The next time your boss, client or co-worker says, “How do we build a community?” answer them with this:
Invite someone to it.
Ben Thomas, creator of under-the-radar but useful tools like SalaryScout and LeadVine, was listening to London Geek Dinner podcasts one night and caught some inspiration from Lloyd Davis, founder of the Tuttle Club in the United Kingdom. He had an idea to build a community around technology in Louisville, Ky. Ben knew a few folks in town in the developer/programmer community. He also had some friends who were starting to get into this blogging and social media thing. It was the summer of 2006.
Ben sent out some emails and started circulating word that he would host something called Louisville Geek Dinner. He invited people under no pretense. Just come, meet fellow geeks, talk shop, hang out, have a drink.
He invited someone to it.
The concept was interesting enough that 49 people showed up.
LGD has had five more events since. The attendance of each, in order, has been 30, 55, 93, 118 and 153. The event has sponsors. They give away T-shirts. But the premise is still beautifully simple. Come, meet fellow geeks, talk shop, hang out, have a drink.
It’s a community. And perhaps the sweetest irony of it all is the community happens without technology.
It happens because you invite someone to it.