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SPI 603: The Secret to Building the Best Community Online with Drew Dillon

One of my favorite things is to invite people on the show who have special access to information we can’t get from anywhere else. I’m talking about data, analytics, tips, and strategies we can all benefit from. Today’s guest shares all of that with us and more!

I’m interviewing Drew Dillon, the founder of Burb, in this episode. Burb is a tool for community builders that we just couldn’t live without in SPI Pro. If you have a community on Circle, Discord, or Slack, you can use Burb to understand more about what’s happening in that community. You can also create systems and automations to enhance the experience your members have.

So how do you engage folks, and what are the rituals that keep people coming back? Drew gives us a behind-the-scenes look at what works and what doesn’t. He shares the best practices that many of his most successful clients use, and we dive deep into things like onboarding and community events.

This is a great starter episode for you if you’re thinking about building — or need help growing — a community. It’s also a perfect companion episode to my interview with Jillian Benbow, our Community Experience Director at SPI Pro. Check it out!

* By the way, we’re putting a cap on SPI Pro. If you’re not in already, now is the time to apply!

Today’s Guest

Drew Dillon

Drew Dillon is the Founder and CEO of Burb. Before Burb, Drew led product management teams scaling products from 10s of users to 10s of millions at Yammer, Fond, and Skedulo. As a solopreneur, Drew supported himself through writing, coaching, and fractional product leadership for dozens of top startups. He now leverages that experience to empower creators to build flourishing community-first businesses.

You’ll Learn


SPI 603: The Secret to Building the Best Community Online with Drew Dillon

Drew Dillon: But we came at it from the perspective of like, okay, these folks are busy. And then particularly for the solo creator, like, “I want to create this recurring revenue for myself, but I have no idea how to do that.”

So how do we make it, you know, that much easier, that much more turnkey for those creators to have success in, you know, creating their own membership communities, their own courses.

How do I engage folks? What, what are the rituals that keep people coming back and how do I just make it that much easier for people to create those rituals? To what does a great onboarding experience look like?

onboarding makes all the difference in the world when it comes to long term revenue, recurring revenue, all that kind of stuff.

Pat Flynn: You know, one of my favorite things to do here on the podcast is to invite people on the show to extract information that nobody else can get from anywhere. And what I mean is these people have special access to information, to data, to analytics and to things that we could all benefit from. And today is no exception.

Today we are interviewing Drew Dillon, the founder of Burb. B U R B, which is a tool that actually we use over at SPI Pro it’s a tool for those of you who are building communities. If you have a community on, say Circle, or Discord, or even Slack, you’re able to use Burb to be able to understand more about what’s going on in that community and even create a lot more systems and onboarding and other things to help with that experience that your community has.

And the experience that your community has is what’s most important to keep people in that community. We do talk a little bit about this tool today and things like that, but what I really wanted to bring Drew on for was to extract what’s working in community. How do we go about building it? What are the best practices that a lot of his clients and his members for Burb are using? We use Burb ourselves, like I said, and can’t live without it. In fact, Jillian just can’t stop talking about it. Jillian is our Community Experience Director, and she’s been on the show before. We’ll link to the episode with Jillian, because we do go deeper even into things like onboarding and what kinds of events can you create in your community?

But this will be a great starter episode for you. If you’re just thinking about building community, or maybe you have one. And you wanna know how to create those better experiences and how to understand what’s going on so that you can keep people in those communities and you can make that experience great and invite even more people into it.

So let’s dive in. This is episode 603 of the Smart Passive Income podcast. This is Drew Dillon from Burb. You can check out Burb at B U R B. And, let’s dive right in. Here we go.

Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now your host, he is an introverted extrovert. Or wait, maybe it’s an extroverted introvert. Pat Flynn!

Pat Flynn: Drew welcome to the Smart Passive Income podcast. Thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Drew Dillon: Yeah. Thanks for having me, Pat.

Pat Flynn: I can’t stop hearing about you and your tool from my community team, especially Jillian.

She’s probably laughing, hearing that right now, but you’ve provided some amazing tools to help us as community sort of owners and creators. So I just, first of all, I wanna thank you for that. And we’ll get into the tool and what Burb does in just a minute, but I, I would love to know your origin story and why, or when, did you start focusing on community and, and why do you think it’s so important right now?

