Community is Sexy but Hard

Sunday Beam #


May 9, 2021

Good Sunday 🌞!

I dropped the ball this week πŸ’’ for the 1st time since I started writing in Nov 2020. 😫I decided not to write a blog post for What happened, Kevon?

A lot is happening: starting a new #30DaysInPublic cohort, starting new initiatives for the Public Lab community, baby Avery is growing! I have to prioritize, and I feel that if I'm not able to write a blog post with quality, I prefer skipping a week.

But I managed to get out of my comfort zone and made another video!

This week let's talk about:

  1. Starting a community is sexy but hard
  2. Expectation setting when designing a challenge or course

πŸ”₯ Starting a community is sexy but hard

It is super easy to start a community, but most people underestimate how hard it is to run it sustainably. Here are my personal learnings:

β›„ For a SaaS product, once you build a solution to someone's problem, they'll use it as long as their problems are resolved. But for a community, the solution depends on the inputs of other people. Everyone's problem and solution are interconnected, making it super hard to maintain in the long run.

🍷 A community is like a glass of red wine. People don't drink it all the time, but when they need a drink, it better brings them happiness. Most people don't visit a community all the time, at most a few times a week. In order to "bring happiness", you need to have "values" going on, ready to be gained.

βš“ A community relies on people helping one another out. However, the people who are helping the most yet getting little in return will find another place so that they can get some learnings back.

πŸ’° If you want to scale a paid community to make more money, it means bringing more people in. But if you have more people in the community, it lowers the sense of belonging and increases difficult for people to participate, damaging the core value of the community. This means it is better to not run a community for money.

Once again, I'm taking a slow approach to add value to the Public Lab's community:

🎈 I'm inviting inspiring builders to share their journey and learnings

🎈 I created #30DaysInPublic as a way to tie people to a common goal and develop relationships before they can join the community

🎈 I'm planning to add community-oriented monthly activity so that there is ongoing interactions between members if they want to take part

πŸ–‡ Expectation setting when designing a challenge or course

This part is more about me. But if you're planning to create a challenge or a cohort-based course, it is likely relevant to you.

When I designed #30DaysInPublic, my goal was to make everyone an authentic superstar in Building in Public. I wanted to help all of them get there quickly.

Now that the 1st cohort is in their midway, I see that everyone is at a different stage of their journey and they all have different pace. Some learn to build a habit, some get out of their comfort zone, some learn how to write tweet threads fast.

As a challenge designer and facilitator, my role is no longer to teach. It is about providing them the structure to explore, facilitating the experience, and giving them buddies with a similar goal.

I felt like a failure when I am not able to get someone to the "superstar" stage, but I learn to be okay with it. After all, 30 days to brush up a building in public mindset plus building an audience plus writing amazing stories via tweet threads? That's a lot to ask from them!

πŸ’‘ Inspirations

​I went from selling a $55k MRR SaaS to writing books in public. AMA!​

I'm a big fan of Arvid Kahl. He is authentic, mindful, and friendly. But what impresses me most is his dedicated to Twitter. He says he spends 2 full hours every day interacting on Twitter ⏰. Many people want to grow an audience and don't want to put in the time. Effort and outcome are correlated.

​You May Be a β€œLost” Entrepreneur and Not Even Know It​

When I was running an angel-backed startup, I was definitely the "Lost" Entrepreneur. I had no idea what the right things were to move the needle. But with failures come learnings, I can definitely say I'm not lost these days. I recommend all 1st time entrepreneur to read this and why you should bootstrap. πŸ’ͺ

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