#CMmeetup 5/17 – Content & Community w/ Kickstarter & Skillshare

What you are about to read is a recap of the Community Managers Meetup in NYC, held at HQ. We put the time and effort into creating an educational (and hopefully entertaining) post for anyone that can’t make it to the event. Because of the awesome information contained in these posts, they tend to be a bit long, but totally worth it in our opinion. If you enjoy them, please keep checking back and if you don’t, you can blame me. Let’s get to it!

CMmeetupKickstarter “is a platform for funding creative ideas and ambitious endeavors. It is funded by an all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands. Projects include films, music, albums, and consumer products.” And it’s awesome. Tuesday night, the lovely duo of Daniella Jaeger and Meaghan O’Connell from Kickstarter’s Community Team gave a brief presentation covering the basics of Kickstarter and how their Community Team is essential to their success.

Key fact: Which project raised the highest amount on Kickstarter? The iPod Nano watch case (over $930,0000). The lowest? A “mixtape” containing a rare whale sound, which was actually solely backed by @Piztachio ($5).

Kickstarter currently has a team of 22, 9 of which are dedicated to community. I found this to be an impressive number and a testament to the company culture. The Community Team wears many different hats, and approaches their role as being the most enthusiastic backers, or “the ideal user.” Their responsibilities include assisting creators with proposal development, curating interesting content, planning editorial, managing the social media channels, providing stelar customer service (handled by 6 of the 9 team members) and backer outreach. Daniella made sure to emphasize the importance of customer service, specifically creating a personalized experience for backers and starters alike, an awesome lesson that applies to any organization.

Sit back and enjoy this sweet Kickstarter video: Kickstarter Montage

Meaghan also said something early on that was very interesting and really stuck with me, she said “creators build communities.” Chew on that for a moment. Think about it, if Kickstarter does not attract creators, then they cannot build their community. In fact, without creators, there is no community. This is why the Community Team believes it is critically important to provide excellent support to creators and do their best to help interested backers find them. Daniella referred to this act as “creating serendipity” or the idea that with personalized, thoughtful outreach, they can help match creators with relevant backers.

It’s paying off. Since it’s inception in 2009, Kickstarter has successfully launched 20,000 projects with the help of an astounding 600,000 backers (I’m one of them!). Remember, the creators build the community. Meaghan and Daniella also highlighted the fact that many creators become repeat creators. Why is this? It’s simple – creators felt connected. This connection lead to a positive (and successful) experience, which in turn lead to them becoming champions of the platform. Brand loyalty at it’s finest.

Just how many projects meet their goal? About 43%, and projects that met their goal usually ended up exceeding it by about 125%. Impressive.

Seems to me like Kickstarter might have some staying power if it keeps up these numbers. We wish them all the best!

Next up was Danya Cheskis-Gold, the bright new Community Manager for Skillshare, a disruptive educational platform that allows anyone to teach classes on anything.

Feast your eyes on this sweet Skillshare video: Let’s Start a Learning Revolution

Danya mentioned she had just started and described her current content strategy for us. It looks a little something like like this:

  • Skillshare Blog
  • Vimeo page
  • Kickstarter curated page
  • Flickr page
  • Twitter (two accounts, main and service)
  • Facebook page
  • Facebook comments integrated into Skillshare website

At first glance, this seems like one heck of a strategy to manage every day but for most community managers, it’s just another day in the life. Danya was upfront with all of us and shared one of her biggest challenges: simply organizing this strategy. I couldn’t agree more. Organization is key and a daily routine needs to be implemented to stay on top of each element. Have an organizational tip for Danya? Please feel free to share in the comments below. She will be super grateful, we promise.

Lastly, the impressively creative Dave Brown shared his recommended sites for great content and some useful tools. Do check them out as they are guaranteed to make you smarter and cooler (Description of each link courtesy of Dave himself. Free of charge. Enjoy):

Turntable Kitchen | Connecting Food + Music [My San Francisco pal Kasey and her husband Matt whip up recipes and pair them with songs that go great with the dish. Genius.]

10 Answers. | Daily Answers From Creative Minds. [My friend Rebecca lives in NYC and puts together this weekly blog where she asks 10 questions to interesting peeps. It’s a goldmine of inspiration.]

The 99 Percent – It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. [Just follow these guys. You’ll be better off for it. #duh]

Pulse News Reader for iPhone/iPad [One of my favorite mobile readers! I check this every morning before work to find out what’s going on with the sites and blogs I dig most. Great if you’re a visual person like me. It’s free for all devices (mobile, ipad, etc) and Holiday Matinee is a featured website!]

Behance Outfitter :: Products and Tools for Creative Professionals [There’s no denying my love of Behance. I’m reading Scott’s book right now, have ordered a bunch of these notebooks and couldn’t feel stronger about organizing the creative world.]

PSFK [I’m not a huge fan of their design but the content is great for keeping up with latest trends. Plus, my buddy Kyle works there and he’s legit.]

Twilk | Put your Twitter followers on your background [This would be really cool to try out on your blog or brands’ Twitter background. Puts your community front and center.]

TweetBeep – Twitter alerts [Free and easy to set up. If you’re a freelance social media pro, be sure to hook this up for your clients.]

Twilert – Twitter alerts via email [Another free and easy to use tracking tool. It’s like Google Alerts for social media.]

Mail Chimp Social Media Guide [Mail Chimp has great emails and customer service but often overlooked are their awesome guides.

Hope you found this post helpful! Be sure to join the group and meet us out at the next one!


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About the author

Nick Rovisa

I'm a digital account executive with Ruder Finn in NYC. I find pleasure in connecting with new people and brainstorming innovative ideas. I don't claim to know everything, but I do occasionally organize my thoughts and post them on my blog should you be interested in reading them. I'm also a self-proclaimed foodie and a professional appreciator of design. Other things that interest me are (in no particular order): sports, logos and branding, music, technology, documentaries, deep conversations, and online activism.


Great recap, Nick! We're lucky to have you at the meetup connecting with others and taking notes to share the content with others who are unable to attend. I'm excited to continue our IRL discussions online.


Those of us who aren't in NYC thank you for the detailed recap :) We can live vicariously...


Nice thorough write-up! I definitely thought the site recommendations at the end of the meetup were an added bonus -- great to have them written down online.


  1. […] leveled the playing field, challenged us to be more creative in our marketing, and roughly 43% of the time, you’re funding our dreams. Yes, this makes me incredibly happy and the world is better off […]