πŸ“» β€” On Creating a “Desirable Community”: Serendipity, Chance, and Keeping Things Messy

Reading Time: ~ 4 min.

Good morning yeniverse!

Naturally, a few great links for creators, business and community builders! Share them with friends and let me know what you think:

  1. “A” investors be like… Too big. Hypecycles. Execs break. Yayarea.
  2. NFTs. Truth. Perfection destination. Torch S-B. Rando chance.
  3. Bootstrap layouts. Self-hosted email. Written standups. Olvy.
  4. Build is easy, sell is hard. Framework notebook! Designers.
  5. Draw an iceberg. Punk of Daft. Gaza girl in SV. Canon Cat!
  6. Whoa: Free for Dev. Call a dev! Flameshot. Soft skills. Zelda.
  7. Very pretty. Extract all the things. Bad mgmt. Space. Prototion.
  8. WTF. Raising kids. LI Gig Marketplace. I miss my bar. Nostalgia.
  9. Interview questions. Parachute message! No. Afrofuturism.
  10. Spend money fast enough. Fundraising w/o YC. Globes.

Have a great Tuesday and make sure to leave your mark… make it sting, make it “hurt” a bit today… because you know it’s worth it.

If you’re not building… then… what are you really doing? Love you all!

To infinity & community,

β€” john


I found a fun β€” and small β€” interactive mapping project via MIT Labs called “Desirable Streets” and I found their visualization of the data both fascinating and instructional: People do many things for many different reasons and it’s not always about getting from “Point A” to “Point B” in the fastest way possible. Oftentimes we combine motives and drivers for our behavior.

The experience of walking through a city is influenced by amenities and the visual qualities of its built environment. This paper uses thousands of pedestrian trajectories obtained from GPS signals to construct a desirability index for streets in Boston.

We create the index by comparing the actual paths taken by pedestrians with the shortest path between any origin-destination pairs. The index captures pedestrians’ willingness to deviate from their shortest path and provides a measure of the scenic and experience value provided by different parts of the city.

We then use computer vision techniques combined with georeferenced data to measure the built environment of streets. We show that desirable streets are characterized by having better access to parks and sidewalks, more diverse business establishments, a higher presence of urban furniture, and tend to be visually enclosed streets with less complex facades.

These results further our understanding of the value that the built environment brings to pedestrians, which enhances our capacity to design more lively and functional environments.

Here’s the visualized journey that they’ve created:

As you start scrolling you zoom into the street level:

  • Every trip has a shortest route, from a to be.
  • But on average, pedestrians choose to walk around 10% farther than their shortest path.
  • Why don’t people always take the shortest route?

A fascinating question!

They might be trying to do the following via their route:

  1. Avoid busy major roads
  2. Visit amenities and shops
  3. Access green space

MIT discovered through analysis what they are calling the most “desirable streets” that folks use to get from points across the city.

The most fascinating outcomes is that they’ve identified three main features that characterize a “desirable street“:

  1. Access to parks
  2. Nearby shops and businesses
  3. Sidewalks and street furniture

I think there’s a lot that we can take from this simple-yet-profound data visualization, especially as it relates to building businesses and communities online β€” here are just a few extensions of thought:

  1. Community members like it when there’s “play” involved in your community; where it’s not all “business and suits”; where everything is super-buttoned up and proper and professional. Bring levity to the experience and make sure that it’s always a fun place to be.
  2. Community members like to spend money; eCommerce is one opportunity but simply talking about finances is a big part of the creator / entrepreneur / startup journey online. Be unafraid to talk finances and to help others build money and wealth on the internet. That’s what we do in the yeniverse every single day! We talk about building the business, project, and community of our dreams.
  3. Sometimes a community space is for relaxation; just “hanging out” with a bunch of folks on the internet can be just as good as IRL, especially these days (although I do miss in-person gatherings a bit).

The most “desirable path” for your community members doesn’t always mean the most optimal or “streamlined” one. Make sure you have room for detours and opportunities for serendipity.

Besides, that’s what makes the best communities the best! The best communities engage the entire life of a community member, not just a small part of who they are or a singular problem they are trying to solve.

Desirable communities always have a good dose of serendipity, a generous helping of chance encounters, and are always a bit messy in reality. That’s because healthy, desirable communities have real, flawed, and imperfect humans trying to do life together β€” it’s not supposed to be pretty!

(If your community “mods out” the wonderfully-rich and “messy” stuff of their community member’s lives then that’s super-sad and a problem that needs to be addressed.)

This is because I believe β€”Β at a fundamental level β€” that everyone wants to be known and understood by others; the communities that you and I know and love and invest our lives in are the ones where we know that we can simply be ourselves, warts and all.

Those are the best communities, bar-none, on and offline.

%d bloggers like this: