I'M JAKE MCKEE
People call me The Community Guy
Doing lots of things well to make one thing great.
WALKING THE TALK
“Jake isn’t the community guy, he’s THE Community Guy. And he might be the first one out there to recognize the power of connecting and empowering a company’s biggest fans. From his mantra of “Everybody goes home happy” to his thought leadership, Jake knows communities. And on top of that, he’s a great guy and fun to be around.”
As a longtime marketing and community management professional, I can not only tell you how to design and optimize your online community and social engagement programs—I’ve helped build them for some of the world’s most recognized brands, including Apple, LEGO, and Dr. Pepper, to name just three.
As a passionate Community Guy, even my spare time is occupied with community building. I am the founder and Executive Director of CX 5essions, a monthly event series bringing together senior online community leaders for conversation, connection, and camaraderie. I’ve co-authored and edited books on social media and community strategy, and I am available as a speaker at conferences and custom-designed workshops and onsite trainings.
As if that’s not enough community nerdery, I also created the Confessions of a Community Manager web comic, a chronicle of the trials and tribulations of being a Community Manager during and after the pandemic.
I’ve been “doing community” before it was even a thing.
Going as far back as 1996, when “community” meant convincing my clients to put an email address on their web site, I’ve played an instrumental role in building online communities for some of the world’s most successful and recognizable brands. Beginning around the turn of this century, I parlayed my experience as a web developer into a plum position with the internationally famous LEGO Company, where I took on three different roles at the same time— fan community relations, product development, and web content creation. This unique amalgam of skill sets resulted in leading the company’s very first community team.
You always remember your first.
Implementing our inaugural global community strategy was, to put it mildly, an unqualified success. We fully engaged a previously untapped customer pool of rabid adult LEGO fans that was worth something close to $85 million at the time. In short, the power of community engagement saved the company from near bankruptcy and forever changed the way it interacted with its consumers. You can still read about it in a Wired Magazine cover story.
What have I done for you lately?
To this day, I’m fascinated with creating a deep sense of connection between organizations and their most ardent fans. As an independent consultant, I use the capabilities I’ve acquired through the years, and I draw on a deep reservoir of experience to help you increase your community members’ satisfaction to boost your business results.
JAKE THE BUILDER
I am a hands-on guy, so when I work on a project with you, I like to roll my sleeves up, dig into the data, and get my hands dirty. Building communities is fun, and I like being in the trenches with you.
JAKE THE FIXER
If you’re in a situation, and the outlook is bleak, just sound the alarm. I will quickly assess, support, and jump in to get it fixed immediately.
JAKE THE CONSULTANT
I realized years ago where my strengths lie—as an advisor, mentor, specialist, and guide. To me, consulting is a calling, and I’ve worked very hard to earn this place in my profession.
JAKE THE EXPERT
Through years (and years) of experience, I’ve become an unofficial authority on all things community. Ask me about any area of community building or fan engagement, and I’ll likely have the answer. Or know where to get it quickly.
JAKE THE TEACHER
Either one-on-one or in a group training setting, I’m eager to sit down with you and your team, explain and demonstrate, practice and apply, and teach by example so you can learn by doing.
JAKE THE NERD
Creating community is not just a career—it’s my passion. I love geeking out on this stuff! I’ve spent enough time around developers, marketers, support pros, and comms teams to be able to speak their language, or at least clearly understand it.
EVERYBODY GOES HOME HAPPY
That’s my philosophy for building communities, and it has never failed to build a satisfying experience for everyone involved. It means that for an online community to be truly rewarding, both the company and its customers must work in unison to achieve something special for everyone involved. It isn’t about throwing money at members to make them happy. It’s about recognizing each other for who they are and what they truly desire. If you can achieve a mutually beneficial symbiosis, the community will deliver exceptional value and build an army of advocates who will advance your brand as far as you want it to go.
CX 5essions is a comfortable, casual virtual gathering I host once a month at no charge for senior-level community professionals across the country. I designed it as a free, small group, no-sales event where people can relax, relate and get real about the challenges and rewards of customer communities. It has since expanded into two career development options, CX 5essions Professional and CX 5essions Mentor, which are 3-month, cohort-based programs designed to advance community-building skills for beginners and longtime leaders alike.
The Cluetrain was a pivotal book in the direction of modern business and community. It was also one of my earliest inspirations when I started doing community work. The Cluetrain authors asked me to put an afterword in the 10th anniversary edition about my work with LEGO.
I wrote this book to help introduce LEGO fans to the joy of building LEGO Trains. I also used the writing and approval processes as a means to help troubleshoot the process of allowing LEGO fans to create their own LEGO-related unofficial content.
As the leader of the CX 5essions events I had a unique vantage point in 2023 as I brought together 50+ leaders in community, CX,
I had the distinct pleasure of joining the Gain Grow Retain team for a fun conversation about community and ROI. As you won’t be surprised