The responsibility of building and managing online communities can be overwhelming. Many of us feel the need to control every aspect of the experience. But the reality is that micromanaging stops us from empowering our members to have a positive role in shaping the space.
Today we talk about harnessing the power of collaboration and co-creation with Anamaria Dorgo. She is the Head of Community at Butter, a tool for online meetings that we absolutely love to use. Anamaria runs Butter's amazing support space where they're challenging the uninspiring status quo and changing the game for product communities.
In the spirit of collaboration, SPI CEO Matt Gartland is co-hosting this episode with Jillian for an extra dose of fun and actionable insights.
In this episode, Anamaria shares her tips for facilitation, setting expectations, and why readiness to be surprised is essential when working with others. We dive into how members can inform and improve community and product strategy. We also discuss the Butter platform, explore powerful ways to use it, and get a sneak peek at upcoming features. Buckle up and join us for this inspiring chat!
If you want to try Butter for yourself, you can get a free 14-day trial of Butter Pro plus 30 percent off your subscription for three months at SmartPassiveIncome.com/butter [affiliate link].
Anamaria Dorgo is a Learning Experience Designer, Facilitator, and the Head of Community at Butter. With degrees in psychology and human resources, as well as being a true lifelong learner, she creates engaging learning experiences for a global community.
In her free time, she's also nurturing a Learning & Development community of practice called L&D Shakers.
In This Episode
- How the Butter Community is changing the game for online support
- The benefits of co-creating a community with your members
- The three essentials for online collaboration
- Why being open to unexpected outcomes is vital
- Building a community vs building an audience
- Reducing churn and time spent on unnecessary features
- Allowing members to shape community and product strategy
- Exploring powerful ways to use Butter
- Get Butter Pro free for 14 days plus 30% off your subscription for three months at SmartPassiveIncome.com/butter [affiliate link]
- The Source by Dr. Tara Swart [Amazon affiliate link]
- Connect with @TeamSPI on Twitter
CX 065: How Butter’s Anamaria Dorgo Leads Collaborative Communities
Anamaria Dorgo: Something that stops people from co-creating or engaging their members and allowing them the freedom to shape that space is this enormous feeling of responsibility because they don't even think about the fact that those are people that they're gathering. People that are smart, they have ideas, there's like, "I'm creating this so now I have to be the one that puts in all the effort and puts in all the work." I feel that that responsibility is also stopping a lot of community builders from opening up that door to their members.
Jillian Benbow: Hello and welcome to this episode of the Community Experience Podcast. I'm your hostess, Jillian Benbow, and today CEO Matt Gartland is joining me as co-host. You'll hear him in a bit. And today we are talking to the lovely Anamaria Dorgo, who is the head of community at Butter, butter.us. We're talking to Anamaria today and really focusing on co-creation and what that means in community. And we're also just talking about how she runs a very amazing product community, which to all the community managers out there working in product communities, it's a must listen because I can't believe... Well, I can believe but I can't believe how great their methodology for having a real community experience within a product community, just how they're doing that. It's great. So without further ado, let's listen to this week's interview with Anamaria Dorgo.
Jillian Benbow: All right. I am here with Matt Gartland, CEO and co-host of the day, and we are introducing to you the head of community at Butter. Miss Anamaria Dorgo. Anamaria, welcome to the show.
Anamaria Dorgo: Hello. Really great to be here. Thanks for the invitation and for having me.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. We are jazzed because one, we love Butter, so we've just been getting to know your team, one person, then the next person kind of thing. We've been using the platform so of course we are like, "Hey, they do community in an interesting way. Let's talk about it." So before I just take off in all of that, I would love... Tell our audience more about you.
Anamaria Dorgo: Yes, pleasure. Okay. I live in the Netherlands. I am originally from Romania, from Eastern Europe and been doing a bit of traveling and living around Europe for the past 10 years before settling in this beautiful country. And I joined the team at Butter little over a year ago to build their community from scratch. So there was no community and now there is a community and I stumbled into this role, like I guess majority of us do through a site project in my previous role as learning and development manager. So my background is psychology and HR. I worked in HR for many years. I've pivoted to learning and development. I started a community of practice, which has brought me into the world of community building. And now here I am. I've made this my full-time job and I'm having tons of fun with the Butter community.
Jillian Benbow: That's great. That's like the big secret. Community work is actually super fun.
Anamaria Dorgo: Yes, it is.