Drew Dillon: Yeah, so my background, you know, starts with, I’ve been a product manager. I’ve been in tech for a really long time. Primarily a lot of like social tools. I was employee number 60 at Yammer, which we always would’ve thought of as like, you know, slack, like a community productivity tool for inside your company.

But when we actually looked at what people were doing with it, what they were doing was building internal community. They were trying to improve their company’s culture through having a tool in a central feed where they could all communicate. So it’s always been kind of that, that spark for me of like, you know, how do people come together?

How do they get things done? You know, that’s at an area, you know, if you look at these books back here, half of them are like sociology books that I just enjoy reading. Cause I, you know, infinitely, fascinated by how people get together.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. And you know, now, we have the ability to create tools online. And we have tools online that allow us for these communities to come together. Why do you think now more than ever. It’s more important for us to focus on community as, you know, content creators as podcasters as YouTubers. Why should we take that next step to bring our audience together?

Drew Dillon: Yeah, I think public social has given us this great opportunity and it kind of showed creators what was possible through reach through audience, through building a, you know, a large scale sort of business off of your creative efforts, which is, you know, frankly magical.

But increasingly of course, these platforms mature. And then you’re at the kind of whims and mercy of the algorithm where, you know, even if you’ve got a follower, the odds of them seeing your content, just keep going lower and lower and lower, no matter how great your content is. And if we’re to fulfill that, you know, kind of dream of, you know, making a living, supporting yourself through your creative endeavors off of a thousand true fans, you know, it just gets harder on those platforms.

And so the idea is, you know, can we bring them together in a different place? And I think that’s what a lot of people are looking for. How do I take that audience? Turn it into something else where I can reach those people, or I’m not fighting. You know, the rest of the attention out there and, you know, build a successful, you know, growing career off of my, my creative endeavors.

Pat Flynn: From a community member’s perspective, what makes a community great?

What makes a person want to continue to come back and log in again and again, to have that feel like they belong somewhere?

Drew Dillon: Yeah. I think of a lot of times there’s a, a survey called the Gallup Q12. That is largely to assess like employee engagement, employee motivation. But I think it has really interesting applicability when you think about community and a lot of it is, you know, the relationships.

Do you feel valued? Do you have shared values with the organization that you’re part of? So it kind of starts with that, like, The association of the values. Why am I here? What do I wanna do? What’s, you know, what’s valuable. And then it builds off of the relationships that you create within the community.

If I, if I have a great experience talking to you in, in a, you know, in a slack space or in a circle space, you know, I’m going to want to come back. If I, you know, if I’ve created a relationship, if I understand, or I know the creator better like that, that creates a really compelling reason for me to keep coming back and engaging within the community.

Pat Flynn: You’d mentioned like fighting against all the noise. There’s a lot of people fighting for all of everybody else’s attention. How do we as community creators have our community stand out because hopefully once they’re in, they’re in, they’re using Burb and we can have some really good experiences in there.

You have good onboarding, you have good events and such. And we’ve had Jillian on this show before to talk about how to make that experience when a person is in the community. Great. So that they stick around, we have very low churn in our business and an inside of SPI Pro and I, and again, that speaks to the experience once you’re in.

But from your perspective, somebody who works with a lot of communities, how does a creator excite a person to wanna even get them coming into a brand new community, when they’re probably already part of other communities, they’re just getting bombarded with messages left and right.

Drew Dillon: Yeah, totally. It all comes down to the why. And is that why memorable? Like why, why do I go back to that community? We were talking to one community member. They were in like three different, no code communities. We’re like, tell us about those no code communities. What’s great about them. They’re like, well, I really only go to this one. I’m like, okay, why do you go to that one?

And they said it’s cuz they had a clear understanding of what they were going to get out of that community. You know, it wasn’t just no code. It was like, I can go here. I can ask an air table question, and I’m going to get an answer within five minutes. And if you could form that mental association between your community member and the reason that they’re there, then kind of the, the sky’s the limit in terms of, you know, just keep layering on additional value on top of that you know, kind of initial association.

Pat Flynn: For sure. I, I agree with that a hundred percent, my favorite way to showcase the stuff that happens inside of the community and to express that why to the outside is to actually feature people who are inside already. And showcase them on the podcast or invite them to, you know, grab the mic sometimes here on the podcast on Fridays, we actually give the mic over to some SPI Pro members so that people on the outside go, oh, that’s the caliber of the kind of person that’s in there. I wanna get in there too.

