be responsible for coordinating attendance of their user attendees.
  • LO admins will promote the event in the #virtual-events channel. Hosts can promote the event in the #tools-XX channel dedicated to their product, in the #vendor-content channel, and in external channels.

Speaking at a Locally Optimistic Meetup

We host periodic events that feature our members as speakers. The events are fairly small in terms of attendance – we usually have 10-40 folks show up in real time, and more folks watch after the fact. This is helpful in facilitating interactivity, and makes hosting a great public speaking opportunity for those who may have less experience.

If you have been invited to speak at a meetup, here is what to expect:

  • We do not compensate speakers or hosts.
  • All events are recorded and posted on our events page.
  • Speakers can choose to identify their current employer, or not if they prefer to represent their own point of view only.
  • Hosts will share potential questions with speakers several days in advance of the event. These are a starting point, but our event conversations are quite organic and the topics will likely evolve throughout the conversation.

If you have been invited to speak but are wondering if you are qualified, the answer is likely yes. We do not expect our panelists to be THE expert on the topic. Our meetups are very conversational, and it’s fully expected that topics will come up that don’t have good answers. You may even end up asking attendees for their input or ideas. The intention isn’t for you to come in with a fully baked solution, but rather to bring an interesting perspective and questions so we as a community can take a thoughtful approach to exploring the topic together.

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