Jillian Benbow: It's like, "Yeah, we get paid to have fun." That's fascinating. So yeah, and it seems like a lot of the people that work for Butter are based in the Netherlands or Denmark, in that area.
Anamaria Dorgo: So we're fully remote company and I think we've got four people based out of Denmark. And then we have people based all over the world, Thailand, Indonesia, we've got Portugal, Germany, Netherlands. Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: That's great.
Matt Gartland: If I can chime in, just international perspective on community, because at least I feel a lot of us are, including us living in some small echo chamber of just the US and how we think about community and using very US references and examples from the real world and conferences and things. So a little bit of fresh air to get some wider perspective.
Anamaria Dorgo: I guess it's because personally I jumped on the community bandwagon quite late and COVID came very briefly afterwards. So I only know it this way international and all over the globe. So yeah, the other perspective is new for me, the very localized one, so that's interesting.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah, it's funny because actually this role that I'm in with SPI, this is the first company I've been at, that's US based fully. I'm more used to the global community and staff experience, which I love. Maybe someday Matt we'll expand.
Matt Gartland: I'm open to it.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah, I know. Yeah, it'd be great someday. That's North Star.
Matt Gartland: Then we can have company team retreats in the Netherlands or something, I'm for that too.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah, well we should do that anyway.
Anamaria Dorgo: We had ours in this one, which was really fun. People came from all over the world and that was not bad.
Jillian Benbow: That's amazing. I mean that alone.
Anamaria Dorgo: Next one on the list is Paris. So let's see, fingers crossed.
Jillian Benbow: Dang. So tell us about, just so like you said you, I don't want to say fell into this role, but you went into this role at Butter and you were tasked with creating the community. So I'd love to just walk through how did you think about that and how did you strategize to take a product to a service product and create a customer community, which I am a part of? I've gotten messages from you on it, so I appreciate your community, they answer my questions. But yeah, just walk us through the process of how you designed that.
Anamaria Dorgo: Yeah. So when I joined the team, the idea of the community was already to a certain extent MVPed by my manager. So the team already started playing with this idea of a community and the way they did that was by hosting biweekly events in Butter and inviting awesome facilitators and experts to share their knowledge. And when they saw people returning to those events regularly, they said, "Hey, actually, we might be onto something here. People return to these events and maybe it's time for us to think about launching a community." And when I joined, the first thing I did was talk to everyone in the leadership team and talk to the rest of the team. It was pretty small team and I really wanted to understand what was the idea that everyone had when they thought about the community project.
Because we know that different people imagine different things through it and many companies are launching communities for different reasons and I love community as a concept. I think it can be a very special place. But I also believe that in order to become that special place we need to go about building it with a lot of care and love and with a lot of transparency and honesty. So I really wanted to make sure that we're building the space from a good place and I was very happy to find the team that was really aligned with in between themselves with what they wanted out of the project. And then very aligned with my vision of building community. And it was very clear from the get go that it's going to be a long game, that it isn't something, it's not going to change the world in three months and neither in six months. And that was very reassuring for me as a newbie in this space.
And another thing that was very clear from the beginning also because that's how I like to build community is through a co-created approach. So I knew that I am going to team up with people that are already customers or potential customers and awesome facilitators to give me a hand up building the space. So after understanding the motivations, I really got to the drawing board and I put in a launch plan in place. And we got to it and I think it took us around three months from the time I joined the company to the time we officially launched the community and invited everyone in. And there were several stages in those three months that I can go deeper into if that's interesting. I'm not sure how much into detail I have to go because I can talk a lot. So that's why I don't want to mention that upfront.
Jillian Benbow: I mean that's why we're here.
Matt Gartland: We love details.
Jillian Benbow: Do it. Go on.
Matt Gartland: Well, if I can it a little bit, I'm even curious, just as you talk about co-creation as perhaps even an ideology, which I either say we share to building community, how have you found success or even in your observations of others either using Butter or just your own career. What methodologies, what even standard practices have you seen be effective with that approach to really, really actually realize that that notion of getting people to co-create a thing with you?
