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Zachary Novak
Zachary Novak

Posted on

Members on day one

Hey everyone,

How many people is the right amount to launch a community?

I am in a debate. We are building an online community for young leaders. A main part of the value prop of the community is to find "diverse minded, but like valued peers" to discuss leadership challenges. So to deliver that, we need members from different areas of the glove and industries. However, we also need to find members with the values we are looking for (purpose-drive, growth mindset, low ego).

My boss wants to start 5,000-10,000 on day one. I was thinking start much smaller (200), and grow from there. Trying to build momentum from an engaged group.

Anyone with any experiences they can share on the right size of community on day one?


Top comments (4)

alex profile image
Alex Angel

I will also advocate for starting smaller. It's considerably easier to build trust, form strong relationships, and create a space with the feeling that you want when you have 200 members vs 10k members. Starting smaller will also give you time to test out what works and what doesn't with your ideal community members. It becomes much more difficult and convoluted to do initial experimentation and learnings when you have thousands of people immediately flooding a space. You also potentially lose the ability to have established community members who can help ensure that people understand the rules of the road, and who can also support you with your engagement efforts.

Community building is absolutely a quality over quantity kind of thing, and it's totally a slow burn as well. The up front work you'll put in with fewer people will ultimately yield a better long term space that will help facilitate a huge spike in member growth when the time is right.

oana profile image
Oana Filip

Hey, Zachary! I've been an ambassador for The Watercooler, one of the most valuable and biggest leadership online communities out there. As a young leader, managing my first team from the role of Chief People Officer, being in this tribe came with many benefits. From connecting with fellow people who were facing similar struggles to exchanging hands-on resources that made my life easier (such as employee handbooks).

On the other hand, I've been building an online community of interest at Pixelgrade (Upstairs). It's intentionally very loose in terms of unique selling proposition because we're still learning a lot, and we want to grow and pivot with our members, not for them.

I would love it if you could take a look:

In both scenarios, starting small was one of the best decisions we took. It gives you plenty of room to experiment, iterate, fail, deconstruct, test around, and so on. It's healthier and more sustainable than kicking-off with 5,000 folks.

What happens if things do not turn out as you imagine?

zacnovakyyc profile image
Zachary Novak Author

Hey! Oana - Your communities look so cool! I love your approach "we want to grow and pivot with our members, not for them". That is super cool.

I would love to connect with you if you're up for it. Let me know.

oana profile image
Oana Filip

Hi, Zachary! Sure, I would love to chat with you. You can ping me directly at, and we can take it from there. Stay amazing! 👋