What makes for a great community manager?

Vanessa DiMauro gave a great talk at KA Connect 2014 called “Secrets of Great Communities and Community Managers.” Vanessa is uniquely qualified to speak to this topic. Her company, Leader Networks, specializes in helping businesses build deeper relationships with key stakeholders like clients, members, and employees through digital B2B communities.

In her talk, Vanessa shared 5 things that great communities and community managers do well. Vanessa’s talk will be up on the KA Connect website (along with all the other talks from the conference) in a few weeks. In the interim, here are Vanessa’s five secrets:

#1: Great online communities are strategic.
#2: Great online communities develop a 90-day plan, every 90 days.
#3: People come for content and stay for community.
#4: When online communities become great, the members take control.
#5: Great online communities demonstrate tangible value over time.

You can find more detail in this blog post. Anything to add?

Posted: July 10th, 2014 | Filed under: General | No Comments »

Get People Commenting the Old-Fashioned Way with Synthesis

Get People Commenting the Old-Fashioned Way with Synthesis

A simple intranet idea. Pass it on.

Posted: June 25th, 2014 | Filed under: Insights, Intranet Ideas, Synthesis | Comments Off

Crowdsource Design Precedents with Synthesis

Crowdsource Design Precedents with Synthesis

A simple intranet idea. Pass it on.

Posted: May 27th, 2014 | Filed under: Insights, Intranet Ideas, Synthesis | Comments Off

Missed our inaugural Office Hours webinar? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Susan and Chris hosted Knowledge Architecture’s inaugural KA Advance Office Hours on May 15th. Not to worry, we recorded the session for those of you who couldn’t make it.

Here’s a brief overview of what you missed:

1:38  Announcements

6:00  What’s the roadmap for adding projects, companies, opportunities to Synthesis Mobile for Android?

7:05  Can you remind the group of the SharePoint 2013 schedule?

14:30  When should we advise users to use email versus posting on the intranet?

17:20   What do you think about creating a corporate communications user?

19:40  What impact will Newforma’s new integration with SharePoint have on Synthesis?

20:55  Should we produce intranet training videos?

26:00  Are there any plans to add ad hoc groups to Synthesis?

27:35  How do we know if we’re successful with Synthesis?

29:35  Call for intranet tour guides! Interested? Email Susan and Chris at advance@knowledge-architecture.com.

Next Office Hours on June 19th

Registration is now open for the next KA Advance Office Hours on Thursday, June 19th at 11 PST.

Posted: May 21st, 2014 | Filed under: Office Hours | Comments Off

Now that’s what I call a positioning statement.

Bookshop Positioning Statement

This small, yellow, folded piece of paper was placed on top of my wife’s order from BOOK/SHOP. I love the close:

“These are the people we’re working for.”


Posted: May 19th, 2014 | Filed under: Quotable | Comments Off

Use Synthesis to Share Benchmarking Information

KA Intranet Ideas Share Benchmarking Information

A simple intranet idea. Pass it on.

Posted: May 13th, 2014 | Filed under: Intranet Ideas, Synthesis | Comments Off

“Start with a box.” Or, the best advice I’ve ever read on organizing creative ideas.

The Creative Habit

The following is an excerpt from The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp’s amazing book on creativity:


Everyone has his or her own organizational system. Mine is a box, the kind you can buy at Office Depot for transferring files. I start every dance with a box. I write the project name on the box, and as the piece progresses I fill it up with every item that went into the making of the dance. This means notebooks, news clippings, CDs, videotapes of me working alone in my studio, videos of the dancers rehearsing, books and photographs and pieces of art that may have inspired me.


There are separate boxes for everything I’ve ever done. If you want a glimpse into how I think and work, you could do worse than to start with my boxes.

The box makes me feel organized, that I have my act together even when I don’t know where I’m going yet.

It also represents a commitment. The simple act of writing a project name on the box means I’ve started work.

The box makes me feel connected to a project. It is my soil. I feel this even when I’ve back-burnered a project: I may have put the box away on a shelf, but I know it’s there. The project name on the box in bold black lettering is a constant reminder that I had an idea once and may come back to it very soon.

Most important, though, the box means I never have to worry about forgetting. One of the biggest fears for a creative person is that some brilliant idea will get lost because you didn’t write it down and put it in a safe place. I don’t worry about that because I know where to find it. It’s all in the box…”

I first read The Creative Habit back in 2008 and have been following her advice to “start with a box” ever since. My ideas for new products, features, conference speakers, and blog posts all go in “boxes”, which are Basecamp projects for me. I know my ideas are safe and sound in the box, out of my head so I can focus on the work at hand.

When it is time to start working on that product, feature, conference, or post, I always look forward to opening up the box, because by then I’ve completely forgotten the notes I put inside.

One of the benefits of this approach is that when I do eventually open up the box, I get to enjoy the idea all over again. (Assuming it is good. If not, I get a good laugh from the fact I ever thought the idea was worth writing down.)

I was in the process of filing ideas for a new product into a box when I decided to share this. I hope you found it useful and consider reading The Creative Habit.

You won’t regret it.

Posted: May 7th, 2014 | Filed under: General, Quotable | Comments Off

Introducing KA Advance Office Hours

Office Hours Image

30 minutes of Synthesis Q+A with Susan and Chris.

May 15th at 10 AM PST.

All we need is you.

Register here.

Posted: May 7th, 2014 | Filed under: Synthesis | Comments Off

Generate Momentum for your Synthesis Launch with a Preview Video

Video is a great medium for building excitement prior to launching Synthesis firmwide. Check out this awesome example from BKF Engineers.

A simple intranet idea. Pass it on.

Posted: April 30th, 2014 | Filed under: Intranet Ideas, Synthesis | Comments Off

Publish User-Generated Content with Synthesis

Intranet Ideas 2

A simple intranet idea. Pass it on.

Posted: April 8th, 2014 | Filed under: Intranet Ideas, Synthesis | Comments Off

ARCHITECT Magazine’s R+D Awards Call For Entries: Submissions Due April 18


Many member firms of the KA Connect community are investing in R+D. If you haven’t seen it, ARCHITECT Magazine has been running an annual R+D awards program for the last eight years. Here’s a short summary of the program:

“To celebrate the building technologies that are revolutionizing the process and product of architecture, ARCHITECT magazine announces its eighth annual R+D Awards program. The awards honor innovative design and systems at every scale—from entire buildings to building systems, discrete products and materials, and digital tools such as software, cloud-based platforms, and mobile apps. The R+D Awards welcome entries of all types to encourage the broadest possible dialogue among architects, engineers, manufacturers, researchers, students, and designers of all disciplines.”

More information about the award program’s rules and regulations and past award winners is available on the ARCHITECT site.

Good luck!

Posted: April 3rd, 2014 | Filed under: General | Comments Off

“Tweeting is easier than blogging.”

So says Fred Wilson, author of AVC, one of the most widely-read tech blogs. So why does he still blog?

That was topic of his post this morning. Here’s the short answer:

“So why have I continued to blog every day when plenty of people have moved to tweeting and get similar benefits? Well for one, I am a creature of habit and routine and hate breaking things that are working for me. And second, I like to work things out on the page. It’s a puzzle to me. 140 characters is a challenge but ten paragraphs is a bigger challenge. And finally, because you can express yourself more fully in a blog post than a tweet (or a tweet stream).”

His second point really resonated with me. Writing is a powerful way to discover what I really think about something, especially when I write first thing, before my mind has a chance to get cluttered with other people’s ideas.

A few years ago, my wife Denise introduced me to the concept of morning pages from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way.

In short, the idea of morning pages is to write in your journal at the beginning of each and every day, even if you have nothing to say, nothing to figure out. Just write. At least a page. Sometimes it will be worthless. That’s fine. You will just accept it. But more often than not something will emerge after a few pages—perhaps the solution to a problem you’ve been wrestling with, or perhaps even a solution to a problem you weren’t even conscious of. It works. It’s magical. You should try it.

As much as I love Twitter, and I do, I agree with Fred that while 140 characters is a challenge, writing blog posts is ultimately a more gratifying experience because I end up learning more about myself and the world around me.

That’s why I still blog. How about you?

Posted: April 3rd, 2014 | Filed under: General | Comments Off

Crowdsource Business Development Intelligence with Synthesis

A simple intranet idea. Pass it on.

Posted: April 1st, 2014 | Filed under: Intranet Ideas, Synthesis | Comments Off

Full Program Announced for KA Connect 2014

KA Connect Attendees

KA Connect 2014, our annual conference, will take place at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on June 3rd and 4th, 2014.

Senior and emerging leaders from top AEC firms will gather to learn strategies and tactics for building highly connected practices. A wide range of experts will share their knowledge through case studies and panel discussions on the following topics:

  • Building Long-Term Knowledge
  • Orchestrating Digital Communities
  • Where is Technology Headed?
  • Connecting the Built Environment
  • Trends in Web Communications
  • Knowledge Management in Practice
  • Leading a Connected Practice
  • Thought Leadership in the AEC Industry

Attendees will have ample time to network and collaborate with their peers in breakout groups.

We hope you’ll join us.


Posted: April 1st, 2014 | Filed under: General | Comments Off

Register for the Synthesis Workshop :: San Francisco 2014

KA Advance

Synthesis Workshops combine short talks, working groups, and social networking (the old-fashioned kind).

Our clients share innovative digital and analog approaches to connecting their practices. We share our product roadmaps and sneak previews of new technology from the lab.

Our next workshop will be in San Francisco on June 5th from 8:30 AM – 5 PM, following KA Connect 2014.

View the full agenda.

Posted: March 26th, 2014 | Filed under: General | Comments Off

Synthesis 4.5 Upgrade Resources

This is the recording from today’s “Synthesis 4.5 Overview” client webinar. The webinar is about 30 minutes long and includes a demo of Synthesis 4.5 as well as a Q+A session about this release and beyond.