Anamaria Dorgo: Yes, it's interesting because I have noticed some patterns, but the beauty of co-creation, it always looks slightly different when you put it into practice. So even if you're going in with certain expectations, you have to be ready for surprise. And maybe that's the first thing that I tell people whenever they ask me about co-creation and how we build with people is you need to be ready to be surprised and you need to also be ready for whomever you're building it with and co-creating with to open or take it to a slightly different path than you might originally have intended it to go. And that's something that we need to assume and own because what we cannot do is say, "Let's co-create it." But then when you're not happy with where this is going, say, "No, no, no, I know that we co-created this thing but now we're going to do it as I please."
So I think that's the first question. Are you ready to actually go with little expectation and allow yourselves to be surprised? And then something that has worked for me a lot is this clear expectations from the beginning on. So the invitation to co-creation matters, the words we're using and the expectations we are setting from the get go. Because it is a messy process, it can be very confusing, it can be frustrating, take long time and so on. So people need to know that if they raise their hand to be a part of it. So expectations from the get go and then facilitation, which is obviously what we're all about at Butter. So I think it come hand in hand with what the approach we took. So I guess those would be the three main things whenever I enter a process, facilitation, clear expectations and readiness to be surprised.
Matt Gartland: I think that's marvelous. I want to say that we've been accidentally fallen into that ourselves in the positive way where for us when we launched community in 2020, we had a strong model to start with, but we're very open to just rather rapidly changing certain mechanics, our onboarding process, even our billing mechanics. How we do programming, types of programming. And would always just try to be, and you echo distance some of your other sentiments just honest about it. Okay. Why are we making these changes? Let's do that in a way that is just, I guess consistent with our values around communication, transparency, inclusiveness.
And we try to be upfront with that even on our landing page of in inviting of diversity, inviting of feedback, inviting of different opinions and points of view. So yeah, I agree. I just love how you're articulating it, which is it's almost an expectation of, I don't want to say low expectations, but it's an expectation of change. It's an expectation of change is a constant in this endeavor that we're trying to invite people into share in this journey with us to create something that is going to be much different and hopefully a lot better than where it starts.
Jillian Benbow: I think it's interesting too just I think a lot of community builders who maybe aren't on a traditional team like we are and are going at it alone. I think a lot of Butter customers are overlap in the Venn diagram with our members. So they might be building their own community but they don't have this formal background in it. And I think they might, without realizing it, are doing this. Are participating in co-creation but maybe they just didn't realize it. I know it's something as community builders we naturally do. We like to bring people together. It's part of just our personalities. I dare say that. It's like, "Hey, let's bring people together and talk about things and get idea shares and whatnot." And I think it's important just for anybody listening, if you're like, "Oh my gosh, I don't do this," you might do it. You should think about it.
And if you're still like, "I don't think I do this," this is a perfect opportunity to just ask your community and Anamaria, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I know I recommend people, I mean whether it's do a big survey that you really pump up and ask people for feedback that way you can kick it off that way. But even just getting in the habit, just talking to your members. I know if someone joins and they say something that I'm like, I might ask, "Well, how was your onboarding experience? Is it..." Be curious basically, which is really fun because it's a nice way of saying, "Just be nosy and ask a lot of questions."
Anamaria Dorgo: Yes. And also I think it's good to be mindful that co-creation may take different shapes and forms and sometimes it remains at a superficial level where it's mainly collaboration and not co-creation in the full sense. And it can go up to a deeper level where you're truly bringing someone to the table and you think you have an idea, but maybe the full co-creation is where you don't even know what the end product is going to be. So it's that complex and ambiguous. But on the other hand it might also look very clear and very easy to understand in the sense of we co-created, for example, a blog post on fresh energizers with our community. So that was an easy entry point, that was an easy collaboration to say the end product is going to be a blog post valuable for anyone out there that's hosting virtual meetings. Help us build this.
So that's a very simple example. And a very complex example would be we're building a community and we need you to help us define that space, the values, the vibe, and how that should look and feel like to make it worth your time for example. And that's a deeper type of co-creation. And something that I think it's true when you say that not a lot of people think they're doing it, but they are doing it. And for me the motivation was yes, it's good to be curious. I think if you're a curious person, it's very easy to reach people and have genuine conversations with them and genuinely learn what they need. But also for me it stemmed, it came out of my... I genuinely didn't knew how to do certain things in that space, in that community. I genuinely went to folks and said, "I don't know where this is going. Would anyone like to jam and just get together and figure it out?" So it truly came from not knowing what I was doing and people said, "That sounds like a great challenge, let's figure it out together."
