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All,

While I don’t really want to lapse into a long personal metaphor, I was struck with a strange cool parallel this morning as I sat in my car and watched the motorcycle riders shoot past in the opposing lane. Motorcyclists have an interesting code. You ride; you wave; you’re a member. When I first started riding, it was one of the most inviting and hidden benefits that I found. It is obvious that there is a freedom you gain by the lack of metal around you. You gain a freedom, coupled with a sense of exposure. But, you also join a family. And, yes, there are people who play better than others… there are some riders that only greet people on certain bikes, but there are the rest of us, the majority, that don’t care if you’re on a Suzuki, a Triumph, a Ducati, a Harley, a Honda, a Buell… whatever. You are on two wheels. You are one of us. We are a family.

When I see the incredible activity, the flurry of posts and replies, the content that gets shared, the scripts people provide each other, it is the same exact feeling. I know there are people who are more comfortable hanging out quietly in the background, certainly feel free, and there are members who never post, but there are also those members who share knowledge, post answers, reach out to folks who are struggling – they wave to one another all the time. Often you organize your own poker runs to support each other… I mean, what else can you call this post in TIPS & TRICKS: Stop the madness! Avoiding alerts but continuing to pull statistics., other than a big thank you and give back? 

We all get into tight spots. Like all the riders I know, I’ve hit the ground. I’ve been rather lucky and, so far, only have a couple scars and something to blame my future arthritis on. One of the most amazing things that happened when I found myself along the side of the road was the number of people who stopped as I waited for a tow. Motorcyclist, car drivers, truck drivers… almost every one of them starting with, “Are you okay?” and ending with telling me about when they dropped their own bike. Everyone who stopped offered help. I see this same thing here in the SolarWinds community. Sometimes the bike gives out unexpectedly; sometimes you forget to turn the petcock on; sometimes you just can’t figure out why the silly lights stay on. But someone out there has been there. They’ve seen the same issue. They have a workaround. They have a friendly reminder about giving SQL Server more gas or tuning the engine. They stop to help.

I guess, in the long run, all I’m saying is that it is a great feeling to be a part of this community. I appreciate the feedback, positive and negative about your experiences here, and I want you to know that my ears are open and my voice is yours here in SolarWinds.

Please keep waving…
Michael

Greetings MVPs, gurus, and thwack members,

 

While I'm not new to thwack and have been with SolarWinds for 5 years, I am new in my Community role. I have been in the dev organization and the support organization. I have been on the vision and creation side and the "dude, this is broken" side of the house. Most recently, I've been the Director of Information Development. I loved getting my writers out on thwack. There is nothing like thwack for a writer. You are exposed to everything and everyone. You can interact. You can learn. You can get the feedback you always wanted (and you rarely have to talk on the phone).

 

In my new role, I can't wait to get that same feedback. I know our community is one of the major differentiators for SolarWinds. We have a community of people who really care about our software, who voice their needs, who know our software well enough to help others with the products - and you do. Our community is also frustrated with our search functionality. I know. I'm frustrated with it. But, we also have a community that can be patient, and I am asking you to please exercise that patience now.

 

I ask that you be patient as I request feedback and start the projects rolling that build and bolster our community. Know that I will always be learning and will make mistakes. You will see moderators come and go on the boards. We are filling the moderator position, right now, with interns. Our interns get hired... good for them, but not always good for our consistency. I understand that. But, it really is a cool job to offer to an intern, a lot of exposure in a short period of time to a lot of great people posting about the technology that helps everyone enjoy being connected to everyone else. Please bear with us.

 

Over the next couple quarters, we are not only looking to alleviate our search woes, but we are also looking at bringing our community site up to the caliber of our users. I have reached out to some of our key players (past and present) to help me rank an upcoming feature set, and I've already heard some great feedback. I am not a fool, though. Change takes time and we've customized our platform quite a bit over the years. We know we need to continue providing all the services and sharing capabilities we provide now. We cannot break the direct interaction between our products and our community content. We need to be careful. And, we will be.

 

I will keep you posted on our progress, and, as always, I would love to hear from you about anything... heck, ACL is this weekend... we can talk smack about bands, if you want.

 

Thanks all,

 

Michael