I have been witnessing the rise of communities for a couple of years now and one of the recurring questions we see this day is :

Are business and community compatible?

On this topic, there are clearly people with very different opinions:

The “ it’s a no brainer”:

The most vocal have been the web3 influencers. Web3 presents a huge opportunity when the members own the community and by design have a vested interest in its growth. Hence the motto : The Future of Business is Community” (@iSocialFanz)

However it is not just web3. Opensource, B2B Software, marketing, many devrel marketers are now looking at “community led growth” strategies.

The “definitely not”:

People with years of experience in building communities tend to be the most skeptical.

A few weeks ago The “Launch House” massive failure story (Vox, (https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2022/9/11/23340917/launch-house-sexual-assault-web3-community) was one of the most shared article by community managers and clearly many of them saw it as a proof that community and business can’t go along ( https://twitter.com/caremjo/status/1570465862360125447https://twitter.com/futureofwomen/status/1569895463402471424 )

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2022/9/11/23340917/launch-house-sexual-assault-web3-community

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I would argue that startup entrepreneurs have more pressing interests than helping each other, specially when they are put together competing for the attention of a single VC.

And others (like me) who are still wondering or do not see this as back and white 

  • I recently listened to a talk from SC Moatti, who (amongst many other things ;-)) , has built a community of 300K+ product managers. She shared her view that community led growth works for open source & engineers but maybe not so well with other types of communities.

It is probably too early to tell and yes, there is a risk for people having built communities over the last years around the love for a product … to overnight change the purpose of their community are risk their credibility. Everybody hate sales.

However, it doesn’t have to be black and white and there are low hanging fruits !!! Here are two suggestions for those who want to experiment with community led growth, without messing up with their vibrant developer community.

1- Find existing community members that would be great advocates & creators and invite them to a VIP/Ambassador program.

You may have people hidden in your community that are not very vocal/ active yet these same people could have built an audience (blog, Twitter) that’s relevant for your community and could promote your community to their friends.

2-Identify micro influencers who are connected/ friends of your existing members and target them as prospective new members

This goes one step further but as long as you do this the virtuous way (no $ and no perk), the risk of radically altering your existing community is pretty low.

What do you think ? Please go ahead and comment !

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