Jillian Benbow: I find too so many people in a community that are engaged and interested want those opportunities to shine and come and collaborate and participate. So being vulnerable, being honest and transparent and saying, "Hey..." This is actually happening right now in Pro, I launched a challenge of the month and it has to do with... Matt, you'll love it, it's budgets. It's like auditing your expenses. And I had a couple pros reach out and say, "Hey, this is what I do. Can I create a template? Can I help? How can I..." And I set it up that way in the challenge, I was like, "If you've already done this or you'd know a good way to do this, share it." This is not me telling people how I shouldn't be talking to anybody about budgets, let me tell you. But so I'm like, "Hey, this is something we're going to do together."
So now people are coming up and saying, "I want to help support the people doing this. I have expertise in this." I'm like, "Come on in, come on down because I don't. I'll learn something." So yeah, it's all that to say, it's just being willing to say, "Hey, I want help with this, if anybody's interested." People want to help. That's part of being a community and not an audience.
Matt Gartland: I saw that go up, loved it, all about the numbers. I saw that Eric, even from the MBA group chimed in. And it strikes me to zoom out on it. I don't know, there's a little bit of even improv here where it's like if you just put out an ask, and you invite people to participate and you don't know necessarily in which way they're going to show up. They can take the direction in some potentially zening way that's unexpected. But that again is maybe part and parcel with the beauty and the magic that we're trying to create, which is to say it's just a lot of it's unpredictable. Have guardrails have your community guidelines and all of these things that also matter, but probably give your community a decently wide birth on a creativity, imagination how they want to show up. So yeah, let's just keep doing more stuff and let people still avoid in really interesting ways.
Anamaria Dorgo: Yeah. I think it depends on a lot on the type of community you want to build. Because I also think there are communities out there where this maybe wouldn't work because they were set out to be very one-directional where the members are the receivers and someone is the giver and that's just how it works. So if that's the community culture, it is possible to turn it around because I think we have to give people examples of what is possible to be accomplished in that space. And if the examples they've received wasn't those of invitation to contribute, an invitation to put yourself out there and maybe shape the community space in some form and make it your own and so on, then they won't do that.
But the trick is to start creating those opportunities for people to see, "Actually, I do have a voice and I can come up with ideas and I can launch a project by myself." And that's truly where our life size community builders are so eased. When members are raising a hand and they're coming our way and saying, "I have an idea, can I do this?" And often what they need is this permission like this, "Yes, go for it's yours. Run with it." And that enables and empowers so much. And then that enablement and empowerment, it's almost like a magic dust that people see and they want to have as well, if that makes sense.
Jillian Benbow: Absolutely. And it is just to your point, red flags when there's a community, that's just the one to many. To me I'm like that's not a community, that's an audience. It's a very different thing. And unfortunately because community has gotten very trendy as a buzzword, I think a lot of people are creating experiences that to me are more of ego audience experiences versus actual real community. But that makes all of us who are doing real community just look better. So we're good.
Matt Gartland: That's right. Or even if it's not the massive narcissists that are driven by ego, they're replicating though methods from other contexts that just, I think what we're in part describing don't work or at least are more inconsistent with the ideals in very nature of community. So for example, they'll take a broadcast approach of communication, which is perfectly fine when it comes to email or even social media quite frankly, and try to replicate that way of working. So one to many or largely one directional stuff. And it's like, that's not going to work here because people's expectations to even come back to that Anamaria from some of your comments, the expectations are you're going to have a massive mismatch.
And then from the business side, if you propagate that way of showing up and communicating, you invite dissension, you invite churn, you invite just more administration work for yourself that can really gum up your business. So there are real not to be all of a sudden you have the wet blanket on the conversation, but there's real consequences if you don't get these mechanics to what probably folks listening are endeavoring to do. At least I think, Jill and I are hopeful that they are, which is to take community so seriously that it's a pretty important piece of the business equation. It's not just a nice to have, it's not something that's an add-on experience. But at least in our increasingly strong opinion community hopefully is something that is being really thought through as a very deliberate business thing that's increasingly even at the center of a lot of the effort. So don't screw it up, basically.
Anamaria Dorgo: Also, I have to say that beyond the ego, and sometimes genuinely not knowing how to build it, lack of knowledge. I've also seen in a couple of instances talking to people there's something that stops people from co-creating or engaging their members and allowing them the freedom to shape that space is this enormous feeling of responsibility because you are starting that thing and you feel responsible for those people. So there's a big weight on their shoulders and they don't even think about the fact that those are people that they're gathering. People that are smart, they have ideas, they have energy, they want to do things, they want to contribute and they feel so scared not to screw it up that there's like, "I'm creating this so now I have to be the one that puts in all the effort and puts in all the work and tries to make everything perfect." So I feel that that responsibility is also stopping a lot of community builders from opening up that door to their members.
