Quick story first
In 2017, I quit my job as a big-data engineer to go on mini-retirement.
The next 3 years were spent doing Jiu Jitsu, reading and traveling.
By 2020, it was time to go back to work or build something.
Trends.vc came after…
- A failed app
- A semi-successful book
- Two data as a service companies
These were short-term games. I quit before anything gained traction.
Play long-term games.
Pick what you can stick with.
You’ll figure it out. If you don’t quit.
Applying this led to Trends.vc.
Which has grown to 40,000+ subscribers and 1,000+ Trends Pro Members.
Here are a few lessons from the first 10 months of building the Trends Pro Community.
📈 Let’s get started…
1. Use Mindful Magnets
Communities start many ways.
- Trends.vc started as a newsletter
- Visualize Value started as a Twitter account
- 100 Days of No Code started as an internet challenge
Why does this matter?
Content is a magnet. Community is a moat.
Your magnet shapes your culture.
Trends.vc reports are aimed at thoughtful, bootstrapped entrepreneurs.
That’s who we attract.
Culture is a one-way door. Not a two-day door.
It’s hard to reverse.
2. Focus on Rituals
How do you deliver value and get people to show up?
- Daily Standups for accountability
- Weekly Trends Tribe calls to build compounding relationships
- Weekly Masterminds to provide support and solve problems together
Rituals can be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly.
Rituals build habits and answer the question. Why do we gather?
3. Pace Yourself
Building a community is hard.
Reports took 60+ hours per week to research and write before our community launched.
The community added 20-30 hours per week.
I did both from October 2020 to March 2021.
After near burnout, reports shifted to twice a month.
4. Make It Your Own
As an introvert, I don’t like 60-person Zoom calls.
Someone once asked for this.
You’ll get a lot of feedback from community members. Have a vision.
Without one, the group will be pulled in too many directions.
Feedback can be a gift or a curse.
With feedback, ask yourself:
“Does this feedback get us closer to the goal?”
5. Use Strategic Friction
Strategic friction leads to high-quality experiences.
Low barriers attract more people…
…and lead to noisy environments.
In Trends.vc, daily standups are a forcing function.
Standup streaks lead to:
- Trends Tribe after a 10-day streak
- Hall of Fame after a 30-day streak
- Masterminds after a 100-day streak
- Members know each other before joining experiences
- There’s a sense of shared sacrifice
- There’s quality control
We value what we “pay” for.
Price is more than money.
6. Decentralize Leadership
You have traction. Now what?
Decentralize leadership to prevent burn out.
- Ashwin Gurbuxani helps with operations.
- Trends Pro Members contribute to reports.
- Alex Llull runs the Trends.vc Twitter account.
- Wit Sumathavanit builds systems to scale standups.
- Trends Masterminds are run by Yolanda Stephens from HBCUvc.
- Trends Tribe is run by Stewart Townsend from Channel as a Service.
These are notes from a talk that I gave for Orbit’s Community Camp.
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