There’s often a misconception in startup land that finding product/market fit (PMF) is a discrete moment: the night before PMF, you’re sitting in your room shouting into the void, and the day after PMF, you’re sitting in a private jet sipping champagne. It makes a great story. Sometimes it happens like that.
More often than not though, PMF is a practice, a process, and a relentless pursuit that never ends, whether you’re a startup or a Fortune 500—those incremental steps made possible only if you stay obsessively focused on solving the problems of your users, your champions, and your customers. Your community.
Today, in partnership with our incredible community—many of whom I am now honored to call customers—I get the privilege to share what we’ve built with the world and announce the general availability of Common Room, the intelligent community growth platform. You can start getting closer to your community with Common Room today. Try out the platform for free here.
We built our community before we ever wrote a line of code. From the start, we knew that partnering with top community leaders was key to building the right solution in a novel space without precedent. Most successful new companies today share this mindset.
When I left my role at AWS, I spent two quarters just talking to our community of community leaders and developer advocates. They were willing to share their precious time with me because they were tasked with the herculean responsibility of engaging, nurturing, and building their communities with no tooling. We truly started with nothing, and as we worked on a solution together, they saw iterations upon iterations of early Figma (and hand-drawn) designs of what would become Common Room.
Every founder on the PMF journey has had moments where what they thought they wanted to build was fundamentally not what customers needed. A little known fact is that we actually started Common Room to build a place to host your community. Popular tools that were being used for hosting communities weren’t cutting it. Slack wasn’t built for customer engagement, and forums felt antiquated and old school. I had visions of one tool to rule them all.
Folks seemed (somewhat) excited, but I’ll never forget the day when the Director of Community at a fast-growing design platform laid it out plainly: “This whole idea of a single tool sounds great conceptually, but I don’t need another place for our community. I need to meet my community where they want to engage: Slack, Discord, forums, social media, in-person and digital events, and more—what I need is something that ties it all together, so that my team and I have a place to get actionable insights.” Her words confirmed the nagging suspicion that had been in the shadows of my other conversations, but hearing it out loud still took me for a spin. I remember telling my three co-founders and our founding engineer that we needed to start from scratch, and feeling a bit queasy. But we listened to our community, and we’ve never looked back.
We built Common Room with community leaders for community leaders. These individuals have had a firsthand view into the seismic shift happening in how technology is being evaluated and adopted. Technology and business decisions are increasingly influenced by communities of users and champions, who are interacting with your company across a multitude of channels like GitHub, Slack, Discord, Discourse, Twitter, and more. The siloed and fragmented nature of these various sources makes it difficult for you to get a holistic view of what matters most to your community and meet those needs.
Common Room addresses these challenges by bringing together all your community sources with internal company data, like revenue and product usage, to give organizations intelligent and actionable insights and workflows. We help community leaders and their companies:
At Common Room, product/market fit is not a moment. It’s a continuous practice in customer empathy and obsession. We do it by staying in lock step with the needs and problems of our community. They are the heroes of our story. It’s Day 1 for community-led growth, and we’re so excited to be just at the start of a multi-year journey to bring organizations closer to their communities, so that they can deepen relationships, build better products, and grow faster—in partnership with the people who matter most.
If you are a fast-growing organization that believes your community is your lifeblood, give us a try. Get started for free, and let me know your feedback ;)