In this episode, Deb speaks with Melanie Aronson about creating an ethical community platform. Melanie Aronson is the founder and CEO of Panion, a community management platform that helps people build more empathy and meaningful connection in online communities.
Melanie has a bachelor’s in anthropology from Columbia University and an MFA in documentary filmmaking from the School of Visual Arts in NYC. She has spent more than 10 years as a freelance filmmaker, photographer, and designer and about three years in sales for Apple. She has been running Panion since 2018.
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Find Calm helping others do good with Dale Wilkinson
In this episode, I chat with Dale Wilkinson! Dale’s mission is to help people do work that matters. He’s the founder of Goodgigs, a platform for purpose-driven professionals to access career opportunities, courses on social issues and ethical business practices, and a community of change-makers.
2:36: Melanie begins with her extensive background of various artforms, culminating with her documentary work in Europe. Being in a foreign country inspired her to create an app that would connect people based on their common interests. After the pandemic hit, she pivoted her work to create a community platform, Panion.
11:34: Despite facing continual challenges that required her to pivot from time to time, Melanie credits her stubbornness and desire to make an impact on her success. She speaks on the difficulty of creating meaningful connections without drowning in noise. She highlights the importance of including a member directory as a feature.
13:25: “We have so many places to meet people online, and we have so many places to share content, but we lose those meaningful interactions. They get drowned out in the noise.”
18:52: Deb and Melanie discuss the importance of stepping back to assess what value you are offering your community members. They also discuss the pros of being able to find answers online but the limits of what content can provide.
31:00: Melanie speaks on ethical tech. She works with the goal of empowering rather than addicting people with what she has built. Authenticity is key. She speaks about the ideal person to benefit from using Panion.
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In this episode of the Community Strategy Podcast, you’ll hear a recording of an interview with Sarah Hines, the Host of Leading while Healing Network, who shares her community-building journey.
Welcome back to the Community Strategy Podcast, I’m your host, Deb Schell.
On this podcast, I share conversations with leaders of purpose-driven private paid online communities that bring together like minded members for transformation to better their life, career relationships and well being as a community strategist, I help entrepreneurs build launch and grow online page communities on mighty networks and to learn more about working with me.
Please visit my website, find calm here dot com, that’s F I N D C A L M H E R E dot com. I help entrepreneurs find calm in the process of launching an online community.
So check that out please. I want to ask you, do you have a strategy question that you are struggling with something a challenge.
If you do. I want to start answering some questions through the podcast.
That’s a new thing I want to try. So please shoot me an email at Deb at find calm here dot com and I will review any questions I get in the next episode, I will add a answer section for any questions that I do get once I get some.
So send an email to Deb at fine calm here dot com and I hope you enjoy this episode. Hi everyone, I am so excited to introduce today’s guest, Melanie Arson is the founder of and CEO of Panion a community management platform that helps people build more empathy and meaningful connections into online communities. She has a bachelor’s in Anthropology from Columbia University and an M F. A. In a documentary filmmaking from the school of Visual Arts in New York City, which I’m interested to hear more about because I’m a graphic and photographer as well. So um an artist as well. So that’s exciting. I’m super excited to have Melanie here.
You also had worked for Apple for three years I guess and your freelance filmmaker, photographer designer and you’ve been running, which is your platform since 2018.
So welcome Melanie, thank you for having me. Yeah, you’re so exciting to connect with you. I think you and I met like on the slack on the CMX Slack.
Is that where we met? Yeah, probably some, something like that. So tell me a little bit about you, like founded this this community management platform. But how did you get to that point? What what came before that?
So, well, a lot of things, as as you mentioned, I’ve dabbled here and there. So I’ve always been really interested in traveling in different cultures, but also um since I was young, been been an artist and I think in high school I went to this art high school where we had like a balance between how much art you take and how much you actually like do academics.
And I discovered I really liked photography, like you and uh ended up building a darkroom in my basement getting really into into shooting and then when I started traveling, I realized, wow, I really like documentary photography and people and I got really into people and and shooting people and that kind of also led me to anthropology.
