Community Development on the Brain

Yesterday, I read a piece by Jay Clouse on building community. I’ve been reading Brad Feld’s new book, The Startup Community Way. I’m currently in Seth Godin’s Creative Workshop.

I’ve got community on the brain again. 

I first started to develop a passion for communities back in 2013 at a Startup Weekend event. I was about 7 years into a career as a software developer at a large company. I had fallen into a routine; safe and bored. That first event was magic. The sense of shared purpose and almost instantaneous community made me a believer.

Over the next year, I had left my large corporate job for a smaller business with better opportunities for advancement, run my own Startup Weekend event in Dayton, and joined the Code For Dayton brigade. I had decided I wanted to be a community builder.

I spent a few years frustratedly trying to build and grow a Dayton Startup Weekend scene and a stronger brigade. Neither seemed to make much progress.

Looking back now, I took the wrong approach. Building communities is incredibly hard, if not impossible. I certainly don’t have the charisma to pull it off. You don’t build communities, you facilitate them. You create the space and try to get some of the elements in the right spot, but you don’t construct them. In many ways, you are more a gardener.

What are other folks experiences with community? Have you successfully built one?

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