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Community Programming Mini Case Study: Build Space

Posted on:June 11, 2024

I’ve been looking for an open creator program I could participate in to help me get some fresh ideas and inspiration for community programming.

When I was first introduced to Build Space, I immediately was reminded of StartupSchool, a startup curation machine by Y Combinator. As it turns out, founder Farza Majeed was undoubtedly inspired by it, having come out of YC himself. I initially wondered if Build Space was just a larger funnel for Y Combinator to source from.

The concept is simple: it’s a six-week program designed to help creators bring their ideas to life. The program I’m in, “Nights & Weekends”, encourages folks to build in their freetime so they can keep up with other commitments. I have my family, work and health to try to maintain but I can squeeze an hour or two in before bed for this. It’s open to many creative pursuits, including art, music, coding, AI, and web development.

An interesting component is Sage, a presumably OpenAI-based chatbot that helps you find others in the program and write your profile. I didn’t think I was going to like this, but I did. At first glance, it might look like another community-forced integration of AI, but it’s genuinely helpful and an interesting way to establish the brand for Build Space. It made the chore of setting up another online profile more interesting, and even with the usual LLM quirks, it was a fun experience cobbling it together with this no-caps Gen Z bot.

LLM generated profile

The LLM-generated profile was not immune to problems, with the member needing to know how to prompt well to get the desired results, but I say this is a value add for community platforms overall.

Something else I like is how Sage uses everyone’s profiles to help link you to others in the program in ways that are much more nuanced than what members would be able to parse with searches and filters. Connecting the dots between people in a community program, you say? Yup, Sage helps do the work of a good community manager in this way. While the bot lacks the sophistication to be amazing at this, tools like this can certainly make us much more efficient at networking.

Networking suggestions in chat with Sage

Networking suggestions appearing inline in chat with Sage.

Participants who finish are invited to a three-day in-person event in San Francisco with some grants up for grabs as well.

I suppose they monetize with partnerships, sponsorships, and perhaps data, but I haven’t looked into their business model yet. The fancy website, OpenAI calls, well-produced content and excellent social media management must cost a pretty penny.

Looking forward to spending my nights on this and seeing what I can learn from the participants and the program itself. Great excuse for me to dive more into my passions with others. Shoot me a message and buddy up with me if you would like to commit!

Let’s make spatial websites. 🚀 Live link