So I knew I was really into like images and I was really into people. I kind of merged them together and started traveling and taking pictures of things happening that were interesting to me. Um and discovering, you know, new cultures through the people and eventually deciding to go back and get a master’s in in filmmaking and documentary because I I really discovered that there were limitations to still photography that that I were running into. When I when I started to hear the stories of the people I was photographing, I was like wow, I need to learn how to capture what they’re saying as well. And and that was like the beginning and and so I started doing documentary and I ended up going on getting my masters and going on a Fulbright to Sweden and in Sweden. Yes, this is like a long journey in Sweden. I opened a film production company. And yeah, I started making documentaries there. And um I also made a fiction film there that was kind of like based on real stories and and there.
And and a lot of the film I was doing, it was at the height of the Syrian war. And Sweden had opened this door to anyone who could could make it to their borders. So I started making films about like the refugee experiences in Sweden and that led me to hearing a lot of stories similar to my own, which was I’m in a new country, I’m an adult and I have to start over making friends and how do I do that? Because there’s a lot of people in this world and there’s a lot of people that I might not connect with, a lot of people I know I could connect with and a lot of that is based on a sharing interest, values experiences. And I was hearing this recurring story as I experienced it myself, which is it’s really hard to make friends as an adult. That that especially because you know yourself better, you know like what you like in a person which you don’t. So I had this idea to create a an app to connect people through common interests targeted at people who moved to new places and had to relocate again. And that that was the beginning of opinion sounds amazing.
So yeah, and that turned into a community management platform because we got hit over the head with a pandemic. And suddenly a platform for meeting people in person was like the last thing you should be doing during a pandemic. So then it evolved into community management so I can dig deeper into that. But I let you say something that’s amazing what a journey and we have so many parallel things in my personal life, I went to school for photojournalism. I wanted to be a newspaper, photographer, photojournalist. And in in when I graduated college in 2005 newspapers were kind of dying. Yeah, I had the same thing, like being a photojournalist, I tried the same and it’s like, You’re on the front line with like 40 other people, and then the person who took the picture with their iPhone was the one that got on the cover, and then they paid them like $20 for the photo, like it just died.
Yeah, yeah, it’s amazing. I went to school at the time and and learned this this practice, I printed my entire portfolio in the black and white in color, dark rooms, and right, when 9 11, when 9 11 happened in 2011 is actually when I was printing my portfolio that day, I was in Pittsburgh and we got evacuated from the city because there is warnings and um it was crazy, but yeah, I so I so can resonate with the struggle around that of just trying to make it as a professional creative, who really wants to tell the story of others, because I think that was what was really impactful for me was this idea of storytelling and and sharing and giving a voice to people who don’t have, you know, a platform, don’t have a way to to share their journey. And I really got into that if I had if I had maybe a different direction, I probably would have went the way you did with filmmaking, because I really wanted to to learn about filmmaking but I wasn’t in the in the place to do that but um so many parallels, so but it makes sense why?
So you you and this is what it brings a lot of people in the community, right in the industry is because you basically come in for all kinds of different reasons and you realize that you’ve been a community builder probably for a really long time and then you were trying to solve your own problem because you experienced this like I don’t even have friends but I don’t even know like maybe the guy sitting or the gal sitting at at a at a pub next door or a coffee shop, they might not be the right person to be friends with right or they might not have time or who knows? So I love this idea of connecting around travel and saying you know like especially if you’re not super outgoing, like I became you know an activator and somebody who just walks up to people because I had to in journalism you have to walk up to people all the time and ask them their story or ask them challenging questions but now that everybody has had that experience and it’s harder for people to like strike up conversations with people that they don’t know in a in a situation. So I feel like this actually is such an amazing way to like build that bridge when people are in that space and we didn’t need it more than ever.
Your your app came at the perfect time during the pandemic when people really needed it, right? Yeah, it did. And I’m kind of kicking myself for pivoting and becoming a a B two B platform because it turned out that it was okay, that we had an app that was about meeting in person because we could have just allowed people to connect and meet in person, independent was over, but we got really nervous and we were like, oh no, we need to become something else, and we spent like quite a bit of time Trying to take what we learned from the B2C kind of app that anyone could sign up to and create the same experience within private communities. Um so the same like common interests and finding people who you know have overlaps with you but within like a smaller circle, and in some sense we did a lot of user testing and people were kind of like, okay, this person and I like tennis, but that’s it. Like why should we be friends? Because we both have like tennis and our profiles and we did start to realize that it is deeper than that there needs to be quite a bit of overlaps and not just hobbies, but values or shared experiences and it became a bit more complex, but we did decide to kind of move towards community building.
