Week 0 of #ODCB1: On Deck Community Builders Kickoff!

On Deck is where top talent comes together to connect, learn and explore opportunities. They have a cohort-based community approach to learning and have a bouquet of fellowships going to help professionals achieve their professional goals. Here's my set of learnings (so far) by being a part of On Deck's first cohort for Community Builders.
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Pramod Rao
June 21, 2021

For quick context: On Deck is where top talent comes together to connect, learn and explore opportunities. They have a cohort-based community approach to learning and have a bouquet of fellowships going to help professionals achieve their professional goals.

As Laís described it on the call, it is like Stanford and YC had a baby.

The first cohort of On Deck Community Builders officially kicked off over the weekend with 100+ top community builders from across the globe!

This is a great opportunity for all of us to learn together and create value with some of the best in the community space. We officially start off tonight but there has been so much to learn from a community building perspective already!

Summarizing my key take-aways here from Week 0 and before on what I really loved about how On Deck is building this meta-community of community builders:

🎯 Clear definition of why the community exists

To co-create knowledge, frameworks, and case-studies around community building by learning and building together (turning practice into knowledge).


🤗 Best-in-class onboarding experience

The onboarding experience started ~2 weeks before the kick-off. Kudos to the effort that has gone into ensuring that every member is empowered with all of the information needed for them to get the best out of the community. This included:

  • Onboarding survey so the program could be tailored to your needs
  • Setting expectations of what the first week and an average week would look like
  • Quick links to curriculum overview, guidelines, resources, etc
  • Calendar invites to all the events
  • Access to the Slack community and a searchable member directory
ODCB Onboarding

Outside of the Zoom kickoff call, the Slack community has been the highlight for week 0! With 150+ members, the community has been buzzing with introductions, people making connections, offering and seeking help. What stood out for me and is so important from a community building perspective is the welcoming environment. Every member introduction or post has a response from someone from the community.

ODCB Slack Community

👥 Diverse community

Important to get a good mix of members together and On Deck has done a phenomenal job of getting the relevant operators in the community space from community builders of all stages, platforms and investors together. We have ~130 of the best individuals in the community space from across the globe as part of the first cohort. This includes folks like @lolitataub, @ollieforsyth, @HainingMax, @charlierward and many more who have been building and contributing to communities in public.

🕺🏽 Fun and rewarding from Day 0

The Zoom kickoff call was one the most engaging calls I’ve been a part of. Attending this from 1230am to 3am was not easy but the super high-energy of the call kept me going and it had the right amount of fun and critical info about ODCB mixed into it. Virtual Carpool, Hot Seat and Socials over Icebreaker were great ways to get to know community members in smaller groups. Crowdsourcing program ideas was a great idea. A dedicated Slack channel for the kickoff helped organise the various breakouts.

🤝 Designed for Serendipity

The program is all about, as Laís put it, engineering serendipity. Which is enhancing the chances of successful connections by increasing the rate of collisions between people. ODCB has multiple formats for us to connect with one another - both with folks who share common traits and with those who we don’t share anything common with - from 1:1, small relevant or random groups, icebreakers to fireside chats and workshops. As we build our own communities, designing multiple ways for members to connect and add value to each other will help more members get the best from the community.

We officially start with ODCB orientation tonight. There are some exciting fireside chats and sessions lined up this week including ones by Hila Roth (Waze), Casey Fenton (Couchsurfing) and Courtland Allen (Indie Hackers).

Looking forward to sharing insights from the coming weeks here.

Cheers,
Pramod

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