Defining a Community's Culture...

... or however you actually do that.

Hey friend,

I know, I know… so many unsubscribes for my f-bomb in the sub-title of last week’s issue! And a few of you (no hard feelings) had more than a few choice words for me (too). Hey, I can take it.

But, I suppose that’s what developing and defining a culture is all about, amirite?

Sometimes, you intentionally decide what’s what and who’s in and out and sometimes culture happens organically, in a much more uncontrolled(able) fashion.

The thing is, after having built communities (and cultures) for a while now, is that there are far less things in your control than you actually believe, imagine that.

And outside of the very first (and few) founding elements of what I call “the community OS” everything else is going to be a general toss-up: You won’t know what you’ve built until you’ve built it and by that time it’ll be a bit hard to change the (fundamental) culture much…

… you know, that type of thing. It’s kind of like venture investing… you won’t know if you’ve made a “good pick” until 10+ years later — not very useful for those who enjoy fast-paced, iterative cycles of learning!

(That’s a lot of us, mind you.)

But, as founders and CEOs, we get to choose, don’t we? We get to choose the question as to WHY we’re doing what we’re doing and WHY we believe what we believe.

And, if I’m honest, that can be a bit scary. Why? Because sometimes we’re not entirely sure of why we’re doing it in the first place… and to admit that we don’t know might invalidate a large body of work… and perhaps, even… *gasp*… our identity.


No, but seriously, building a community makes me desperately insecure.

To infinity & community,

— john