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🤩 If You Build It, Will They Come?



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Room Service
🤩 If You Build It, Will They Come?
By Late Checkout • Issue #5 • View online
Knock Knock: Room Service is here! This week, we are taking a deeper dive on community-based products and flipping product development on its head.

Communities are the world’s best product managers.
Traditionally, companies have taken the Field of Dreams approach: “if you build it, they will come.” They do research, build and ship a simple version of the product, and market the product to an abstract group of potential customers. Sometimes they will strike gold and find product-market fit, but are often left with a solution looking for a problem. 
A great product without the right users is a product gone to waste. Leading Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator‘s famous motto is “make things people want”. Wouldn’t it be better to know what people wanted before you start making things? We think it’s time to flip the approach on its head: 
Bring them together, then build what they need.
This is the essence of community-based products (CBPs), which foster an engaged community to create unique value that otherwise would not exist. Within this broad category, there are two main types of CBPs we see out in the marketplace: one where the community itself is the product, and another where community enhances a product. Let’s take a closer look:
Community-Centric (community is the product)
If you took conversations off of Twitter, what would be left? A platform for 280 character blog posts? Twitter is a great example of a community-centric CBP, because the community itself is the product. Engaging with new ideas, meeting interesting people, and learning from one another is what makes Twitter useful. Without the community aspect, there would be no unique value, and the product would ultimately be a failure. Over the years, Twitter has continued to upgrade its platform based on the needs of the people who use it most. By focusing those efforts on the community who is already engaged with the platform, they have maintained their status as a preeminent global social network.
Following the Clubhouse launch in 2020, it became clear that live social audio was an effective feature to bring people together and spark conversation. All across Twitter, people were singing the praises of this new innovation in social networking. Instead of allowing Twitter users to flee to other platforms, the company listened to their community and built Twitter Spaces. Now, they are able to leverage the existing community on Twitter in new and interesting ways, allowing for innovation with built in demand. This approach to product development benefits both the company and the community of users. It’s a win-win.
Product-Centric (community enhances the product)
Public is a stock trading platform with a community component that allows you to see what your friends and favorite creators are doing in the market. The intersection of stock trading and social networking is the key differentiating factor for Public in a crowded market of trading apps. This combination fosters a community who shares tips, educates one another, and has fun. If you took this all away though, you would still be able to buy and sell stocks on the platform. Because it is a product-centric CBP, the business could still function on its own, but the community enhances the product into the unique platform that it is. 
Robinhood pioneered commission-free trading and user-friendly mobile brokerages, which brought in hoards of young people and first time investors. So how is Public able to compete? Community wins. Investing can be overwhelming for first-timers, and the learning curve can make it difficult to make sound financial decisions. By fostering community on the platform, Public is able to tackle that issue all while facilitating the transactions themselves. With the success they are having, be on the lookout for existing service providers seeking out ways to build community into their offerings, as it is a clear path towards success.
Community is at the core of humanity. Products that integrate community at the outset will lead the way in facilitating social interaction and commerce online. The internet was meant to bring people together, and the products that lean on that fact will win.
Written by Kevin Chaiken with help from the Late Checkout team.
With this focus on community comes strategic and financial costs. In this article, Orbit CEO Patrick Woods makes the case for dedicating resources to a Go-to-Community strategy:
We’ve all seen the hype (and hate) for massive NFT projects like Crypto Punks and Bored Apes. In this article, Daniel Roberts lays out how this trend represents a new paradigm in community building:
DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) are leveraging new tools to supercharge what communities are able to achieve. Patrick Rivera gets into the weeds on how this works:
To add to a long list of massive recent validations for Web3, Nike just acquired RTFKT, a digital collectibles studio.
Web3 and the no-code movement are converging, as Gary Vaynerchuk and Mark Cuban lead funding for a development tool called Thirdweb.
Late Checkout CEO, Greg Isenberg, curates a custom job board focused on high-quality positions at community-based companies.
Check out this featured listing from is building the reusable web, create, remix, and launch websites while getting paid and earning credit for your work.
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