and then I think the other reason honestly is because the moderation was just killer. I mean you try to build something beautiful for people who need it and thousands and thousands of people are coming on trying to sell porn and Bitcoin and everything else and you’re spending all of your resources as a tiny company trying to keep them off instead of being able to continue building something beautiful for the people that are there for the right reason. So we thought why can’t community managers just moderate their communities and we don’t need to and we can have these like spaces and give them the tools and yeah, I mean there’s so many obstacles you would never think of and it can really drain a small company trying to grow when you hit those kinds of obstacles. Yeah, that’s some great examples and I think as most of our audience that’s listening is probably solo entrepreneurs or maybe you know, small entrepreneurs, small business that is wearing a lot of hats, like maybe they have one virtual assistant or like maybe two or three like part time team members or something like that, but most likely they’re wearing a lot of hats and so when you were experiencing this and the amazing resilience that you have to keep kind of like pivoting is really inspiring.
Um how did you Yeah, what what do you think helped you to keep going with all of these challenges that you’re facing? Mm I’m just a very stubborn person. I think Actually going to give up. Not going to give up. No I I go down kicking and screaming from with most things But I don’t know I I really believed in in trying to be impactful in some way, shape or form. And also you get a lot of even if you have all these challenges you do get those people. I mean we did get these people who are like I came to Sweden alone and your app helped me make friends. I am now going to the wedding of someone who I met on your app. I even had people on our team who ended up moving places and using it and like finding people building friendships and we like even the positive stories really like outweigh everything else. Uh And you feel like even if you impacted like you you probably impacted more people. But even if you heard about just five, like it’s such a nice warm feeling that you could create something that helps people overcome a challenge.
And I think we started to dig into different challenges out there during the pandemic. It was all about connection and meaningful connection. And um so we got really you know passionate about trying to solve the problem. And I think besides mighty Networks, there weren’t really many other community platforms when we started doing this then they all kind of started exploding during the pandemic. But there were maybe like a couple of like, high bright, a couple others that were like there, but it wasn’t a huge topic yet. Um and so we were doing that, but again, you know, it becomes like this race where we all try to try to like build something fast enough, and but I think what’s different about our platform and how we really distinguished ourselves is that we did come from this place of trying to solve um the fact that we have so many places to meet people online and we have so many places to share content, but we lose those meaningful interactions, they get drowned out in noise.
And we were trying to find a way to design something that that went back to finding the right people within the right the right context um and building more meaningful connections and for us that was being more people focused. So the design was really about feeling like those people are there with you and not hidden behind posts and content and you know, you can share content, but it isn’t the way that we’ve kind of prioritize things in the platform is really about like reaching out to the people getting to know the people finding what their interests are um and networking and and less like a forum which I know is very useful for a lot of people like products communities, for example, so we kind of found our niche which is really the more about the the connecting and maybe a placeholder for being able to do that in real life. What would you say the structure is if I were to say like the community structure of your platform, is it more events focused? Is it more conversational with written content, blogs or posts were really focused on the Member directory.
Everything is about being able to dig into the member directory and find people based on um things that they tag their profile with than reaching out and talking with them, so one on one group, um we have the ability to have group discussions as as well, like more on the post in the post format, but I think the thing that that really like says as a part is more the emphasis on the Member Directory and like knowing who’s inside the community and like kind of looking for those connections, We’ve also been really interested in exploring matchmaking and mentorship and like how community managers can help facilitate the connections because often you do have at the beginning anyways, community managers who are who are the glue, they know a lot of those people better than the people know each other and can and also because they have like a bigger overview from a different perspective, they can start to see like which types of people might my connect well with each other, so exploring those kinds of things, like how can we get people to how can we facilitate more connections inside our community um and giving tools that make it easy to identify that and to be able to find, find those connections and make sure that they happen.
