Rosie Sherry: Community building – nowadays!

June 15, 2021 · 36 minutes reading time

Transcript of episode 17

Rosie's photo

Matthias:
Hello, everyone. Matthias Bohlen is on the microphone again! This is another episode of the Audience Explorer podcast. Today, I’m so excited to have Rosie Sherry as guest – welcome, Rosie!

Rosie Sherry:
Thank you for having me!

Matthias:
So nice to meet you in practice. Rosie is a great person: She managed the Indie Hackers community a while ago, for several years. And she now runs the Rosieland community, another exciting project of hers. And she’s also a full-time employee at Orbit! How does all this fit together, Rosie?

Rosie Sherry:
I don’t know, you tell me! (they both laugh…) I like to keep busy!

Matthias:
Yeah, that’s obvious, right? So what do you actually do, right at the moment?

Rosie Sherry:
For a while, I’ve been calling myself a community builder, building communities for years now. I bootstrapped or indie-hacked the Ministry of Testing, previously. And then I was at Indie Hackers for a couple of years doing their community, and then Rosieland, which started as a newsletter and has evolved into community, the second community for community builders. And then so that’s kind of like, I guess, my side project, as I would call it now, because I work full time for Orbit, who create kind of software for communities.

Matthias:
Oh, this really fits together, right, the word community at several places.

Matthias:
So what is this Orbit software do for community builders?

Rosie Sherry:
Yeah, good question. So I think the idea, I guess, like, behind Orbit is, is to the way I see it, and the way I tried to explain it is that communities these days, whilst we like to think that they have one specific calm, the reality is that there is no one place for communities and communities, like decentralized people, you know, people who run communities would love for everybody to show up in one space. But the reality is that we’re humans, and we’d love to show up where we want to show up.

Rosie Sherry:
And in practice, in today’s world, and even more so since COVID, is like, we show up in all kinds of places, we might show up in a forum that’s been created, but on top of that would show up on Twitter, I’m on Twitter every day. Yeah, I’m hanging out with indie hackers and community builders. I’m on multiple Slacks of various communities, I’m on very Circle type communities as well. For every community, I think like we naturally kind of gather in various places, and we naturally talk and serve communities in different ways. So like, if I was, let’s say, indie hackers is like indie hacker says, like a busy forum, but there’s so many people on on Twitter like, raging about indie hackers are talking about indie hackers and they’re, they’re part of the community as well, and sometimes they’ll come over to In the hackers website, but not all the time, but you know, it definitely, you know that

Rosie Sherry:
Until like, recently at least, it’s been nearly impossible to like keep track of who’s who. So like the who’s contributing to the community conversations. So the idea of Orbit is it gathers data from various sources. And it pulls it all together so that you can better understand who your community members are, it creates profile pages for them. So you can see if the active on a Slack or on Twitter or your forum, and you can see who has the most love, which is like one of the measurements that they have. I can see who’s just joined, who’s who’s super active, all those kinds of things to kind of give you better ability to work with your community in whatever way you feel is best.

Matthias:
Interesting. So does it give people a kind of new home? Or does it simply collect and mirror all the homes that people have? So for example, if I have, let’s say, Facebook group, and I’m part of a Twitter, I’m part of indie hackers, I’m part of several Slacks. What happens in Orbit when I am in all those places? Do I see them there?

Rosie Sherry:
So as a member, you wouldn’t see it. But as like a community owner, we would see it to help us. So it’s not like a new space. It’s more a tool for people who run communities to figure out what to do with it all and figure out how to build better relationships.

Matthias:
Interesting thing! Yeah, community building seems to be an entire problem in itself, right? I always find it quite hard. I’m not that talented for community building. I tried it and it was … I failed miserably. So what would you think is, are the main skills? community builder, a good community builder needs?

Rosie Sherry:
Good question! I probably need to write something and think more deeply on this. But I think, you know, say, community building is easy, but it’s hard to say. Yeah. And for me, it’s easy, because it’s all to me, it’s all common sense. The things that you would do. Yeah, is that you’d be good to people you care about people you do the right thing for them. You don’t you’re not trying to sell to them all the time. You’re trying to help them whenever you can.

