How to build community?

What’s the first step of community building?

One easy first step would be to get people to start using this website.  An increase in traffic requires no paperwork, no additional funding, and directly relates to one of our main objectives:  “promote the development of a spacefaring culture.”  But how? you ask.  Well that’s easy.  Simply post stuff, blog about stuff and encourage your friends to do the same.  You can help us by reading and commenting on posts, asking questions, or adding links or ideas of your own.

A blank forum is less likely to be used than a frequented one, so help us out.  We want to hear from you!


Excerpt from “The Art of Community” + the FIST principle

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of synchronicity. Therefore, they will understand why I am abnormally excited to connect one element from the first few pages of The Art of Community with my fundamental belief of “rapid acquisition” as explained  by the FIST principle AND a poignant and timely email from Dad (thanks Dad!).  The concepts have to do with risk and the benefits and consequences of dealing (or not dealing) with risk appropriately.  The sections below are the ideas that coalesced together in a brilliant stroke of insight!  B-)

1) From THE ART OF COMMUNITY by Jono Bacon

Theory Versus Action: Action Wins
A … much more subtle risk that can bubble to the surface is becoming too focused on theory. Theory has an important place in community leadership. Heck, I have just spent the last several sections talking about social capital, belonging, economy, belief, and other theoretical dispositions. However, you will note that the hardcore theoretical content is confined to this chapter. The emphasis of our work should be on getting on the front lines and trying out ideas instead of burying our heads in a book. Sure, read and learn, but use reading and theory to help you decide where to focus your practical efforts. The most critical lesson here is that you should never replace practical experience with theory.”


“Trust and Luck
It bears repeating that risk management is a human endeavor. We contend the best risk management strategy can be summed up in a single, terrifying word: trust. Trust your team. Trust your contractors. Trust your customers.  Trust your boss. It takes courage and judgment to trust, but failure to trust is an unacceptably risky strategy. [The authors explained the importance of trust in “The PM’s Dilemma,” Defense AT&L, May-June 2004.]
Of course, risk management is more than just implementing approved methodologies with courage, judgment, and trust. Luck is a pretty important piece of the puzzle as well. What does luck have to do with risk management, you might ask? Just about everything

Those of a more scientific mindset may prefer to refer to University of Hertfordshire professor Richard Wiseman’s research. The aptly named Wiseman executed a 10-year study of luck. He published his findings in a book titled The Luck Factor: The Scientific Study of the Lucky Mind (2003) in which he observes that luck perception and luck production are both related to personality factors such as optimism, extroversion, openness, and low levels of anxiety.

Wiseman’s research showed that while people who describe themselves as lucky are not more likely to win the lottery, they are more likely to experience positive outcomes in other, less random activities. For example, a person’s extroversion creates a large social network, which can lead to “fortuitous” connections with people and resources. Openness to new experiences leads to action, as John Nash said in A Beautiful Mind, “The probability of my success increases with every attempt.” Turns out, he was really on to something. The bottom line: Luck is real, and you probably want an optimistic, open, extroverted, lucky person leading your risk management team.

Yes, there are always ways to avoid or mitigate the risks involved with program management and technology development. However, when we mitigate away all the risks, we virtually guarantee mediocrity.”

“Bull’s-eye every time?  If so, you’re standing too close to the target.  If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.  Differentiate between errors of commissionand errors of omission.  The latter can be more costly than the former.  If you’re not making many errors, you might ask yourself, “How many opportunities am I missing by not being more aggressive?”  Everyone has a risk muscle. You keep it in shape by trying new things.  If you don’t, it atrophies and you’re no longer able to take chances.

• Try a new recipe.
• Invest in a new idea.
• Tackle a problem outside your field of expertise.
• Propose an idea to your boss.
• Let a subordinate take on one of your tasks.

As Arthur Koestler put it:  “If the Creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he certainly would have meant for us to stick it out.”

— How can you flex your risk muscle?
— What new things can you try?
— What recent risks have you taken that strengthened your risk muscle?


Thanks to Jono Bacon’s book The Art of Community this material used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike license; Thanks to Dan Ward’s articles on The Fist Principle available for download in the public domain; Thanks to Roger von Oech © 2009. All rights reserved, or

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