In addition to the webinar, we have produced the following resources to assist you with your Synthesis 4.5 upgrade:

We’re looking forward to getting all of you upgraded to Synthesis 4.5. Please feel free to send any questions or comments to support@knowledge-architecture.com.

Posted: March 20th, 2014 | Filed under: General | Comments Off

VIDEO: Synthesis 4.5 Trailer

Synthesis 4.5 is the latest release of our social intranet for architects and engineers. Our main goal in designing this release was to improve readability by removing clutter and allowing users to focus on the most essential information.

It will be available on April 7th.

Posted: March 11th, 2014 | Filed under: General | Comments Off

Introducing KA Connect Books

KA Connect Books

We talk about books quite a bit in the KA Connect community, both online and at our conferences. The team at Knowledge Architecture is constantly asked for book recommendations on a variety of topics—from knowledge management to research to thought leadership.

I have been wanting to put together a KA Connect book list for a while now. Last week, one of our clients posted a request for a list of knowledge management books in our client community, which was the final nudge I needed. I went through my bookshelf, my Kindle, old blog posts and presentations, as well as KA Connect talks and LinkedIn Group discussions to pull together version 1.0 of KA Connect Books, which you can find here:


Some of the books in this list are new. Some are old. Some are AEC-specific. Others are more general in nature. The unifying factor of the collection is that these are books we have read over and over. Books we use in our practice. Books we recommend again and again.

I hope you enjoy them.

Posted: February 13th, 2014 | Filed under: General | Comments Off

15 Reasons to Attend KA Connect 2014

KA Connect 2014 Mosaic

The A/E Firm Website of 2015
Jason Mlicki, Principal, Rattleback

The 4×4 Model for Winning Knowledge Content
Bill Shander, Founder/CEO, Beehive Media

AEC-APPS: Community as a Competitive Advantage
Nick Holt, Technical Director, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Secrets of Great Communities & Community Managers
Vanessa DiMauro, CEO and Managing Partner, Leader Networks

Buildings: The Ultimate Smartphone Accessory
Alex Serriere, Director of Research, TEECOM

Future-Proofing your Design Technology Strategy
Steve Sanderson, Director of Implementation, CASE

What Transportation Can Be: Technology for the Next Generation
Bruce Haldors, President and CEO, Transpo Group

Connect your Future: Building the Connected Practice of Tomorrow
Christopher Parsons, Founder and CEO, Knowledge Architecture

Integrated Knowledge Flow: Enhancing Culture and Practice
Stefnee Trzpuc, Knowledge Management Specialist, BWBR

Change is the New Black: Building a Sharing Culture at
Mead & Hunt

Pat Peyton, Leader of Knowledge Management, Mead & Hunt
Kathy Schumann, Leader of Employee Communications, Mead & Hunt

Scenario Planning: A Creative Tool for Future Strategies
Ray Kogan, President, Kogan & Company

Successful Knowledge Transfer During Leadership Transition
Andy Fry, COO, Magnusson Klemencic Associates

Connecting People with Data
Nick Vlattas, COO, Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company

The Case for Thought Leadership in the AEC Industry
Bob Buday, Partner, Bloom Group LLC

Join us at KA Connect 2014

KA Connect 2014 will take place at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on June 3rd and 4th, 2014.

We’ll be announcing additional speakers and program details over the next several months.

Take advantage of early registration pricing while we plan.

Before February 18th, 2014 $995.00
After February 18th, 2014 $1,195.00
After April 4th, 2014 $1,395.00

Register Now

Posted: January 28th, 2014 | Filed under: General | Comments Off

We’re hiring a C# / .Net Software Engineer

Knowledge Architecture is a knowledge and information management consultancy based in San Francisco, CA. Our flagship product is Synthesis, a social intranet designed specifically for architects and engineers. We have also developed technology that interconnects common industry applications; our most recent projects have brought the information centralized in Synthesis to iOS and Android via apps, and to anywhere else our clients need it, via a REST API.

We’ve got a lot more planned, and we need your help to build it. We expect that you’ll take advantage of opportunities to improve your existing development abilities and learn new ones, but there’s a base level of experience we’d like you to start with:

  • At least 2 years of C# / .Net experience.
  • Modern web development experience.
  • A demonstrated ability to adapt your skills to the ever-changing standards and best practices of frontend development.
  • We won’t dictate javascript frameworks, but we will expect you to choose your tools thoughtfully.

Nice to have:

  • Experience with Microsoft SharePoint is a plus (even if that experience means that you just groaned).
  • Experience with Elasticsearch would also be a plus.

In short, we’re looking for a developer competent in C#, with demonstrated frontend web abilities. You can expect competitive compensation and a flexible working environment. You’ll be the fourth member of our Dev team, and employee number nine at “KA”. We’re a bootstrapped company in a great niche, so we get to focus exclusively on building polished and effective products for the fantastic architecture and engineering firms we work with. If you’d like to come grow as a developer while helping us to continue building a great company, please get in touch.

Posted: January 27th, 2014 | Filed under: General | Comments Off