Rosie Sherry:
It’s you know, it’s not like rocket science, as I would say, but, but then the hard part is, is that you’re dealing with people as well. So, that makes it super hard. Right? Like, how, how do you deal with people? And how do you deal with… I guess things like the business pressure of scaling up if you want to scale up? And how do you deal with like, people coming in? And how do you, like, keep on top of it all? Or how do you not keep on top of it all, and encourage other members to like, you know, you know, kind of help lead the community as well. And so, I mean, I guess like, if we’re thinking skills wise, is a, you have to be able to be willing to help people. So no one had to help people is pretty key. I’m also like, a big believer in if you’re going to serve a community, he, you’re going to have to know a lot about the community you’re serving.

Matthias:
So you have to be interested in and care really, whether, yeah, how they’re doing and for example, how do you get these connections to form between community members? How do you get people into a position where they really start talking to each other and show up because of the others?

Rosie Sherry:
Yeah. And I don’t see like how people can properly serve a community if you don’t care enough about the niche or the division that you’re trying to serve. So like with indie hackers is like, I was an indie hacker myself. And I think, you know, that’s partly why, you know, I was up for the role, but also, I think it suited me as well as I also grew with the community. I very much identified with him, I had my own experiences. I never went in thinking that I knew at all, but I definitely went in thinking I’ve got a lot to learn, and I want to help these people learn as well. And to me, that’s like the core of any community into this. Like it’s not necessarily about you know, You know, businesses, you know, struggle with is it’s not necessarily about the business, it’s about helping the people in the community get to where they want to be.

Matthias:
That’s, I love that: “get to where they want to be”. Yeah. If there’s a business behind it, it’s also always the question, what where does the business want to be? In this case? I think it’s more important, where do the people the members of the community want to be? or want to get or whatever? So what would you say? How do you define a community today? What is today’s definition of a community?

Rosie Sherry:
Yeah, good question … I would, I would probably say something along the lines of it’s like a group of people who want to get together over a common theme, or common thing. I think, you know, if you’re thinking like, you know, so you can have like, casual communities, or, you know, if you’re really going in for community as, as something that you want to build longer term,

Rosie Sherry:
You know, that there can be like, I guess, different intensities of how you go into it. But, you know, like, as, like a local community, you know, a bunch of friends just gathering together as a, you know, you don’t have to think too deeply about, you know, what you’re trying to achieve. But there’s definitely like, these natural human instincts that you want to align, you want to be on the same wavelength, you want to, you know, be interested in similar things, you want to have, like the same ethics around certain things in your life. But if you’re trying to like build community, that’s, I guess, you’re trying to turn into something bigger than this. I guess it’s like more pieces in the puzzle that you have to kind of think about, but you know, it’s the same principles to be honest. And I think like, yeah, I think at the end of the day, it’s just like, trying to really kind of figure out what your people want, that also aligns with what you want. So always keeping the two kind of very, very closely aligned.

Matthias:
Did this change in the days of COVID? When we all go virtual now and work from home? And what influence did this have on communities and community builders?

Rosie Sherry:
Yeah, I mean, there’s definitely been a huge shift. Yes, yeah. So like, all my years, like, I’ve been building communities, like 15 years, and all my years of building communities. It’s never been cool. It’s never been particularly well paid. It’s never been like, “Oh, yes, we need community”.

Rosie Sherry:
And then like, COVID comes along, and like, that’s, like, completely changed. And like everybody, everybody wants community. Everybody’s talking about it. And I, you know, I think it’s great. On one extent, is that finally, you know, getting the attention and, you know, as community as a community, they finally, were, we’ve got a seat at the table, so to speak. But, you know, it’s been a year of COVID. And like, everyone, I feel like everyone’s scrambling to, you know, want community, they envision community is this kind of wonderful thing.

Rosie Sherry:
And they look at successful examples. And they say they want that. But then they don’t realize, like, actually, the communities that they love, so much have taken years to build. And they want one now, or, you know, they, they, they don’t know how to go about starting one. And they start with the tools instead of the people. And then they want to scale. Because, you know, the business pressure to scale, all these kinds of things. It’s like, yes, it’s for me, it’s like, great, we’ve got all this interest, but also almost like worrying this, like, if, if all this interest in like, all the money that’s flying about in community at the moment, especially like in the bigger VC world is: “If all of this goes wrong, and we end up not creating communities that matter. What will that mean for the future of community builders?”

