One Year of Building Community in Groove

The three lessons I’m taking with me into year two at Groove…

Taylor Harrington
Groove With Us
7 min readJul 26, 2022


I’ve spent the last 365 days as Head of Community at Groove. My teammate Brandy and I laughed the other day thinking about the contrast between my to-do list a year ago vs. today. The Groove community was so small (26 people to be exact!) and was mostly made up of team members, investors, and friends of the team.

A special benefit of being a part of a team with a weekly practice to plan our sprints (aka our to do lists) together is that I can literally tell you exactly what was on my to-do list on this date in 2021.

I was setting up times to Groove with existing community members to get to know them (and then scribbling as many details down as I could about who they are while we talked). I was creating a script for the first-ever Groove demo video, writing my first community newsletter, and building a list of challenge points so I could identify how I was going to organize all the info I was learning about community members.

Some of the tasks on my to-do list from this week, one year ago

Over the last 365 days, I’ve learned so much about building community. These are 3 of the key learnings I’m taking with me into year two at Groove…

1. Community wins and milestones come in all shapes and sizes.

I’m so grateful to work with a community that has been vocal about how much they love Groove and how much of a difference it’s made in their lives. Naturally, when you start out at such an early-stage company, there are a lot of firsts: first time I onboarded someone into the community, first time I hosted a community event, first time a Groover shared feedback with me.

And, then firsts start to become a bit more creative — things that as a community leader, I wasn’t expecting to feel were so emotionally important, but were.

  • The first time a Groover onboarded a New Groover in front of me. I watched them give a full tutorial like I used to…and they rocked it! It made me feel so comforted that our community members will help us scale Groove and share the experience as we grow.
  • The first time I laughed so hard in a Groove that I was crying. It was the first moment I felt like I had built really great friendships in Groove…and it was possible for others to too.
  • The first time I heard some Groovers had a group chat with people they’ve only met on Groove. They’re hanging out!
  • The first time people stayed in a post-Groove chat, talking for over 2 hours. For context, people usually stay in there for 3–5minutes, so the fact that two Groovers got along so well they talked for two hours straight was a huge win.
  • The first time someone hopped on to celebrate their birthday in the Groove because they felt this community was such a big part of their year.
  • The first time someone Grooved a bunch and I didn’t know them; I wasn’t at the center of the onboarding system anymore.
  • The first time Groovers met up IRL.
  • The first time two community members started to work together…and when another bought something for his daughter from another Groover’s Etsy shop.
  • The first time someone really expressed gratitude for Groove being a part of their life and thankful ‘Groove found her’.

These are just a few of many amazing moments from the last year. Community wins and milestones come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve realized that some of these things aren’t measurable: they’re not what you’re looking for when you list out your objectives or metrics, but they matter so much to building community and it’s important to keep track of them.

2. Don’t be afraid to do things differently and stray from the “community playbook”.

We’ve grown a lot over a year and have developed what we stand for during that time by listening to our community.

Last June, when I was busy working on the to-dos I listed above, my coworker Brandy was creating Groove’s social media handles. Yup, we were that early into the company. About 8 months later though, we decided not to be active on social media. We still have our accounts, but instead, we decided to focus on more old-school marketing tactics in line with our retro branding and recognize that Groovers were using Groove to better manage their time. We didn’t want to add to the noise of social media. Instead, we wanted to focus on creating long-form content that lasted, including our pick-me-up-hotline. You can read more on our decision to not post on social here.

Another hot take of ours as a company is that we’re a platform that doesn’t lean on vanity metrics and gamification to grow and increase engagement. We’ve learned firsthand that Groove isn’t a place to compete, to bring in status games, or, again, waste your time doom scrolling to find the best Groovemate. After hundreds of conversations with Groovers, we’ve learned that we have an opportunity to stand for something better by not falling into those traps and we’ve done just that.

Now we have a clear understanding of what our community stands for, based on the voices of our community members. When we make decisions, we think our community first, which makes it easier to answer the question, “Does that feel Groove?”

Typically, community leaders would say an active social media presence is extremely important for growing your community and that gamification and vanity metrics are going to get your numbers to soar. We’re excited to be the rebels and prove those playbooks wrong.

3. Taking risks gets a lot easier when you listen to your community.

Experiments are called experiments for a reason. By running one, you’re leaning into the possibility that this might not work. We’ve run a bunch of them. We’ve tested things that were more successful than we imagined and others that flopped and taught us way more than we expected. And, sometimes experiments simply evolved in new ways to stay intentional and relevant. Staying flexible is key.

To name a couple of experiments…

  • When I started, there was no way to contact another Groover on the Groove app, so we created a Slack community. Groovers got access to Slack after Grooving 10x. Then, we built the ability to direct message in Groove. But, it didn’t fully replace all that Slack offered. So, we’ve kept both, but have created strict boundaries to communicate how Slack should be used by Groovers. It’s more of a bulletin board these days; pop on twice a week to see what’s new and engage.
  • Onboarding has been a series of evolving experiments. It started with 1:1 onboarding with Josh (Co-founder and CEO of Groove) and I using Calendly. Then, we changed it to just me and I stopped using Calendly and just picked a time via email with new Groovers. Then, there were four times per week where I promised I’d be on the app at that time, then we released a feature called scheduled Grooves so people could RSVP there. And, finally, we’ve opened up the opportunity for people to onboard themselves without me. We have some great email copy and a demo video for them to feel ready to jump into their first Groove.

With time, experiments become more comfortable. In the last year, I’ve realized that there’s a bit of a safety net in taking risks when you have such a supportive community to experiment with, especially in the beta testing phase. Having that net has helped me strengthen this muscle so that as we grow and come out of beta, I feel confident experimenting more and more.

What a Year

In May 2021, when I read the job description for this role, I thought…this is too good to be true. My first email ever to Josh Greene, CEO & Co-founder at Groove said, “[This role] sounds totally up my alley. I am extremely passionate about the problem you’re solving and would love to jump into a conversation and see if it might be a good fit […] At the core, I love creating meaningful experiences for connection. The opportunity to co-create a community from the beginning is music to my ears. It’s a chance to build with intention from the start.”

It’s wild to look back on how that passion has rippled into something much bigger than I could have imagined, a community of Groovers from around the world that also embodies a similar passion. They have that same deep-rooted feeling about how needed this is in the world. I am so grateful to be on this journey with them and this incredible team as we continue to build the future of Groove.

To my fellow community leaders, I leave you with this: lead with your heart, listen to your communities, and don’t be afraid to take risks. After one year, you’ll be amazed at what you can create.

If you liked this article, check these out:

  1. What We’ve Learned After Four Months of No Social Media
  2. Here’s a Look Inside Groove’s Website Redesign
  3. Or, if you’re a solopreneur looking to get sh*t done and have a good time while you’re at it ➡️



Taylor Harrington
Groove With Us

Head of Community @ Groove 💃🏼🕺🏼 Love bringing people together ✨ Curious about the future of work, community, & online learning 🤔 Board game player + reader