Tell me your passions

For some time, I have been interviewing user group organisers (community managers each of them, no matter what their day job is) about their groups.

I’ve been fortunate enough to interview leaders of groups like the London Java Community (upwards of 3,000 members), Hacker News London (approaching 5,000 members), and many other group organisers from around Europe. It’s a theme I’m continuing, and I have reached out to several other organisers recently.

I love to write, and I love hearing people’s stories. I once trained and worked as a journalist for this very reason, but found in the real world of a news desk on a regional daily newspaper it wasn’t that simple.

For some time, I have had an idea: I want to interview successful people who are well known for one particular thing. But I want to interview them about their other passions. I have a theory that people who are passionate and successful in one area of their life are often just as passionate in other areas.

This is something I started exploring in my community manager interviews: my final question was always along the lines of “Aside from your work, tell me about something else you are passionate about?” — though I never had the time to pursue these leads any further, with a day job to do.

Now I want to ressurect this project. While continuing with community manager interviews — about how different groups find speakers and grow their communities — I want to hear about passions.

I had a false start once before when I contacted my hero Carol Ann Duffy to ask if I could interview her, and got no response. But now I am going to try a slightly different approach, using social media to both share this article and reach out to some public figures. And since I have contacts in the Open Source community, perhaps I can find some well known figures in the industry to tell me about their passions.

Of course, if anyone should have friends or contacts that would be useful, please let me know — these things are always about who you know.