Rosie Sherry:
And that’s kind of like top of my mind. And that’s kind of like, what I kind of worry about or think about. So I just think like, almost “Yes, community is important, but let’s remember that they take five years to build. And let’s build that into our plans. And let’s realize that communities are hard and emotionally hard-working.”

Rosie Sherry:
Community builders everywhere in the past year have been like, you know, under a lot of pressure to keep things going during COVID. And then on top of that is like, all this extra interest for community and, you know, people trying to, you know, I guess like, you know, there’s lots of jobs going around, I guess, but there’s not really a lot of understanding, say, What does community mean, now? Now COVID has happened. And I think there’s, there’s a lot of positives in it. And the fact that I don’t necessarily think that community was done well in the past.

Rosie Sherry:
And now that there’s a lot of interest in it, people are rethinking things, people are creating new tools, new ways of kind of reimagining what community is. And I think that, for me, that’s exciting part is that we’re trying to reimagine what’s important, we’re trying to, in my opinion, be more efficient with our time. We’re having more conversations online, I’ve never had so many conversations on my end, and I’m personally like, making a lot more friends. It’s all virtual, but it’s still like making better connections, like I’ve never had in my life. I’ve never like, gone to this effort. I’ve never, you know, you know, it’s just, it feels normal now. Right? Yeah. So that’s, that’s exciting part is like, what can we do with this connection, but trying to do it in the right way, without, without burning out? And, you know, considering the people aspect of it.

Matthias:
So what do you think? What’s the main driver behind all this interest? Suddenly? And you mentioned the VCs? What do communities have to do with money? I don’t quite get it.

Rosie Sherry:
Communities are powerful, I think. And I think people maybe now see that, that there’s so much power in communities when you get it right. And I also think that, generally speaking, like marketing isn’t working like it used to. So they’re looking for other ways to, to build value and build their business. And community seems to be the answer to that. And, you know, it’s like, yeah, yeah, I have mixed feelings about it.

Rosie Sherry:
I always have mixed feelings about, like communities being driven by business needs. So I try, I’m trying to balance it out or communicate that I guess I educate that to people who say, like, yes, community is powerful. But we have to remember that as people at the end of the day, and we can achieve a lot through people. But you got to treat people well. And you got to treat them with respect and with ethics. And a lot of businesses aren’t built on the right ethics or the right mindset for that.

Matthias:
So the connection to money, if I understand you right, you mean that businesses could have an interest in building communities so that they can sell them something, or they can have more successful marketing with them?

Rosie Sherry:
Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of businesses think like that, but that’s the wrong, that’s the wrong way to kind of think of community. So I know that businesses can thrive with like, an active community behind them. But you don’t build up is that you don’t build a community to sell to them. Yeah. loved it, because you care about the people that you’re building community with, and you and you’re bringing them together over like a shared vision, I guess. And then, right, is that it can help businesses thrive. Like when I built up Ministry of Testing, it was all everything I did was focused on the community, and I never spent money on advertising or on sales or anything like that.

Rosie Sherry:
It was all, you know, through the community. We did marketing through the community, but that was like more community focused marketing. So you know, we do email marketing, but, you know, very kind of lightweight and kind of respectful. I think this is like the challenge that businesses have is like, you know, people, I think are changing in the way that the tide are being marketed to constantly, and they need to find going to new ways to connect with people and to me, so, obviously for me, but, you know, say building community is, is the best way to connect with people. But you have to have the mindset of just, you know, really trying to get to know your people as much as well as possible.

Matthias:
So a community can be a very can, sorry, one step back, a community can contribute to the success of a business, but a community should not be built in order to have success with a business, right? If you focus on the business and say, “yeah, we need a community because we want to make more money, etc, etc”, it’s the wrong thing, right. And, on the other hand, for example, if you have a great product, like let’s say, Nike or something with their shoes, they might form a community around this because people love the Nike shoes, and they share a common interest in that.

Matthias:
So do you think that it’s a matter of cause and effect? What’s first product? And then the community are the other way around? Can there be a product? Yes, there can be. The other way around: Can there be a product without a community?

Rosie Sherry:
Well, I guess like you say, like, you know, that there are good examples of product communities now like Notion is a good example. Nike is probably a good one, even though I don’t really know the details of that. But I think like, you know, if we go along the idea of like, decentralized communities, and if we take maybe Nike as an example that I honestly don’t know a lot about, but hypothetically, if people, obviously, there’s lots of fans of Nike, I’m not a fan, but whatever. This is fans, and it’s like, okay, it’s like, well, if you want to build community around that, then you know, start speaking to your fans. And that’s like, the core essence of, of community. Yes.

Rosie Sherry:
Like, there are people who, you know, obsess over Nike, and say, what, what will happen if you bring some of those people together? And I think the difference is, is like, it’s not what the business wants to happen. It’s like, what happens when they come together and observe that and take on board, like what people are saying, and then see how you can align it with what your business is trying to achieve. So helping your fans as much as possible, within, you know, by using, like, the resources that you have available.

Matthias:
That makes sense. So what do you think when a community builder starts out and says, “okay, I’ve gathered some people, I think I understand what they want and how they behave at the moment”. What do you think happens to this community builder? What problems do they run into, which problems need to be solved today for community builders?

Rosie Sherry:
Oh, good question. What problems need to be solved for community builders? Yeah, I think like, this is something that on my radar of things to think about, is that what would make community builders lives easier? I think like, Oh, I think now, …

Matthias:
Is it more of the basic stuff like who belongs to my community? What are the names? What do they care for? Or is it advanced stuff? Like interactions? Or like the strategic direction? What do you think is the thing that keeps community builders busy?

Rosie Sherry:
Yeah, I mean, I think community builders need like, and this kind of ties back to my work at Orbit, but community builders need better understanding of who their community are, and better ways of understanding how to communicate with members as well. So I think like at the moment is probably you know, very basic, how we look at community building now.

Rosie Sherry:
So say, “oh, to build community, let’s, let’s have some discussions in the forum”. As you know, there’s kind of like two basic, it’s like, well, you know, say, surely we can do better than that, and starting discussions on forums, what more can we do? And how can we use data that we have access to really like tap into, into the needs of, of the community. So I guess like,

Rosie Sherry:
for example, I was speaking to someone a while back, and they wanted to start like an ambassador program. And the initial reaction was to like, they had like 100 people interested in running late local chapters. And their initial reaction was to, like, go in and get as many of them as possible started on running local chapters. But then I was like, “Well, why are you going to do that, when you don’t really know what’s needed or how it’s going to evolve? Wouldn’t it be better to start with one, or a group of five?” and

Matthias:
a group of five or something? Yeah. And then like, get some experience?

Rosie Sherry:
Yeah, and start figuring out what people need. And I think there’s this perception that, you know, they could have got it, it could have gotten all of them into like, a Zoom Room to talk about the ideas that they were planning, planning for. But actually, in those businesses will say, Oh, that’s like, the right way to do it’s, it’s effective. But the reality is, is that he only ended up speaking to a handful of them anyways, and everybody else in the room doesn’t get a chance to share their voice in like, you know, a meaningful way.

Rosie Sherry:
So when it’s when you’re, when you’re starting something, I say, you really got to start with it, you know, the, the core, the core principles, and I guess, like, thinking back to like, what community builders need is a, they need to be able to, like manage those kind of situations better. And, you know, not value, the community is how many people you have in your forum, or how many people are participating is a, almost every interaction should be considered as a community building activity. So if, you know,

Rosie Sherry:
If they come to zoom event, you know, that’s, that’s classed as an activity. And if they, if they participate in the forum, that’s an activity if they, if they reach out to you on email, maybe that’s an activity as well. Or if they book a one to one meeting, all of these kinds of things is like, it almost like redefines like, what community is. And then, as community builders, the challenge then becomes what do you do with all of this? And how do you apply, like, the human aspects of community building? To all of this is how do you enable others to build better relationships with each other? or help them or whatever it is, you might be trying to do?

Rosie Sherry:
And yeah, I mean, I get, you know, to me, it’s, it’s exciting, but it’s a challenge. And yeah, I say, well, it’s almost like a wow moment for me is like, there’s all this tech that we now realize that we have access to right. There’s that how do you make sense of all the tech and how do you how do you understand like, what to automate and what not to automate?

Matthias:
So I find this quite interesting: You mentioned that all the interactions that you have with other people can be considered as community building. Yeah. I had this strange thought in my mind that community building is something quite special, and you have to do intentional collection of things to do, right. You are community builder if you do this or that. But what you just mentioned would mean no, community building is just interacting well, it’s just caring, just interacting. So it

Rosie Sherry:
using the word “just”, which is why it’s so easy, but it’s also so hard, right? Yeah, just it’s “just this”, you know, it’s “just that” but like when you have lots of “justs”, you know, it’s like actually it gets complicated pretty quickly.

