Building Communities are hard

2 minutes to read

Growing a community is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do. They’ve written numerous books on the subject, you can read all of them, and still have trouble doing it. I find it difficult, so I built an app to make it easier to find and grow a community on twitter.

I attended a conference not too long ago, QCMerge, that shared how one meetup in NY was doing a great job at building and showcasing the tech community in NYC. I was impressed, and so was my former business partner SuperChris Nelson. He came over and talked to me after the presentation and said “Let’s build our own Cincinnati Tech Meets” - I loved the idea and said I was in!

Smartly, Chris Nelson put up a g+ community for us all to talk and brainstorm. So we tweeted that same day for people to help us. It sucks to build a community by yourself - there is no one to build you up or help you out when you get stuck in a tough spot if you go it alone. We received a sizable response and had 10 people to build the foundation for our very own NYTM!

We had designers, developers, and organizers all ready to contribute. We picked a date for the first meeting while still at QCMerge, we started searching for a venue a few days later, and we were getting started on some design work so we could hand out postcards at the next Web/tech drinkup. I felt like the community was growing and coming together around this idea.

Then the group received a new message from Chris Moore. Honestly, I was kind of bummed that day because I felt like someone had taken the wind from my sails. After thinking it over for a few hours and talking to my brilliant wife for a few more hours, we realized that the venue was perfect. Doing the demos at the drinkup could be a really great opportunity to tap into the large existing community that was already build around the Web/tech drinkup. I offered my help. I started pitching in on what was needed. We had an offline meeting and had things set to go for June 6th. Then the demos were cancelled out of the blue on June 5th - I was very sad.

The movement has now stalled and nothing has done with it since June 5th. I emailed Chris Moore yesterday to chat with him on this and then I saw his blog post about being louder in Cincinnati tech circles. Since my email went unanswered, we started talking on twitter. My goal here is to prod some action on something I very much want to see happen. You recently thanked me for challenging people, Chris Moore - so here I am doing it again. Please share your plans to move forward, or turn this idea back to the community at large.

One major life lesson I learned while I was a partner at Gaslight; you can’t be involved in everything all the time. It is the classic saying of “Jack of all trades, master of none” - I tried to take on too many things and felt like I ended up with a whole lot of failures. When I left Gaslight, I decided to scale back on my efforts and focus on one or two things professionally. I feel like I have mastered those and I am ready want to take on more.

Josh Owens

It all started with an Atari 800XL, but now Josh is a ruby and javascript developer with 10 years of professional experience. His current love is React.js, which he works with daily.