Over the years, I’ve been approached by a ton of people with ideas for how we might partner with them to better serve our members in some way. It’s been exciting to talk to people about a lot of really cool ideas, but it’s also tested my ability to maintain a clear focus on our core mission.
What’s the line between defending the healthy organic development of the community and providing members with a service or resource that could be useful and helpful to them?
It’s honestly a rather stressful experience to manage, and it never seems to go away. Until, I hope, now.
The old way of handling partnerships
(Painful for me and not super effective)
Outside entity –> Me –> NWC community
In almost every instance where I have a dilemma or ongoing issue managing something at New Work City, the answer seems to be “go back to the community.” In this case, it looks like my job should be to remove myself as the middleman as much as possible and let things enforce themselves.
How can we do that? By simplifying things and routing everything through the community.
So here’s the experiment now: if you want to do something with or for the community, go for it. It starts with you becoming a part of the community. No more outsiders. If you have something to offer, join the community and earn the support of the membership. We’ve built out a pretty robust array of tools, including an internal wiki that gets blasted to all members once a week, a discussion group, a profile directory, a monthly show-and-tell, and, of course, the space itself where you can meet people face to face. For only $30 a month.
New way of handling partnerships
(Sustainable, elegant, more effective)
Outside entity –> Join as a member –> NWC community
Members have really good bullshit detectors, so it’s only worth your effort if you’re truly trying to do something that helps them. Anyone trying to play games or spam people will be wasting their time, and I’ll throw the hammer down if I have to.
Instead, people can look at it as an opportunity to do some good healthy biz dev. When you earn the support of members yourself, you’ll have an opportunity to engage a really great group of people who can help you in some spectacular ways. That’s what we do for each other here every day already. Alex preaches “relationships before transactions,” and with good reason. Building legitimate, healthy relationships with people circumvents the schlocky salesy stuff that we’re inundated with everywhere else.
Will this work? I have no idea. But cutting myself out as the middleman and betting on the community to self-enforce tends to be a good direction, so I’m hopeful.
I think this could turn out to be an awesome way to make the community better and my life a little easier. What do you think?