Why I’m Shutting Down Growth Hack Midwest

My love for internet communities extends back to when it took 4 minutes to log into AOL.

Because of that, many of my formative experiences happened online and I learned a lot from the people I met there.

As an adult, I found tons of value in similar communities with entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses.

So I thought I would try it myself. Others in Wichita inspired me to try and contribute to the community in a way that came naturally to me.

But after careful consideration, I have chosen to close the Growth Hack Midwest Facebook Group and end the Newsletter.

To explain why, I’d like to share some things I learned from this experiment and highlight the nuggets in there.

I am not a community organizer

The infrastructure of an online community is the easy part. The hard part is being the type of person who can find time to engage and inspire a community of people.

I mean, there are both amateur and professional community organizers by title. And they deserve that, title because it’s a real skill.

A skill that I do not have.

I learned that networking with and engaging a community takes a lot of work. Even more if you are bad at it. This extra work to operate outside of your comfort zone is prohibitive.

But I wanted to be good at it. So I took it slowly.

People are busy

Is talking about work not work? It can be, but not always. Not everyone can chat all day at work. Not everyone can remember to save nuggets to share with a group. We’re good at the internet, we research our questions on Google.

Question, Research, Study, Implement.

That’s the life of a marketer. Now you are talking about adding an extra layer to remember, talk, discuss, and share these with people who don’t work with me? That’s a tough sell.

So we moved the channel from Slack to Facebook to try and meet our users half-way. “Everyone is on Facebook,” I thought. In the move, we inevitably lost users.

The newsletter was working

I really enjoyed writing it and I thought I had shared some good articles.

But since I was doing a terrible job at engaging the community, it was a one marketer show.

A marketer who, as it turns out, forgets to publish said newsletter when he gets stressed out. A marketer whose life plans started getting in the way of the process.

I ran out of steam

During an interview process and my first few weeks at the new job, I let the newsletter slip. That’s how you kill a newsletter.

So, to put it bluntly, I’m going to move on from the project and hope that everyone involved understands. I also hope that some articles in the newsletter or information in the community helped, or at least inspired, you at some point.

I will continue to participate in communities (1 million cups) around Wichita, so I will see you all there.