Learn how to Build Community from Burning Man, Airbnb and NASA

David Spinks
September 2, 2014
April 2, 2024
burning man

Today, we're thrilled to officially announce the next CMX Summit San Francisco on November 13-14.This event is packed with thought leaders, CEOs, and community experts representing organizations like NASA, Burning Man, Airbnb, ProductHunt, Zynga, Salesforce, BetaBrand, Exposure and more...The first CMX Summit launched last February and sold out in just 5 weeks. We quietly launched a pre-sale for this next event to our existing community only a month ago and those tickets sold out in just 48 hours.

The world is ready to take our understanding of community building to the next level with us. It's an incredible time to be a community professional.

Early Bird tickets are now available for CMX Summit San Francisco. Don't wait to get your tickets, they will sell out too.

Register for CMX Summit

What can you look forward to at CMX Summit this year?

This event might just be our best yet; not because the speakers are better (all of our speakers have given top notch performances), but because of the wide range of perspectives that we're packing into one day.

We've mixed in the tactical with the philosophical, the artistic with the technical, the startups with the enterprises, and we're going to sprinkle in a little outer space exploration (seriously), government, and big data for good measure.

Sound good?

Well, we're adding another layer of awesome. We're presenting a second day of action-oriented workshops with this year's event, to follow the day of mind-blowing speakers.

The community experts who have brought tactical, actionable advice have been a huge hit at our first two events, and a lot of our attendees said they want more of that. It makes sense, we're all still figuring out how exactly to do this community thing. These speakers have been at it for a long time and they've developed the systems that work.

With workshops, you'll get hands-on training, answers to your company's specific challenges, and you'll take home a clear, practical strategy you can put into action right away in your work.

Space in the workshops will be strictly limited to keep the class size small and intimate. So again, if you want to get a spot, don't wait. They'll fill up quickly.

Get your tickets for the speaker event, workshops, or both.

Register Now

Meet the CMX Summit speakers

These are just some of the speakers you'll see at CMX (we'll continue to announce a few more surprise speakers leading up to the event as well).

Jeanne Holm - Chief Knowledge Architect, NASA and Evangelist, Data.gov

Jeanne Holm Circle

Jeanne brings our industry to a whole new level.

She's been running the community show at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for over 30 years. Yeah. 30 years. There, she drives innovation through virtual worlds, gaming, social media, ontologies, and collaborative systems, including the award-winning NASA public portal (www.nasa.gov) and pioneering knowledge architectures within the US Department of Defense.

If that wasn't enough, at Data.Gov (an open government flagship project for the White House), Jeanne leads collaboration and builds communities with the public, educators, developers, and international and state governments in using open government data.

She is a Fellow of the United Nations International Academy of Astronautics, a Distinguished Instructor at UCLA, and Chair of the W3C eGovernment Group, and has more than 130 publications on information systems, knowledge management, and innovation.

Jenn Sander - Global Initiatives, Burning Man Project

Jenn Sander Circle

Burning Man is one of the best examples we have today of a massive, organic movement with a thriving offline community. There's a great deal we can learn from the programs that Burning Man runs to apply in our own work every day as community builders.

Jenn is an innovation, communications, and engagement strategist with a passion for uniting international communities around arts, technological innovation, and physical space. For The Burning Man Project, she focuses on connecting their global networks and developing demonstration projects.

Douglas Atkin - Global Head of Community, Airbnb

douglas atkin circle

A true veteran in the community industry, Douglas is the Global Head of Community at Airbnb and Co-Founder of Peers.org, a Global movement for the Sharing Economy. He's also the founder of theglueproject, a blog and venture about social glue, the co-founder of Purpose, an organization that mobilizes millions for social change, a board member of AllOut.org, the world’s largest LGBT movement, a Meetup.com Fellow, and former Partner and Chief Community Officer at Meetup -- the world’s largest network of communities.

Not enough? Well he's also the author of The Culting of Brands: Turn Your Customers into True Believers, a book about how to build cult-like community around almost anything.

Douglas will be sharing some of his strategies with you at CMX.

Ryan Hoover - Founder and CEO, Product Hunt


If you play in the startup world and you haven't heard of Product Hunt yet, come on out from under that rock. It's safe, I promise.

Product Hunt's rise to popularity comes as a direct result of Ryan's approach to building community and the way Ryan got the right people engaged, connected with each other, and contributing to make Product Hunt amazing.

