What I'm reading this week #010
My top 10 reads on community building.
Every week, I scour the web and curate 10 articles at the intersection of Web3, NFTs, macro, community & growth.
Time flies — it's already been 10 weeks!
In celebration of this little milestone, I'll start doing themed deep dives.
This edition is dedicated to community, inspired by my frens at Late Checkout Community College — a 4-week course on how to build communities I’m taking these days, hosted by the ones and only Greg Isenberg and April MacLean. ❤️
PS. If you want to have a sneak peek of the great folks that are part of this course, check out this Twitter list.
This is the second week of the course and it’s been nothing short of inspiring — I’ll most likely summarize the core learnings in bite-sized frameworks and infographics and share them here.
So if you don’t want to miss out on that cutting-edge content, you know what to do 😋
And now, onto this week’s content.
In this edition, you’ll find:
Start Small — You Can
Find Your Niche
Principles for Community Building
Minimum Viable Expectation
Rewards & Reputation
Plus a little BONUS for the ones who stick around until the end. 🤫
1. Why Community-First?
Why community-based products? Because they have high retention & engagement and form personal network effects — among the simplest yet strongest types of NFXs.
Read more about Building A “Community-First” Company on NFX’s blog.
2. Start Small — You Can
Communities don't have to be huge — they can start with free audiences, and then convert as few as 100 true fans as members. Just find a niche, start by building a free audience, and then a community.
Read more about your 100 True Fans on Li Jin’s blog.
3. Find Your Niche on Reddit
Scour Reddit and find a niche that is big enough, growing, trending, and that you're interested in. Join it, add value, and get to know the members, until you can create a closer space with some of them.
4. Principles for Community Building
Once you're ready to launch your community, don't forget to:
• Make it fun
• Bring it from the URL to IRL
• Set ambitious goals
• Bring in strategic partners early
• DON'T financialize it
• Keep it exclusive, but not exclusionary
Learn more about Community Principles on Coinvise’s Substack.
5. Community Narrative
The most important piece of your community strategy is your narrative — WHO you're building for, WHAT problem you're solving, and HOW you're solving it. Use storytelling arches to bring this to life in a manifesto, whitepaper, or litepaper.
Learn more about Community Narrative on Coinvise’s Substack.
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6. Minimum Viable Expectation
In your narrative, be explicit about what members are expected to do — whether that's holding an asset (financial), spending time in the community (time-based), or providing a service (impact-based).
Learn more about MVEs on Coinvise’s Substack.
7. Community Identity
To make your members feel like they belong, offer them aesthetic catalysts (eg. NFTs, merch, badging, etc.) right off the bat, to help them form their community identity and showcase it to the world.
Learn more about Community Identity on Three Quark’s Substack.
8. Community Incentives
To engage with your community, design rituals, quests, and homework that encourage autonomous action/contribution (agency) and reward mutuality (align the interest of the whole community aka grow the pie).
Read more about designing sustainable incentives on DocTom’s blog.
9. Rewards & Reputation
Reward members based on contribution to drive social capital (eg. badges, NFTs) vs. just financial — keep a leaderboard to encourage the formation of role models and leaders of sub-communities.
Read more about Reputation-Based Systems on Future’s blog.
10. Community Management
Define roles and MVEs so members know where they're at, can get more out of the community if they want to, and can choose when to advance to the next level. Design identity, incentives, and rewards fluidly.
Read more about The Three Circles model on Fabian Pfortmüller’s blog.
Based on your strategy, grow your community — consider a social motivation and closed gate to start with to ensure member quality, long-term participation, and progressive value accumulation.
Learn more about community growth tactics on Jericho’s Substack.
Case study: Duolingo
How Duolingo scaled to 90 courses and 300M users via community building.
Case study: r/manga
How to mine community opportunities out of the r/manga sub@reddit.
Read more on Greg Isenberg’s Slideshare.
Why community-First? Because of retention, engagement, and NFX
Start small, because you can, and should
Find your niche by mining Reddit communities
Design your community with strong principles
Articulate a powerful and compelling community narrative
Set a clear Minimum Viable Expectation for your members
Give members aesthetic catalysts to build community identity
Design incentives that optimize for mutuality and agency
Rewards based on contribution, and enable reputation systems
Design clear yet fluid roles for members to progressively grow their contribution
Thanks for reading all the way! Now, I’d love to hear from you.