Yeah. It sounds like, so what I’m understanding is that you started with the B2C market of like going right to consumers who and targeting your ideal member was probably people who were traveling you know pretty pretty consistently or often. And then because people stopped traveling during the pandemic, that’s when is that when you decided to switch over to the business model of like B two B and then with the new shift to be and you because you learned about your your not just your you learned a lot from that experience. And so and you had some issues that came up. So B two C. Is typical communities are places where people, because it’s a public Forum, a lot of the time you have the problem with spamming, but the opposite problem, I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but B2B is a little bit harder to get people to come and talk. Is that, is that something that you’ve worked on or experienced? Yeah, engagement becomes the number one issue for most community managers.
That’s what we see. And I think one thing it’s also been hard for us to find our target customer because we noticed that everyone thinks they want to build a community or that they need to build a community, but they don’t really understand the amount of work and the ongoing maintenance that goes into that. So they come on and they think that our platform is just going to run their community for them and we’re like, no, you have to be engaging with people, you have to, you know, if you want to scale it, you need to find people ambassadors or people to support to support and help you run that community, you need to create content. And I think a lot of people I don’t really know, they just here, it’s like community is the new sexy thing and I should be doing it for my product or for my organization or whatever and we, we did see a lot of that where we had to find a balance between how much time we were spending on with talking to customers realizing that it wasn’t about like how do I do this thing in your platform? It was about how do I run a community?
And we’re like, we can’t like, we can’t be community consultants full time and also be a platform. So then I started connecting with community consultants thinking okay, well we can like connect people uh and then they can take it from there and and that that was you know, obviously better, but I think people also, yeah, they think that it’s ah it’s easy to just set up a community and run run a community and it’s as you know, it’s not easy at all. And I think if there’s a way for us to clarify that before we spend a lot of time talking to people who just are very like excited about the idea of having community, but haven’t really maybe done all the research yet. Like this was a challenge for us. I think at the beginning I think I think I can get what you’re saying there for sure because uh I’ve had I’ve had some people in the last year, two years who have come to me and wanted me and to to to to help them as a consultant, which is great and they’re like, I want to do marty networks and then we get on calls and I said, ok, so where does your course live?
They said they want to build a course and they want me to help them set it up on the networks. Great, where does your course live? Um It’s in my head, that’s the one answer I got and the other person said, oh, we’ll have to write it up now. So I basically became like a course builder because I was putting luckily I had a background in journalism and so I could basically put words together as people were talking, I would just be typing and taking notes and then I would find ways to structure it. But I think the biggest challenge like you’re saying is that people make a lot of assumptions and just hear this buzzword of community and then assume, oh, I just need to get a community as an additional thing to my business right to bring in more revenue, It will be my like, sales pipeline or, or whatever, and that perspective has been perpetuated by other platforms and and in social media a lot as like an easy way, and I think that, well it’s not easy, it doesn’t have to be committed, but it doesn’t have to be hard, but it really isn’t.
And we talked about this on one of our sessions recently Inside the Community, it’s not, I know we’re talking about platforms, but it’s not really about the platform, it’s the purpose before the platform, so it’s why are you bringing, who are you bringing together? You have to know who you’re going to bring together, you have to know why they’re coming together and what is in it for them, because they think a lot of people miss, they think, oh well I’ll just create this place, will put up some of our blog posts and then people come and they’ll just start talking Yeah, yeah, I’ve had this like conversation with so many people and I asked them, what is the value that your members are getting from your community. I asked them at the beginning because I’m like this, if someone can answer this, I can understand the community very well, right, we can’t answer this question. Yes, Yes. And a b to b sense. And the people that you and I are probably working with different areas are are that challenge of um and some people, you know, and that’s okay, you don’t have to have one of the things that I really work with people on is that you don’t have to have a lot of content.
And basically we live in a world where we don’t need encyclopedias anymore. We just go on google and everything. Is there all of the answers of life? You can ask Siri and she will tell you, we live in this amazing world where answers are literally something we can get in a second. Whereas we used to have to go to a library and the card, you know, if anybody remembers this, like going into like finding the cards catalog and where the books are pulling out the book off the shelf, opening it up, reading it for maybe bunches of hours or days or weeks or months um to to understand something or learn something. Now people can go online, they click something, they listen, they learn and and they move on and because life is like that for us now, the complexity is that there’s an oversaturation of content. We don’t we have ways too much content. People want what people I’m learning and this is probably something you’ve learned.
