Some reflections on Trellis’ second birthday from our Founding General Manager

Posted by Joshua Freeman, Founding General Manager at Trellis

A piece of cake with a lit "2" shaped candle in it.
Adapted from “Tårta” by Magnus D, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Two years ago, on a day so cold I could barely feel my fingers, let alone text with them, I stood in line outside Dominique Anselm Bakery in New York (birthplace of the cronut), talking to the developers who were putting the final touches on the first release of Trellis. It was a moment of hope and anxiety.

Hope for the possibilities that Trellis presented (and presents). Hope for a common platform that enables anyone in the STEM community to set up a group of any size, affiliation, disciplinary or geographic composition to come together and collaborate – without going off to a fragmented set of communities or collaboration tools. Hope of a platform where any scientific association can set up groups to enable engagement with and among their members, not on a silo’ed platform, but as part of the broader community, making engagement efficient (and rewarding) for their members. And hope for the recognition and development of the role of the community engagement manager in science – that glue that catalyzes and binds together any community.

And anxiety. The anxiety that comes in that moment before you bring a new project into the world. The anxiety that, no matter how much research you have done on the needs of the community and no matter how much positive feedback you get on the design and experience, you just don’t know what will happen when you launch. An anxiety that stays with you every day as you begin to grow.

But now here we are, two years, 24(!) development releases, and 120,000 users later, excited by what we have accomplished and humbled by how much more there is to do and how much more opportunity lies before us.

First, I would like to thank our users, from the earliest to the latest. They are doing incredible things. They have created engaged communities of practice in areas like Public Engagement, Science Communication, Forensic Science, and STEM Curriculum Reform. They have brought together international communities in areas like neuroinformatics. They are engaged in knowledge sharing around major NSF programs, like INCLUDES. And they are members of scientific associations, including the 95,000 members of AAAS. Not only are they creating the content and community that drives Trellis, but they are providing us invaluable feedback on how to make Trellis better every day.

Second, I would like to thank our team, from our developers and technical leadership and product team to our community engagement leaders. Without them, there would be no Trellis. They build the tools, they catalyze the communities, they support our users, and they challenge me every day (some times more frequently – and sometimes more challenging).

So now, as we close out first two years, we look forward to the next. We look forward to welcoming more users to the site and helping their communities flourish. We reaffirm our commitment to creating Trellis as a community so valuable – as a source of tools, networking, and knowledge – that the question is never, “why this?” but rather “why anything else?” And we recommit ourselves to the AAAS mission to Advance Science, Serve Society.

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One thought on “Some reflections on Trellis’ second birthday from our Founding General Manager

  1. I’m pleased to say that Trellis is, by my point of vew, a really great fascinating brillant idea: a virtual place where ideas can be easily broadcasted, expressed, compared, discussed, a fruitful enviroment where new ideas could naturally be taken to live. This is progress of Culture and Science, as well as of Civilization.

    Happy birthday and whishes of long living to Trellis!

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