Jillian Benbow: I think that it's so true because it is. It's like you set the precedent, you can't shut the door once that door's open. But I think it's a good challenge because you can start it smaller and you can let it build. Even if it's just a call to say, "Hey, this is what I'm thinking. What do you all think?" And it might stop after that call where it's like, "Yeah, we don't really want to do... No, that doesn't really align." And it's like, "Okay cool. Thanks. You just save me months of work." Appreciate.
Anamaria Dorgo: That's actually such a good idea because just the other day I was talking to someone and she wanted to run an idea by me of co-creation. She heard me talk at an event and she was like, "I want to test this with my community. So I want to host a workshop, I want to bring people together to brainstorm. "And I said, "This is perfect because it's an hour of your time and you get to see A, how they react and B, if you like working this way," because not everyone likes to co-create and not everyone likes to facilitate that messy process and have people bringing their thoughts and so on. So I always say that even if you're not used to, there's a good window to start inviting members in. And now we're almost at the end of the year, it's a retrospective with your community. Invite them in a retrospective call, look at everything that has been done and ask them what do we keep? What do we change and what do we skip?
And then based on that you get to learn and they feel appreciated and they feel that, "My opinion matters here," and based on how far you want to take that you could even capture and find those volunteers. Like that invitation of, "We have so many great ideas here. Would someone like to take ownership for one of them with my support," and see if anyone raises their hand. So that has worked very well for me in the past. There was always someone that raised their hand and said, "I'm excited about this, I want to do this with you."
Matt Gartland: That's wonderful. That's great. I'm curious, based on a lot of these themes that we're hitting on co-creation, management of expectations, the imagination that comes along with nurturing a community, how at the product level to I guess the extent that you're able to see that being on the Butter team, how have you seen the product evolve to really try to in fact harness and make actionable some of these themes into the feature sets of the product?
Anamaria Dorgo: Well, I'm not sure if co-creation played a big role into that, but Butter was from the beginning and still very much is a product that gets shaped by its users a lot. It's probably because we're still quite at early stages. And also because our full team, including our CEO and CPO there are talking to users every single day. There's daily interviews and chats with our users beyond the community, beyond people being able to leave feedback, making feature requests. They genuinely go out there and reach out to people and have conversations with them. So those interviews, we often host round table discussions where we pass, we run certain features or plans by our users and we get feedback back from there. That was always there even before I joined, even before the community. And it's so ingrained in the company that it's been done, it's just in the DNA.
However, something that I'm very excited about and that is where community can play a massive role and where we are trying to see some wheels starting and some things evolving, there are what we call our templates. So Butter allows you not only to host synchronously a workshop or a collaborative session, it allows facilitators to plan that session in Butter beforehand to a very detailed extent of the timings of the session to different tools you're using to drive engagement poles, flashcards, whiteboards, music, et cetera. And those templates can be saved and can be pulled into the product for all of the users to use as an inspiration.
So that is indeed where we now see our community being able to contribute their ideas, their activities, their full-fledged workshops from A to Z and add that work and make it available for probably users that are not as comfortable facilitating and they're not at that expert level. And one of our goals with the communities to make facilitation mainstream. And we really believe that it belongs to all of us, not to the lucky few. So the templates that are being fed in from the community and created together with them are a great way to infuse that into the product.
Jillian Benbow: I love the balance of what Butter is, what the product is and how the community works. And there's so many little details that I appreciate on such a level even. And I think to your point, this might have existed before the community because the founders of Butter just very cognizant of feedback, which you can tell everyone has a passion for facilitation because they deeply care. I know the first time I ran an actual Butter event and I'm just stressed, but mostly because I'm the person that needs the help, which by the way, the templates are a lifesaver. I love it.
So the event ends and I'm just like, "I did it," and there's this little feedback thing. It's like, "How did it go?" And you could and write something. So I just wrote a little thing because I like to do that because I'm opinionated as Matt knows. And I did it and I was so surprised because then I got this actual response from somebody that was very thoughtful. It wasn't like a canned like, "Hey thanks. Have a good day." It was like, "Great. Glad to hear that. This thing you had trouble with here's a link to help for next time." And it was just like, "Oh my gosh," I wasn't expecting a human to respond let alone on that detail.
