The Community Show featuring Tom Norman

The Community Show is a fun rapid-fire series by Threado. In this episode, get to know Tom Norman a little better!
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Priyanshu Anand

About the guest

We welcome our guest Tom Norman who is the Founder of Connectors Tribe which is a platform to support independent community builders to help them build better communities. He is also a community consultant who likes to help organizations kickstart a community and scale them to success.

In this episode

We get up-close with the day-to-day life of Tom and how he wraps his life around being a community builder. What’s his favorite snack 🤔? His community secret 🤫? What is he watching these days 🖥️? And, hold on, up to how many decimal places did he remember the value of Pi 👀?

Check it all out in this episode 👇

Episode highlights

00:56 - Something you probably didn’t know about him.

01:26 - His favorite thing about being a community builder.

02:40 - How does he unwind after a long day of work.

03:22 - A quick this or that.

04:52 - His community hack - you wouldn’t want to miss this.

Video Transcript

Hritika: So hello everyone, welcome to The Community Show where we get to have a quick fun conversation with community managers from across the globe. Today we have with that as the founder of Connectors Tribe, Tom Norman. Tom, welcome to the show, thank you so much for coming.

Tom: Thanks for having me, it’s good to be here.

Hritika: Why don’t you introduce yourself quickly to the audience?

Tom: Yeah, I run Connectors Tribe, and it's essentially a network to help solo community managers and people who may be working on community in a company, but as the only community hire. But often we feel quite alone in that, and I'm trying to connect solo community builders to help us learn from each other grow, and, yeah, just develop as community builders together.

Question: What is something that people don’t know about you?

Tom: I mean, I don't have, I'm quite an open book most of my life, but one thing I would share is, as a kid, maybe when I was younger, I knew Pi, the number Pi, to 42 decimal places, which was quite an achievement.

Question: If not a community manager, what would you be doing?

Tom: Probably building communities, like I didn't know community manager was a thing, until a couple of years ago. I've been doing it for five or more years anyways. So, even if I didn't know a “Community Manager” thing existed, I'd probably still be doing it.

Question: What is your favorite part of the job?

Tom: I love the fact that it's one of the most meaningful things we can do. Like, helping people to connect is probably the most valuable thing we can do. We come onto this planet sometimes feeling alone. Ultimately, as community managers, we help people get places, to belong, to connect, to find connections with other people. And I think that's one of the most meaningful things that we can do on the planet.

Question: What do you hate about it?

Tom: By the nature of doing anything, which works with people, and just in general, you get stuff wrong a lot in life and, failing sucks. So, I think just because it's, so yeah, I think that's it, failing sucks sometimes because you're trying new things a lot, you will definitely fail when you do.

Question: What is the most common stereotype you’ve heard about your job title?

Tom: Most people tend to think that community managers are social media managers and that can be more different. Like it's a very, very different job.

Question: What is the one thing that keeps you going throughout the day?

Tom: Coffee and just, I like what I'm doing, you know, like it's such a, I come back to the meaning thing again. It's so meaningful to be helpful to people. Meaning, I think it keeps me going.

Question: Your favorite snack to munch on during meetings (with your cameras off, obviously!)?

Tom: I mean, I don't know if I do it in meetings much, but my favorite snack is pizza. I'd love to have a pizza here right now, I'm on a meeting with you.

Question: How do you unwind after work?

Tom: How do I unwind? I don't know. I tend to run a couple of times a week, which helps, I hang out with my girlfriend, she's a really good cook, so maybe we cook together or watch Netflix or go out together. Yeah, fun from time to time, and running are 2 ways how I unwind.

Question: Your go-to song on a difficult day?

Tom: My go-to song, it’s by Four Tet, and it’s called something. Trying to Remember Yeah! Opal by Four Tet, it’s a remix and that one is one, which kind of builds me up. If I need to kind of build up my confidence, build up my energy, that’s the one I go to.

Question: Quick this or that.

Coffee or Protein Shake?

Tom: Coffee.

Early morning meetings or Late night events?

Tom: Uh, both?

Work from home or Work from office?

Tom: Work from home.

TV series or movies?

Tom: TV series.

Question: What’s that one TV series that you are binging on?

Tom: We're watching ‘This is us’, which is an Amazon Prime, incredible series, incredibly emotional, makes you cry a lot. It’s a great series.

Question: What according to you is the most important thing when it comes to building a safe space in your community?

Tom: Listening to people like, I think the key factor to anybody working in a community is empathy. And if you've got a good enough moderation team who are full of empathy, you can tell what's going wrong, what's not going wrong, and how to build a safe space. So, I think empathy/listening.

Question: A book you want to recommend.

Tom: Community-related or anything related?

Hritika: Any book.

Tom: I would go for; there’s a really great book by Alan Watts called the Wisdom of Insecurity. It's a book that has stuck with me for a long time. Obviously, life can get very insecure at times, and this teaches you to find a kind of wisdom and a foundation within that.

Question: Your mantra for life?

Tom: I think just do good. Like, I wake up every day and try to do good for everyone around me, in their lives and the lives of anyone I meet. Do good is the simplest way I could define my mantra.

Question: A community hack that you want to share with us?

Tom: I mean something I just love doing, and it sounds really, really obvious, I don't know if it's a hack, it's just, get to know your members really well. As a community lead, we are essentially helping people belong and serving people. So, get to know your members really, really well, and you can never do that too much. That's my community hack.

Question: A community manager you want to give a shoutout to?

Tom: Yeah, I like to shout out to Max Rothery who's the VP of community at Finimize. He's doing an awesome job at Finimize, but also he's been really, really generous with his time with his, knowledge, his insights. So, Mar Rothery at Finimize.

Question: A community you recommend joining?

Tom: I mean, I've got to be honest, CMX has been hugely helpful as a community manager. That's how I discovered some of the things in the community, so, definitely, CMX is a worthwhile place to hang out.

Hritika: That's perfect. Thank you for coming to the show. It was great having you.

Tom: Thanks for having me! It was good to meet you.

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