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Alex Shevelenko
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but Salesforce becomes the standard platform that they utilize. Similarly, our portfolio company Pendo* sponsors ProductCratf, a thriving community for everyone working on digital products. Most of these folks also use Pendo, but that’s not required for participation. You should also aim to separate community-building goals from your explicit sales goals. Many companies today are creating a Chief Community Officer role to oversee their open-source communities. This role should ideally not be part of a sales or marketing team. Your community needs to stay authentically open-source in spirit in order to keep users engaged. An open API is ideal for seeding a community. This allows other developers to create an ecosystem around your product. You want to be the center of the customer-relationship universe, or the product management universe, or whatever universe you’re targeting. Two compelling examples of open API communities are cryptocurrencies and Salesforce. Amid all the buzz about crypto valuations for Bitcoin, Ethereum and DeFi, among others, many overlook that these are thriving communities built on many of the building blocks of a strong, authentic community. These are decentralized, open, technical integrations. The authenticity fosters some of the biggest believers in blockchain technology and an army of supporters that will propel the movement for years to come. Salesforce has created a powerful combination of community plus strong API integrations to become the center of the universe for all things sales. Other next-gen APIs that led with communities are Auth0, Airbnb , Notion, MongoDB, Netlify and Cloudinary. Ultimately, a strong community of users can not only help your product go viral; it can be invaluable to your long-term growth. Engaged users may share your product with their friends and colleagues. But even better, they’re also smart people who spend a lot of time thinking about the core problems you’re trying to solve. They may come up with pain points or new feature ideas that you’d never have thought of. A strong community can actually help show you where your company could go for years into the future. “Making sure your product actually delivers a world-class experience requires building an authentic community around the problem(s) your product seeks to solve.” 19

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