Masters of Community with David Spinks

Building the World's Largest Startup Community with Derek Andersen

Episode Summary

This week, we have the pleasure of hearing from Derek Andersen, CEO & Founder of Startup Grind and Bevy. Startup Grind began in 2010 when Derek started hosting monthly gatherings with friends and acquaintances to discuss and brainstorm ideas for new projects he was launching. The community took off and participants began running events in their own cities, eventually becoming the largest community of startups and entrepreneurs with millions of members across the world hosting 200-300 events per month. Derek talks about the importance of articulating and living by community values, which Startup Grind did by being authentic, a friend to all, and focusing on helping others before themselves. We dive into determining whether to build or buy a platform and discuss the launch of Bevy - the virtual events and community platform used by Startup Grind, CMX, and hundreds of other global business communities. Derek also shares insights into acquisition and how acquiring CMX was mutually beneficial for both Bevy and CMX. He talks about the shift to virtual events and the importance of being real with data and what’s really happening with the world, then taking that knowledge and acting quickly. Virtual events and Bevy helped make the community industry stronger during this time, and one day the world will be back to in-person, but in a new way that provides a space for people who can’t attend in person to participate virtually. Notable Quotes: “And he said, do you know what's special about StartupGrind? I was like, I know, I really don't like, what is it? He said, look, it's the values. StartupGrind is about helping people before you help yourself. It's about making friends. It's not about LinkedIn connections. It's about giving before you take, like that's evident speaking and attending your events. And I was like, well, yeah, of course it is. And he's like, no, like that's different, that's unique.” “So how did you make that decision and what do you think the future of community and events looks like in this post COVID world that we're all hoping will come soon? I think you have to be real with the data and what's really happening and not just what you hope is happening, or, you know, what somebody tells you you want to hear. I think for me, like when I saw and heard the conversations happening with customers in March and early April, I realized very quickly that not only was the world changing, but our business was sort of in a collapse and we needed to do something dramatic. And so, you know, we orchestrated and ran a, what I think is an incredible play, and it made, I think virtual events are absolutely community building activities done well. And so we added that aspect to our product to make our events, product, more community building, community driven. And so it wasn't what we had planned to build this year. It wasn't what we were hoping to build, but I think this year has made our foundation of our community product so, so much stronger.” Rapid Fire Question: - Favorite Book: How You Measure Your Life by Clayton Christianson - Who’s an awesome community builder/creator to follow: Holly Firestone - Tool/App you can't live without: Slack - One metric to use for rest of career to measure community: lives improved - Weirdest Community You’ve Been a Part of: weird unofficial fraternity in college If you’re on death bed, what’s your life lesson: Live Every Day Like It’s Your Last Who is this episode for?: B2C/B2B, In person & online, Starting & Scaling