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🔑 Advice on Community Building from an A16z Backed Founder

And the 3 main things you need to know to take your first swing

Hey Founders,

☕️ Welcome back to the Kernal newsletter: the friendliest folder of founder frameworks to help you go from slacking to shipping your million-dollar idea

📰 Latest news: Twitter had a Dogecoin collab. It’s Easter Egg hunt weekend. Ford vs Ferrari was bonkers. Italy banned ChatGPT. VC funding’s down 50% YoY. Richard Branson's Rocket startup went bankrupt. YC launched an AI interview tool. Andddddd your high school iPod nano #1 artist (Kelly Clarkson) has a new single droppin’ 🔥

Enough snoozing, let’s get cruising.

Partner of the Week: Zendesk

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Talk about a deal, eh? If you’re a Kernaler, grab this Zendesk discount package now.

👏 Shoutout of the Week: Shaun Gold

Kernaler, Shaun Gold, spun up a piece on how to validate your startup idea and explained his 6 top methods. Check it out. And if you’re interested in learning more about OpenVC and connecting with their investment team, apply to build to their community page.

🍽 Today's Menu:

  • 🛠 The 7-Figure Community Playbook

  • 💡 Fresh startup ideas to vote on

  • 🐦 Top tweets of the week

📘 The 7-Figure Community Playbook

Since Kernal isn’t a 7-figure community *yet*, we caught up with someone that knows a bit about them.

In fact, Michael Houck knows them so well A16z decided to back his $12M Series A for Launch House. Before that, he worked at Airbnb and Uber Eats.

He now writes a newsletter to help 28,000+ founders build, grow, and raise capital for their own. We asked him a fun question:

“If you could give your 18-year-old self 3 tips to build a $1M+ million dollar community, what would it be?”

His answers?

  1. Build it around your curiosity and love for a niche space

  2. Give away as much free value as you can to draw in members

  3. Try to do as much as you can yourself until things seem unscalable

Let’s double-click on each point 👇

💡 Build it around your natural curiosity

  • If you’re gonna spend 100 hours/week on something for 5+ years, make it worthwhile

  • Align the community you want to build with what you’re naturally curious about; it’ll become endless fuel ⛽️

  • Authenticity is your currency; prove to your members that you’re all in on this topic and they’ll show up to listen

💡 Give away as much free value as possible

  • To attract the right persona, you need to create something that’s insanely more valuable than what the rest of the internet’s offering

  • What doesn’t work: posting on Twitter: “hey, come join my community”

  • What does work: giving away a high-value item, curating 25 hacks in a Gumroad link or aggregating 100 Twitter accounts to learn from, THEN sharing your community URL at the bottom and saying “You can find more gems/memes here”

  • To change someone’s behaviour, offer insanely high value. It’ll work every, single, time.

💡 Do as much as possible alone before you hire others

  • The credibility and day-to-day commitment of the founder behind the community has a huge pull on the community in the early days

  • Think about it: Sophia from GirlBooss, Sam from Hustle, Ben from Ben’s Bites. They were all in the trenches before they were hired out.

  • They all have a voice, a presence, and a substance that the community relates to. Members see the hustle when you reply to posts, message them with ideas etc, so lean into that.

Found these hacks helpful? So did we. Go follow Michael’s newsletter to get the goods the next time he hits send-ero.

Houck's NewsletterJoin 88,000+ founders getting tactical advice to build, grow, and raise capital for their startup from an a16z-backed founder

Dave Schools also has an 11/10 deep dive on community building. The 4 golden nuggets he wrote on were:

  1. Starting from the top: the creators should make the content they wanna see and comment like they want others to

  2. Being real: no corporate bullshit or jargon. Share vulnerabilities and be honest and stuff like that.

  3. Focus on Liquidity: community is a marketplace. You need consumers and creators like buyers and sellers in a market. So remove all friction to make it happen.

  4. Build FOMO: create it. It matters.

If you want more communities to benchmark against, Chief (valued at $1B+) is another great one.


  • Generalist World by Milly (Scaling quickly and validated on Kernal)

  • Hampton by Sam and Joe (got 3,000 applications in first 24 hours of public launch)

  • Summit Series (epic story of buying North America’s biggest mountain)

P.S. If you run a startup, podcast, incubator or text group of friends that loves jamming on startup ideas, send us an email and we’ll get you access to a community page of your own on Kernal. Just like this one 👇

Now, time for the main event.

Pull the curtains, Joanne. 🍿

Fresh Startup Ideas  

  • Dharmesh is a big deal that built a $20B, 7,000-person company

  • When he has ideas, it’s a great signal

  • If you’re hungry to build an AI startup that has legs read about this one Dharmesh wants to see built

  • Sam Parr posted this a while ago but nobody’s running with it

  • Grab it while you can or comment on the pros/cons of it

  • Spin up an MVP, get some users, tweet him and start building it in public; Sam may even wanna help you with it? 🤷‍♀️

  • Domenico just passed $1K of MRR and 600 users

  • He’s been building in public since Jan 2023

  • Test his MVP here: www.theaialfred.com

Think there’s something here? Hit up Domenico with a comment or upvote on his startup idea.

  • Everyone knows about online courses

  • Nobody knows to trust if they’re worth $50 or $5,000

  • Enter Will’s idea…

Instead of DM’ing him on Twitter, just leave a comment on his startup idea to get connected. Tell him the Kernal newsletter sent ya.

Got a startup idea of your own? Prove it hot shot.

Share it by tapping below.

🎁 Goodies in our Inbox

Tweets that Caught Our Eye

Enough tweets. Go have an awesome weekend.

And thanks for reading till the end.

💚 The Kernal Fam

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