Startup Communities

How to build communities of entrepreneurs

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#3 Product of the DayJuly 24, 2015

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Makers
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Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
@bfeld getting my question in early for one of my favourite startup books :) If you wrote this book again, would your 4 steps be the same given the increasing presence of communication tools like Slack? I think the steps would be the same but in each their may be more variation of how to execute them...
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Brad FeldMaker@bfeld · Managing Director, Foundry Group
@bentossell Slack and other real-time comm tools are sort of helpful, but not critical. Often, technology slows things down if forced on folks, because a lot of people in the Startup Community simply won't engage consistently with it. I've seen 1,567 different efforts to create "Social Networks for a Startup Community" and most of them stale out after a brief burst of usage. So - I don't think it really changes any of the fundamentals - it's just an augmentation and potential leverage. And, don't forget, Slack - while great within a domain (@something.com) is still pretty weak across domains. It's getting better, but as someone who is in about a dozen Slack teams, it's not awesome yet since it can't consolidate activity. And, email continues to be a very effective least common denominator across diverse communities.
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Erik TorenbergHiring@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
For companies that are building online startup communities (ahem...) how does your advice differ from building off-line, in-person communities? What are the differences and overlaps?
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Brad FeldMaker@bfeld · Managing Director, Foundry Group
@eriktorenberg I think the principles are the same. The tactics are different since it's hard to smell and touch people online, so you have to get the nuance of personality a different way. But having synchronous activities (AMAs, Group Hangouts) in addition to the asynchronous activity that pervades online communities is key.
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Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
I actually just interviewed Brad on The Twenty Minute VC but I did not get the chance to ask him: What would he advise a non technical person wanting to get into the startup world?
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Brad FeldMaker@bfeld · Managing Director, Foundry Group
@harrystebbings Harry - that was a fun interview - I'm looking forward to listening to it. I just listened to Jonathan Triest's which was great. If anyone out there is interested, check out http://www.thetwentyminutevc.com/ Re: advice to a non-tech person getting into the startup world, just start! Being technical is not a requirement as startups require a range of skills. Start showing up where other founders are hanging out. Go to a Startup Weekend. Participate in a Startup Week. Hunt down interesting meetups. Become part of the community by doing stuff. Put energy into things without knowing what you are going to get back (#givefirst). Be USEFUL to others rather than just ask them to be useful to you. Magic will happen surprisingly fast.
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Mohsen Khalkhali@mossibat · IoT investor @ Iratel Ventures
@bfeld what is the most important step a new VC (I'm a partner) can take to help a new/young startup community (In Iran) flourish and succeed?
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Brad FeldMaker@bfeld · Managing Director, Foundry Group
@mossibat Engage actively as a participant in the startup community. Don't try to control or lead. Instead, choose one thing (activity or event) to put on and lead, and then show up at a bunch of others as a participate. Be open to anyone - do things like open office hours or random days - and be accessible. Treat founders like peers - do NOT believe that you are "one up" on them since you have the capital and they want the capital. Be responsive and respectful. And, when things don't work, try again.
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Erik TorenbergHiring@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Super excited to welcome Brad for an AMA on 7/24 at 1130 AM PST! Ask questions in advance :) BIO: Brad is a VC at Foundry Group and co-founder of Techstars. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, invests in software and Internet companies around the US, runs marathons, and loves to read.
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Brad FeldMaker@bfeld · Managing Director, Foundry Group
@eriktorenberg That's me!