And then of course those people. We’ll just without you even asking, talk highly about the experience that they’re having in there. So showcasing people who have been in the community already, but what about for a community that’s like just getting started. Imagine a person who has, you know, maybe a smallest YouTube channel, small podcast, or a small following on social media, but they want to take.

That and bring it into their own Circle community. For example, how does one go about doing that? Because you could say, Hey, this is what’s gonna happen when you’re in, but there’s not really any proof there that that happens yet. How do you go about taking those initial steps? Would you say?

Drew Dillon: Yeah, this part I love this is something I learned from Danielle, our Chief Community Officer who’s build, been building communities, as long as I’ve been doing product.

You know, it starts with the process of discovering what a new product is gonna be is very similar to the process of discovering what your community’s gonna be. And so it starts. Like super manual five, five people and ask them, you know, what do you want? What’s interesting to you. What would you come back for?

Danielle’s big thing is actually starting with an event, you know, start an event series at the beginning of the event. You know, if it’s a zoom meeting, throw them into breakout rooms, get them to talk to each other. Cause that’s what community is. It’s those relationships. And then after the event, when you’re sending your follow up survey to ask how it went, say, Hey, would you like to connect these folks offline?

That’s actually how we built our, our Burb community was starting through group coaching.

Pat Flynn: Oh, that’s. That’s really cool. Yeah. I think that an event to start or initiate is a, is a fantastic idea and an event that maybe answers a particular type of question or helps people through a rather easy transformation can be a great start because then they’re gonna want to come back and get, get more of that.

Another question for those just starting out. Oftentimes we’re worried that our communities, when we bring people in are just gonna feel like ghost towns, right? I think that was my big worry was. I’m gonna invite a whole bunch of people in, but then what’s gonna happen in here. It’s gonna be quiet. And then people are gonna wonder, well, why am I here when there’s already like a million conversations happening in Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups and such, how would you help a person over that obstacle that they’re probably thinking about right now?

Drew Dillon: Yeah. Another, you know, kind of smart thing Danielle did in, in building the Burb community was also layering in a bunch of content and treating the community almost like, you know, we were, we started as an event first community. And so. The first experience of these folks coming into Circle was actually them seeing a bunch of content that we were creating for them.

So it wasn’t even like at the beginning, it wasn’t a like, come in and chat space. It was. Here’s content that goes along with our group coaching. As we hear more from you from group coaching, we’ll continue building the content library and it became more and more valuable. And then we layered on a ritual, just a reason to come back.

Hey, we’re gonna do a weekly check in every Monday, come and post your, you know, your Rosebud thorn, the thing that’s going great. The thing you’re most excited about and the thing that’s not working. And we saw people keep doing that ritual over and over again. And I started to create this cadence of like why people would come back.

I think that speaks to the power of like, You know, a lot of people are gonna start out on slack or discord. Cause they perceive that as where their members are, they’re free. But I think chat spaces in particular can feel pretty dead. You know, if you see somebody posted something five minutes ago, you reply to it, you’re gonna get a responsive, see somebody posted like a week ago and you reply to it.

No chance nobody’s ever gonna see that message. So, so forums actually work a lot better. I think, you know, kind of keeping the conversation, going, making it feel less dead because they, you know, they’re more long lived.

Pat Flynn: I like that. I like that. I mean, because that’s one of the biggest challenges. We’ve been so ingrained to see how much activity a Facebook group, for example always has. And speaking of Facebook, how does one migrate in your position, this is probably the most common question we get, as far as communities. Like I already have a community. It’s, it’s a Facebook group, but I understand that it’s not the best place plus it’s on Facebook and I want out, how do I migrate people from Facebook to somewhere else?

And in your. I mean, I know Burb is not necessarily a Discord or a Slack or a Circle. It’s actually a tool that lives on top of that. And we’ll dive into that next, as far as what it can do to help enhance that experience for the creator and the members. But where would you bring people? What, what would be your recommendation for which platform to use and, and how do you convince people who are in a Facebook group to come over somewhere else?

I mean, there’s a lot of friction there, right?

Drew Dillon: Yeah. I think it has to start with the, the tools that they’re familiar with. I think the, you know, the benefit of a circle is that it looks a lot like Facebook, the benefit of like a Geneva is it feels very mobile, native. The benefit of a Slack is, you know, a lot of professionals are going to use as the benefit of a Discord is, you know, that’s a lot of gamer communities, crypto communities, that kind of stuff.

