What Golang UK Taught Me About Community

A little over a week ago, I had the awesome opportunity of representing Mailjet as a sponsor at Golang UK in London.

Being a huge advocate of Go, we were very excited about this opportunity to participate in the conference. I had often heard and read a lot of good things about Go, but attending Golang UK was a good opportunity to rub shoulders with experts (speakers included Mat Ryer, author of Go Programming Blueprints and Francesc Campoy, Senior Developer Advocate at Google, definitely someone you can’t miss if you’re into Go)  and listen to real-life use cases. The talks covered topics ranging from Concurrency Patterns, Memory Allocation to Building APIs.

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Source: Golang UK / Matthew Joseph
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Source: Golang UK / Matthew Joseph

Community with a capital C

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V1.5 had just been released the day before the event, so it was very timely to be meeting fellow Go enthusiasts and developers to discuss offline.

As soon as I arrived to the Brewery where the conference was held, I was pleasantly surprised by a large number of gophers – over 250 attendees. This is an especially successful turnout if you consider the context of it being the middle of August in Europe (designated month for vacation).  

As I mentioned earlier, I was curious to learn more about how these experts use the language in their day-to-day. After speaking with quite a few attendees, I realized a lot of gophers here used Go creatively to start or improve on their side projects outside of work. This is great and definitely something you don’t often see.

Damian Gryski, Developer at Booking.com delivered the closing keynote, going in depth  about the Go community. Damian had a lot to share about it as he is an hyperactive member of the community. You’ve probably met him if you’ve ever wandered onto the #golang feed on Twitter or Reddit.

Along the way, Damian posed an interesting question: “should we talk about the community or communities?”. The rising number of social channels, apps and online and offline developer communities have made these relationships more accessible but at the same time, more fragmented. The sum of these smaller communities like your local Go meetup or Slack channel doesn’t equal the whole. The knowledge being shared in these smaller pockets doesn’t always get through to the greater community, resulting in a skewed view of the Golang world. There’s an opportunity here to bridge these smaller communities.

Finding a solution

From there, how do we get involved and communicating  as one big “gopher” community?

To start, you can write and share code. It’s a good way to enrich the language, and other developers will benefit from your pre-written code. By experimenting with the technology, you might also end up using it in a different way than was expected when it was first created. With Go for example, creating a path different from Google’s trail can bring a lot of new innovation.

Next, writing content is another great way to contribute. Share problems you’ve run into and how you’ve successfully resolved them. People love use cases. But, don’t just stop at success stories. Highlighting mistakes or limitations can also be helpful for potential adopters.

Last but not least, get involved in the development of the technology. You can do that by reporting bugs in the most user friendly way possible. Also participate in betas and release candidates so you can contribute first hand to improving the experience.

Finally, don’t restrict yourself to just thinking about “wouldn’t it be cool if a package did this…?”.  Try building it yourself and share it with the world.

Innovating Together

Encouraging people to contribute is great, but  bridging the gap between “communities” and “the community” will take more than just that. We want to expose Go to and educate people of different experience levels and backgrounds in order to generate fresh perspectives and ideas. This will enable Go to live outside of Google.

At Golang UK, Damian took the example of a community survey about Development Platforms used with the Go installer.

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Source: Grokbase

 

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Source: Google Trends
 

Differences empower communities. Golang is extremely active in creating an open environment to encourage individuals of all experience levels and backgrounds to code – especially commonly underrepresented minority groups. They have multiple touch points for people to get involved, building conversation on their Slack channel, Google+ group and mailing list. Last but not least, they even have a Go tutorial videos, talks about Go and a calendar of events related to Go. As Woman Who Go said at a previous conference, “Go must be open. Go needs you. Go needs everyone!”

Flight School Friday: Why Buying an Email List Is Not a Short Cut

When you’re just starting out, you want to feel as if you are doing all that you can to grow your customer base. Stories like Harry’s gathering 100,000 email sign ups in one week are inspiring, but can also send you frantically searching Google with keywords such as “how can I grow my contact list overnight?”.  Of all the growth hacks you might come across, buying an email list might seem like the quickest guarantee to a booming email audience. But remember – no valuable relationship can ever be bought. Think of your friendships, built on shared memories and private jokes, common interests and trust. You need to invest time and effort in growing these, and the same applies to customer relationships.

Buying an Email List Can Hurt Your Sender and Company Reputation

Imagine you’ve bought a list. You have all these email addresses at your fingertips. However, it’s likely these contacts have had their addresses mined from the web by spambots and are probably already being bombarded by other buyers. Even if they haven’t put filters in place, it won’t take much for them to send your email flying straight from the inbox into the SPAM folder.

Buyable email lists are also likely to include SPAM traps – email addresses set up by by ISPs to catch spammers. There are many types of SPAM traps but they typically fall into two larger categories – recycled spam traps and pure spam traps. A recycled trap is an email address that is repurposed after a long period of inactivity, whereas a pure spam trap is an address created by the ISP.

 

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However they are generated, SPAM complaints can greatly damage your sender reputation. Initially, your deliverability will be affected, and when your reputation drops below a certain threshold, you may have to face consequences such as your IP address being blacklisted or legal action.

Another consequence is the damage to your company reputation. Web forums and social media networks are the perfect vectors for the transmission of the deadly message that you are a spammer. To paraphrase the old adage, it takes a lot of work to build up a reputation and only a few unhappy customers to demolish it.

Organic Relationships Take Hard Work

There are many ways to grow your customer base organically,  some of them quicker than others, but ultimately there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Always test, track and compare your campaigns to improve engagement. A good first step you should always consider is to promote your email program through all of your other marketing channels.

Social. Encourage social media followers to subscribe using Twitter lead gen cards. Add a sign up button to your Facebook page and CTAs to your Youtube videos.

Website. Add opt-in widgets to your blog pieces. Offer subscribers access to exclusive resources, such as a free eBook. Leverage social proof by showing how many subscribers there are to your newsletter and emphasizing this on your website, blog and landing pages.

Offline. Ensure that your print materials, including pamphlets and business cards, draw attention to your email program and the benefits of subscribing.

 

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You can even have your email list grow itself. Make your emails shareable with referral incentives, cross-pollination with social media, and of course – quality content. Readers will normally share content they find interesting and useful, driving wider exposure to your brand through WOM.

Buying an email list may seem like an easy shortcut, but your customer base can grow just as quickly using these organic methods. The hard work will pay off in the long-term, as you’re building a relationship with your customer based on understanding, mutual interest and, most importantly – trust.

Definitely the way to go for avoiding turbulence on your journey to long-term success.

 

Do you have any tips for growing your customer base organically? If you have a brilliant piece of advice to share with the Mailjet community, leave a comment below!