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🧑🤝🧑 The value of community
Community offers a competitive advantage...personally and professionally
Community is a fundamental aspect of life that holds immense value both personally and professionally. It is through the connections we forge and the communities we surround ourselves with that we find joy and fulfillment. While deep personal connections are meaningful, a broad community can be particularly advantageous professionally as well. In recent years, I have come to realize the significant role that community plays in shaping the life I aspire to build.
The personal side of community
Before I dive any deeper, I wanted to touch on the personal side. In an essay titled “Friends,” Scott Galloway writes about friendship and its decline in the United States. “Since 1990, the percentage of Americans who report having less than three close friends has doubled, from 16% to 32%.” Galloway goes on to explain that friendship is like a muscle—it strengthens with use but atrophies with age. As a young adult myself, this serves as a powerful reminder to invest time in building and continuously reinvesting in community.
One particularly eye-opening chart in Galloway's essay depicts how the individuals we spend time with change as we age. It reveals that as we grow older, we tend to spend more time alone. However, this does not have to be the case.
Community as a competitive advantage
Community is not only personally beneficial but also acts as a competitive advantage in the business world. Your user base, for instance, represents a valuable community that, if leveraged effectively, can contribute to your business growth and learning. These individuals can provide innovative ideas and insights, particularly in software development, making them an invaluable resource.
It is important to note that while statistics may suggest that solo founders are more successful, they often fail to consider the network of advisors, investors, strategic partnerships, and friends that play a pivotal role in the success of these businesses. That is all part of your “community.”
The multi-family industry: a case study
To illustrate the significance of community, let me share a recent experience I had. During the first week of June, I attended the NAA Apartmentalize conference in Atlanta—an event that shed light on the community-oriented nature of the multi-family industry. Throughout the conference, I had the opportunity to connect with tech founders, property management operators, and other professionals while developing deeper connections to further what we’re working on at Updater.
My biggest takeaways
Building relationships takes time. The most valuable connections observed at the conference had been nurtured over decades, spanning multiple companies. Patience and a long-term perspective are essential. Play the long game.
The less experienced you are (especially as it relates to the industry), the more deferential you need to be. Having an open minded, learning-oriented approach to all conversations will serve you well. You have two ears and one mouth, use them proportionally.
Put yourself out there and talk to everyone. Not every conversation will yield immediate results, but often, the most unexpected interactions prove to be the most valuable.
Community holds immense importance in both business and personal life. As Scott Galloway aptly stated, "you are the sum of your friends" and for me, that is definitely true. Life is richer when we are surrounded with interesting people. When it comes to business, you’ll need the support. So you may as well start building the network. You never know when it will come in handy.