So you kind of have to first assess, like what’s the softest landing for that? Moving off of Facebook, you know, what’s gonna be the thing that makes it the easiest for them, conceptually and technically, and then start, you know, start small, try and make it exclusive, say, Hey, I want five beta users to help me test out this new platform, bring it over there.

You know, start advertising as that’s going back into your Facebook group. Like. Hey look what these five community members are doing over here on my, on my Circle space, in my Geneva home, that kind of stuff. And, you know, start to pump it up to the audience such that, you know, when you do make that final transition, you know, when you start to get, you know, keep increasing that beta group, when you’re happy with the engagement increase, increase, increase such that when you’re ready to make the cut over, everybody’s heard about this other platform.

Everybody knows about it. And, and everybody, you know, kind of understands the technology and that makes it just a lot, a lot smoother.

Pat Flynn: I like that. Would you recommend having like a deadline or a date, that the other one will literally be shut down to eventually force everybody to do that?

Drew Dillon: At some point, I think there are a lot of different ways to structure it.

I’m somewhat of a hater of social media broadly, but I think, you know, there’s obviously value in, in having a Facebook group, especially if you’re using it as lead gen, especially if it’s like an easy way to get people in. So you could always treat that as like, you know, a marketing channel, the top of funnel for getting people into the, the longer larger community.

But of course, at the end of the day, as a solo entrepreneur, it’s. You know, just more work to manage all those different spaces and moderation, all that stuff.

Pat Flynn: That’s true. And again, I like what you said about having some people buy into it already up front. Maybe it’s some of your super fans or more active members who can then come back to the rest of the group on Facebook and say, guys, you gotta come over here.

It’s really awesome. And you’re missing out and all that kind of stuff. And that way it’s not even just you saying it’s members who are already in there doing it. And then you can start to sort of invite people in and more force that with a deadline. So I like that. Let’s talk. So is the tool.

What does Burb do? Because initially when I heard about it, I was like, is this not like a competitor to Circle? Like we’re using Circle? Why are we using Burb? And Jillian’s like, no, this is something awesome that lives on top of it. So what does do?

Drew Dillon: Yeah, it’s our observation, ultimately that there’s never been basically an over-resourced community.

There’s never, whether you’re a solo entrepreneur, running a community, a creator, running a community, or like, you know, working in a massive. You know, Danielle had worked at Airbnb and Lyft, you know, there’s never been too much funding thrown at the community team and that nobody builds tools for this audience.

There’s no, you know, look at marketing or sales, there are 50 different tools that pop up every year for this audience. And a lot of what, you know, community managers end up doing is trying to adapt those tools, trying to make Intercom fit into this thing, trying to make their email marketing solution fit into that thing.

But we came at it from the perspective of like, okay, these folks are busy. Their job’s hard. And then particularly for the solo creator, like I may have an area of expertise or, you know, a, a creative work that people really like for me, I want to create this like recurring revenue for myself, but I have no idea how to do that.

So how do we make it, you know, that much easier, that much more turnkey for those creators to have success in, you know, creating their own membership communities, their own courses.

Pat Flynn: I like that. So specifically, what does that mean? Turnkey? What are the things that used to maybe provide a lot of pain or challenge that now Burb kind of solve?

Drew Dillon: Yeah. Things like, if you’re talking about with Facebook, what does a great onboarding experience look like? What does it look like to find great people from one to the other, from, you know, my Twitter account, my YouTube, what does that, you know, initial user experience look like? And I know from my product experience, onboarding makes all the difference in the world when it comes to long term revenue, recurring revenue, all that kind of stuff.

Then, you know, how do I engage folks. What, what are the rituals that keep people coming back and how do I just make it that much easier for people to create those rituals, to judge their success, to keep them going over time and, you know, continually lower the bar of like, I don’t have to log into Slack Wednesday at noon, every single week to do that, I can just build a cadence of messages.

I can draft them all out. I can have them span, you know, months and months. And then even like, re-engagement. How do I know that this first from this person’s dropping off, how do I build a re-engagement capability that actually catches them before they drop off, sends them a survey, gets them reconnected and understand ultimately the, the kind of total value of the system.

How do I just keep, you know, upping that value for my members?

