The secret about building a community

JJF View From A Blue Moon

I’ve mentioned here and on my twitter feed a new startup I’m building called Sneaky Surf. It’s a cross between the old FourSquare and Runkeeper. A surfing fraternity that helps its members surf more.

But it’s not just about the startup. It’s building the community I’ve always wanted to be part of. Growing up all my friends surfed and we enjoyed this activity like many teenagers do. My surfing mates didn’t live at the beach, then adult life got in the way and all my friends surfed less and less until I was the only one left. It took me the best part of 20 to find other lone surfers like me. Those who still went after their mates dropped off the scene. I meet most online, not in the water. Sneaky Surf is simply about putting a fence around the behaviour which already existed.

At last I’ve got a micro-community of city-dwelling surfers to organise sessions, share surf stories and follow pro surfing with and of course, talk about surfing in all its forms. It’s not really about the commercial outcome. As far as my co-founder and I on Sneaky Surf are concerned, we’ve already succeeded. We’ve built a surfing community for ourselves. Part of the community means running events for surfers. So we are doing a surf movie night in Melbourne, something that never happens anymore. Years ago it was a thing to go see a surf movie on the big screen with your surf crew. So we’re bringing it back through Sneaky Surf.

Community is about creating the world we want to live in. Not a contrived marketing strategy. If a business evolves from it, good – but the reason we exist is to help surfers surf more and enjoy the surfing experience. I think more startups should be focused on this – creating the things you want to exist. When we do this it means much more than numbers. But just maybe, the numbers come anyway because the ‘why’ is so strong.

Now – If you’re a surfer in Melbourne or know any surfers – please send them this link to come along and watch the greatest surf movie of all time – March 7th at 7pm. We are even putting on beers, food and prizes – because we love surfing.

If you could share the event link on your social channels that would help me too – you might have surfing mates and not even know it!

Thanks for your help – Steve.