📻 — Gabriel Pizzolante: A Simple Framework for Community Validation, Collaboration, & Purpose

This is your Community, Daily.

Reading Time: ~ 4 min.

Good morning yeniverse!

We’ve got a quick #deepdive for your Friday issue! I hope you all had a great week and that you’re planning on a bit of rest this weekend!

Also, Happy Lunar New Year!!

  1. 21M+ subscribers. Wow. Reduct Video. Frame.io. Founders know.

  2. The best story wins. Audio social network on self-care. Bitcoin in the US.

  3. Typedream! Campus experience on Discord. Clubhouse = anti-twitter?

  4. January income report via Monica Lent. Glad I could help on pricing!

  5. Collecting math. Fun team events. Turning 30 soon? I love this mvp.

  6. More dinosaurs please. Social leverage. Track workouts.

  7. Commerce rays. Quick resume builder? Collaborate on anything.

To infinity & community,

— john

Jumping right in, I spent some time listening to Gabriel Pizzolante as he shares some thoughts on how to manage, grow, and run a “fast-paced” community, especially during the pandemic / down-turn.

For starters, he establishes the frame of what he does as a builder of communities — essentially a “jack of all trades” — and especially these three roles and responsibilities:

  • Enablers

  • Connectors

  • Facilitators

We are the architects putting the jigsaw pieces together, connecting the dots.

Gabriel Pizzolante

Ultimately, for Gabriel, community builders are all about creating serendipity to accelerate opportunities to build human connection. This is why Gabriel has dedicated his work (and life) to build these bridges for others and inspire them to invest more of their time and energy to these tasks.

With SaaStock, they are following the growing trend of the SaaS market; here are some high-level (mind-blowing facts):

  1. A mid-market company (101-999 employees) uses 185 apps, but when you consider app-to-person connections, that number expands greatly — to 4,406. For an enterprise the number goes 288 – 21,580

  2. Since 2008, the market share of SaaS has grown from $5.5 Bn to $157

  3. The market is predicted to grow to $623 billion by the year 2023 at a compound annual growth rate of 18%

  4. From 2016 to 2019, funding for European SaaS companies rose from $2bn to $5bn, growing much faster than in the US, which grew from $15bn to $20bn.

  5. More than 6,829 SaaS products in market!

The bottom-line is this: Building a B2B SaaS business (or an awesome CommSaaS) has a lot of real potential and it’s worth thinking through how you can take advantage of this growing trend and align your personal and professional goals with building a project, community, and business of your dreams! If this isn’t the year… then when?

The point is this: All these stats via Gabriel are more than convincing enough to focus some serious time and energy in exploring these opportunities.

Especially during these crazy times; all of these elements make for very fast community (growth) and our ability to manage, grow, and scale communities are important are skills that many folks need to spend more time investing in.

Let’s keep going…

But what happens when a pandemic arrives? What happens when your in-person business no longer has… in-person events?!

For Gabriel, last year was all about building the larger community space for community builders! Community builders need other folks in their lives to support them in their work and the growing importance of “community” in small businesses and large.

A few important learnings and lessons from 2020 that can help you get aligned and refocused during these tough times!

These might be useful activities for you and/or your team to talk through as you think through growth strategies for 2021:

  1. Revisit your purpose — Live it and breath it! We realized that nowhere in our purpose (statement) we had the words “events” written! Reminds me of starting with why!

  2. Build an environment suitable for collaboration. Your stakeholders can become your most valuable assets and sources for strategic partnerships.

  3. Move fast, while validating with your community. Be lean and validate fast to adopt a changing environment. For Gabriel, he spent a lot of time reviewing their business model and exploring alternative ways to build revenue. Lots of customer interviews (sounds like info products!). Gabriel used things like The Lean Startup model via Eric Ries and The Mom Test to help validate ideas and do customer interviews.

For Gabriel, the next step was taking the time to find what he calls “community-market fit”:

  • Startups strive to find product-market fit

  • Customer feedback is always crucial

  • When changing your channels or business model, your audience will help you shape the next steps

  • Find the most engaged customers and build a feedback plan for product development

I have strong feelings about the use of terms like “community-market fit” and “minimum-viable community but his point is still very good: Use feedback (via customer / community interviews) to build a product / service / community that ultimately solves their problem in a repeatable, profitable way!

I appreciate his focus on finding the “most engaged customers” and building upon that foundation, which is a definitely powermove!

Gabriel created a useful, visual model as well for the audience, a framework of constant development around your business, product, and/or community;

  1. Evaluate new channels & models

  2. List your customer personas & stakeholders

  3. Feedback, development, and execution

Aligned around purpose, collaboration, and validation, the eventual connections can build the community and company that works.

Here’s his Gabriel’s final slide:

Move fast, break things, build connections, provide value! Gabriel answers a handful of questions near the end: