Building a Tribe

Author: Eugene Shenderov

First of all, what is a tribe, and how do you ‘build’ one? A tribe is a group of people who all like… something. They can be really passionate about those shoes with toes, or WW II British army uniforms, or vintage 18th century engines. It is a group of people with a similar interest who are all doing their own thing, but it is a shared interest among them. This is where you come in. You are a catalyst. You are the center. You are the singularity that takes all of these interested people and forms a community.

(Musée du Quai Branly)

The important thing to realize is that your interest and desire to create a community needs to be genuine. You need to have a passion for what you are trying to build a community around. One of my passions is teaching others how to get better at what they want to do. I am relatively young and very new to the gaming industry, but I have already had experiences that can help someone who is currently at the stage I was a year and a half ago. And since I am so new, this gives me some empathy for someone who is just learning about the space and has not even begun researching the monumental amount of work involved in starting a business making games. There are those who are much more experienced than I who can help me, but they do not have the time to walk someone who knows much less than I to my place and then further down the career path. The different levels of experience help teach the next generation of designers.

Know where you fall on this scale, and own it. This will let you see who you can help, and who can help you. Helping people, connecting people- this is instrumental in building a tribe. As is knowing that there will be those with much more wisdom and experience than you. They may not want to start a tribe themselves, but they can give you sage advice. So be receptive of advice from others with more experience, even if you decide not to follow it.

Now that you have figured out how knowledgeable you are about your tribe’s focus, connect with them. Write a blog. Reach out to others with your interest on social media. Give useful advice, and ask useful questions. Teach others as you want to be taught yourself. Give your time to others, and others will spend time on you.

Now that you have a tribe and have roots in your chosen community, take action. Bring people together. Organize events, parties, lectures, webinars. Keep people excited, keep teaching, keep learning.

People often ask successful Kickstarter creators, “How did you do so well? How did you get so much funding? How did you bring those big bucks?”

That is the wrong question, and the wrong number.

The number they should ask about is the one right above the money. “How did you get so many fans? How have you engaged with so many people, who are now supporting what you do and love?”

Hopefully, this editorial has given you some idea of what they did, and what you can do.

Happy community building, everyone ūüôā

PS: This post is partially inspired by Seth Goden’s TED talk, “The Tribes We Lead” (http://www.ted.com/talks/seth_godin_on_the_tribes_we_lead?language=en) I recommend taking a look.

Hi! I am Eugene Shenderov, and I am a game designer. You can find my website at www.thisandthatgames.com. Send me a message at eugeneshenderov@gmail.com if you have any questions or want to talk about games or game design!

Have a great day!

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