LikeMinds' Townhall Series - Community Building For Startups

We at LikeMinds are pleased to share that we hosted the first-ever edition of our new format "Townhall Series" at CommunityHood. Our first guest was Udayan Walvekar. He is the Co-Founder of GrowthX: a community-led learning platform for the top 1% of leaders and currently focused on founders, product and growth functions.

The GrowthX community can be described as tight-knit, high signal, and low noise. They recently hosted their flagship event Demo Day managing to have 1000+ concurrent attendees for 3 hours without any drop-offs! And these were mostly top professionals including Product Managers, Founders, and Growth Leaders.

In this exclusive conversation with Udayan, we got to know:

  • What is his definition of a community?
  • Why is community building crucial for every startup today?
  • What role does community building play at GrowthX?

And much more, So let's get reading!

If you're looking for a community-building platform, then check out LikeMinds now! Its inbuilt features will help in keeping your audience constantly engaged making it super easy for you to scale your community.

What Is His Definition Of A Community?

Udayan tells us, "People often confuse two things - audience and community. You might have an audience but do you have a community? And what's the key difference? In my mind, the key difference is that you have like-minded people coming together for a singular goal and whatever that job to be done is. Another difference is that in an audience, there is usually one too many conversations where it's one person talking to everyone all the time."

He continues, "Whereas, in a community, there are too many conversations. Content generated is not one to many again, it's many to many. And that is how I describe a community, as like-minded people coming together for a singular goal, but they are participating. That participation is the key difference."

What Are The Jobs To Be Done By A Community?

When it comes to getting jobs done, a lot of people think, "I'm going to get these people together and I'm going to extract value from them." This is not exactly the best way to do it. When you are making a community, it is very important to understand the job to be done. If anyone's heard about the job to be done framework, they will understand that a lot of times we think that people are coming to our community for a particular job but the end job to be done is very different.

For example, if anyone wants to learn about the job to be done, just Google The McDonald's Milkshake Story. 6:30 in the morning and McDonald's is figuring out why their milkshakes' sales are spiking up. They can't figure out why people are having chocolate milkshakes, strawberry milkshakes, and all of those things. Then they go to the stores and talk to the people who are having these milkshakes. These people are like, "You know what, I'm really hungry and I have a three-hour drive ahead of me. I need something handy and I've tried everything, like donuts, snickers, all of those things but nothing gets the job done."

McDonald's came to know that they need to make their milkshakes thicker and had their line but the example here is that a job to be done is not always what you think. It is mostly about what job are people hiring your community for, instead of the product. So, figuring out what that job is very important.

Also, Check-Out:

Some Of The Jobs To Be Done Frameworks He Has Seen In A Startup

Typically you will have four kinds of jobs regardless of what community you come up with. And 99% of the time, they would fall under the following four buckets:

  • Functional goal - They are trying to organize something to make their lives better.
  • Personal goal - They want to come back in control of their own life.
  • Social goal - They want to show people out, like "Hey, I'm doing this, I'm doing that."
  • Financial goal - Here, they are just trying to earn money.

These are the four buckets that you would have your goals towards. According to your user, you would change those nuances slightly, tweak them a little bit more so that it becomes actionable for you. Generally, when you design a community, some of these jobs are also based on what is the goal for the business that you want. So, whether it is to be able to generate advocacy, or around generating value being added or content being created.

We can define some of these jobs in those parameters. The only difference is that the job domain of your company and your community might differ. You may realize that later and that's fine. It shouldn't be completely tangential is all. Brand community builders should make sure to have community goals and then they should link back to the original company goals.

Why Is Community Building Crucial For Every Startup Today?

There are a lot of reasons why Udayan thinks that community integration is going to be a key.

  • Pendo has quite a product, one of the largest product tools has acquired the biggest product management community.
  • Stripe has acquired Indie Hackers. It is probably the biggest payment player out there.

You go online and you will see these large brands buying communities right now. Some of the reasons for the same are:

  1. Ads are not performing as well.
  2. Institutional trust has gone down a little bit. People have started to move away from the largest social media brand, like Facebook to micro communities.
  3. One of the biggest things you can ever do for a company is if you can build trust and brand affinity. If you've done that, it's the key, and a community enables you to do that.

The pandemic has accelerated this entire decentralization, every company will start community integration some way or the other. They might not be community first companies but they will have an integration, at least parts of it.

We have always seen community integrated into the support section, which is a forum of those dev integration tools where people are just complaining. That is a very bad version of community integration. But we are going to have community integration across the funnel, whether it is an acquisition or while people are using the product or for support-related stuff. We will see this embedded inside anyone who's series B and above, starting this year.

Some of the larger funded people who have resources will have in-platform communities driving various jobs to be done, defined by the business goals as well as the user. It is going to be a big game-changer.

How Did GrowthX Start? What Role Does Community Building Play At GrowthX?

Udayan tells us, "I think only 10 to 15 percent of events typically add any value to you. When I was in Bangalore with Abhishek, my co-founder, our idea was to grow, network, and learn - not just meet someone and engage with them superficially. Until and unless I am connecting with that person or I am solving a problem with them, I am not gonna feel connected per se."

He and Abhishek went to some interviewing events and it was an absolute waste of time. It was the worst thing they did. They knew that they wanted to start something of their own but who's gonna trust two random guys who came to Bangalore from Pune.

In that interim, they were doing their community, small events of five people. Then they started creating their videos around product and growth to build trust in the community. Once they had that trust, they wanted to build a learning community. It was very clear in their mind to not have a community of 20,000 people and 10 reactions. They wanted a community of six people whose birthdays they could go to, or who they could feel strongly connected to.

So, they did some Harvard side business case studies. Six people came together on Sunday and brainstormed on their problems. That community grew, asked them for more formats and more structured learning. That's when they did master classes. The word got out and slowly but steadily, the community was asking for more and more.

Then the pandemic hit. Abhishek and Udayan were thinking of doing something long base and that is when GrowthX - the Bootcamp started. It was completely organic. In hindsight, they had no idea what they were doing. They were just trying to focus on how to get better in this one week. That is the only thing that they were chasing. And that is what led to it.

Also, Check-Out:

Some Examples Of Brands Where Community Has Significantly Contributed To Growth

  • Strava primarily grew because of their community. They basically help you track your runs, cycling events, etc.
  • Notion was completely a product and then it became a community led growth product.
  • OnDeck is another example of ever-growing community and action-oriented programming.
  • Cultfit's NPS used to be about 80. So, even religions have their own NPS and that's high as a religion. This is the early set of Cultfit and that is how strong their community bonding was.

There are going to be more examples, we are at the starting edge of people adopting. Communities have been existing since the very beginning. Now their presence is coming to a lot more on the products that we are using and that's the only thing that is changing.

If you're looking to learn about building and leading communities from the community builders themselves, then join CommunityHood today.