Anamaria Dorgo: We hear this so often though.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah, it's great.
Anamaria Dorgo: Are you real, is this a human? I was like, "Yeah. This is a human," and very often is our CEO replying to those messages.
Jillian Benbow: He's responded to me a couple times where I'm like, "Dang, that's great." But also in your community, I really appreciate that, to your point, Butter, your company, that you really practice what you preach because you're talking about making facilitation mainstream and in your community you have all sorts of resources for facilitating skillset. You also have a job board for, and it's a lot of it is people looking to be facilitators or hire facilitators. And I think you just do a very lovely job of bringing community and this community around excellent facilitation together. And I just want to follow up with a very silly question. Was it a community member who created the Nick Cage reaction gauge?
Anamaria Dorgo: Yes.
Jillian Benbow: Because it's amazing. I'm like, "How can I add this to every event?"
Anamaria Dorgo: I know. Yes, I love it. That was Carlos Perez, he made that icebreaker and I take it and I use it and I just use it a lot. It always brings a smile on people's face. Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: Bravo, Carlos.
Anamaria Dorgo: It's the Nick Cage invader we call it.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah. I created an agenda for an event I'm going to be doing, I think, gosh, next week. I need to run through it. And I was like, "How do I add this?" And then I was like, "Is this the appropriate icebreaker for," because it's like a public event type thing and I'm like, "Yes."
Anamaria Dorgo: It will not disappoint. I can tell you that, it won't disappoint.
Matt Gartland: What are some creative ways others are using Butter because we want to learn, we want to do more. I think we're doing okay to Jill's credit seriously. But like hey, I'm sure there's more we could be doing. I'm sure that we could be maximizing this more. So yeah. I'm curious what other community builders begin small, how they're using the platform right now.
Anamaria Dorgo: It's always fun to see how people are using the tool and also how they discover the features that we have there. There's a lot to discover as I'm sure you know. So it does really allow you as facilitator to be very creative with your design. So I noticed that especially for community builders, it is a great tool because even if, and majority of us aren't facilitators nor experience or learning designers. So we come from a different background. And because the tool has the certain features and the template in there, it allows us to be creative with the type of checkings we're doing, checkouts the type of conversations we're designing. Because our breakouts, in case you haven't played too much with them, they do so because they're the best breakouts you'll find on the market. They're using it for all sorts of things, for very complex hackathons to community socials, to speed networking events, just showcasing work for example, getting together on jam sessions, et cetera.
So there are the types of sessions you can host are limitless at the end, but where the tool really shines is where you create a experience where you invite your participant's voices to be heard. So they're contributing to that. You could use it for the webinar type of event, you would have absolutely no problem doing that. And actually you might be the lucky one, creating an interactive type of webinar. But it truly shines in smaller sessions where you get together to work on things, to brainstorm stuff, to build together things, pulling mural whiteboard, and get cracking with ideas and yeah, that's some ways I've seen it used.
Jillian Benbow: I'm curious, just to piggyback off that, if people in the community are just help, this is a lot. There's so many options. In many ways there's so many options, it's almost too much because it's like analysis process., What should I do? What recommendations do you give newer users or people that are just struggling to make agendas and things? How do you recommend they grow their confidence? I'm totally asking for a friend here.
Anamaria Dorgo: Yes. So we have awesome documents and mini video tutorials explaining you all the features. So if you want to learn at your own pace, our both the community as well as the YouTube channel allow you this view behind the scenes also as a facilitator, because in Butter we have the facilitator view and we have the participant's view. So it's always useful to understand both sides and that's how you can get an idea at least on a theoretical level on how those things might look like.
Now, on a very practical level, inside the community, and because we're a community for facilitation, we have events that are hosted by experts and we have events that we call Sandbox and the Sandbox, it's this place for anyone to experiment with the product and play around with it. So you might potentially want to browse a bit, try to understand the main features and then plan for a Sandbox. And the Sandbox, it's an event that is being managed by two community members. So they are the ones planning it, co-hosting it, doing the dry run, doing everything around that. I don't even have to be at the Sandbox present. And the two of them are great facilitators and they will support you and co-pilot you and make sure that you have a successful session.
And whoever joins the Sandbox will give you very candid feedback at the end for you to know what were the strong points, what were the weak points of your design, and where you might want to have a second look and improve and how can you do that? So that's on a very practical level. If you like to get your hands dirty and actually practice that thing before you run a session, I don't know, with your audience or with your clients, et cetera.
And then the other thing is I always tell people when they're right at the beginning to start small and try to bring Butter and use it as their regular video conferencing tool. So don't even think about workshops yet, don't even think about very complex session. Try to just use it when you have one to one chats with people you work with, then bring it maybe within your team and as you go familiarizing yourself with the interface, the type of behaviors, try it every single session to play around with another tool, with another feature. Bring the flashcards, see what they do, then next time bring in a pulse, see what happens, play with the music, et cetera. So that's how people can explore them and build up that confidence by doing and playing around with the tool.
Jillian Benbow: I did everything wrong. I started with a huge event initiation by fire for me, but Matt, we should use it for retro. Were you just thinking that?
Matt Gartland: For the team, I was thinking office hours for MBA, we could do that.
Jillian Benbow: We could do that too. Yeah.
Matt Gartland: Yeah.
Jillian Benbow: I'm curious-
Matt Gartland: But retro would be great too.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah.
Anamaria Dorgo: I have to say Jillian, you're not the first one. We also have clients that they reach out and they, "Hey, I just discovered the tool and next week I have a cohort based course with... I'm setting this thing and this is my product and so I'm going to use the tool." And we love that enthusiasm, absolutely. And very often we offer a personal onboarding and we actually jump on a call with folks and be like, "Okay. Tell me what your boot camp's all about. Tell me what your cohort course all about. How have you hosted it and planned it before? And let me tell you how you can do that and elevate your design using Butter specifically on your use case." So it's really important to build up that confidence and to showcase that myself or anyone else in the team is really ready to be there as a support. And if the stakes are really high, we might even send someone from the team to be there with you on the day.
Jillian Benbow: Let's talk later.
Anamaria Dorgo: Just say the word.
Jillian Benbow: Would you like to come to a networking event?
Anamaria Dorgo: Just say the word.
Jillian Benbow: I just have to say from a product community standpoint, I think what your team is doing is, I'm not sure I've seen anything better. It is North Star as far as creating the support and the genuine care for your customers and creating a community experience that changes it from customer to community. It's just great. And I know it can be a real challenge to be a community manager for a product community that isn't just like, my go-to example is Apple support, which I love. But that you go and you get an answer and you leave and that's what it's for. And it does a very good job. It's great. But this community, what you're creating is just next level as far as bringing people together to learn facilitation and help each other out. Like the Sandbox genius, I'm signing up for this right now in the background.
Anamaria Dorgo: They're lining up the Sandbox looks for next year. So just wiggle a finger if you want in.
Jillian Benbow: Thank you. Yeah, I guess my last question and then I'll let Matt wrap up. I'm sure he has some thoughts. I'm curious where things are going when you're looking at your roadmap and just goals for the Butter community. Is there anything exciting you're working on that you want to share or give a little hint about?
Anamaria Dorgo: Yeah. So we are working right now on a very interesting project for our agency clients and it's called the Butter Experts Collective. And we have more and more small to medium size agencies, whether they're working in innovation, product design, brand strategy, et cetera. And they're using the product in their work with their clients. So what we're looking to do with the Butter Experts Collective is to create this platform for them to get to know each other, be able to learn their specialty, what's their secret sauce, what are they all good at? Support each other, be able to recommend potential gigs to each other.
But also we're taking their profiles and their amazing work and showcasing that on our website. For anyone out there that is looking for a trusted expert to team up in solving very wicked complex organizational challenges to be able to find that trusted partner amongst the Better Experts Collective. In return, they are contributing to our community with their knowledge and their best practices. And they're helping us run experts event, experts AMA sessions and so on. So all of the projects that we're launching are this symbiosis where everyone gets to take something out of it. And it's a win-win and we're working on launching that very soon and I'm very excited and really proud to be working with such interesting and smart people building really, really interesting companies and supporting other companies to have an even better impact. So stay tuned for that. It's going to be really soon.
Jillian Benbow: That's so exciting. I want to know more. I'll wait for the big reveal.
Matt Gartland: I think we need to end there. I don't think anything should follow that.
Jillian Benbow: You got nothing that? Wow.
