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Community Builders: What have you learned?

Communities are hot right now!

A vibrant community not only keeps your customers engaged, but they create an audience to get new ideas from and launch new products too. Communities are so valuable that many indie hackers claim the "secret" to success is building a community before building a product!

So my question is:
What community are you building and what are your biggest learnings from the experience?

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I'll start with two lessons. In our brief experience with Summer of Shipping, @pliao39 realized,

  1. Community building is all about giving value. If you try to "extract" value from people, you will immediately lose them. But if you can make yourself genuinely useful, you will naturally attract others, and can get hyper-connected because people will want to talk with you.

  2. New communities generally "piggyback" off bigger, older communities. We started by finding a particularly active subreddit that consisted of the target demographic we wanted to meet, and just began by providing useful advice there. We were eventually able to leverage that reputation into building a newsletter and launching Summer of Shipping. The entire goal of SoS was to provide a space for people who lost their internships due to Covid to come together and recreate the internship experience (providing value).

  3. (bonus) It really helps if you are naturally a part of the community you want to build. We're young recently graduated engineers and so it was much easier to connect with people of our own tribe. As we're now giving advice to a friend who wants to build a community for "young moms in Germany", some our advice has been useful and and some of it has been out of place for her needs. There's definitely not a universal copy/paste "playbook".

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