2020 has been quite the year here at PF. In the midst of a pandemic, we’ve had what’s turning out to be our best year, in both results and in evolution. (Tweet this.) As I was making a list of the highlights and news, it dawned on me that, rather than having one epically long post, it’d be better to split it up into parts.
I’m going to be discussing the news and updates in roughly the order of evolution. Let’s get it!
Start Finishing and the Productive Flourishing Academy Has Changed a Lot about PF
There’s been a lot of evolution this year at PF, caused by three major sources: Start Finishing, COVID-19, and the Productive Flourishing Academy.
Since I’ve already written so much about Start Finishing in the anniversary post, I’ll summarize here: Start Finishing did well on its own and opened up a lot of opportunities for growth in PF. When I wrote it, I didn’t and couldn’t see what was yet to come and we’ve been playing catch-up in the most delightful of ways since it was published.
Start Finishing was a catalyst that reminded us how much we love doing in-person events. It had been a few years since we’d done an event and we put doing events on the backside of publishing Start Finishing since we realized that we didn’t have the marketing capacity to do events and a book launch at the same time. Right as we were about to gear up to go toward doing more in-person events and speaking, COVID-19 ate those plans and burped in our faces. Luckily, we hadn’t invested a whole lot into going that route, so we were able to pivot quickly.
The quick pivot was to the Productive Flourishing Academy. A paid membership had been in the parking lot for a while, largely because I knew how much work they take to do well and I wasn’t sure that we had the capacity to do it well. To excel at running a community, you have to be both prolific and great at three different competencies: marketing, content development, and community engagement.
Since we had the problem of being too prolific at content development, as evidenced by the sheer number of products we have laying around, I wasn’t worried about that one. We know how to do community engagement, but it was the capacity to do it that had me concerned. And then there was the whole problem of being great, prolific, and consistent at marketing that we still needed to tackle.
We decided to start the Academy before we had all the pieces figured out; COVID-19 was the forcing function for the Academy and the Academy being live was the forcing function for us to solve those three challenges.
Enter Steve Arensberg, Osheyana Martinez, and Anthony Carter
We roped Steve into the team during the lead-up of the launch of Start Finishing because we needed a lot of project management help to support the Do Crew, but given that I had worked with Steve during my time transitioning Live Your Legend after Scott’s death, I had a strong sense that we wouldn’t be letting him go anywhere anytime soon. He’d been brought on as an independent contractor on several projects besides Start Finishing and soon enough was working full time as an operations manager, editor, and content creator. So this summer we went ahead and made it official.
Even with hiring Steve — and particularly as the Academy really got underway — the team was using too much Dunkirk Spirit to fuel all of our projects, hanging on to the hope that our optempo would ease up after the book launch, even though I made it clear that, if anything, we’d be accelerating. Hiring new teammates at PF can be quite the project, so at the time, it felt like yet another major thing they didn’t have time for. A few months into the Academy being live made it clear that big project or not, we had to hire another teammate whose role would center around customer and community success.
So we kicked off our hiring project to find the next great member of Team PF. We scoured and scored 350 applications, reviewed and graded 30 work samples, conducted 15 “in-person” team interviews, and from that extensive process, the team presented two unanimous candidates to go forward with us. After Angela and I spoke with Osheyana, we knew she was a perfect fit for the team and the role.
But the team also presented us with a candidate that they weren’t sure would be a great fit for the specific role we were hiring for, but they had a hunch that we’d want to talk to him. They were right. Anthony Carter is a Creative Giant who’s a trained librarian, self-taught web tech tinkerer, musician, and audio-visual editor. And it just happened to be that we badly needed some help with curating our content, working on backend systems, and A/V editing.
Again, we really needed the capacity, competency, and personality that Osheyana and Anthony bring to the team before we started the Academy. We had recently moved our community (formerly called the Creative Giant Campfire) from Facebook to Mighty Networks because we wanted to make the community great in ways we just couldn’t see doing at Facebook for both technical and cultural reasons. Osheyana and Anthony coming on gives us the ability to create, curate, and engage across all of our platforms at a level I’ve been envisioning for years.
Speaking of creating, curating, and engaging, the next post in the series will focus on the direction of the Anchor. See you then!