An article on community, startup updates, awesome links, and TV recommendations.
For the past three years, I’ve been building communities on Discord, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit ranging from 100 members to 100,000. What I’ve learned is that community building is one of (if not the most) important spaces to be investing time and money into as a non-technical founder.
Member retention rates on platforms like Discord are much higher than platforms like Twitter and Instagram, despite interactions and user-commitment levels being more time-intensive and therefore valuable on Discord. I’m running two communities right now, one with 6k members and one with 2k members. My communities draw people from all continents, around 120k messages are sent every month in each, and members contribute to high-quality conversations which often produce collabs and projects. They both hover between 20% and 60% member retention, which is determined by whether or not they physically click around in the server during the week. That means whether they’re chatting, sharing resources, asking for help, or simply reading an announcement, up to 60% of members are engaged.
One of the most profitable sectors of the internet is advertising and having the ability to attract people’s eyeballs. An online advertiser’s dream is to advertise directly to a niche audience and have a 20%-60% retention rate. To go a step further, the ability to notify every single person in a Discord server means that not only can you push a product to a matching community, but you can notify everyone on mobile and desktop while you’re at it.
Another thing that people haven’t realized yet is the sheer quantity of unrealized job opportunities within this space. Currently, the vast majority of community managers and moderators on platforms like Discord are underage and unpaid. Some of the larger communities I’ve worked with that range between 50k and 100k members have anywhere between 10 - 30 team members. Online communities need managers, admins, designers, developers, moderators, support agents. Once this industry’s potential becomes clear, the sheer amount of money pumped into it will allow what must be hundreds of thousands of people around the globe to make livings in a space that was previously thought to be “volunteer-only ”.
Already, I’m starting to notice some changes underfoot. Startups like Hyper.co and Levellr.com are allowing communities to turn a profit. My community agency was able to hit $300 MRR in just 2 months because the influx of Web3 startups using Discord brought just enough money in the door to finance a few moderators who would’ve gone unpaid only a few months prior. I’m sure we’ll start to see many more community-focused startups, (and subsequently, jobs), very soon.
In Q1 of 2022 I left my first startup and founded another. I handed off operations at Dmod to two highly-qualified people who are fully capable of managing what I’ve started. In fact, our moderation tools are expected to launch in a few weeks thanks to speedy web and bot development.
I started a community called Buildergroop, which has become the home for ambitious gen-z developers, designers, and entrepreneurs on Discord. We’ve hosted 13 podcast episodes with world-class thinkers, founders, and investors as well as a remote hackathon where we gave away $5k worth of prizes and 2 paid internships at LambdaTest. We don’t plan on stopping there - we’ve started a series of coding contests funded by Shaan Puri to reward our members for building awesome products in short periods of time like this.
I’ve been pretty hands-off at Photography Lounge which isn’t something I’m happy about but the team has been simply extraordinary. In addition to steady, high-quality growth, we’ve recently partnered up with T-Bull Games to help them produce a wildlife simulation game. They’ll be working with us to get feedback and knowledge crowdsourced from the community to aid them in creating a more refined photography system within the game.
I also started advising the team at Authdeck, a web3 user authentication startup. Their work on Authdeck as well as their previous product Vault3 caught my eye, and when I found out that their team is mostly made up of 14 year-olds, I had to get involved somehow. They’re backed financially by Devfolio and ETH India, won 1st place in Thirdweb’s hackathon, and ranked 3rd product of the day on Product Hunt.
+$6k raised (grant + hackathon fund)
+600 Twitter followers
+240k Twitter impressions
+1,000 podcast listens
Photography Lounge 📸
+284 high-performing images posted
Development on Snaps has come to a temporary halt as Hannes and I look for a less chaotic period to get work done. That said, as of now we’ve released our MVP and it’s open to around 20 beta testers who have signed up, posted, liked, edited their profile, etc. You can check out the feed here.
Must-watch shows and movies 🎞️
Pachinko, Apple TV
WeCrashed, Apple TV
Top-notch links and resources 🔥
Godly, website design inspiration
Zak Slayback, update emails that help, not annoy
Namae, check availability of your new app name for major registries
Romulus, great articles covering European current events written by European citizens
I’ve literally gone nowhere since December of 2021 so here are random shots from this year’s first quarter in Como, Italy
k then, see you next quarter :) 👋🏼
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