Matt Gartland: Well, I was going to ask something about the future and I think that just was overly perfect. So let's leave it there.
Jillian Benbow: All right. Anamaria, you left Matt's speechless. Congratulations. Well, that is the perfect pivot to our rapid fire questioning. Don't worry, it's not a test. You will not be graded. It's actually fun. The intention is I will ask you a question and just first thing that comes to your mind and I will try not to ask follow up questions even though I want to. So the first question for you, Anamaria, when you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Anamaria Dorgo: I wanted to be a monk and live in a monastery.
Jillian Benbow: How do I not answer a follow up questions? Just that's a whole other-
Matt Gartland: Try harder I guess.
Jillian Benbow: No, I want to know. Okay. What I'm going to email you. Anamaria, how do you define community?
Anamaria Dorgo: A space that we create together and empowers us to get better, both as people and professionals.
Jillian Benbow: All right. Not sure if you have a "bucket list," but just for the sake of argument, let's say you do. What's something like life goal bucket list, what's something that you have done?
Anamaria Dorgo: To live in a different country and I live in three different countries that are not my own and having the time of my life.
Jillian Benbow: Love it. And then the flip to this question is, what's something on that bucket list that you have not yet done?
Anamaria Dorgo: It's on my bucket list and I feel that I have to do this, learn how to swim.
Jillian Benbow: Yes, do it. Anamaria, if you could recommend any book, it can be about community, it can be fiction, just a book that you love. What would that be?
Anamaria Dorgo: I would recommend something comes to mind is Tara Swart's The Source. It's a book about how our brain works and how we can actually team up with our brain to make it work for us and not against us and reaching our goals.
Jillian Benbow: My gosh, be right back. I need to read that. All right. So you've lived in three countries, so this will be an interesting one. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
Anamaria Dorgo: My forever or for a little while because the answers might be different.
Jillian Benbow: Whatever you want.
Anamaria Dorgo: My absolute favorite country is Germany. I lived in Germany and I love my time there. I love the people. I had the best experience. It just clicked. So Germany, maybe Berlin, Munich.
Jillian Benbow: Excellent. Final question, Anamaria, how do you want to be remembered?
Anamaria Dorgo: I want to be remembered as the person that sparked either an inspiration or an action for someone.
Jillian Benbow: Boom.
Matt Gartland: I love all of these answers. They're so good.
Jillian Benbow: I know. I'm just like, "Round two." All right. So Anamaria, where can people find you on the internet if they would like to connect further or just say hi?
Anamaria Dorgo: I live on LinkedIn. So if we can link my profile in the show notes, that would be great. That's the best way to find me and reach out. And obviously the Butter community where I spend my time every day.
Jillian Benbow: Awesome.
Matt Gartland: We'll send as much love and traffic to Butter as well, as much as we can.
Jillian Benbow: Yeah, definitely. Well, thank you so much for being here with us today. Again, it was so great talking about just a really amazing model for a product community, but also a really great product. So we appreciate you talking to us today.
Anamaria Dorgo: Thank you so much for the invitation. This was really fun and time flew by. Actually, I could do it another round.
Matt Gartland: We'll have you back. Challenge accepted.
Anamaria Dorgo: Yeah. All right. Careful what you wish for. Thank you so much for the invitation.
Jillian Benbow: All right. And that is our episode with Anamaria, part of the Butter community. And yeah, I mean I don't feel like we need to recap. You heard it. I love what they're doing with product communities. I think their community is a great example of how a product community can be valuable. It's remarkably hard to have engaged and thriving product community because most people just go to things like that to get an answer and leave. And they've really built a place where people can share tips both about the platform but also about just facilitation and different ways to engage people and things to talk about and everything.
So I would love it if you'd go check it out. We do have a special offer if you are interested, if you go to smartpassiveincome.com/butter, you will be taken to a special page where you get 14 days free of Butter Pro and then 30% off your subscription for three months. So if that sounds like something you want to do, head over there. Otherwise, I hope you had a wonderful time listening to this episode. It was a great conversation. And on that, we'll see you next Tuesday.
To find out more about Anamaria and about Butter and all the fun things, head to the Butter community that is butter.us/community.
Your lead host for the Community Experience is me, Jillian Benbow. Our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Our senior producer is David Grabowski, and our editor is Paul Grigoras. Sound Editing by Duncan Brown. Theme music by David Grabowski. See you next Tuesday.