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About Gina Bianchini

Gina Bianchini is the founder and CEO of Mighty Networks. Mighty is a platform that makes it easy to create, grow and monetize online communities. Mighty is the result of nearly two decades of Gina's career spent building online social products back to the early 2000s, when she built Ning with Marc Andreessen, and she's been building for community and online social spaces ever since.

Gina explains how social media and other platforms are designed for people that already know each other and not for building a community of strangers on the internet. Mighty, however, was natively designed for community building on the internet — prioritizing creator customization, social lubrication, and context.

Show Notes

The Podcast Transcription

Welcome to the Chesley Lunday experience. I'm your host Chesley Lunday. I am stoked about today's interview with my guest Gina Bianchini she's the CEO and founder of mighty networks in her mission. And mighty networks is to usher in a new era of digital businesses. Built on the power of community. Now with the mighty network of brand or creator brings their content community online courses and digital disk or subscriptions.

Together to build a network that gets more valuable to every member with each new person who joins.

Before mighty networks. Gina was the first entrepreneur in residence at Andreessen Horowitz prior to 16 Z. She was the CEO and co-founder of Ning, a pioneering global platform for creating niche, social networks. She started with Marc Andreessen in 2004. Under her leadership. Nene grew to a hundred million active users across 300,000 social networks led by brands and creators across subcultures, professional networks, entertainment, politics, and education.

And the company was sold for $150 million in 2000. 11. In addition to mighty networks, Gina serves as a board of director for multiple organizations. One of them was the scripts networked at $14.6 billion public company who owned HDTV food network and the travel channel and was purchased by discovery communications in 2018.

Gina and mighty networks have been featured in the wall street journal. Fast company, wired, vanity fair Bloomberg and the New York times. She's appeared on Charlie rose, CNBC and CNN. She grew up in Cupertino, California, graduated with honors from Stanford university, started her career in the nascent high-tech group at Goldman Sachs and co and received her MBA from Stanford business school. Welcome to my conversation.

Or Gina Bianchini, let's go.

S o I've got Gina Bianchini here with me, uh, the c e o of Mighty Networks. And uh, I was just telling her how much I'm a fan cuz we use it for our digital community. I tell all my friends about it, they're starting to use it, but I figured, let's get her on the show. Let's talk about the power of community and obviously Mighty Networks isn't your first rodeo, so you've been sold on community

for a while.

Yeah, I mean, so, so first of all, thank you so much for having me. I, I, I really appreciate it. Um, yes, I am obsessed. Community. I'm obsessed with what brings people together, uh, what a allows them to build relationships with each other. What allows them to, to move and progress in their lives from sort of one set of thoughts and assumptions about what's possible or, or what's possible in their lives and what's possible in the world to.

Another set of assumptions about what's possible in their lives and what's possible in the world. And, and this is an area that I have in one way, shape or form, been been fascinated by ever since I was a kid. And today, you know, build, I build software that's really designed to be a conscious way of creating communities.

Help people realize results and transformation that they wanna have in their lives around the things that are most important to them. Yeah.

So, you know, we live in 2022. Obviously we live in a post covid society, so this may be, uh, preaching to the choir moment, but why is community so important for leaders?

Yeah. Well, so, so first and foremost, I think community is so important for everyone. Why? Yeah. So first and foremost, community is the single most effective way for people to navigate rapid change, um, to navigate transitions, uh, to, to, to navigate a world that at times just feels like, whoa, like it's kind of outta control.

And communities uniquely give us, as human beings a sense of, A sense that by being a part of something bigger than ourselves, we have an opportunity to design and, and scale, not just our lives, but the kinds of cultures that we wanna build, the kinds of, you know, environments we wanna live in. And so community is in it.

It is that, it's that network, it's that scaffolding for people's ability to. , uh, move from one era to the next. The second thing that community is, is uniquely powerful in, in doing is helping people create new practices or new habits in their lives. So, so why is that? Well, when. We as human beings are by ourselves.

We have sort of a finite amount of self-discipline. Like by the end of the day, like if you are not being fed by the people around you, you're like, I am closed for business. Whereas when you are in a community that has a purpose, that that has a motivation to it, that people show up and they know why they're there and they know how they're supposed to interact with each other.

You're actually able to tap into. , the energy and the, um, the, the, the motivation of the group. So you're not having to tap your own, your own finite. Pool of energy, but rather you tap into the, the cultural norms, the, you know, the, the social proof and the, the energy of a community in ways that you just don't even think about.

So then that gives you that, that energy and generative drive to get through those 30 or 40 or 60 days of building a new practice or changing a habit such that you like wake up and you're like, Ew. , I wouldn't not work out today. Or like you look at McDonald's and you're like, U gross, um, or like whatever it is that you want to change a practice around prayer or practice around medi meditation.

A practice around getting really centered and grounded with, uh, with the stories and, and philosophies and approaches that we know are critical to our. And third, because you can navigate change that you can bring to life new, uh, new worlds, new cultures, new opportunities, and you can change. You have, you have more agency when you are in a community over how you live and show up for yourself, your life, your friends, your family.

Your, you know, the, the community around you, the impact you have, you are able to experience through the power of community results and transformation that any one of us can't get on our own. So, When you think about sort of those three buckets for why community is so important, um, you know, this is not about like a digital chat room.

Yeah. This is about how are we harnessing the power of technology that for many of us feel ha has, has felt like, you know, there's some algorithm that has removed agency and all that we can do is like fight about the past. Um, rather this is this. only through the power of community and the ability to design and scale consciously what kind of culture we want for the places and ways that we spend our time.

The congregations that we're a part of, only through community and only through orchestrating cultural change, uh, and scaling that. Are we gonna start? I, I believe, are we gonna start to feel. More positive, more optimistic, more, more again, of that sense of agency over the world that we're creating as opposed to it feeling like, you know, everything's going to hell in a hand basket.

Yeah. I think you, uh, just gave us a masterclass in community and, um, you said a couple things that are, I think, culturally counterintuitive. . Um, one of the, you know, the first thing, if I could remember back to the first bucket, you said, it helps us navigate change of disruption. Um, the second thing you said was, uh, it gives us agency, um, oftentimes in communities, people don't see those two things as, um, as something that community solves.

Could you. Dive deeper into how, how does it help, um, help in, um, disruptive times? Like what is it about community that actually helps us do

that? Yeah. Uh, yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, so the thing that community allows us to do is have realtime situational awareness, which, you know, is a fancy way of saying, You know, when, when the world is changing really, really quickly, there's not a book that you can necessarily like Right.

refer back to except maybe the Bible, you know? Right. But like, but, but you have to actually, but, but what is the interpretation of the Bible for this moment? And, and yeah, it, it

may give you information, but it doesn't give you application. Yeah,

yeah. Correct. So a community gives you application, it gives you the stories of other members and what they're doing in ways that, you know, as we are more isolated in, in many, in physically, more isolated in many cases.

And I think that that will start to change. But you know, we're all living our lives and when we go out in public, it. A little bit more awkward. So our phone is like our best friend. And so what we have to actually do is start to be really conscientious and and thoughtful about how we're structuring people to be able to interact with each other and what norms we're creating in.

in the context of community, because that's the only way you can actually create new norms, create new culture. Yeah. Is through community. And so when you start to think about the fact that, that when, when kind of all bets are off, how do you understand what is happening? You can only understand it through information networks of the people that you are communicating with.

It's, it's, it's really, you know, first principles, um, in, in terms of, of something that is that simple. To from, you know, from where I'm coming from and where I'm sitting, the only way to navigate transitions is through, through really strong networks, and those really strong networks cannot be built if all you have is I talk out at you, I, I quote unquote, produce content, and I push content.

into large platforms that where, where it's a fight for attention and it's, um, it's defined by, you know, this nameless, faceless, semi ominous algorithm in ter or in terms of what I even see or who's gonna see what I'm saying. We, we just remove that. We basically say that model is broken. It is not coming, it, it is not going to all of a sudden become a positive influence in our lives.

And what we have to actually do is, is start new communities that we are, we are proactively building new cultures around so that we know when we show up. That, that it's cool to direct message somebody and ask for help or to offer to show up and, and, and say, Hey, I'm Gina. Here are the things that I can offer this community.

Um, you know, I'm here to listen to you when you're trying to process a challenge. I'm here to think about, you know, how and where we get, you know, the most out of this chapter of our lives. I'm here to, to help you and, and we're here to help each other. , um, reframe something that feels like we're, it's happened to us and we're a victim into something that we have agency over, and that each and every one of us has the opportunity divine to define the life that we wanna have.

So, to me, that is only possible through community. And what's beautiful is this, is this moment. You know, software can absolutely be used for good or evil, full, full. , but there are some forms of culture that are possible with some forms of technology where it's just easier to be generative. It's easier to be proactive, it's easier to feel like you have agency and community is one of those places because we're building it.

and it feels like, hey, we can, we can take a, you know, we can take an action and people might join us. We, we can hold an event and people are gonna show up. We can have an idea. And, um, you know, somebody else can raise their hand and say, yeah, I, I, I wanna go do that with you. Let's go make that real. And.

Those kinds of things can only happen in a community, especially in 2022 when, you know, what, what we thought was gonna be the, the great promise of social media and social technologies, um, has really become, I, I would argue, a monoculture. And in that monoculture, it, it consists of something very, you know, very clear action reaction.

action. Yeah. Reaction, action, reaction. And the more extreme the action and the more extreme the reaction, the more attention it gets. That is a recipe for, uh, resentment. That is a recipe for division, that is a recipe for looking backwards, not looking forward. That is a recipe for. Destruction in a way that I, I personally refuse to accept.

And I know that there are enough people in the world that also refuse to accept it, and we're building software for those people.

That's amazing. I, you know, I don't think they set out to do that. , uh, when they started. But for whatever reason, I was there. I

was there. Yeah, I was there. And I'll tell you, nobody thought that it was gonna go down this way.

And, you know, there were probably three or four fundamental decisions that were made, um, yeah, that I think anybody could go back and change. They would, but it unfortunately, what do you think they were? Unfortunately, so I think that the number one was that. We didn't, you know, the, the, the promise of connecting the world felt like everybody would get along if, if only they would connect each other.

You know, if only they were connected, everybody would understand each other.

As long as we don't have elections, that's fine. Right. ,

you know, so unfortunately, uh, so that to me was kind of, well, I, I would go back to. That being problematic. But part of, I would argue the original sin of social media was this notion that like, if you think about.

The number, it's not the algorithm. It's actually the number of times any of us as individuals are asked every time we show up to a service that, you know, at last count, people are showing up to, whether it's Facebook or Instagram or, or, or TikTok or Twitter, uh, like 40 times a day. LinkedIn 40 times a day, and every single one of those services does something.

Interesting. They ask you what you think, how are you? Hmm. How do you feel? What's your opinion about this? And so we've, we've lost truth, not because of the, out of some like boogeyman algorithm, we've lost the sense that, um,

anything is more important than our opinion. , you know, what we think And so, you know, or how we feel about something. And there's a time and a place for that. But it's not the, the, the, the thing that is most paramount. And it became about the individual. So it became about like I talk out at you, I share, I, I I push my opinions.

You respond to those opinions, and that's. all it is. And, and that became kind of the easiest way to make money and the simplest way to make money. And that's cool, like mm-hmm . But we as individuals and we as groups of people and we as communities and we as, uh, leaders, have an opportunity to say, no, no, no, no, no.

Like we tried that good experiment. We learned some great things. Um, but we are happi. We are more content. We find more meaning, and we have purpose When we are able to come into smaller communities for different parts of our lives and not try to live. And, and ex experience all of our identities, all of our interests, all of our passions, all of our beliefs, all of our goals in one monoculture, one feed where we are supposed to be our complete and authentic selves.

When candidly, that's not how people are made. people are made to explore and follow their curiosity and experience new things and to have deeper connections where the, the. Philosophies and values of the community are as important, if not more important to our happiness, to our satisfaction, to our quality of relationships, to, to the things we believe are important and how we, how we belong.

And that's just not happening or will ever happen in late stage social.

Yeah, that's really good. I, and I think they're gonna revert back to entertainment based because it's easier to make money anyways. , especially with all the privacy stuff. But as I hear you talking, um, I can't help but think there's a, there's a spiritual cord to the stuff that you're talking about.

It's like, for sure it's, and they missed that completely. Uh, why, why did, why did they miss it?

You know, I think that there, there's probably a lot of reasons, but I would say fundamentally, um, when you are a left brain, um, engineer, you are trying to build, and, and by the way, For the software we build at Mighty, we have left brain engineers. So , right? I mean, you need 'em, you need both sides. What I exactly.

When I built a Ning, uh, with some amazing engineers, you know, but, but I would say there was this sense of, um, Like, let's make it clean, let's make it organized. Mm-hmm. , let's make it mm-hmm. actually, sadly sterile. Yeah. And, and you know, when there's sort of, I think, been lost the nuance around science and spirituality that has always existed historically where science and innovation, Could coexist and almost be embraced as a spiritual practice.

Mm, mm-hmm. , and increasingly, I think we, you know, I, I think there's been a level of cynicism and a level of, again, when we spend more and more of our time in these sort of very sterile environments, people are yearning. For an aspect of spirituality to all of this, because we are spiritual beings. It's what sets us apart from, I, I mean, no, no, no.

Knock on the animals. They have their own thing going on. But like all I can say is for human beings we are, we are meant to be a part of something that allows us here on earth to feel like we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. This is why we have agency. This is why we. Philosophy. It's why we have values, it's why it's what governs how we interact with each other.

Um, it governs how we can show up and we can say, how do I, how do I, how do I show up and exist on this planet to help you see beauty, see connection, see, love, see, challenge and, and the overcoming of challenge. and achieve things. Not, not, you know, not money, not physical like, but achieve things that we didn't think were possible in our lives.

And yeah, if, if, if, if you, if you can't see a spiritual component to that, I mean, what's up, like kind of obvious.

Yeah. How did you, how did you discover that? Like, what was, what was the thing that went like, oh, this is, this is an epiphany for. Did you have those

moments? Um, you know, it's so interesting. You know, I've never had, I wouldn't describe it as like one moment.

Like, it's not like I went on like a hike and like Right.

clouds, like, oh, there's the


Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was like sunrises and like, you know, the clouds parted and, and the like, you know. , like sun came down. But, but no, I think for me, my, you know, my sense of what brings, you know, what makes life meaningful is our interests, our passions, and the, and, and this is, you know, our, our practices, our beliefs, but most importantly, the people that we.

along the way, the people that we build relationships with, the people that we build families with, the people that we build, yeah. Institutions with the people that we build and craft and design the culture that we operate in. And that is, Something that I've always been drawn to, always been passionate about, always been kind of curious about and obsessed by even when it means like reading, like a really dry book about like Right, right.

Culture or status or Yeah. You know, all of the, all of these topics. Um, and so, you know, for me, , and I think that this is true for, you know, so many of us when it comes to our interests, our passions, our our beliefs, it when you find them, they just sort of feel right. And you're like, how is that h h how did I not believe that before?

So, I, it would make such a better story if I'm just like, I, I woke up one morning and I had this person in my life and they taught me everything I needed to know about community, and I dedicated my life to it. And I, I should really have that answer and I don't.

Yeah. Well, I think most of us back into it, right?

So, and I don't, Um, it seems like there's this thing inside of us that keeps us to go on. It keeps us on a journey, right? And so we have these little steps along the way, so it's not one relationship. It's probably 15 relationships and yeah, one little kernel of truth come along the

way. Yeah. Yeah. And I would say, you know, being conscious and thoughtful.

you know, looking at your relationships and saying, am am. Mm-hmm. , you know, and if I, and if you don't know the people that make you feel like the world is expanding, that, that the world is, there's more possibilities, um, then we need to be in a position, and this is, I think one of the, the real powers of technology is that we need to offer.

and need to have the courage to then look beyond the relationships that we have, to the relation, the relationships that we can build around what we call and think about it at Mighty as your big purpose, the motivation for a community. Why are you coming to, who are you bringing together? Why are we, what are we gonna do together?

And, and what's the point? Like what are the results and transformation that we wanna have? coming out of a community. Um, and, and again, that doesn't have to be, you know, external success. It can be, you know, a, a, a sense of peace, calm, comfort with who we are, gratitude for the world around us. Finding ways to show up for people that help them think bigger and believe in their fullest potential.

And. harness the power of a community to, to take on something that is so much bigger than any individual. And I, I just, I believe that that's why we're all here. Yeah, as you're

talking about, uh, all of this, there's a word in the Hebrew called has said, and what's it called? Uh, Hesed, h e s e d. Okay. So, um, Paul writes, uh, in First Corinthians chapter 13, Uh, about love and we always use it for like, uh, marriages.

It's the, we call it it the love chapter in scripture. And he's actually trying to define, has said because they didn't have a good Greek word to combine everything he was talking about. Well, uh, psychologists have been talking about, uh, secure attachment theory. Mm-hmm. , um, and what you're talking about with, uh, community.

It just brings me back to the, uh, the Jewish concept of has said and what Paul was trying to talk about. Yes. Uh, working on, and so you're talking secure attachment. Um, and that's what we're after, and that's the thing that causes human flourishing on the inside of all of us. And so, right. I don't know if we just need to, uh, Community to love like and real


Right. But the problem with that, it just, changing it to love is then we have to go through what you just had to say. It's like, no, no,

no. We don't need, I know, I know. It's, there's not a really good

explanation, but it, it's, it's interesting because what you just said it so beautifully, secure attachment, the sense that we belong to a community.

Yeah. To each other. To each other. Mm-hmm. , we, this is like, human beings are complex in many ways, but not that complex. Mm-hmm. . And what I think is, you know, what was the missed opportunity in the first version of social technologies was that it was easier. and I talk about them in the past tense because I believe that we have entered a new chapter.

I think it's happening, you know? Oh yeah. I would agree. They, they, they, they talk about, you know, the future is here. It's just unevenly distributed. Yes. And I think that that's true. And I, and I certainly live, you know, Jesus

said that, right. The kingdom of God is here and not yet. Like he, he did the same thing.

It's like, yeah, it's now and near all the time. He was like here and not yet here and not yet. So he is talking about the uneven distribution, right? The un of the

kingdom of Heaven. Yeah. It's, and so when we start to think about like what, what a whole generation of people have come to believe is, Val, our value, it's how many followers do we.

You know, how many views do we have? Mm-hmm. , how many people are seeing our ideas? And I, and one of the things I've found is when, you know, in the relationships that I have with people that have large followings, they're asking themselves a lot of questions of like, what's it for? And the ones that , what's the point?

Yeah. What's the point? And and the ones who are happiest, the ones who are invigorated and the ones who have energy for the future are those that know their big purpose. Mm-hmm. and, and look, their big purpose may be like the really big purpose, or it might be. . I know people will have more energy and if they eat a plant-based diet, I don't eat, by the way.

Yeah. Just a plant-based diet. But like there are like we need, right? We need more people in the world who are like, I'm going to create a culture around plant-based diets and to create a community where that culture can thrive. I'm gonna educate people. I'm going to inspire people and I'm going to surround them with other people that are going to make, coming back to our new practices and changing habits that are going to make this new lifestyle around plant-based eating.

Something that starts with that secure connection to each other. Yeah. And so when you start to just think about this where, where we've been, which is. , our value is in how many people we reach to our, to a new world where our value is about the cultures that we can cultivate and design and scale. Maybe it's for a small number of people, but what I think is so interesting is the number of people with high profile followings and the number of people who are like, I want more.

I like, I have enough money and I'm gonna get more. , it's gonna be fine. Yeah. But what I wanna have is impact. Yeah. I, I, I want to be a part of the solutions. I don't want to just be stuck. in, you know, the, the, essentially the high fructose corn syrup of human connection. ?

Yes. That's so good. All right. We've been talking at 30,000 foot and uh, which I think you and I could have a lot of fun talking there for a lot longer, but, um, uh, obviously with business leaders that have to run businesses and church leaders that have to run churches,

Um, we, I would love to bring this down. Um, why is what we're talking about the future, like what is it about community that is poises it better for innovation in the long run? Yes. Why should they do it?

So fundamentally, where are people gonna spend their time? They're gonna spend their time in places that offer them something of value that they want to have in their lives.

Typically, when we are making this about how people. Achieve results and transformation in their lives. That is an incredibly valuable thing to be able to offer people. Yes. What do people do when they are faced with the opportunity for something very valuable to them? For them, they pay for it. Mm-hmm.

simple as that. They pay with their time. They pay with their money. , they pay with their attention, they pay with their contributions. And so when you start to think about where does revenue come from, where does money come from? Where does our ability to expand, um, institutions and brands and the number of people that we can reach?

It comes from first and foremost, giving people and providing people a purpose for that community, a motivation for that community, or a motivation for any action. Brass tax people pay attention to what they pay for communities on Mighty that have, uh, paywalls to them have 10 x the engagement of those that are free.


is what I tell people in the church world, and I know they don't like it, but it's true. People don't buy in to what they don't buy, especially in the

American. Yes. And so when you just start to even think about the fact that y you know, there's always been a business model for churches. Always. Yeah.

You know, and, and, and it's a beautiful business model because the people that can pay pay and the people that need help are offered help. That's,

yeah. And they usually contribute in a way that the people that pay can't. And so, right. Yeah. It is beautiful. It's a virtuous

cycle. Definitely. So, exactly. So, You know, every spiritual organization, you know, starts with impact.

It starts with values, it starts with purpose. And only through that though, are you given the opportunity to generate resources that allow you to build something even more special, have that impact in people's lives. That, that, that, again, the data's really clear on this. Um, having. people pay will cause them to pay more attention.

Mm-hmm. And, and that we see that in engagement. We see that in return members. We see that in level of contribution. We see that in the relationships that they're building with other members. We see it across the board. Um, and so, you know, just a, again, from a, from a brass tax perspective, um, our platform is.

Growing rapidly. A hundred percent year over year for the past four years. Wow. Yeah. And that's awesome. You know, continuing to grow and, and so, you know, all the things that we're talking about at a very high level, you know, that's our why. That's why we do what we do. Mm-hmm. , um, the fact that that money comes.

and resources come with that mission is just kind of obvious. So, yeah. You know? Yes. We're talking at 3000, we're now talking at 3000 feet. I'm just, we're 3000 feet.

Yes. Yeah,

yeah. No, you're good. We were 30 . Uh, but, but no, fundamentally in terms of. , you know how it works. You know, we, we always start with communities, courses, memberships all need to have a motivation for people to join, and it has to be on some level, very clear who you serve, very clear what you're gonna do together.

And most importantly, very clear what people are gonna get for their time, their energy, their contribution. Mm.

Yep. Um, I, I appreciate that. I, I'm also thinking about, um, organizations that are doing internal culture. I've been helping a business out that's got over 350 employees and they're making the shift into, uh, fractional hybrid workspace.

Mm-hmm. . And so for those of you that don't know what fractional hybrid is, it's mostly remote coming in every once in a while to hang out with the team. Um, , I told them the thing that they're gonna run into is you have to manufacture water cooler moments now that you would get in a physical space. And, uh, so, uh, I I, I hear a lot about quiet quitting with everything that's going on right now and the fact that people just wanna log off and become isolated.

But I think what you're talking about with community is also important for internal company cultures, and I'm sure you have some insight into that as well. Obviously, you're a C E O. I would love for you to talk to that as well.

Yeah. So, so first and foremost, I, I think that there's a, there's a fundamental assumption that, uh, that, that again, requires challenge.

Uh, and that is that our work is supposed to be all, all purpose. it's supposed to give us mm-hmm. , you know, it's supposed to give us meaning, it's supposed to give us purpose, it's supposed to give us relationships. It's supposed to give us like all the things. Yeah. Again, people are multifaceted beings, that Yeah.

Are, are happiest when there's, there's novelty that there's diversity and, and not diversity in, in kind of the way that it's, it's, it's sort of become, um, used but rather. Meeting new and interesting people. Mm-hmm. doing new and mm-hmm. taking on new and interesting challenges. And so, yeah. You know, fundamentally it's not about are you in person together, are you remote?

It's about, is there clarity of purpose? Are we clear why, what we're doing and why we're doing it? And let's be honest, it's harder to do that when you are remote because mm-hmm. , you know, you, you, you can't just bring everybody together around the table at lunchtime or. But you know what, no modern corporation can do that today because there's too many offices, right?

And there's people. So the part to me that I think is so fascinating is the sense of like, oh my gosh, now that there's no offices, there's no culture, you know, we've just spent the last 20, you know, 25 years building online cultures. There's a, there's a structure to them. They, there is an orchestration to them.

This is ultimately why, you know, as, as mighty continues to, to innovate and evolve. We, we view what we do as building cultural software, cult software that allows you in a virtual world with the occasional pop of in real life. But to , but to consciously define a. Bring people into that culture and the microphone just fell.

You all right? Yeah. Yeah. I'm, I'm gonna live, I'm, I'm, I'm all right. . Um, so define the culture. Yeah. Orchestrate the culture. Model the culture. Um, Push agreements into the culture. Cuz again, rules are like the, the fact that we rely so heavily on rules, like, or guidelines. So it's like somebody shows up, they don't know anything about an online culture and the next thing they know they're being treated like a criminal with like all the things that, that there's almost this assumption that you're gonna do, like show up and be horrible and mean and racist.

It's like really like how about instead we talk about what we do. , the agreements that we have with each other. Mm-hmm. , what is a comfortable norm? So you know what we expect from you. Mm-hmm. , we know, you know, what we're supposed to do. And the thing about remote or, you know, virtual communities is unlike.

Norms in the real world, or, or sort of that, those social cues, you have to be explicit. And I would argue the best communities, the ones that can scale, the ones where members feel warmly welcomed, where it's easy to reach out to somebody because somebody has told you how to reach out to people. Um, that like, oh, around here.

Feel free to DM people. You know, here's a list of our top members. They're gonna be, they're, they are, they've agreed. To, if they get messages from you and questions from you, that they'll answer them. So you can ask them, or, you know, here's, here's this space for


members. Guess what? Like, you can meet and build relationships with other members.

And by the way, if you're, if like in a, you know, public, if you're weird, like, we're gonna say something to you before we kick you out. Um, and we're gonna try our best to avoid spammers and, uh, like, but we will kick you out if, if we have to.

And by the way, that very rarely happens. It very rarely happens on, on our community.

I've had one conversation in three years and it was like, oh, I didn't know. And it was a great conversation. That's

exactly right, because when you set the norms and you tell people mm-hmm. what they should do, what they can do, and, and this is probably most important, Why it matters, what they're gonna get from it.

So it like, if, if somebody's showing up for what we call at, at Mighty, your big purpose, you know, you are already coming in, primed for why you're there. Yeah. You are there because you are surrounded by people who share the same curiosity about a topic or are passionate about learning. This particular area of the world.

And, um, you know, when, when you, when, when you have those things and you tell people, the culture that we're building here does this, this, and this, nine times outta 10 or 10 times outta 10, People are like, oh my God, thanks. The only reason that many people mess up in a community is not because they're, they're certainly bad actors, but like, it's typically from ignorance.

Yeah. . And why, why don't they engage? You know, we have a lot of people that are like, they show up in our own mighty community and they're like, Why aren't my members engaging? And I, I asked them, it's like, well, have


told them like to engage ? What you, what you do here? Yeah. Have you like shown them ways?

Like, and that's why we have features again, back to our. 30, or let's call it a three foot level, you know, we have things like poles and prompts and questions. Mm-hmm. and an icebreaker question when you come into a, a mighty network mm-hmm. . And we have all of those things because they are the small ways that people can share their stories, their experiences, their ideas.

Yes. That aren't just limited to, you know, that, that. Again, what I think about is social media's original sin of like, the only thing that matters is what you think. Like how do you feel? What do you think about this? And instead it's about, hey, how do we design and scale culture so that each and every one of us can navigate change, um, seize transitions to to be opportunities for us to realize our full potential, uh, build new practices and new habits, strengthen.

our purpose around relationships that we are building as a, as a member of this community and ultimately, you know, fast track our path to be able to do stuff that, you know, a year from now that we can't do today. So that I think is, is the really important piece and where. , um, you know, so many people believe they're doing the right thing by setting up a community and, and telling people all the things they shouldn't do, as opposed to, you know, setting up, this is our culture and these are the agreements that we have as part of our culture, and here's how we interact with each other and here's what we're modeling and also, you know, how we want to scale this network.

Um, and so that is as relevant for an internal culture in a virtual world as it is for. I r l culture, although I r l cultures need, need that explicitness too, because we've all gone a little feral, you know? Yeah. We, we've all, you know, we've all spent more time, you know, staring into, you know, basically having the, the, the inner, the inner, the intermediation of.

a digital device in terms of how we experience people. And so we all need help. I need help. Like I'm going to a co an in-person conference next week and I feel anxious. I'm like, oh my God. Like, mm. You know, how do you talk to people? And, you know, we're, you know, we've now been out of this long enough where it's like, I'm not gonna have that excuse of, of Covid anymore.

Um, yeah. But I, I, I do think the best cultures are going to be built. built and scaled with conscious design, thoughtful agreements that we are asking people to make with each other, really embracing the fact that that human beings are, we're an organic system. It's, it is. Mm-hmm. , and we ta we talk and think about it.

So often it's like scaling something mechanical, uh, or yeah. In, in it's bits and bites. And the reality is we, we function much more like a garden, um mm-hmm. . , then we do a, a. So

true, so true. I could talk to you for another hour. , you're so got a great wealth of knowledge, obviously. Uh, you know, I would love to at some point again, uh, but uh, I've got you for a few more minutes.

Would you talk, uh, to my audience about why they need Mighty Networks? Sure. Because I think they sh they do .

Yeah. So, well, so I would start with what's the altern. You know, so it's like, where are you starting? Like, okay, so are you, are, are, are you not convinced that you even need a community? It feels like it's a lot of work.

Like what happens if like, you know, I I always call it the, the, the Saturday night Surprise where it's like you're like, At your house watching Top Gun Maverick and like you get a notification, you're like, ah, somebody showed up in my community and they're like blowing it up and like there's all sorts of problems and all I wanna do is watch Top Gun Maverick tonight.

Right? So, um, completely, hypothetically speaking. Uh, and so, you know, the, there's, there's the folks that are, I'll call it community curious, but it's like, ah, like, I don't know, or, or I, I don't like technology, I'm not good at it. Or they're the people that are like, well, we have a Facebook group. Or we use Slack or you know, well our, our different


um, and bible studies, uh, just they use WhatsApp today and it's fine.

So here is how Mighty is different and it is different. We start with the goal of how are you able to scale an organic system through. Multiple features that allow you to bring together the ways to, to design and scale a culture, a culture of that Bible, study, a culture of your congregation, ways to help people.

Figure out what they're supposed to do together and then go and do it. And so we call this cultural software, and what it means in practice is that you have a choice of the features that you want to bring to people such that you can start with live streaming. You can start with live streaming. You can use that as a way to introduce your members to each other, but also, you know, IM imbue your community with some culture.