Matthias:
Can you tell me let’s say two examples, one where you said “oh, I was rather successful this when I did this”, it it happened. It made me wow moment. And then one example where you said “Oh, I screwed up with this … in community building because … and later I learned that …”, so I would love to hear one very good in one. If you want: one bad example, what not to do as a community builder.

Rosie Sherry:
I mean, I think like, the past few months, I’ve been doing a lot of one, like either podcast recordings like this, or just one on one conversations. And I know they’re powerful. I’ve been trying to intentionally to do more of them. And for me, for me, I, they never surprise me like the power of just having one on one conversations. And, you know, whether they’re like 15 minutes or an hour long, the connections you make by having these direct conversations, is something that you’ll probably never get in a group environment.

Rosie Sherry:
Or maybe you can, to certain extent, but it could be like, my, my own personality is that I feel more comfortable having one on one conversations, I struggle in a group environment. When there’s people in a group, I step back and just let other people talk, and I listen, it’s just like, I don’t know, that’s just like the way I am. So for me, like having one on one conversations, it just for me, it works! And I say I get to know people, and we get talking about all sorts of random stuff… And I just think it’s so powerful, just speaking to people and getting to know people, and these little stories coming out and then you kind of start to make connections of these people and then the more connections you make, the more you realize, “Oh, I could you know, once that conversation is done, you can start connecting the dots in the future to what’s how you can help them”.

Rosie Sherry:
Or even it’s a one to one conversations, people are a lot more vulnerable than they would be in a group environment. Even if it’s a second group of three people, people open up so much more, one to one. And I’ve had conversations recently where I can see that people need help, or they’re crying out for help, and like I have in my power to help them to that next step. And to me that’s, yeah, it will, it will always wow me that the fact that you realize when you have conversations with people that you can actually help them! And it wows me and then it kind of makes me sad that the same time, people don’t value it. They think it’s not efficient enough. But I think, yeah, I think this is something special in one-to-ones.

Matthias:
Yeah, absolutely. Would you recommend other community builders to have more one on ones with their communities?

Rosie Sherry:
Definitely. I’ve been telling people recently to do it and … yeah, one guy I spoke to recently he was trying like group sessions, and people weren’t showing up. And I just said, well, just do one on ones. And he started doing them and more people started booking for them then they did for the group sessions. And, you know, kind of allowing him to kind of get to know his community a bit better. So yeah, I mean, definitely, definitely.

Matthias:
Interesting. It’s not so much about efficiency here, but about depth and quality!

Rosie Sherry:
Yeah, and I think in time, people don’t realize that actually, just spending that bit of time, people will kind of remember the conversation for a lot longer, because it would have had more impact. And I have no doubt that if you do it in a human way, and in a way to like help people that these people will eventually recommend you down the line. And, you know, it works. It really does. I think the more you do it, and if you kind of like build it into like daily, daily habits or weekly habits, you can really start to kind of see the knock-on effect.

Matthias:
Yeah, yeah. And you meant you also mentioned tech, I think that there is still a lot to be done with tech. I recently thought about these Zoom meetings. They are somewhat tiring, somewhat exhausting, right? You have these big screens with lots of little squares where people sit in, and you see lots of people’s heads, and they get tired.

Matthias:
I saw some different tools where the big window is not Present. And there are simply the avatars of the people, or the little circles where you see people talking, but they are randomly scattered on your screen, you can push them anywhere where you would like for example, for your color collaborating on a document, you push them near the document.

Matthias:
And I also saw another tool that was very interesting, it was able to simulate a cocktail party effect. Because in Zoom, for example, I always have the problem with the audio line, only one person can successfully speak on Zoom, if two persons are talking, the understandability is not that great. And this tool was able, I could move my avatar to a group of others, and suddenly I can hear them. And when I leave them, and I move myself away to another group, I hear the other group. So it’s much more efficient, much more likeable than these breakout rooms, where you always have to switch and send people to some room, how cumbersome is that? You see other passive possibilities for tech could do?

