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  • The Magic of Cooperation Between ‘Competitors'

    Years ago, my friend Josh Strebel gave a talk titled “Cooperation over Competition” and it resonated deeply with me. 

    In fact, some of my first and best friends in WordPress were my “competitors.” (Hey Brian and Jason!)

    I'm very thankful that connection, cooperation and collaboration is already happening every day here in Slack, through DMs, in public, private channels and beyond. It's what drew Lindsey and I to become partners initially, then full owners of this business. 

    But I want to ask you, as the Business of WordPress community, to go further … and take another step forward to what Josh said years ago … to the magic of cooperation and collaboration. 

    The world needs more of it. I've benefited from it exponentially. And it starts here with us, supporting each other, truly being that community, finding those ways that can “raise all tides” and just … make things better for all of us, and those we serve.

    Sometimes, though, I think our mindsets around competition get in the way, and we forget how much we have in common to talk about. How many issues, challenges and problems we share that we can cooperate and even collaborate on. 

    A PROMPT TO KICKSTART COOPERATION

    Here's a prompt to get through that …. ask yourself: What are my key and ongoing struggles, issues, challenges as a [insert your title here]?

    Then take a moment and think about people doing the same or similar thing as you. Bet you there's some overlap to get the conversation started. 

    I'll go first.

    I know how tough it is to keep up with all the happenings in WP land and try to cover, curate and comment on it. … alongside running a community. So a couple of weeks ago, I invited several friends of fellow WP media outlets to a private channel. Within a couple of days of open conversation, we found we have a LOT in common, with the potential for cooperation and collaboration. But if anything, I know I'm not alone. And also … I'm connected to them when something comes up. 

    By the way, our essential role at Post Status is to CONNECT. To offer the resources — the space, the platform, the community — to do just that. But we can't do it by ourselves. We'll need you to get in and take the initiative.

    So if the right channel for your topic/role doesn't exist already, let us know. In fact, a group of members asked for a private channel last week and we created it for a them. 

    CONVERSATIONS I HOPE BLOSSOM HERE

    In addition to the vibrant conversations already going on in #club and other channels, here are a couple of groups I hope take this and get rolling here: 

    • Agency Owners — this already exists and is growing. But a great start to conversation there is Nathan Ingram's 4P's of client work as topics, “Profit, Process, Productivity, Promotion” I think there's also partnering on projects and referral opportunities here. 
    • Agency Enterprise Leaders — the sense I get from my conversations with enterprise leaders is that WordPress is strong and growing in this market, with so much more potential to go. The commonalities I hear start with technical aspects but all the way to marketing WP better. I'm mulling some ideas around this currently. 
    • Product Founders/Leaders — WPProduct Talk is already highlighting some of these issues on Twitter Spaces. But as a former product founder for over a decade, I know there's plenty to talk about, as I mentioned in the last newsletter. 
    • [Insert Your Role, Common Challenges, Issues, Problems for Collaboration] — Don't be limited by my imagination. Think on it and again let us know if we can help!

    HOW TO DO IT

    In my experience with groups like this, four key things stand out for these kinds of conversations to happen, then truly blossom …. and they are core to Lindsey and I and by extension Post Status: 

    • Start and End with Mutual Respect — Think, believe and act like we are peers, equals, no matter the size of your wallet or P&L, size of your company, distinguished record of doing it since the dawn of civilization, your trophy shelf, or status. Start there always. We're all on the same level here. We love WP. We do it for a living. No one is trying to one up someone else, or beat their chest. Make it your first checkbox as you come in. 
    • Go First — Someone has to go first. Someone has to be willing and vulnerable enough to say, “Hey, this is an issue we're dealing with.” Or to post the first question. In every group I've been a part of, I knew my ante was to open up, and sometimes go first. 
    • Step Up — Someone needs to keep the fire lit. Sometimes that's the person willing to go first. Other times, it's someone just recognizing the value of the conversation and connection and being consistent to keep it going. 
    • Share Experiences, Over Advice — this is one of the most impactful tools I've learned in my life. You get paid well in your business to share your expertise or advice to your clients. (And maybe someone may ask directly for advice.) But here, when someone shares or asks a questions, being vulnerable and open, FIRST think if you have an actual experience that is parallel to theirs and then share YOUR experience. It could go like this: “I had something similar issue in [season, year, etc], here's what it was, here's what happened, this is what I/we did, and this was the result.” It is respectful, it is vulnerable and the others can take their own truth and apply it to their own context. 

    MY ASK

    Support us as we support and connect you, the Business of WordPress. 

    Join Post Status today. Or check in on your membership in case it's lapsed.

    If you can't afford a membership right now, ping us and we'll find a way to help out. 

    SPEAKING OF COLLABORATION

    In the theme of cooperation and collaboration, we're looking for someone to help us follow, curate and comment on the Business of WP news. Particularly our business curation will increasingly be focused on Agency and Product work. If this interests you, ping me to talk. 

    And yes, it's a paid yet part-time type gig. 

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