They want somebody to help them navigate all of this content. Mhm. Yeah, and that’s the thing with google, right, you can google and find content, but you can’t use google to make meaningful connections, right? You can’t use google to find like a person in your neighborhood who already did the thing that you want to do last week to teach you. Yeah, and it’s it’s so funny because I could read a book or watch an online course, but does that mean I’m going to implement what I’ve learned in my life? Maybe not. Maybe I need support from other people encouragement or or ways and examples of how to implement it in my life, and that’s what community does, It’s really just around building connection with other human beings who want to speak with other human beings and be inspired or inspire others? Um I think that’s a powerful when you’re talking about maybe communities of practice or intentionality and this is different from like uh business, you know, forum, right? It’s a different use and purpose.
One thing I keep thinking about and maybe this might be a little bit yeah, too far out there, but I keep wondering if there’s like a breaking point with all this content, Like is there, and I feel like I’ve already almost gotten there, but is there a point where we just cannot watch another video or not, take another online course, like we’ve hit that point where it’s just we don’t have the capacity anymore because like, one thing I think about with community is we’re always, we’re social beings and we’re always going to need community, right? It’s not going anywhere. This is like who we are. But with content and absorbing all of this information, I feel like it’s different. I feel like it loses its meaning or like the fake news movement movement, fake news like crisis, um, all of it, it’s so dangerous. And I feel like are we going to hit this point where like I’ve hit the point where like I don’t want to watch anymore youtube because I just can’t consume anything else in my brain.
But I’m just wondering like what does the future hold for us and content. It’s a great question to ask. And I think from my experience as a content creator, as a writer, as a podcaster, as a person who loves to blog about travel and about community building among other things. I also have projects that I’m doing. I also all kinds of things. Right? And I am right now I can tell you honestly, I am tapped out from learning another platform. I’m in the process of doing a bootcamp with my podcast producer ca lisa and I can’t learn yet another platform. I’m just kind of tapped out from learning. I feel in the last two years I’ve learned so so much tech That I, I just cannot, cannot learn anymore. I just want to live my life and not spend 12 hours a day on my computer. So I think it’s more about people need support of intentionality of like how do I make this practical in my life?
Okay, if I want to learn something, how can I make this an experience versus something I have to do. And I think that’s where community can come in and learning in an untraditional way of storytelling examples and making it as physically simple as possible for people to implement and change their life. So I’m for example, I was building out guides, step by step guides inside the fun come here community and it was taking me hours and hours and hours to create this content and then I didn’t even know if it was being consumed and I didn’t know if it was being used. So I started asking questions and and people were like, yeah, this is helpful, this is not, you know, they were giving me feedback. Um and then I shifted by time. Well partly because I had to for my business, I had to shift my time to consulting because that’s what brought in the revenue dollars. Also, I realized people just want templates and checklists like They don’t want to watch a 30 minute video on me talking about beauty building, they want to quickly scan an article.
Be able to pull out a few key points that they can then implement have a template that’s gonna give them a basically a copy and paste so they can just customize the messaging for their community or whatever they’re doing and then they go and they do it, that’s what they want, They want it easy. And so I think the challenge of a community leader and a community host and the community manager is how do we bring people together and make it easy and enjoyable and create this amazing experience for them where they want to be a part of it, They want to come back and they want to share it with others. Right, definitely. I think about the communities that like, I’m, I mean like 150 like communities between slack and facebook and mighty networks and everything. And then I think about the ones I actually visit at least once a month or even once every three months and like I started to kind of try to figure out like what is it about these communities that I go back to? And honestly it’s, it’s um I go there when I have questions about something I’m doing or when I feel really overwhelmed and I need to read about other people’s experiences to feel better that like I’m not alone.
You know, it’s, it’s these kinds of things and then it’s really about like, yeah, knowledge like where can I find this thing, how can I do this thing? I recently became a mom and like those communities around like feeding your baby, having, helping with getting your baby to sleep or just local things in, in, I live in Lisbon things happening for Children like that I was just not aware of because I didn’t have any before. I mean all of these things are the communities that I’m that I’m engaging in, um and honestly, like I’m not engaging every day, I’m I don’t have the capacity for that. But yeah, it’s a good point. It’s a good point to say, two things I would have pulled out from that is when I talk to people like clients that I work with, they say, what communities are you in and what communities are your members in? Have you done that research of discovery interviews or ideal member interviews to identify where they’re already hanging out online because when we’re talking about being an online community, well, if they’re not even hanging out anywhere online now, it might be a little harder their cell to get them to come online versus if they’re used to being in person for something.
