I shall not attempt to define it, but I know it when I see it.


“I shall not today attempt further to define pornography, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it” famously said a US judge.

Day 2 for me at the Lemnos Camp and this post is inspired by some chat’s today, especially with Tosh from Betahaus.

So the buzz word, not just in the brave new world of coworking but in the strategy of every new funky start-up is the word ‘community’. I can not seem to escape using the word, even though in my last podcast we talked about not using the ‘c’ word anymore.

When a word or a thing becomes popular, I tend by nature not to like it anymore. Some words like pivoting, onboarding and authentic I disliked from the very beginning. Authentic is a particular pet hate – see my previous post.

The ‘c’ word is so overused now, yet whenever you get into definitions of what ‘c’ is, then a good deal struggle to avoid the typical jargon speak.

For me, if you can define community, then actually it is probably not the ‘c’ thing. Like Simon Sinek and his ‘Start with why’ the most important things that touch our heart and emotions live in our limbic brains and like the people we love in life, it is often hard to describe why we do, but we know that we do.

So if we set our values clearly, our mission, our cause, our why from the beginning and if we then stick to that, avoiding selling our soul to be ‘investor ready’ (another of those fucking phrases!!) then the right people join the tribe. The wrong people and that is not a judgement just wrong for this tribe, de-select themselves easily.

Then it is up to everyone in the tribe to take ownership, do their bit and make a contribution. The ‘c’ thing is not something for one person or organisation to own or direct, it is for all within the tribe to be involved in.

I have no idea how to define the ‘c’ thing or even what word to use to describe it, but I will know it when I see it and that is the tribe I want to be a part of, not some over engineered jargon-filled artificial group of mainly disconnected people pretending they’re in a ‘community’ of ‘authentic’ serial entrepreneurs onboarding assets into their platform.

If you’re selling a product/service versus inspiring people to be part of your journey and loving your cause, then you’re unlikely to see what the ‘c’ thing looks like.

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