Rosie Sherry:
I think there’s so many possibilities. And I think the examples that you say, are great examples of how we can potentially use tech. I think there’s probably like, the aspect of getting used to those ways of doing things and whether they will stick? I don’t know. But they’re definitely interesting, right?

Rosie Sherry:
So like, you know, I’ve known of many of those tools, but I’ve not really had a opportunity to experience them in, in a way that has gone well. And but yeah, you know, it’ll be good to, you know, check, you know, see, see experiences, or, you know, see how, or hear of, you know, positive experiences of how people are using these tools and if they actually work. But yeah, I mean, I forgot what the question was now, but

Matthias:
What do you think what tech can do to support community building the future?

Rosie Sherry:
Yeah. Yeah, I mean, I guess it’s like, if you think of, if you think of community building is enabling people to come together and in a better way, look for trying to look to the future for that as a what, what does that mean, for the future of community? And if we try to move away from like, the traditional way of seeing community, such as, quite often, like, how much activity there is on a website, or how many forum posts are made?

Matthias:
Yeah. It’s hard numbers. (laughs)

Rosie Sherry:
Yeah. Yes. So it’s like, you know, should we be thinking of new ways to measure stuff? Or, you know, I think like, should we not even be thinking about that kind of things is, how much do we want to measure how much is right to measure? What is actually meaningful to measure?

Rosie Sherry:
And, you know, I guess, like, you know, at the heart of it is like, community building is, is not about the numbers, it’s, it’s about bringing the right people together, to do the right kind of things. So, you know, actually, a good example is events. I was speaking on the other day about this, again, on a one on one conversation, we had a really great conversation. And he had done events in the past that I had events in the past. And we had also been to events. So we had all kinds of opinions about events,

Rosie Sherry:
but he was working on some AI stuff to kind of connect people better together based on who they are. And I guess like, you know, ask them questions. So that from a work perspective, you could hook up you know, people who work in the same company in a better way. Or like from an event perspective you know, I don’t know if you’ve experienced it, but I definitely have is that you go to an event, and you don’t actually end up speaking to someone, anyone meaning meaningfully is a totally random. You don’t you don’t like end up really staying in touch with many people. Or if you do, it’s maybe one or two!

Matthias:
Sometimes it’s just random coincidence with whom I meet over coffee, for example, and we have a great conversation, but I’m not sure it has anything to do with the event.

Rosie Sherry:
Exactly! And it’s like you know, that’s so inefficient, right? And so if we think of like, in real life events where people spend a lot of time a lot of money usually to attend, and then like hotels, if they’re going up, you know, further away or flight, it’s, it’s a lot of money to not really end up connecting with it with anyone in a meaningful way. And

Rosie Sherry:
…when I did events, it was at Ministry of Testing, I tried my best to kind of patchwork all this stuff and get people to hook up like, online throughout the year, and you know, all those kinds of things and like, create, like, smaller events within the event it can it connects people together. So we definitely tried, but I, you know, I definitely think there are ways to improve that.

Rosie Sherry:
So it’s like, how for community building is that? How can you use tech in those kinds of ways to kind of really connect people together in a way that will impact their lives. And to get past what I would call it the “smalltalk”, it’s like, when you go to events, and you just randomly meet people, it’s all “smalltalk”, it’s not meaningful conversation. But if we can use tech to get past that and go straight to the meaningful stuff, I think that’s where it can become really powerful!

Matthias:
Or at least when people say “hey, we had a good conversation, let’s go deeper next time!” So if tech could enable this effect…

Matthias:
I’m very much active in the software engineering world, because I’m a software engineer myself. And I used to go to a big event with, let’s say, one or 2000 people every year, happens in Munich, or happened in Munich, pre-COVID. And it only worked because people knew each other from publications, from collaboration they had on projects, or from literature, and so on. People said, “Hey, I read your last book, nice to see you again!”, and so on. So they had something already, they were not random people to each other. And when we met in Munich, some meaningful conversations could already take place within five minutes, because we already knew what the other one was doing. So I think some future could lie in bringing people to a prolonged relationship, not one-time relationship at a conference or so.

Rosie Sherry:
Definitely. And, yeah, I mean, that’s probably quite similar to, like what we did at Ministry of Testing where we would invite people to write, we invite people to speak, all these different types of things that they would participate in the community, therefore, other people would, you know, get to know them, and have some conversations. And all of that kind of stuff is kind of same lines of what you’re talking about. And yeah, and that’s kind of like in a sec. Events are part of the community. But I think there’s been a lot of events, that it’s just literally like one year, they happen once a year. And the tickets come up for sale. There’s nothing in between that really connects people together!