With, with, mm-hmm. With new learning. Mm-hmm. You can have online courses. There is no online course in WhatsApp. There is no online course. Mm-hmm. Opportunity in a Facebook group. , the fact that online courses, which are really about how people learn new things and absorb them, you know, there, there's a reason why, you know, the, the, the, the world has not progressed because of videos and PDFs, uh, and this whole, we've, we've progressed because of interaction with other human beings around new and interesting topics such that you can mix and remix ideas.

Yeah. So we have, we, we are the only platform that has brought. Into the world where you can have. live streaming and courses and memberships and messaging and profiles and events and event series together in one place so that you can really take people on a journey, uh, in ways that just aren't possible with anything from a Facebook group to, to slack or discord.

Now, you might someone. obviously might be asking me, well, that's not true, Gina. In my Facebook group, we have events and I can go live and I have members. Yeah. Well, guess what? So number one, most of your members are experiencing your community on a Facebook group. In between political arguments, toxic, you know, debates and pictures of, uh, weddings, funerals, new babies.

Graduations and first days of school. Mm-hmm. and birthdays. Birthdays. Celebrating birthdays, . Yeah. Um, and so the problem is that communities are built with focus. They're built by, by bringing people together in an immersive experience. And a Facebook group is simply not an immersive experience when the vast majority of people are experiencing it in three second increments.

Second. Mm-hmm. , you don't. , you have no ability to message all members. It's that simple. Yep. You have, you don't know who's in your group, so you have to have like a, a spreadsheet somewhere else. Uh, you have to like, if, if you have sort of the sense of like, oh my gosh, I need to teach people something, you have to do that somewhere else.

If you wanna just have like a simple webpage that has like our agreements, you probably have to do that somewhere else. You could do it as a post and pin the post. I get it. I get it. Yeah. Um. , it's not yours. And I, I think anybody who is trying to design a community and, and scale a new culture and bring people purpose and and meaning, and, and have some impact, the idea that you're gonna do that when you are fighting for their attention over and over and over again in a Facebook group, what happens in a Facebook group, there's an entire column of precious real.

of other Facebook groups, people. Basically people are saying, Hey, you know, all that work that you've done to try to like bring focus to your Facebook group? Well, we don't care. Yeah, you gotta. Yeah. So yes, so you know, again, I think, you know, most people just don't know that that there is, because the future is even, you know, unevenly distributed, that there's even the option of being able to create our own spaces for our own communities with our own ability to design the culture that people show up to.

The identity that they start to absorb the, the sense of purpose and meaning and joy that comes from being able to build relationships with a smaller set of people. And ultimately for those folks that are leaning back with their business hat on, you can reach all of your members, increased retention, increase loyalty, and um, ultimately tap them to grow your community in new and interesting.

Yeah. That's so good. So, Gina, one, I appreciate this time you, I know you're super busy. Uh, this has been wonderful. I love this conversation. I think we need to have these conversations more often. Uh, where would people, uh, go if they wanted to reach out? Wanna learn more about Mighty Networks? More about what you guys are doing?

Two fun ways. Number one, mighty networks.com. We also have our own mighty community at shockingly community dot mighty networks.com, . And uh, and you know, that's where we model our approach to community. We call community design. It's where you can learn about your big purpose and, and how you translate at that into a community design plan, which is the simplest, easiest way to run a community, scale a community, cuz it's all about.

You set up members interacting with other members, not just relying on your content alone. Um, so those are, those are the places I spend the most time. Uh, yeah. And I, you can also follow me on Twitter, although I don't tweet as often as I probably will start, uh, just at Gina b. Um, and so I really appreciate the time that, that you've given me this morning.

It's been more than. Yeah, it's been

a lot of fun. A lot of fun. So I definitely posted in the community cuz I'm in there. It was great. Great. So yeah. Fantastic. Well thank you. Thank you very much.

You got it. Have a great rest of your day.

Chestly Lunday

Chestly Lunday

Chestly Lunday led two pioneering national research studies on emerging generational trends in technological engagement and faith to help faith-based organizations shift their practices to reach young people. He is an expert in Organizational Leadership, Digital Transformation, and Intergenerational Team-Building and a sought-after international speaker. Chestly was an Airman in the Air National Guard, has started two non-profits, and three businesses. Currently, he coaches entrepreneurs of young, fast-growing business with 10-50 employees to grow their time, and team and profits without burning out. Chestly's insights have helped many leaders grow their organizations in a disruptive time of generational and technological change.

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