The rise of support communities for makers.
It’s hard to build startups. It’s hard to develop apps. It’s hard to market them. That’s why only a few people succeed at doing it.
Even though building digital products is really hard, I believe it’s never been easier to do it. There’s never been that many tools available to validate ideas quickly, speed up development, marketing, product design, and many other tasks involved in building anything online. This post is not about the vast amount of SaaS tools available for startups. I think this site covers most of them:
This post is about something that in my humble opinion is much more important, and will have more impact on the number of founders that succeed: The rise of support communities for makers.
These communities help founders gain encouragement from the community, that also acts as an accountability buddy that forces you to accomplish your goal.
All these communities share the same mission and all are powered by likeminded people. However, each one has something different that’s highly valuable and special. These are some of them:
Product Hunt Makers
I still think what I wrote when I published how Top Nine went viral and got 1.3 million users in a month:
The Product Hunt team and community helped us a lot throughout our journey. From brutally honest feedback to advice and support.
I believe Product Hunt is the number one resource a maker should use as part of the process for building anything, regardless of whether the target audience is the Product Hunt community or not, it will help you gain visibility and feedback.
But we’re not talking about Product Hunt as a launching platform. We’re talking about the maker community:
The best part about the maker platform is that it’s deeply integrated with all the rest of the Product Hunt features. Most of them are part of our product creation workflow. We gather feedback for Canvasar.com using our upcoming product page, and if you want to follow updates on other projects we build you can follow our team page.
The product hunt maker community is the biggest one among the others. Minutes after I posted my first “todo”, people were already asking questions and trying to help. This might also make it a bad thing since the community is not so close like the WIP one. In any case, I think Abadesi is doing an amazing job helping many creators, founders, and makers.
The Wip.chat platform is very similar to the PH one in terms of the way it works. You post your todos and every day you need to have done at least one to keep your streak. An important difference is that the WIP platform was built with indie makers in mind, not teams. It’s also deeply integrated into Nomadlist, so it’s definitely the best for nomad makers.
Wip.chat started even before Product Hunt makers. It was built by Marc Köhlbrugge as simple telegram group for a couple of makers to share what they were working on and keep each other accountable to ship daily. Today that group has grown into a vibrant community of makers working in public, sharing their progress, and motivating each other to keep shipping.
The best part about WIP? It’s a paid membership. The fact that it’s paid makes it smaller, but it also means that the community is really committed to shipping and helping each other.
Most of WIP still happens on a Telegram group chat. You have a telegram bot that lets you easily perform tasks in the chat that are reflected on the platform.
I haven’t been part of the WIP community for too much yet, but it looks really promising so far! I met wonderful founders and makers.
Pioneer is an online game for productivity. You get points by making progress on a project.
The Pioneer Tournament runs monthly. You can apply alone or with your whole team. Every week other participants will give you feedback and points. The more interesting your work, the higher your score will be. Other applicants vote on your application but they can only see some of your responses. They can’t see who you are, so they rate you just for the progress you’ve done.
Each month, the top-ranked applicants become new Pioneers. Winners get $6,000 in Stellar lumens, $5,000 in USD, mentorship from experts, among other interesting prizes.
What I really like about Pioneer is that if you’re really making progress and working hard, you’ll definitely gain exposure and help from the Pioneer network. To anyone building anything online, I definitely recommend it. You can sign up to the next pioneer tournament here:
Three years ago, when we decided to open our C corporation in the U.S. we thought it was going to be a real nightmare. Lengthy paperwork, bank visits, legal complexity, and many other unexpected tasks. Surprisingly, it was really easy. In a matter of days, everything was ready. This could have only been possible with Stripe Atlas.
The best part about Stripe Atlas is not the astonishing service to incorporate a C corporation in the U.S. It’s the ongoing advice and valuable support you get.
When you incorporate your company using Stripe Atlas, you get exclusive access to the Stripe Atlas community. It runs on a forum-like platform, where you can connect with other founders and learn from experts that Stripe brings on a weekly basis. Stripe also works hard to keep the community active and helpful. Every Monday, I get an email with something Stripe might help me:
There are many other communities that I’d recommend checking out. A few worth naming:
Indiehackers.com (acquired by Stripe) has highly valuable knowledge. I’m not active on the community, but I read many of the posts I get on my inbox.
If you’re reading this post, it’s probably because the Hackernoon community gave me a voice. If you put hard work and effort into writing your stories, I’d recommend you publish them here. Few other publications put as much work curating the content while also remaining able to publish articles quickly. The Hackernoon community is growing and evolving, that’s why they’re raising! Own shares in Hackernoon here:
I’m sure there are many other communities that I don’t know or that are not the right fit for our team. levels.io tweeted about some others last week:
There’s always been resources, money or advice available to those innovators and makers willing to change the way things are done. However, so far, those resources couldn’t be accessed by everyone in the world.
These communities and the leaders behind them are changing the paradigm of building startups and online products. Together with the vast amount of tools available now, it’s never been easier to build something valuable, regardless if you live in Canada, Portugal or Uruguay. Take advantage of it and start building something awesome!