Pat Flynn: Wow. Okay. This is not information on how to do this stuff. This. The tools and the systems that overlay your community to be able to map it out and see and analyze exactly what’s going on. What are some things that Burb can tell us that like Circle can’t or Discord can’t that can be really useful and how do we then use that information?

Drew Dillon: Yeah. It’s a lot of different, you know, smaller pieces it’s, you know, what we do is we connect to a bunch of different systems. So let’s say you’ve got Convert Kit. And as soon as somebody makes a purchase on Shopify or in Convert Kit, maybe they purchase something on Teachable, you know, that starts a whole onboarding flow and the onboarding flow will be like, invite them to Circle, send them a welcome DM.

Two weeks later, send them a follow up DM, you know, three weeks later, you know, send them a survey about how things are going, check their course status, make sure that they’re keeping on top of their course material over time. So it’s. Both the engagement within the community space and then all these different tools together and how they all work together.

Like ordinarily that’s you, you know, you’ll start out with Zapier and it’ll get a couple of these things done, but Zapier, then you need to move on to Air Table. Cause you need to capture all the additional information into one place and building out a zap. So it’s just this massive operational challenge that we’re just simplifying, making it super turnkey, templatizing making it really easy for everyone.

Pat Flynn: So using APIs to connect to these different tools, to then be able to now have these tools, all talk to each other, essentially it’s like Zapier, but specifically for community and specifically for these certain tools and then with the ability to see data and to analyze them versus when this happens, then this should happen.

Drew Dillon: Yeah. We’re super inspired, I think, by Convert Kit, cuz if you ever use like a Convert kit template and you wanna, you click like the new music launch it, doesn’t just give you like, here’s a three email sequence and you’re done. It’s like, here’s a landing page here, all the tags that we’re gonna apply when people do these certain actions around the music launch, here’s the email structure, here’s the branching of the email structure.

I wanna make community that easy for creators and for even, you know, smaller brands and, and scaled brands like SPI such that you can go in and say, here’s the situation I’ve got hit the button. It connects all the different pieces. It gives you the messaging flow and you just kind of fill in, you know, personal details.

Pat Flynn: That’s so awesome. Everybody should definitely check out and we’ll probably have a link that might have additional things on there for you, but, or just take you there so we can track to see if you go there. If you go to B U R B, that’ll take you to and you’ll see Jillian’s face there among many other communities.

And in fact, I’d love to know what other communities you serve and what are some interesting things that you’ve seen these other communities do to foster that community that they’ve built?

Drew Dillon: Yeah, we were super lucky, I think in the early days through, you know, relationships and just People who really got it.

Folks like, you know, Carrie Melissa Jones, who literally wrote the book on building brand community. And so she teaches folks every day, similarly, Tatiana Figueiredo who does this kind of work, teaching people how to grow building community businesses. And so you’re able to help out, you know, kind of operate their cohort based courses.

And then after that help them, you know, basically build the cadence of communication into their community. Most recently, Justin Moore, who runs Creator Wizard. Which is a really cool program. He teaches people how to basically land influencer marketing deals. And of course is, you know, big time YouTuber, an influencer himself.

What we do for him is, you know, similar thing, they’ve got a cohort based course. It’s very structured. We deliver all of that structure for them, such that they can go and kind of replicate that cohort by cohort, even like speeding up. We’ve seen folks who used to run, you know, maybe one cohort, two cohorts a year are now actually on a monthly cohort basis that kind of operated evergreen.

Cause we deliver all the kind of formulaic message. And they can just be there and be present as the teacher.

Pat Flynn: Wow. That’s huge. And so like if I have a community, a thousand people, there’s a certain group of those people who’ve said they’ve wanted to do a little bit additional work. They pay me a little bit more money and now we’re going through an eight week program.

You’re saying that Burb can allow you to go, okay, here are those people. This is that group of people that are tagged essentially. And here are some special messaging. Here are ways to connect with them. And here is the data, you know, some of them aren’t logging in. Like they should, you should reach out to these people. Like all the experiential stuff is sort of laid on top of that.

Drew Dillon: Yeah, absolutely. We had one of our very first users Brian Cole, you know, she was operating a, a, a cohort based course, totally like global as well was she was running it from Melbourne Australia, but like people in the us, people in Europe and the most miraculous thing that we saw is when she ran her final survey at the end, you know, what people were most excited about was like the community that she’d pulled together.