Um if you’re only focusing on an online experience and then the other thing you’re saying, it was just so you have a life, you have a kid, you have, you have other things that are happening and this idea or notion that people are going to come into your community every single day, you know, and consume or create or click like or share or, you know, comments that’s I feel like it’s it’s it’s ex expectations that are not realistic. It’s unrealistic expectations because that is just not the way our lives are in the daily world. I can see from average muddy networks that I am in and that I run, They are looking at maybe visiting that community 2-3 times a week at the high end and on the mid range, it’s more like once every other week. And then in the low end it’s like a month, once a month. Right?
Try explaining that to investors in tech where they’re like, we want all this engagement and why? Like what is your, you know, like what is their return rate? How many minutes are they spending inside the community all of this stuff and you’re like, this is not a video game well and what’s the point of all of that? What’s the point of the analytics? Even if you could say all of that, if you pulled all those metrics together for one month and you said in the month of the month of May, you know, x amount of users and here’s how much time they spend. What’s the point? What’s the purpose of that for the business for them? Is that equal sales? Are you connecting that to to a marketing campaign? Like I think that’s where it gets convoluted of what the word engagement means to them versus what’s the point? There’s this illusion because there is this illusion of the stickiness. Oh, your product is so addictive. I can come back. People are coming all the time. But this is I give talks on like building ethical tech and this is where I don’t want to create like a product like that because I don’t want people to be addicted to something I’ve built.
I want people to find meaning and feel empowered by it and do it without being interrupted in their life with 1000 notifications. Yes. Okay. I I guess in some ways you can have if it’s a game or something and people are coming back all the time. Yeah, you probably make more money. But if you want to create something that a tool for people, for example, like, like the tool I started with like finding people when you’re in new place, I’m not expecting someone to to open that all the time and be in a new place every day and needed all the time. Right? As you make friends as you meet new people, but your life also changes and maybe you have a baby and you want to meet new people and hop back in the app and find people with a new life experience, but building tools that are like compliments to our lives that empower us and and add an extra layer versus that consume us and distract us from our lives. I think those are the kind of the two, the two options and I think our our world needs more, more tech that that isn’t completely consuming us.
Yeah, it’s, it’s one of the main reasons why I love connecting in a different, meaningful way in an online private community versus something like facebook or instagram because instagram and facebook, they’re not, they’re not in it for business owners, they want you to as a business owner, the perspective is I have to have a social media presence to be relevant. Well that may or may not be true, but really to have that social media presence, what do you have to do? You have to spend money and advertise because there’s so much analytics now fighting and combating any messages that you’re putting out there, that your customers or your ideal clients are not going to see the messages. So what I am hearing, which is really amazing but what I’m hearing now much, much more about how to, you know, build a business or grow an audience. I was in a workshop for four hour workshop about how to monetize a podcast. The only things that I heard were build relationships, cultivate connection and build a community authentically me endlessly and purposefully yes, being authentic, just being real, just just not lying to people about what the intention is.
If you want me to come check out your app. Great, well tell me why it’s, it’s worth my time because everybody, you know, time is valuable and so you’ve got to give people a reason of why this is gonna, you know, impact their life and it really comes down to the business of like what problem are you solving? Who are you solving it for? And is it something they really need in their life? Like I joined a community first stress and anxiety because I struggle with depression and anxiety every day. I was in that community a lot more than I was in other communities that weren’t helping me with that problem because that was like an urgent problem that I was having. Right? So things like that, like connecting to like direct messages, so if anybody’s listening, what would you suggest to them as far as like if they’re thinking about maybe your platform being something for for their business, can you give us like a case case example of maybe some some good, a good ideal client, that would be a perfect fit for your app. Sure. The communities that we really love, our communities of course that have to bring value to their members um that have some sort of purpose or impact in the world in some way and then it’s a lot about connecting people as a as a top priority finding, obviously you need to have some content in there but like you said, it doesn’t have to be tons and tons of content, but if you uh if your business is around already around connecting people but you just need a digital space to organize that to allow others to connect without you having to be the middle person all the time.
