Priorities for 2022

Here’s a belated welcome to 2022. I’m writing this from my standing desk, nursing a fresh bout of sciatica brought on by yesterday’s massive snowfall, and my subsequent shoveling. (Whoops.)

I haven’t seen a dumping of this magnitude since my college days in Kingston. Eastern Ontario is known for its aggressive winter. Seeing that much snow land here in Ajax was something else. Thank goodness I splurged on a snow blower two years ago…!

I used to write an annual blog post about my goals for the upcoming year. I stopped because I never stuck to those goals. I have OKRs and KPIs to juggle at work. Thinking about metrics, outside of that context, was just too much.

Still, reflecting on the year gone by, and thinking about the year coming up, is a nice exercise.

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Reflecting on 2021

Our baby girl arrived at 11:45pm on Christmas Eve. We were stuck in the hospital for three days under strict Covid protocols. It feels like it was only a few days ago, but also forever ago.

We keep seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, only to find another tunnel waiting for us. We hoped that we’d celebrate our daughter’s first birthday with friends and family. Omicron took that away from us, as it has for so many others.

Still, we’re among the privileged. I’ve worked from home since 2015. We bought our house in late 2019, only months before everything went off the rails. My wife took 18 months extended maternity leave. Her mom lives with us. We live in a safe and quiet neighbourhood with tree-lined streets. Waterfront trails are just a few minutes’ walk from our door. I’m looking out my window right now. Bare branches against blue sky.

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Choosing the right community platform

white and red piled sticks

The following is a summary of my presentation at the #CommunityLed2021 virtual conference. Join the discussion on Community Club.


Hi! I’m Andy. I’m a Senior Product Manager at GoDaddy, looking after our customer community platforms: the GoDaddy Blog, GoDaddy Events, and GoDaddy Community forums.

Like many people in our industry, this all started as a hobby. In the early 2000s I was a teenager building forums and fansites. In 2009, I started hosting in-person meetups and events. Then, in 2015, I joined GoDaddy as the Community Manager for their GoDaddy Pro partner program.

Until I joined GoDaddy, all of the work was voluntary and unpaid. I had wanted to get into the Advertising industry, but graduated into the recession in 2009. Nobody was hiring. So I fell back on my self-taught web skills, hopping between roles in IT companies, digital agencies and startups.

Through those roles I learned a lot about gathering requirements, defining scopes of work, estimating timelines, and working with different stakeholders to bring projects online. That experience informs a lot of how I approach my projects today, including how I choose community platforms.

Tip: Start with a working doc. Your working doc is a single source of truth for all the prep work that goes into choosing your platform. Everything I cover in this guide will be a section within that working doc. Collaborate on the working doc with your team, and use it as a starting point in crafting your proposal.

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Think Week & other life things

yellow dry maple

It’s a “light work week” at GoDaddy. I’m using the time for professional development, to catch up on some reading, and to kick the tires on some little R&D projects that’ve been knocking around in my head for the last several months.

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Reach Teach Sell

Reach Teach Sell is a handy framework for practical marketing.

That’s where it began, anyway. 🤔

I started hacking on Reach Teach Sell several years ago. It was a way to wrap my head around how Content Marketing could address different parts of the customer journey.

As time went on, I realized it was even applicable to Product and Community programs.

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Tips for getting started in Community Management

silhouette of people

I got my start in Community Management by building forums and fansites in the early 2000’s. By 2010 I started organizing in-person meetups and events. In 2015, my hobby became my career when I joined GoDaddy as a full-time Community Manager.

Until that point I had never thought of community as a profession. Little did I know that an entire industry already existed, and was about to accelerate to warp speed.

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Pivoting to Product Management

I pivoted from Marketing Manager to Product Manager in September.

The thought of changing jobs crept up early this year — or late last year, I can’t quite remember — thanks to a suggestion from my manager.

I was reluctant at first. I’d never held a Product title before. I wasn’t sure if I was even qualified. But my manager encouraged me to keep thinking about it.

“You’re such a product guy.”

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The power in paper sketching

From Tracy Osborn via Smashing Mag:

“The power in paper sketching is the sketch’s ephemerality and how they feel less “real” than anything we create quickly on a computer. Start moving words and buttons around on a computer screen, and it’s tempting to fall into a certain direction and never explore alternate paths. Paper sketches force our imagination to fill in the gaps — far more quickly than if we added those details to a computer mockup.”

I keep a pad of graph paper on my desk. I use it for everything – scribbled notes, conceptual diagrams, little doodles, etc. Starting with paper is the best way to really grok something, before digitizing it for posterity and sharing.

Your curiosity budget

From the latest Product Lessons newsletter:

“Productivity is a double-edged sword. Focusing only on doing more things turns into a quest of finding the easiest boxes to check. It makes you over-optimize for the short-term. A useful antidote is carving out a curiosity budget: time to explore new things.”

The idea comes Scott Belsky, co-creator of Behance. I dig it.

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An absurd art project

From Anil Dash writing for The Atlantic:

“There’s only one exception to the lack of interest in blockchain apps today: apps for trading cryptocurrencies themselves. What results is an almost hermetically sealed economy, whose currencies exist only to be traded and become derivatives of themselves. If you squint, it looks like an absurd art project.”