Matthias:
Yeah. So a lot could be done there.

Matthias:
What are you trying to achieve with your side project, Rosieland? What? What is this? And what’s the goal for that for the next, let’s say, one year?

Rosie Sherry:
Yeah, one year… Okay. Interesting! Um, yeah. So I started Rosieland as a newsletter. And first, just like a curated newsletter, and then I turned it into a paid newsletter to force me to write every week, because like, I wanted to build up this habit to write by turning it paid, it kind of forced me to show up every week and write.

Rosie Sherry:
And I did that for a few months. And then I decided, “Oh, actually, I’ve kind of built this habit of writing and I’m quite happy doing it now. But really, I need it to be community because I do communities.”

Rosie Sherry:
So we just like moved it over to more of a community focus. Still very early stages. But I guess, for the next year, my goal is basically like my opinion of the world of community building, as we are now, is that there’s a huge lack of information. It’s, it’s kind of scattered about, even if there is stuff out there, it’s not necessarily very helpful.

Rosie Sherry:
So Rosieland is a is what I guess I call it “community garden” is that where I’m trying to do research into community building, I’m trying to write about community building, and I want to encourage others to participate as much as possible as well. So yeah, for about 18 months, I’ve been curating resources. So I want to kind of make those, get those into like a more presentable format. I want to write more, I want to invite other people to write and to co create as well in time.

Rosie Sherry:
And I guess, you know, it’s like, it’s, I’ve transferred over the paid newsletter subscribers. But I guess like, for me, it’s almost like a mixture of a community and a Wikipedia for community building. So that when people go there, they’ll find everything they need for community building, and it will hopefully open their minds up to all the things that exists with, you know, different mindsets, different ways of thinking about community, different models, different frameworks. And yeah, for me, it’s like, trying to show people that actually community is deep and varied and wide, it can go really niche intellect, the specific theme. Or you can go is so many, like, different angles you can potentially take.

Rosie Sherry:
So like if I can create a space for that to help people stumble upon new ideas and new ways of building community. That’s, that’s the vision, the long term vision of Rosieland. What I’ll achieve in the next year, I’m not quite sure, but I think, yeah, I hope it can become like a sustained… Financially, I hope it can become a bit more sustainable. But I don’t really measure things by money. For me, I’m more focused on the idea of creating the most comprehensive community building resource out there.

Matthias:
Oh, wow! “Wikipedia for community builders”, and also a community for community builders! If I were a community builder (…which I’m not because I lack some energy for this. Let’s not call it call it skills because yeah, we talked about that…) what would I find? Would I find resources, you said? And would I also find other community builders there? Could I meet with them? Or have a conversation with them? What would happen if I go there?

Rosie Sherry:
Yeah, I mean, at the moment is kind of a more kind of “text-form-heavy” kind of situation, I guess. But you know, definitely, I’m trying to make decisions around that at the moment. So I’m definitely going on, like the decentralized aspect of what a community means.

Rosie Sherry:
So yeah, I’m trying to decide to as like, because I did a cohort course recently, we set up a Slack as part of that. So I’m kind of trying to decide to say, would it be good to have a slack as part of the community as well? And I kind of think it would, but then after a while, should I use Discord instead? Maybe? I don’t know. So I’m kind of trying to make decisions around that in the way that say, people have different preferences around how they show up. And definitely, like on Twitter, like, I’ve got it set up to hook into Twitter, as well to like, bring data in.

Rosie Sherry:
I’m trying to think what that would look like, and trying to take those kinds of sustainable steps towards bringing community builders together. I mean, I definitely want to do it. But also, I just started a new job and everything, so I have to be a bit realistic with what I can achieve. But yeah, I mean, the dream is to just, you know, hang out and be with community builders. And like the more conversations that we can have, I think, you know, that to me, that’s exciting because then that leads on to other things!

Matthias:
Absolutely. Fantastic! Thank you for today, Rosie, it was a such a deep conversation around this subject, I really enjoyed it. Thank you for coming!

Rosie Sherry:
Thank you. Thank you for having me.


Outro

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