📻 — On Finding True Believers and How One Community Builder is Starting Her Search

Heyo yeniverse!

Hope you’ve had a good week! It’s been a long one… but, perhaps not too long to check out a ton of links and resources that I found super-fascinating:

  1. Slide with Friends sounds fun. StoryChief? Novochat!
  2. StartupBuilder.mba … huh. Automated brand design?
  3. Alibaba: From growth to value. DivJoy goes v2.0. macOS design kit.
  4. Shopify cost for starting a small biz? Get the 411! Reslash? Wow.
  5. The best product endorsement ever? Don’t worry about Moore’s Law.
  6. Spaces on Twitter or Clubhouse? What. Will you? One frame.
  7. And the best customer service ever. Mental health for everyone.
  8. NoCode customer automation. Video as community? Capsule!
  9. No meetings, no deadlines, no full-time employees. Mindstamp!
  10. Becoming a senior leader, 3 skills you need. Spaceli!!

To be sure, it’s getting harder and harder to choose which links to share since there are so many, every single day! Thanks so much for sharing them with me!

To infinity & community,

— john

Today’s a bit of a double-header!

The first part is a few high-level notes of Mohammed Rafy‘s interview of me (from back in October, 2020 — embedded above) and one of our very own yenizens, Authorette, who is sharing her journey of starting a new community — from scratch — every step of the way!

Let’s not waste any time!

My interview with Mohammed was a fun exhibition of some of my journey as an entrepreneur and community builder. There’s a lot of filler material but here are the more interesting and useful bits — at least from my own perspective (and lips)!

L(° O °L)

Here’s one quote that Mohammed shared in his newsletter issue:

When you authentically build for yourself, you authentically create a gravitational pull. You don’t need a thousand people, you just need a few hundred.

Find a small dedicated group of true believers who love your art for what it is. You don’t have to market it or sell it hard. It just comes naturally. That’s how great products are built. That’s how great communities are born.

I talk about this point every week it seems and I can’t seem to repeat it enough! You really don’t need a big group to start something amazing. Most folks are scaling their communities way too fast.

As an example, we’ve been adding just a few folks every week (we just hit 100 in our alpha group). Keep it small for as long as you can, ensuring that the culture is built properly and build it to last.

Don’t miss the first sentence either: When you build a community that you, yourself love to hang out in, this is how you win. Most folks have built communities that they feel like they have to “manage” instead leading (while loving the experience too)!

Here’s another juicy bit:

The reason a (small) business has a newsletter is to ultimately drive business — money from your readers pocket into your pocket — at some point in time. There are many ways to do that and many best practices how you format the “ask”; the best newsletters never actually ask.

If you can’t reconcile this and be clear about why you’re running a business-centric newsletter you can’t expect to grow or have it be of much use. Remember, the more clearly you align your products with direct business value, the more you can instrument your work and ultimately drive (faster) growth.

I do make a strong note about how I’m not a huge fan of using Slack as a community tool (I share more specifics in written form here, but you can listen to me yap on about it ~17:30). But, many folks are fans! And I’m a fan of you starting a community regardless of tool choice.

Check this guide for optimizing Slack:

Then, I shared an unpopular opinion:

There’s quite a bit of personal stories that fill in the majority of my time and I loved cycling through them. Thanks Mohammed!

My friend and a fellow yenizen, Authorette, has started a new community-building journey and is sharing it publicly via an email newsletter — I love how bold and open she is from the very beginning:

I am a yenizen who creates value for a community of story creators that exists only in my intentions. I am a yenizen who is stuck in a sandbox of my own making. No more pity party for me because it makes me feel bad. I have to give myself a break. It is time to see past my perfectly sculpted story castles. I am tired of being alone.


On a personal note, it’s been a blessing to have Michele a part of our small team and she’s been just the right sounding board when it comes to content and the live events / educational cohorts that we’ve put together.

I’m excited to see where she takes this newsletter and how it blossoms into something even bigger this year! Small, courageous steps like this is how you build personal and professional momentum; and if you don’t quit, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.

I encourage you to follow Authorette’s community-building journey, trade notes, and share what you know with one another! And she’ll keep us all updated with her experiments, trials, and tribulations!

I’m buckled in!