Last night I attended a talk by Seema Lakhani, on the topic of “I am a product”, where she discussed how product management techniques and principles can be applied to turning yourself into a marketable product. It was not just about how to promote yourself, but it was also about how to figure out what you are passionate about and what problems you enjoy solving. Ultimately the big question everyone should ask themselves is: What are you trying to achieve and how will you know you have succeeded?”.
This got me thinking about how one can use their contribution to online communities to build themselves as a product.
There are many entrepreneurs who are a one person show, and do not get to always showcase their talent, knowledge, and wittiness on a daily basis unless directly working with a client; and this is where the communities are a great outlet for them. It gives them an avenue to share their expertise, connect with others, learn and even establish relationships with others in the community, but most importantly it allows community participants to be a product and a brand.
I have always enjoyed posts from Steve Molis, who is a significant contributor to the Success Community but also a legend in the Salesforce user community. He is beyond knowledgeable on all things Salesforce but he is also incredibly helpful and funny.
He has been able to achieve exactly what Seema was talking about, where he found a problem he enjoys solving and has found a greater purpose and success in the process. In addition, his personality and his knack for comedy shines through most of his posts even when he is talking about not so funny formulas and multi-picklist fields. This photo on the right frequently appears in his posts and the humor is always there to cheer you up as you are working through a hard problem, see below.
It is also truly great that participation in communities and other social networks are able to contribute to the greater good of the humanity. Perhaps you don’t have time to build houses for the poor or volunteer at a soup kitchen, but maybe all it takes is helping out someone with a line or two of code to help them secure a roof over their head and have a bowl of soup for dinner.
We take ourselves too seriously sometimes, and I will be the first to admit that. We are so focused on showing the polished, professional and put-together facet of ourselves that we forget we are all human and that human side of us often shines brighter. We have all the tools and avenues to share our product and help others. I dare you to show your human side!
If you are interested in reading further on this topic here are some additional ways as prescribed by Sujan Patel, an expert in digital marketing, on how to build your brand using social media.