Welcome to the Sphere Community! ❤️

Hi, and Welcome to the Sphere Community! :wave:

Here you’ll find and be able to participate in discussions about our app, Sphere - we’re building a messenger app to transform groups into communities that are close, vibrant, purposeful and productive :heart: We’re building this together, so we always appreciate your feedback and ideas - we want your thoughts to help us shape what we’re building here.

You’ll also find discussions about life, culture, technology, the internet, and the startup landscape.
Please feel free to introduce yourself, join our live events, and fill out your profile!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

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Wow - a new forum. Always fun!

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Really happy with the way this forum is coming together :blush:

Thank you, @RossA, @patrice58 and others for your involvement (just got a badge that apparently you both got too)!

Lots more good stuff to come in the future :heartbeat::crystal_ball:

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Hi Jeremy, thanks ever so for the appreciation.

It will be great to watch this community grow.

I do however have a slight issue. What is this community right here for if we have the “real” community via the app? Is it another way of achieving growth or is this a different way of doing things? It would be great to hear your feedback. :slight_smile:

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I’m excited to see it grow as well! :seedling:

Great question :blush: A lot of it comes down to having a more publicly accessible place (eg you can view anything on Discourse without signing up for an account or even downloading an app, which is a big friction point for lot of people) for all the community discussions and interactions we want to have.

A big selling point here is that all Discourse content gets indexed by Google, which means people can more easily discover Sphere (both the app and our community) in the future.

On top of all that, it’s got a lot of helpful features that will be useful as we get more members (eg trust system, moderation capabilities etc). We want to build all that stuff into Sphere at some point, but need to focus more on unique features first (ie stuff that makes us different to Discourse, Facebook Groups, WhatsApp etc), and then gradually add in the more usual features.

Does that all make sense? Have you seen this kind of dual-platform thing work in other communities?

I think we’ll prob end up using Sphere One on the app for more live chat type convos, especially among the more dedicated community members (eg people coming regularly to events).

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Thanks. :slight_smile:

Yes but isn’t the main part of community taking part? In which case you will need an account so even here the same friction applies. I think it would be better to move the app wholesale to here but I can completely understand why that would not be desirable. For one you can’t really build what you want too here for obvious reasons.

I think and this is a cliche what makes Sphere different is you all and your overall mission statement, as well as the community you have at the moment.

It does make sense but the overreacting problem which the team is going to have to solve pretty quickly is the fragmentation. I think your being pulled two ways at the same time.

Let me give you a quick example. I’ve joined here as a completely new member today. It’s great and all but I have no idea what’s going on in your home app as I don’t know anything about it. They also don’t know much if anything about here.

You could cross promote sure but you’ve already made a username there and then you have to again make a user name here, it’s added friction. For the average user they won’t want to know. Not unless your doing something they can’t get on the home app and that’s again fragmentation.

I love this community it’s my second home as Curve uses the same forum software as does a fintech bank. (Winks at Simon :grin:) I don’t want a brand new community that has the power and will to change what the world, and users think about community, being spread too thin and losing it’s focus.

I do have faith in you all but I hope I’ve given you food for thought and if you feel you can manage both then I’m with you…:+1:

That makes perfect sense. :slight_smile:

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These are all great points and we definitely spent a lot of time considering them over the past month or two. Fragmentation was my biggest concern too.

To add to Jeremy’s points, here’s the two key differences for me:

1) Short-form VS medium/long form.

As soon as you go over maybe 3 or 4 paragraphs on a chat app, it feels wrong, because it’s a short form platform. And if you need to contextualise what you’re saying with images it becomes even more difficult. Sometimes you need to share a higher level of detail, in a more public space. Conversely sometimes a back and forth quick live chat is better. There’s probably a way to solve this in our app at some stage but it’d be hard to make the case for it as a priority over the other stuff we know we need to build in the next year.

2) We aren’t our own target market

If we were building software for ourselves as a business then we’d basically just be re-building Slack or Teams. In the same way, a product-led community tends to require things like SEO, open access to the content without requiring an account (I think a lot of users tend to use it like a live newsletter almost) and specific discussions being more evergreen - for example it’s totally normal to see people reply to threads on my old forum that are literally years old, whereas you wouldn’t do that in a chat environment.

So these are things that make sense for a business, but not, say, a local running club or uni society, who don’t need the power features or can justify paying hundreds or even thousands of pounds a year for a hosted web forum, but need something more organised and more fun than a basic WhatsApp chat or a FB group! So there’s where we (as a platform) come in :slight_smile:

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Leon, I’m really loving all this discussion with you! :sparkling_heart: These are exactly the kind of conversations I want us to be having as a community - I think they’re core to how we complete our mission :sunglasses::dart:

Great points from Simon on this too :brain:

You’re so right. I think it’s just about stages of our “customer funnel”. People might be more likely to take part and contribute content once they see what the activity is like in here (which they can do without a Discourse account). Compare that to on the Sphere app, where we don’t yet have any content that can be viewed without you creating an account first.

I think, right now, we have more people chatting casually on Sphere One, but over time, I expect we’ll see the volume of interactions on here increase (particularly as we start publicising ourselves more).

I think and this is a cliche what makes Sphere different is you all and your overall mission statement, as well as the community you have at the moment.

This is the best thing I’ve heard all week :blush: Means a lot to me to hear you say that :heartpulse:

I love this community it’s my second home as Curve uses the same forum software as does a fintech bank. (Winks at Simon :grin:) I don’t want a brand new community that has the power and will to change what the world, and users think about community, being spread too thin and losing it’s focus.

I do have faith in you all but I hope I’ve given you food for thought and if you feel you can manage both then I’m with you…:+1:

So flattered that we’re your second home! It’s a valid concern and I agree that we need to have specific places where we come together for various things (eg this forum, the app or Zoom calls). To some degree, we’re experimenting a little now (and likely always will be, as we evolve), and may well consolidate later on (eg kill some of the less active topics in Sphere One and move them to here, where as @simon says, they can be a home for more evergreen content).

You’ve defo given us stuff to think about! I’d actually love to pick your brains more about this and other community-related stuff (including values), so will DM you to maybe set up a call! :phone:

Also, I want this community to be a place where we can all challenge each other’s thinking, so we ultimately get to better collective understanding of whatever we are discussing. So thanks for raising all this and keep doing it as stuff comes up for you! :pray:t5:

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Hi Jeremy, it will be great to have a chat with you.

That’s completely fine by me. I can already tell it’s going to be a great conversation.

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I’d add one thing to this: synchronous vs asynchronous.

The Sphere app feels, to me, like live conversation. Discourse is intended (I think) to be more reflective - it’s not something happening in real time (necessarily).

Of course, the two will evolve and overlap.

More interestingly, I wonder if there are any RSS or other feeds that can be used to show Sphere content on Discourse (or vice versa). That’s an unappreciated and useful feature in Slack, for example.

Hello, by the way.

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Yes, absolutely, Peter! We talk about that a bit here too. It’s a huge part of how the whole chat medium evolved (after the popularity of forums), right?

Agree about the two overlapping. I’d love for Sphere to solve for both use cases at some point.

So this is an RSS integration you use in Slack to send in feeds of various things? Interesting. Never tried that :thinking:

Feel free to post a full intro here if you fancy :wink:

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