And that was like proof positive of like, okay, not only has she run a successful cohort based course. She can parlay us into a membership community into higher ticket coaching. That’s the really exciting stuff is when you go from like a single product business to a multi-product business, and we can support all the different operations around all these different things.

You’re not just, you know, like head, head exploding as you’re trying to operate.

Pat Flynn: You know, we’ve done some cohorts in our boot camps for podcasting, email, and other things. And every time after the six to eight week sort of program, you know, every week we’re we’re meeting, there’s like a lecture on Monday or Tuesday.

And then we have office hours on Thursday. That’s how we structure it. But it was a lot of piecemealing, different tools together. We had to like Jerry rig a whole bunch of things. And if only we discovered Burb back then that would’ve been much, much easier to do. But you’re right. Every time after those things ended, people were like sad that it was over because they were gonna miss connecting with their friends or the people that they got to know.

And what ended up happening was just on their own. They started creating more mastermind groups or joining the community. Of course, than we, we had SPI Pro come out. And that’s where a lot of those people are connecting now. For those of you who are listening or, or are watching this right now, you’re interested in building a community, before you get to community, you can create some value up front and bring people together. Get to know them a little bit more, learn the language that they’re using. And then you can basically already have a, a set of beta users for your community down the road. Who’s already gotten value. Who’s likely already friends and already actively speaking to each other and testimonials for your program or your, your membership. Once you launch it more publicly. So. I love that idea.

Drew Dillon: You know, community becomes your hub. It becomes like the base. And then you can layer on additional programs, additional capabilities, the more you understand your users and that’s something Burb can help you with. The more you understand what they want, the more you can segment them, the more you can deliver more of what they want becomes this like powerful leveraging point for, you know, ultimately recurring revenue and you know, long term business.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. That’s so cool. What are your thoughts on cuz we’ve been talking a lot about, inside of SPI Pro, now. Now that we are hopefully on the opposite end of the pandemic for good. Now we wanna start meeting in person and doing those kinds of, sort of in person meetings, not just big events, but you know, little, small, local kind of situations.

Are you feeling like we’re close to that point and you know, how does that integrate with, you know, the online communities that we have? Do you have any ideas? Do you have any communities that are sort of doing that already?

Drew Dillon: Yeah, totally. And this is where the even where the name Burb comes from was the idea was that, you know, a brand is kind of this big city and the cities can be somewhat overwhelming, but communities are ultimately small relationships. It’s the, the little groups.

Pat Flynn: Like a su-Burb, I get it now, bro! Okay. I didn’t, I was just always Burb okay. Bur like I get it now, like a suburb dude. I like it. That’s a great analogy.

Drew Dillon: And so like it lends itself really well to the chapter idea, to the idea. Eventually what we want to do is have Burbs that can connect to other Burbs. So that if, you know, SPI starts to, if it grows big enough, they’re going to be, you know, sort of ambassadors of the SPI brand out there that run local chapters, you can actually empower them with their own tools so that they can operate their own tools and maybe even build their own businesses around, you know, their, their ambassadorship around SPI.

Pat Flynn: Yeah. I mean, there are people who are in our community already who have stepped up in all, some kind of ways to do a lot of things online, to help the other group members. But to empower them even more with tools through Burb to be able to manage, you know, local things or even online things to give them the tools necessary to be able to, to do that properly is a great reward for them. And, you know, I can imagine us getting to a point where they will maybe in some way, get paid for, you know, managing those kinds of things. Like, Hey, do one a month in your local area. And you’re, you’re sort of like the chapter leader, right? Like a scout leader in, in a local area. So, oh man, there’s the possibilities or endless.

So what do you think the future of community is as we finish up this conversation, you know, it’s moving quickly. I’ve never really seen so many people get so excited about building communities until recently. And I think, yeah, the pandemic definitely did have something to do with that. It did, for us, we build SPI Pro during the pandemic because of the need for people to, to come together.

But let’s say, you know, and I know it’s hard to predict, but a year from now, 2, 3, 4, 5 years from now, where is community headed and how can we stay on the leading edge of the creators of these communities?

Drew Dillon: Yeah, I think that’s exactly it like what we saw and where we went with the the whole Burb concept was we heard from one major brand that was like, we set up this Slack channel for an in person event that we were going to have in March of 2020. Obviously that event didn’t happen, but that, you know, Slack channel became a support network for everybody who was supposed to be attending. They were all similar career, similar usage of the product.

