πŸ“» β€” Bailey Richardson: Building Communities That Never Lose Their Funk (and More)

Reading Time: ~ 3 min.

Good morning yeniverse!

I hope this first, full-week of February has been a good one for you! I feel good about it but that’s mostly because I’m practicing a new morning routine where I try to start my day with gratitude, all-the-things.

I am very, very grateful to every single one of you who have subscribed to this newsletter! I spend the most important parts of my working hours writing this content for you and I absolutely love it.

Thank you for letting me serve you in this simple, repeatable way! Muchos gracias a thousand times over! Arigato gozaimasu!

  1. Anti-patterns of thinking. HTML.cafe and privacy jpegs.
  2. Create comic book panels. What you (India) can buy with Bitcoin.
  3. Welcome FB/Twitter. Justin Sun, social audio. Social marketing startups.
  4. Future of community is virtual. Rocket.chat raises $19M! Vision sticks.
  5. Share data and code. Developers as creatives. Duo teams. Vibely.
  6. Plan stuff with friends. Internal podcasts? Remote work guide.
  7. Real-time feedback on audio, video files. Community-led companies.
  8. CMX 2021 Report. Building in public guide book: Straight fire.
  9. Content-aware image editing. Design freedom for teams. Open subs.
  10. Phil Libin of mmhmm answers startup questions… with math.

To infinity & community,

β€” john


This recent workshop and webinar featuring Bailey Richardson and it’s full of great, powerful stories and reminders of how communities form and how you keep them healthy, growing, and sustainable.

Here are my personal notes from this wonderful talk which focus exclusively on the super-practical and tactical takeaways that you’ll be able to use today. Use these for your own teams, communities, or networks!

But, if you have time, put this hour+ long show on the background; I think you’ll appreciate the light, fun banter and the storytelling as well as these useful tips.

Document, all the things. When Bailey was sharing the story of “Little Libraries”, the “unlock” was documenting how to build one! Making sure other folks can do what you’ve done is how you can quickly grow and expand your efforts and “give away” the community faster.

Bailey’s definition of community:

True communities are simply… groups of people who keep coming together over what they care about.

Bailey Richardson

Learning #1: You can’t fake the funk. Communities start from a (deeply) personal place. Todd, via Little Library, started because after his mother died he wanted an opportunity to honor her, a memorial.

A good reminder that your origin story matters when you build a community and that there’s a direct relationship between the strength of your “funk” and the success of your project. You can’t fake it; we all know that.

A good clarifying question that Bailey shares to help folks think through this important dynamic:

What’s something you’d create even if no one else joined you?

Bailey Richardson

Powerful! You can do this today:

Remember, you can be the “difference” that starts a real movement. Another introspective question:

Do you see an “elephant in the room”?

This might be the difference between sticking with what you know… or launching a brand new project and/or community! Pretty powerful.

Learning #2: Dial up the participation. Give your members the chance to contribute. Something that Bailey noticed among great community builders are super-passionate about the things that they love and find ways to directly engage folks and find ways for them to help out with the vision.

She gives the example of Choir, Choir, Choir and inverting systems:

Instead of a concert of one performer to many audience members, why not try to “invert” that by creating a choir of the audience members! This flips the entire experience on its head.

Lectures to small group circles, storytelling to shared anthologies, conference (speaking) to unconferences, or guidebooks into shared wikis.

The point is to have more of the right and less on the left:

Learning #3: Create more leaders. Great community building is not about management. It’s about cultivating leaders.

The point that Bailey is making here is that you constantly need to be thinking about developing other folks and giving leadership away. He shared the story of Gavin Pretor-Pinney who shared how he was challenged with finding ways to scale outside of himself:

The Cloud Appreciation Society could be so much more if everything didn’t have to go through me. Since the beginning, I’ve done everything… That’s all very well up to a point, and then it just gets to a [place] where we can’t go any further. This is the challenge we are facing right now.

Gavin Pretor-Pinney

This should be part of your growth strategy anyway! Now, you’ve been reminded to intentionally be thinking about this now and how you can build the foundation for this as you scale and grow.

Build a Community with People, Not For Them

Bailey’s final, big takeaway:

You need to include them as best as you can and allow them to help build out the community that they want to be part of! A final note and thought that I loved from Bailey:

It’s so true, isn’t it?

A series of Questions and Answers at the end of the talk:

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