We are excited to share our new brand and identity. FML Studios. On June 15, 2022, we shared the news that FML Studios had officially launched! Read along to learn more about what FML is, and why this brand is important to us (yes, including me Zac!)
The FML Story
Our founder, Zachary Novak, was once on the linear path. From high school to post-secondary to a seasoned career in investment banking and corporate development, Zac was climbing the ladder of “success.”
But one day, Zac asked himself, “Is this really the difference I want to make in the world?” Through discovery and exploration, he started asking tough questions about his interests, strengths, values, and purpose.
This led Zac to leave the world of finance for the world of technology. First, by taking a coding bootcamp, then working as a Product Manager and eventually Director of Product at Actionable.
It was at Actionable where the FML story truly began. Actionable is a behaviour-change technology that SMEs utilize to deliver change in their clients’ organizations. Actionable has consulting partners, a global group of thought leaders and consultants looking to make a big impact to create a better workplace for people.
Actionable is a community-led organization, focused on bringing consultants together around a mission to amplify the impact of their product. It was amazing to see consultants from all over the world working together to support each other in making a difference in their clients’ organizations. Actionable’s community was so established that they would host their own summits without the Actionable team assisting.
As a product manager who was benefiting from a community-led approach, Zac was inspired from what he saw from this community. Through assessment of his own strengths, Zac knew community was the direction for him.
Zac then cofounded a non-profit, event based community, Cancer Crusher, raising funds for Cancer charities. From there, Zac formally started his community career by founding Careers in Technology and Innovation, a community dedicated to helping mid-career professionals pivot and grow into fulfilling technology careers. He also started a role as Executive Community Director at RevvGo, building the RevV Leaders Network, a global community of emerging leaders supporting each other to make their difference in the world.
This journey led Zac to founding FML. Today, Zac is proud to formally announce the launch of FML Studios, a community studio dedicated to supporting purpose-driven organizations in amplifying their impact though community.
FML. When most people think of these 3 letters, they typically think this of this acronym as “f*ck my life”.
We, at FML studios, are on a mission to change that, as we believe every individual is meant to live a *Fulfilling and Meaningful life.
How do we do that?
Based on a study from Harvard, it has been found that those with the strongest relationships live the happiest and most fulfilling lives.
We also know through literature, like Victor Frankl’s man search for meaning, those that have “a reason to be” will outlive those that do not.
And like a tree, which dies when it stops growing, peoples souls die a little bit when they're not growing.
What do these three pieces equate to? Connection, Fulfillment and Growth.
And there is no better place than community to help people connect with one another, find fulfillment, and grow together.
You can see these themes in the way we define community at FML: "a group of people who connect with one another to grow together so that they can make a common difference in the world."
How can we make the biggest impact?
We at FML know that there are many purpose-driven organizations and start-ups that already exist. Our approach is to partner with those organizations to amplify their impact by helping them build community around that mission.
FML is particularly focused on technology organizations. We believe technology is a natural step in the evolution of people. Most importantly, however, technology is not just tools to help us advance, but a medium that allows us to have new conversations and insights to look at the world in a different way.
Valuing collaboration, it is important for us to partner with others as we believe this can help us make the greatest impact.
We believe community is the oxygen that can bring our mission to life. Yes, your product or service is an important part of the equation, but your mission goes beyond that, and community is a natural ally to amplify your mission.
And ultimately what is the mission of any company? To help your user grow, reach a goal, or self-actualize is some way. They are trying to make a difference in their mission, and your organization is supporting that.
Technology + Conversations => Insights + Conversation => Growth and Fulfillment
Amplify Impact? What does that mean?
To sum it up, what does it mean to be community led? Community-led simply is when business growth is derived from the community; community is the core generator to propel the business forward.
And where do we see the biggest impact? Community sits at the intersection of marketing, product, customer success, and culture.
First community amplifies your brand. How? Because there are experiences that your community comes together for. Well-thought out content brings believers together so they can connect. This creates an endless engine of content and thought leadership for marketing, who in turn attracts more members. Ultimately, this leads to a positive feedback loop of growth.
Second, product insight. Building a community around your product creates tighter iteration loops. As a product manager who built a technology product for a community-led business, it was clear to Zac how quickly he could empathize and see the issues and opportunities when interacting with the community.
Third, community driven success. Yes, customer success is an important function of any organization. But there is nothing more magical than an actual user sharing how they use their product in the flow of their work. You can not replicate this without user input, as your users truly understand the experience of bringing your product into work.
And lastly, culture. This is about attracting believers. When your employees, see the mission of your company through your community, they will be more engaged, will stay longer, and be more fulfilled in their work.
So how do I know if I am good candidate for community and FML?
It all comes down to purpose. Do you have a strong mission? Do you believe your mission goes beyond your product? Do you believe that bringing those that believe in your mission together around your product will make the biggest impact?
Did you just answer, yes, yes, yes. Then community is a great fit for you.
So what can you expect from FML?
We at FML are on a mission to help as many organizations build thriving communities around their missions and to help others find fulfillment and meaning in their work and lives.
Leading by example, let’s explore what FML’s minimum viable community look like:
- Our monthly community event series on the business of community, bringing together technology and community leaders to discuss the business impact of community (with our friend and community leader Brigitte Legault).
- Community roundtable initiatives bringing together community leaders to support one another.
- Delivering content with our approaches, tips and learnings on communities through our newsletter, blog and socials.
- Celebrating ours and your wins.
- And of course, we expect this to evolve over time as we build community around FML’s mission, taking notes and lessons from those who participate in our ecosystem.
We also will enact our mission by providing community growth services, focusing on:
- Launch: We help you launch a community, so community can be at the core of your organization.
- Evolve: We utilize best practices in discovery, design thinking, and strategic planning to evolve your existing community.
- Activate: We work with you to diagnose and build a plan to grow and scale your impact.
Lastly, we build our own communities. Our flagship-operated community is Careers in Technology and Innovation. Being both a consultant and operator allows to cross-pollinate learnings from multiple communities. And most importantly, it helps us truly feel and understand the work involved to build a thriving community.
Moving forward this newsletter will be rebranded as the FML newsletter, while still focused on building community, meaning and fulfillment, and technology organizations. We have made a commitment to publishing every two weeks. As we grow, expect to see a more diverse group of writers focused on the topics above.
Thank you for being a supporter of our mission to help people live fulfilling and meaningful lives. We are so glad to have you as part of our community.