Community is the new ______? - Community Chat Weekly #22
Three thoughts on the future of community. Plus collected tweets and posts from various community managers.
Community Chat Weekly is a newsletter about building and growing communities, featuring collected tweets, posts and thoughts from various community managers.
📑 Community is the new ______?
Fill in the blank! The Community Chat team rounded up some interesting musings on community as of late. We've seen a lot of thoughts about the importance of community and the business mechanics behind why it’s so powerful for companies, so we’ve curated some of these thoughts below. Enjoy.
🏃♀️1. Community is the new customer journey
Companies are racing to build communities. Why? Because a well-run community impacts every facet of the customer life cycle. Erik Torenberg, Founder at Village Capital encapsulates the reasoning well in this Tweet thread:
Some other powerful anecdotes from investors and thinkers about how community is redefining businesses:
When a company is able to make the transition from simply delivering a product to building a community, they unlock an extraordinary amount of competitive advantages.
– Flybridge VC Investment Thesis: The Power of Community
Community-driven companies harness the power of a highly engaged, connected, and passionate ecosystem of members to drive adoption, growth, and success.
– Jeff Bussgang and Jono Bacon, January 2020 Harvard Business Review.
If you're not convinced yet, then your company is probably already behind.
🏔 2. Community is the new moat
Chris Dixon, Venture Capitalist at Andreessen Horowitz has the famous saying:
Come for the tool, stay for the network.
Instagram is a great example of this concept – their initial hook was innovative mobile-friendly photo filters. But then Instagram made it easy to share those photos with it's network, which of course became the preferred way to use the tool over time.
Come for the tool, stay for the network is often right, but with community there is the opportunity for companies to put this in reverse. Come for the community, stay for the tool. When a company creates a community, they have the opportunity to deliver value and trust first, and conversion to a paying customer or a tool user is secondary and often happens organically. This phenomena also provides defensibility for companies, especially when a product or software offering becomes commoditized. Community evokes an emotional and human connection as well as a feeling of belonging – something not easily replicable by solely a product offering.
"Member" > "User"
And as we mentioned in CCW issue #18, First Round Ventures summarized all of community's powerful effects as being "The New Moat" in their latest research report.
😱 3. Community is the new scarcity.
David Booth, CEO of the community On Deck has a theory that community is the new scarcity. As it becomes easier to start companies or copy competitor offerings, a passionate user base will be the differentiating factor. Ideas and resources are no longer becoming scarce, rather the people to evangelize your product, or the right people to help build your product are the new scare resource. The right community can solve both of these problems.
On the other end of the spectrum, community member abundance isn't always a good thing. Not all community members are created equal. We call this community phenomenon "The Nightclub Effect," where community growth can have "reverse network effects," or detrimental impact to the whole.
This is one of our favorite Tweets on the topic:
Nightclubs are a perfect example here, as more people filter in beyond a certain point, the experience gets worse and more crowded for everybody. Conferences, elite social clubs, or overcrowded single-channel group chats on WhatsApp are other examples. Not all communities are meant to scale. # of members is usually the wrong metric, as compared to activity, engagement, and satisfaction of existing members.
Too much demand? Start a waitlist or break into sub groups. Communities take time.
❓ Question of the Week
Community is the new __________?
What's your take? Fill in the blank, reply and let us know your thoughts!
Conference cancelled? Online community mangers to the rescue🎉
Community and sales teams need to work hand-in-hand.
Say it ain't so!
📝 Blog Posts
A handful of recommended readings from the past week.
A comprehensive list of resources for community events going digital (5 min read)
Coronavirus may be growing exponentially but community professionals are adapting just as fast. This list of tips, tools, and examples for event organizers during these trying times is a must read, courtesy of our friends over at CMX.
Are community managers people pleasers? (2 min read)
Community is still relatively new as a a proper field, so it draws many professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds and personalities. But the reasons that people are so passionate about this that they field go way deeper than “I’ve always been a people person”. Read more from Erica Kuhl, Former VP of Community at Salesforce.
Community Onboarding Recap(45 min listen 🎵)
Not an article, but we’re including it anyways! Missed out on the Community Zoom Hangout this past Tuesday with Rosie Sherry discussing the onboarding process for the Indie Hackers community, featuring Chris Detzel, Blake Ethridge, and Jacob Peters? All the recordings and slide materials you need are in this Google Drive Folder – enjoy!
💬 Join the Community!
Did you know that Community Chat is more than just a newsletter? We’re also on Slack, where community leaders and builders connect with each other and share tips and tricks. Join us to partake in the next virtual hangout session!
Have a suggestion for a piece of content we should include next week? Email us and let us know!