Why We’re Ending Our Love Affair with Slack and Facebook

And how our long search for a new community platform has finally borne fruit

Laurence McCahill
Mar 28, 2018 · 6 min read

For a long while now at The Happy Startup School we’ve been on the hunt for a dedicated platform that would not only allow us to nurture and build our community online, but also allow us to become the go-to place for inspiration, learning and connection for the purpose generation.

One where happiness and purpose play as important a role as money.

Finding the sweet spot where money and meaning meet – from The Happiness Trap

For too long we’ve had to make do with spreading ourselves thin across various platforms — a Facebook group, a Slack channel and a private members area.

Not to mention our Medium publication, Vimeo channel, podcasts, etc. And a multitude of Whatsapp groups from our various retreats.

We’ve always loved the idea of having our own app where we can bring our archive of great content and tribe of amazing humans into one place, but nothing has quite fit the bill.

The problem with Facebook

Well, just look at it.

Noise and distraction means maintaining focus is a huge challenge.

“It’s very difficult to build a community and build real relationships, when you’re constantly being kicked out to something else.” Gina Bianchini

You start with a good intention and before you know it you’re looking at videos of cats. Or worse.

The recent episode has only bolstered this wave of anti-Facebook sentiment.

The problem with Slack

Those that use it daily for work, tend to like it and be comfortable with it.

But from our experience this isn’t the majority.

It tends to attract a more techie crowd which doesn’t create the diversity we’re looking for. It feels like a steep learning curve for those that aren’t familiar with it.

But crucially it’s not designed for communities, it’s specifically for teams. And the threaded discussions are too clunky.

It all looks a bit, well, work-like.

Taking a different approach

After years of experimenting with different platforms our search is now over.

After being on our radar for a while Mighty Networks has recently launched a mobile app that is designed specifically for communities like ours. Previously known as Mighty Bell, it’s actually been around since 2010 and has been on our radar for a while.

However, it’s come on leaps and bounds with this latest release, so now feels like the right time to make this shift.

With some great features already in place, plus some exciting features in the pipeline for 2018, we’re confident that our unique offering powered by Mighty Networks will be a winning formula.

And we couldn’t be more happy with the initial response. We’ve heard words like ‘love’ and ‘wow’.

Here’s a sneak peek of our app:

Creating tech with purpose

“We’ve spent the past decade hardening identities that today divide us. Let’s spend the next decade building new connections around the deep interests that bring us together.” Gina Bianchini, Mighty Networks Founder

We realise getting into the habit of using a new technology can take time — we hate change as much as anyone.

Even so, we’re confident that as our members get familiar with our Mighty Network — and as we migrate people across from the other channels — they’ll be rewarded for their efforts and will see the method in our madness.

Here’s 5 reasons why this is the right move for us:

  1. Familiar
    The look and feel of the app is easy to get used to, as it uses familiar design patterns that reduce friction for new users.
  2. Focus
    The purpose of the app is clear and so you can get on with what you need to do without can getting sidetracked and distracted.
  3. Curated
    The content and conversations are organised and managed so that you can find what you want and need more easily, with a great search function.
  4. Private
    A safe space to ask the important questions and have the conversations that matter, with people that get you and your way of thinking.
  5. Home
    This is where we’ll be spending most of our time and like at our events we’ll make sure you feel welcome and look after.

We already have around 150 members on there and the engagement has so far been way higher, and interactions much more meaningful, than on other platforms. Whilst we want to grow the community we plan to put a cap at 500 members to keep it intimate.

And it’s not free. It’s a paid community for a reason.

We’ve learnt that if it’s free, the commitment isn’t there. And good work takes hard work.

We want people that place value on a meaningful community that nurtures them and their work, where they want to contribute and be of service to others. And support our mission.

“If we create networks with the sole intention of getting something, we won’t succeed. We can’t pursue the benefits of networks; the benefits ensue from investments in meaningful activities and relationships.” Adam Grant

The 4 pillars

Like any good community we have some underlying principles that we hope will be the foundations upon which knowledge and skills are shared, and real connections are made:

  • Connection
    This a home for people that want to follow a happier, more courageous path. So discovering a tribe of people just like you isn’t something to take for granted. Even if it feels a little uncomfortable saying hello to people you don’t know yet. As someone said to me at our last Summercamp “these aren’t strangers, they’re just friends I haven’t met yet.”
  • Learning
    The day we stop learning is the day we stop growing. Here you’ll find a community of lifelong learners, who are happy to admit they don’t know it all and are on a quest to be just a little bit smarter and wiser each day. Whether we succeed or fail, it’s important to enjoy the journey and share what we’ve learnt with each other.
  • Fun
    We all take our work seriously, but that’s not to say that we need to be burdened by it. We always strive to balance deep and meaningful conversations with moments of lightness, so we can get to know each other as people and not just business contacts. There’s no need for any professional masks in our community, it’s a place where you can let your guard down and talk like you would to a friend.
  • Contribution
    Experience tells us that offering our talents and gifts to others, can actually help us achieve the breakthroughs we seek ourselves. At the opening of our events you’ll hear us say ‘you get what you give’, and this applies as much here as it does in the real world. Those that do, consistently get way more back in return.
Help is at hand

Our goal is to create an oasis of kindness in the sea of noise and self-interest that is the internet. A home for purposemakers everywhere — where meaningful interactions triumph over time-wasting distractions.

I hope you’ll join us. Trust me when I say you won’t regret it.

Request an invite to our Mighty Network here

Read our follow up post

“The Happy Startup School is the antidote to business as usual, and when running yourself into the ground no longer make sense. Here’s a community of people that are living proof that a more human(e), healthy, loving and fun way of doing business — or indeed any kind of work — is more than possible.” Agnes, UK

The Happy Startup School

Build a life and business rich with purpose

Laurence McCahill

Written by

Co-founder The Happy Startup School. Building a global community of heart-shaped entrepreneurs and leaders, one event at a time.

The Happy Startup School

Build a life and business rich with purpose