Books for software engineers and managers

Get Together

How to build a community with your  people

by Bailey Richardson, Kevin Huynh, Kai Elmer Sotto

Categories:
Product Manager,
Startup Founder

Build your community with people, not for  them

One classic startup trap is building a solution for a problem you don’t really understand because you’re not an actual user.

This happens in communities as well. People try building communities for other people, not with them.

Your “why” must be a shared purpose, not a self-serving  vision

People show up to realize a shared vision, not to serve as your audience and definitely not to fulfill your personal lifelong dream.

Look beyond your self interests for a shared purpose that unifies your members.

Disagreements among community members are often the seed for important  ideas

Community member disagreements surface important questions like:

  • What topics are off limits?
  • What are the social norms for disagreement?
  • What issues do we fundamentally agree on and align around?

Disagreements are an opportunity to see what issues matter most to community

Most healthy communities have a well-crafted origin  story

Jean Nidetch founded Weight Watchers with just six members (who were friends) to help solve her own problem – the lack of support in losing weight.

At member meetings, Jean would recount her story – the origin story – to root members in a shared vision and purpose, while also setting a tone of vulnerability and courage.

For a community to grow, recruitment must extend beyond the  founder

Community founders are often the limiting factor on growth. They try doing too much themselves, not empowering and even preventing others from growing the community.

On the surface this seems ridiculous because founders want the community to grow, right? True. But just like company founders, community founders often don’t know how to let go.

Show us what your community is about more than telling  us

Look for opportunities to show visually what your community is about – photos on social media, published member stories, swag.

Your community events shouldn’t look like a staged product  launch

In the 2016 Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton’s community events looked like a product launch. They were too well curated. The energy didn’t feel real.

Bernie Sanders was the opposite. Basically anything goes when you feel the Bern and that authenticity attracted excitement and dedication among supporters that Hillary didn’t experience.

Develop a name for members to foster group  identification

Sports teams all try to develop fan base names with varying success. The best ones arrive organically like the Cameron Crazies.

Growing a community is about developing leaders, not managing  behavior

When building a community, avoid jumping right into potential problems and start looking for potential leaders. Find your most engaged members and work with them on growing the community.

Get Together

How strongly do I recommend Get Together?
6 / 10

Get Together speaks directly to the common mistakes of community founders that prevent the community from growing to its full potential. You won’t find any mind-blowing ideas in this book, but you’ll walk away with practical steps for improving your community.