And so now the Slack channel scaled to 5,000 people and the Slack with 5,000 people is frankly insane. Like, what do we do? And I think. What folks are seeing right now is like, those communities are turning into the worst parts of social media, moderation, flame wars, all kinds of issues. But you know, our, our core philosophy is that communities are small.

And so helping people kind of scale their communities through small scale relationships, through areas of interest, through geographical interest, all of that kind of stuff. I think that is ultimately the, you know, the future of community is helping people kind of fill out these broader communities, these more sprawling suburbs of relationships.

And by doing that, gaining a lot more, you know, capability and a lot more breadth even in kind of everything they’re doing. And so that’s, you know, probably the biggest thing for, you know, creators, obviously folks a lot of folks on SPI or, you know, just starting out, but, you know, for folks who are more scaled, who are starting to get like thousands of students thinking about how to break those down, how to empower those smaller groups, how to keep delivering into the, the various you know, capabilities and then niches and values, those folks you’re looking for.

Pat Flynn: I love that thought. You know, we have recently decided to put a cap on SPI Pro, and the number of members that we’re allowing to let in, because it, it, you know, can and probably would grow outta control. The more people we bring it in.

Yes, we’d be turning revenue away. But the experience that people have inside of SPI Pro is what’s most important. And, you know, having a cap obviously helps with the marketing of it as well, you know, get in before it gets filled up and then as people leave, then we can start letting people back in.

But I think you’re right, we’re seeing more of the micro communities really flourish now, not just in local geographical ways, but in micro interests. I think that’s really cool. And that’s where tools like this can really. Help us discover well, who within our larger communities have those common interests and how can we bring them together and then empowering some of our users to be able to start leading that so that we’re not always the one having to show up all the time is where the passive part of it starts to come into play, but it doesn’t happen right away.

It definitely is a big hurdle to get over, to start to build the community. And I hope that the information here today was helpful for all listeners. And I would just wanna thank you, Drew, for coming. And for what you’ve built and giving us some really good advice for those of us who are building communities, cuz that’s definitely going to be an important part of, I think every business’ future down the road, if not already. SPI Pro’s become the center of our business and like our primary motive is to just keep that thriving.

So thank you for what you do. Any final piece of, of advice for people who are just in the thick of it right now in, in terms of building their communities.

Drew Dillon: You know, if there’s anything that I’ve learned as a person who stares of data all day long is like talk to people , let’s see at the end of the day, people are gonna be a lot more expressive about what they want, what they need, what they’re looking for.

So, you know, don’t be afraid to go micro, spend a little time. Obviously, we have to be very careful with our time as, as creators, but, you know, take the time to really understand people and that will help you just forever in in growing and building a, a thriving community.

Pat Flynn: There’s a reason you have all those psychology books and, you know, aspect type books behind you.

So Drew, thank you so much. B U R B. And you can check that out and thank you again. Appreciate it.

Drew Dillon:Yep. Thank you, Pat. Thanks everybody.

Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoy that episode with Drew Dillon.. Absolutely golden information. Nice quick hit stuff to help you as you’re getting started with your community.

And of course Burb, for those of you who have a community and you wanna take it to the next level, I love the idea of the cohort based stuff and using Burb to help organize that, to initiate a community or to extract certain groups and tag certain people with any existing community to go through a process like that and have already those processes and systems laid out is huge.

Cuz I remember when we created our boot camps, like I was talking about earlier, it really was a pain in the neck to figure out how to really make it all work. But. hey, check it out. I’ll link on the show notes page to all this stuff. Plus the episode with Jillian. Our community director as well, which is a great follow up episode to this one over at

And by the way, if you’re also interested in checking out SPI Pro, because I can’t stop talking about it, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened in SPI. And it’s helping out the most people right now, Like I talked about, we do have a limit or a cap to that, so you can apply now. Hopefully get in. If there’s still room, it’ll be awesome. It’s gonna help you out for sure. So

And remember the show notes link is Thank you so much to Drew. Thank you to listening all the way through. I appreciate you. And I look forward to serving you in the next episode. Till then, peace out, cheers. And Team Flynn for the win.

Have a good one.

Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at I’m your host Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski. And our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We’ll catch you in the next session.

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Smart Passive Income Podcast

with Pat Flynn

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