Um that’s a really good, a really good type of customer for us because our platform is really built for that. Um and then also around yeah matchmaking or finding people that that share interests or share skills or have different skills that need to kind of find each other because we’re using tagging and these kinds of data points to connect people, um you can add your own keywords into the platform and then use those keywords to allow people to find each other. So I would say again when it’s about people first, people are really finding each other connecting you want to facilitate that. And so we see like professional communities for example, there’s a lot of communities, either alumni communities or professional communities around with women in tech types of communities, for example, there’s there’s a matchmaking component of people wanting to find mentors or connecting with people who are like two steps ahead of them in terms of their business so that they can learn from their mistakes.
So these kinds of um co collaboration coworking communities really benefit from from a people first solution. So, great, so great, great examples and yeah, I don’t know if you’ve heard I met over it when I was in clicks in Memphis I met this guy Ben and he’s the co founder of this company called Super linked and we’re probably going to sync up to do an interview with him. But they have a product that connects this missing component of like this bringing people together aspect and they use it in the back end with data analytics, which is really cool. But that’s what made me think of when you’re talking about like connecting and pairing. I think that’s a really powerful thing. But like as somebody who might want to scale is listening to this is like great. I’d love to have a pairing program where or some way to connect our um, maybe their employees for example, there’s a lot of employee initiatives right now going on for online communities. I don’t know if you’ve had that experience too.
Yeah, there’s definitely a lot of those, I guess my question, I mean I know now that they’re hiring like head of community inside of large companies, which is really nice to see and rather rather than putting that on that is like an extra thing that someone has to do on top of their job, realizing it is a full time job inside of a company. But yeah, like employee well being in general, I’m glad to see that that’s finally being prioritized. I think the pandemic had something to do with that. So community is definitely, definitely a good good spot for that. Yeah. So yeah, I think if anybody’s out there that has a company may be small to midsize company that’s looking to like bring their, bring their employees together. It would be, that would be a really great example of how to build authentic connection inside your existing company with your current employees and, and had a authentically bring them together using something like this app. I think it would be great. So thank you so much for sharing.
Could you tell everyone if they wanted to find out more about Canyon or about you? Where where should they go? Our website is dot com so easy enough to remember and I’m on linkedin. I’m on, I’m not very, I should be more active on social media, but like, like we talked about finding balance in our life and it’s not my favorite, my favorite thing to do, but I’m on all of the platforms more or less and yeah, and that’s okay. You have to be in your business owner, you’ve got to, yeah, this is the biggest thing I’m learning right now. I’m hiring some people to help me finally that I’m letting go of all the things I’m working on, letting go of all the things I’m trying to just focus on what I really do well with strengths and things like that. But honestly, like I said, it’s social media is not the way to create connection. It’s really taking the time to build to identify that goes kind of a little bit back into discovery, which you talked about in the very beginning. So just wrapping it up by saying, you have to know who your audience is and if you don’t really know them really well.
You really need to focus on doing the research, the market research, identifying the problem you solve and who you’re specifically solving it for before you decide you want to build a community because then it will be a way to scale an existing business, but it’s complicated and it can be convoluted and that’s what I work with people and how to keep it simple, so just keeping it as simple as possible, but really focused on purpose and driven on you know, the mission that aligns with the business. So it makes what makes sense. So thank you so much for sharing, thank you for having me, it was a nice conversation. Yeah, so good to meet you. I’m excited that you’re inside you know the community and I hopefully uh you could join us at other times on some events, but for everybody who’s listening, please check out Pani in. Uh and and hopefully you enjoyed our episode, If you guys have any questions, always feel free to email me at Find calm here dot com. Um as well, if you have questions around Mighty Networks, shoot me an email and with that will wrap up.
Thanks again Mellie for being here for everyone who’s listening please if you thought this episode was really valuable or if you think maybe somebody else would enjoy it, please share it with somebody you might know. Subscribe and make sure you don’t miss out on all of our awesome episodes that are coming up. We are continuing to do some live interview series, kinds of studio audience slash podcast coming up. So you will start to see those as bonus episodes in community strategy podcast, subscription app. So anyhow, thank you so much. Everybody take care until the next time. I hope you’re finding calm and talk to you later. Bye. Mhm.