Every community has started from a humble beginning. Ours is no different. On August 23rd, Bevy kicked off our first of many local events, gathering community event professionals from range of different backgrounds and companies. We found it to be a little nostalgic as we had the same number of people attend as Startup Grind did when it first began, a community that now has over 400 cities all over the world.
Community has a way of finding people from all different backgrounds and skill sets with one common theme: a love of people. So we asked this question:
When you got into college, did you say, “I want to become a community manager!”?
One attendee, who majored in communications, started in community building when she worked for the county government hosting town halls. Along the way, she dabbled with graphic design and eventually moved into marketing for most of her career. She found that she loved producing events because meeting people in person was so powerful.
Another communications major (we might have a theme here) started in publishing and saw people leveraging events to reach their audience. From there, she moved into marketing and gradually into community. She stated she realized the power of in-person communities when she noticed how distrustful people were of each other online. When they met face to face, it changed everything.
Another attendee had quite a twist in his career, working in academies, startups, and burning man communities! He comes from tech and his job was to study communities. What he found was that as he was studying these various communities, he would inevitably become a part of those communities. Most notably, he started communities North Korea to teach about entrepreneurship. He shared that the founder community might be underground, but is furiously passionate.
The Power of IRL
At one point, Startup Grind had five chapters in Tehran. It started to sprout out across the country. The people were so industrious and entrepreneurial, it started spreading like wildfire until the government shut it down.
A popular live streamer on Twitch stopped streaming in his room, but his follower doubled as he brought the the stream into his real life.
With Star Wars, they had a conference with over 100,000 people. Families attended together and they would dress up together. The love of the series was something that connected generations.
For Salesforce, their core is “Ohana” which means family. The customers, employees, and community are all part of the family. It’s fascinating to have a company that has a culture that keeps growing over 20 years.
Slush, is one of Europe’s largest startup conferences in Finland. The name itself is what draws its community together. The name embodies the weather, the snowy, slushy and wet nature- saying “this is what we are.” At the time when Nokia was downsizing, the idea of being an entrepreneur was not a sexy thing to do. This student driven conference turned around the sentiment around entrepreneurship, and gives hope to the next generation.
With Mayvenn, they held a huge conference in the New Orleans. The community they serve is so used to disingenuous marketing, to be able to interact with the real people behind the brand was a game changer. Their customers got to see that the company truly cared about the problem they were trying to solve.
It’s the community that builds loyalty. People trust people they actually know and build real relationships with. The pendulum is swinging back, people are moving back to in-person and experiences versus online.