Editorial on communities for Daphni’s newsletter
This comment was written for the newsletter of venture capital funds Daphni.
Searches for the term “community manager” has grown fourfold over the last 15 years, Google Trends tool shows.
LinkedIn query search for “community managers” turns 250,000 results.
I bet there was not that many of them a few years ago. Seth Godin defines communities as the most valuable asset an organisation can own.
Yet, how many organisations have a strategy to build their community? What is a community for? And most importantly — how can organisations position themselves in an economy where communities, or network of people, are the most valuable asset?
The answer is: by becoming Organisers, not Leaders.
The ethos of communities & organisers is captured by Saul Alinsky in his book “Rules for Radicals” where Leaders are Organisers.
He defines the position of such as:
“the leader goes on to build power to fulfill his desires, to hold and wield the power for purposes both social and personal. He wants power himself. The organizer finds his goal in creation of power for others to use.”
Organisations that will position themselves as organisers will become leaders of tomorrow’s economy.
A couple of example of community-driven VCs
1/ A community of founders: Hardware Club.
Hardware Club first raised cash to build a community of hardware founders in 2014. 2 years later they raised a funds of USD 30 million on the back of their community (400 hardware startups). Their community is their asset. If you are a hardware founder you HAVE to get into Hardware Club, that’s where the best hardware founders are. Hardware Club invests in 5% of the startups of their community, and as their GP told me Hardware Club became the eyes and ears of the hardware market. Other hardware VCs call them to do their due diligence.
2/ A community of experts: Daphni.
The firm curates a community of 300 experts. This community is their asset. Thru this community their provide support for their portfolio company, co invest, source deal flow, hire talents (for their portfolio company). The community is an extension of their team— from 10 to 300 with any additional charge. Hats off to Aurélie Van Peteghem for organising the community.
Some reading on communities
Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky
Startup Communities by Brad Feld, who is put in word the essence of community building
The Power of Communities in Marketing by a former VP at Harley-Davidson Motor Co., one of the strongest offline community where fans get logos tattooed 😳
Why Crypto Communities Matters by Spencer Noon
What’s a community? by me
And last bit about community by Naval Ravikant, founder of Angel List: