Hi everyone. I’ve been poking around and lurking for the past couple of months while I got some sense of who’s who and what’s what here. Now ready for my phase two where I actually say things and participate.
It’s a great pleasure to be here and the timing is good, since I just left my job of managing a public FM radio station in California for the past seven years. Part of what motivated the decision was to focus once again on leading edge community information tools and social groupings. Alberto pointed me over here to ER and I have spent many hours now reading and following links around, to and from this site.
I have a website, johncoate.com, where you can load up on a lot of detail about my career and the unusual path I took. There is writing, podcasts, a video, pics, etc.
But in a nutshell it is this. As a San Francisco teenager in the 1960s I chose not to go to college but rather to join a spiritual, back-to-the-land tribe that started what was for most of the 70s the largest collective living enterprise in the USA, called The Farm in Summertown, Tennessee. During that time (1970-83), I lived collectively and had no money of my own. It started in SF living with a group on a bus then going all around the USA until we settled on the land in TN. I worked as a farmer, carpenter, mechanic, truck and tractor driver and book salesman. From 1978-82 I moved from rural TN to New York City where we collectively squatted in a building and founded a free ambulance service and then in Washington DC where our collective helped found the first bilingual free clinic in DC. My experiences with this large extended community taught me a lot about what works and doesn’t work in group interaction.
This led directly to me being employee #2 at The WELL, which was described by Wired! Magazine as the “world’s most influential online community.” Though the title was “Marketing Director and Conference Manager,” in fact, from 1986 through 1991, I was the first Online Community Manager, meaning my main job was the care and growth of the social aspects of the network.
1994 I co-founded the first major news website, SF Gate, which I managed until 2001. (It’s now a shadow of its former self, btw.)
2002-3 I was the Development Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
2006-7 I was director of editorial and website operations at techsoup.org, a nonprofit that helps other nonprofits acquire software and tools.
Then I moved up to the rural north coast area of California where, from 2008 until this past July, I became the General Manager/Executive Director of KZYX-FM, a public radio station that serves a huge rural geographic area.
And now I’m back in the SF area and working my way into ER in whatever way works best.
I met Alberto in 2013 when we both presented at a virtual communities conference, Vircomm 2013.
Also that year I gave a talk called “Origins of Online Community” (link goes to a .mov of it) in Sydney AU at the SWARM online community management conference.
I wrote one of the first, if not the first, treatises about online community management back in 1991, called Cyberspace Innkeeping: Building Online Community, which is dated in its orientation to the specific technologies, but will never go out of date regarding social dynamics…unless human nature itself changes. Still, I’m working on a shorter, more up-to-date version of this. Meanwhile, this short list of Principles gives you a basic sense of my approach.
Ok, I’ll stop there, except to say that I am married, have kids and grandkids, play the guitar half-decently on a good night, love to hike, bike, kayak, row, sail and travel and have an advanced SCUBA certificate. And I love to hang out with my friends, which will include you soon enough.