Rosie’s Lessons from 15 Years of Community Building


March 2, 2022

Last Friday, we hosted the one and only Rosie Sherry at Community Hacked for an AMA!

Rosie Sherry started her journey in 2007 when she founded The Software Testing Club which evolved into The Ministry of Testing. She turned it into a profitable business and an engaged community of 25k+ members.

After a decade of experience building as a founder, she recruited a new CEO. She left to pursue her passion as a community leader to help grow some of the industry’s most well-known community brands: Indie Hackers and Orbit.

Now Rosie is back as a queen of Rosieland, where she’s on the mission to empower the next generation of community builders and share everything she has learned.

Here are some of our favorite nuggets of wisdom that Rosie shared on building, growing and managing communities.


Top 5 questions our community members asked Rosie:

  • What are the biggest changes you have seen in the role of community manager in your 15 years of experience?
  • Looking back to 2007 when she started discovering community, there were occasional roles at startups for ‘community manager’. The roles were more of a tactical nature then but now the approach is typically much more aligned with and sometimes core to a growth company’s strategy. We are also seeing more specialized roles pop up like community operations, community growth and community design.

  • What is the key difference between ‘Growth Hacking’ and growing community from your perspective?
  • There is a difference between what a community needs and what a product needs. People come to a community to share, contribute and transform themselves and others. They don’t want to be sold to or bombarded with sales or marketing emails. So you cannot have the same tactics as a growth hacker. There is a change of mindset as the goal is to help the members of your community grow, so you have to really listen to, empathize with and understand your members.

  • How do you scale a community without losing engagement?
  • Before you scale, think of value over quantity. Is growing and scaling going to help your community or is it going to create distraction and noise? A great strategy to scale is to go deep first and then go wide. Focus on creating a small community with a culture that you are happy with. Then you can start thinking of ways to replicate that.

  • What processes do you think are the most important to set a community team up for success when scaling?
  • Every community is different. Process that works for one may not work for another. So keep experimenting. Look out for what hits with the people. Those are your opportunities.

    As you grow, you must have the mindset that a community is never really in its full form, it is constantly growing and evolving as a living organism. Changing to this mindset gives you a different approach to your job.

  • What should you automate and what should you keep doing manually? Or, how should you make a balance between manual tasks and automations?
  • Automation can kill the vibe. Too much noise and too many 'member benefits' can kill the vibe. Only automate what becomes boring and repetitive. Keeping other things manual enables you to really observe and act upon nuanced patterns you start noticing in your community in a quicker and more effective way.

You can watch a recording of the entire event here.


Partner Offer:

This event was sponsored by Threado: the command center for your online community.

With Threado, you can measure engagement, get detailed insights and automate your operational tasks from a single dashboard. They were the #1 product of the day on their product hunt launch and will be doing another community drop soon. So, keep an eye out!

Notify me of upcoming events and send event summaries: