Community is the Business

Rosie Sherry
9 min readNov 30, 2023

Community is at the heart of everything I do. To be community-led is to have community at the center of our decisions. We cannot be truly community-led unless our business decisions are aligned with the community.

This is my thesis. And it’s easier said than done.

It’s why I call myself a ‘Community Executive Officer’. I’m a CEO led by the community. I listen, respect and am inspired by the people. It doesn’t mean I do what they tell me. It means I act with care and ethics.

I know decisions at the top ultimately impact the community and the business. This is why I say Community is the Business. It is not to be confused with the Business of Community.

Let’s explore!

💙 How do community-led companies get it wrong?

Is community really at the heart of everything we do? We want to believe it is, but mostly it isn’t.

We got influenced by the (pandemic) hype and tried to create connection. Mostly we missed the mark on being truly community-led.

The reality is that combining the world of community and business is harder than we realize. Perhaps we are asking too much of businesses to exist with a community culture?

And that’s when we end up with the vibe of “community-led until the going gets tough”.

I asked people how companies have messed up being community-led to make sure it wasn’t just me who felt community things were off. These are some of the responses I got.

Hiring people who don’t understand community

🌤️ “Bad hires — hiring folks who don’t understand community so you end up doing things which just seem off. It’s a slow death from there.” — Gareth Wilson

ROI becomes a focus

🌤️ “Focus on profit over community and relationships.” — Melissa Fougere

🌤️ “Raising traditional VC money and being forced to 10x growth before finding solid grounds on product-community fit.” — Laís de Oliveira

Looking good, over doing good

🌤️ “Focusing on “giving value” too much, not asking for help or not…

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Rosie Sherry

I ❤️ building communities • Researching, writing and creating community things at rosie.land