He's one of the most naturally talented community builders I know, and I'm thrilled to have him join us at CMX Summit.

Gina Bianchini - CEO, Mightybell (Previously Founder of Ning)

gina circle

Gina Bianchini brings an extremely impressive level of expertise to us around how to build community-focused products. She's an expert in creating smarter social networks both online and in the real world through her work as CEO of Mightybell, and previously through co-founding Ning with Marc Andreessen. For anyone who's building a community-centric product, this is one talk you don't want to miss.

Chris Lindland - CEO, BetaBrand

Chris Lindland Circle

BetaBrand has been pushing boundaries since their start. One of those biggest boundaries was to open up their idea, design and manufacturing process to their community to control. Users on Betabrand can crowdsource clothing concepts and prototypes into actual products. Since the inception of the crowdfunding platform, Betabrand has funded almost 100 garments, including its "Dress Pant Yoga Pants." They say that company culture comes from its founders. Well BetaBrand is straight up hilarious with the content they create and the clothing they produce so you know Chris' talk will not fail to keep you entertained.

Derek Powazek - Author of Design for Community, CEO of Exposure

Derek Powazek Circle

Another expert in designing products to facilitate community connections, Derek Powazek has worked on the web since 1995, pioneering sites like HotWired, Blogger, and Technorati.

In 2001, he authored the book Design for Community: The Art of Connecting Real People in Virtual Places (New Riders, 2001).

He's also the CEO of Exposure, a platform to create beautiful photo narratives (it's slick, check it out) and he is the cofounder of JPG, the photography magazine that is made by its community.

Erica Kuhl - Sr. Director of Community, Salesforce

Erica Kuhl Circle

I could talk to Erica for hours about community strategy and all the work she's done at Salesforce. She's one of the few out there who truly understands how businesses should build community and has the experience to back it up.

She's spent the last 12+ years driving community programs forward at Salesforce and now manages multiple community programs and a full team who takes care of the millions of members that come through their platform.

Shira Levine - CEO, Fanchismo (previously Global Community Director at Zynga)

Shira Levine Circle

Shira is another veteran of the community industry, before community even was an industry. She's an Online Community Strategist with 15 years’ experience shaping customer relationships with world-class brands through results-oriented community management best practices.

She ran the show at Zynga, worked with ebay and DC Comics, and has since spent her time helping companies and startups nail their community strategy.

CMX Workshops

Get Hands-On Guidance about How to Build Your Community Strategy that You Can Put into Action Tomorrow

This year, we're following up the first day of speakers with a second day of workshops (tickets sold separately from day one, or as a bundle together at a big discount).

This will be a half day program and includes lunch, three workshops and happy hour.

Our first two workshops are confirmed with one more to be announced soon...

Workshop 1: Developing your Community Strategy and Roadmap

Ligaya Tichy - Angel Investor (previously ran community at Yelp and Airbnb)

ligaya tichy circle

Ligaya took the stage at the first-ever CMX Summit and quickly became a crowd favorite. She has extensive experience building community at companies at all different stages in their growth, with teams that range in size and in different industries.CMX attendees said the only complaint they had when seeing her talk was that they couldn't write fast enough to take down all the actionable advice she was sharing.

That's why we've invited her back, this time to run our first workshop. We'll be digging into the actual strategy for getting a community off the ground, scaling it with your company, building a team, handling the different situations that will occur as your community evolves, and more. This is a chance to spend some serious time with one of the best in the industry.

Workshop 2: Community Metrics, ROI and Reporting

Lauren Perkins - CEO of Perks Consulting and General Assembly Lead Instructor on Community Management

Lauren Perkins Circle

Lauren has been training Community Managers for over 3 years at General Assembly. She's one of the few who understand how to build real healthy communities, while also being able to assign metrics, validate the community program's value, create clear reports from the community, and properly communicate everything with your boss, CEO, and the rest of your team.

If you're curious about community metrics and how to manage the ROI discussion, this is one you won't want to miss.

One more workshop will be announced soon. Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter for up-to-the-minute information...

--Photo Credit: Christopher.Michel via Compfightcc

David Spinks
Founder of CMX, VP of Community at Bevy
September 2, 2014
April 2, 2024

Share this post

Sign up to our community newsletter

Get insights and the latest community trends in your inbox.

More from the blog