Member Meeting 34
February 4-5, 2015
San Francisco

Focus on: In-house vs. outsource

What the meeting was like members met in San Francisco for our 34th Member Meeting for a time of seeing old friends, meeting new ones, collaborating with peers, and learning new things.

Our case study day featured presentations from Symantec, Toyota, Burger King, Electronic Arts, Wells Fargo, Old Navy, Cisco, and Microsoft. To see presentations and videos from the day, click here.

That evening, members enjoyed an all-you-can-eat feast at the Hong Kong Flower Lounge Restaurant where the real conversations began.

The next day, we gathered again for members-only conversations and collaboration. We started with a deep dive into the topic of what we outsource vs. keep in-house. We covered how we decide what to outsource and keep in-house and the pros and cons of each approach. We shared tips and best practices for knowing when it’s time to bring in an agency, how to find the right one, tips for managing a successful relationship, and how we measure success of the partnership.

After the deep dive into this topic, we shifted to our unconferences — a series of 16 small group conversations on topics chosen by attendees. These topics ranged from managing a C-suite social media presence, global strategies, social recruiting, and paid social media, to developing and retaining social media talent, influencer and advocacy programs, and much more.

We closed the day in a private discussion with Ben Rattray, Founder and CEO of He spoke briefly about how the organization began – the vision behind it, early challenges, and how its focus has shifted from government to corporate petitions due in part to the responsiveness of companies. He shared a bit about their roadmap and the various efforts they are leading in order to allow companies more involvement with petitions. He answered some specifics about traffic and their business model, and concluded the discussion by sharing his excitement in the corporate world’s ability to act as levers for massive social change.

Our guest speaker: Ben Rattray founder Ben Rattray was our special guest at this Member Meeting. In 2007, Ben created the online petition site to empower people to suggest and support local, national, and global change, whether it’s a governmental issue or (as some of us know very well) to challenge brands to change their products or stances. now has 83 million users in nearly 200 countries, and its continuing growth and influence is underscored by a recent massive round of funding.

We closed our Member Meeting with a private conversation with Ben, where we talked about everything from what inspires people, to community development, to how brands might best engage with petitions.