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Building For People, Not The Platform

It’s better to make time to build for yourself and others than it is to build for someone else’s benefit.

When you put all your effort in a platform, you’re assigned to something you cannot control. When you build for people, you can make an impact together.

Imagine you have a stand at a trade show, you can either have your designated spot from an organiser and hope that people come to you, or you can go out to create your own mini trade show where people want to come over to you.

The platform should be here to serve us, not the other way around.

This article is about building for people around you. If you want to curate to have control, rather than hope for control by adjusting to the platform, this is for you.

Explaining The Difference Between Building For Platform And People

A platform is a place where people build products and services, which you have access. For the most part, it is owned by someone else. It can elevate people and it can ignore people. A lot of the time, size matters and a measurement of how well someone should be perceived.

Platforms fail when people are treated like lab rats. Remember the frenzy for Clubhouse? For me, it was like being back in the college common room. It was a free for all where the platform picked the winners and losers. 

A platform doesn’t work when it neglects people and offers little impact, but plenty of scope for products and services. 

The platform will always be there for us. Whether you choose to use someone else’s or make one yourself. It works when it has a positive effect on people. It could be to congregate, to learn, or to share ideas. This is what I mean by building for people, not the platform. Or as Christophe Stourton puts it, ‘community before the cart, or cart before community?’

When You Build For The Platform 

It is overawing to think you have to spread out and be persistent in multiple places to build reach and credibility. It is easy to be excited by the platforms. Let’s stop trying to be thrilled by them.

Let me share an example. 

The platform I spend the most time on is LinkedIn. My overall themes are centred around creation, audience growth and self-sufficiency. However, I know that any post that relates to the Friday sea swimming, will always see a spike in views. 

I know it’s easier to post articles related to sea swimming than it is about what I believe in. This means that I start to produce for the platform, as it starts opening doors for more people to see. The people who like a swimming anecdote and a video of the shoreline are not necessarily the people who care about themes around creative entrepreneurship. 

It’s easy to become swallowed by the platform than from finding your audience who are ready to commit to you from the perspective you share. 

You shouldn’t be here for the platform. How can the platform be here for you?

Build For People 

When you can find reach and scale, it is empowering. There was a time when places such as Facebook were essential for giving your business a kick start and to be seen. In the book, Unscaled, ‘the small can rent scale that companies used to need to build.’ 

When you take a step back, we want to create the work and build a space where people can feel attached, look around and become comfortable. You could choose to build something yourself or you can use a platform to your advantage.  

The YATM Club space uses the Circle platform. Everything is all built in, but this only happened as a result of people joining in around the YATM campfire for years. Everything was made around others, then the platform helped to make it easier. It works best when you do the work first to find your people than it is to start with the platform and then find your people. 

The platforms where I have 100% control are the YATM website (to blog and gain new subscribers), the YATM newsletter (I send via WordPress not a third-party provider), and live events. This is where I put the most effort in. It’s mine and my responsibility. 

None of my blog posts have hit a wave of popularity, but when you add up the hundreds of posts that sit there quietly, each day, someone finds something that I hope they find useful and even better if they tell someone else. 

The platforms that are owned by someone else that I invest time in are Circle, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. 

The way I look at it all is I give the most value to what is mine (where I have 100% control) and spend the most time getting people to mine via platforms that are owned by someone else.

When you look through the mess and the junk in cluttered places, you want to have the energy and drive to make an impact that others can join in with. When people discover something that can make a difference, you can keep going. 

Here are some ideas when building and delivering with a people-first approach, will always win.

— Find a central theme that can bring people together that has meaning. It’s ok to deviate and share glimpses of your life, but what is the glue that brings people to the same place? Is there an uncomplicated overall idea, that feels ok for people to join in?

— Know that you have to be nimble and change alongside your audience. This comes down to remaining relevant and being in tune with what’s around you, the conversations you have and the people you spend time with.

— It’s better to deliver impact than stuff. It’s easier to show dance routines and pull faces than it is to find people who are willing to trust you. Can what you share help elevate others and not just yourself?

— Find ways to implement feedback and then put it into action. The ideas and encouragement from others, shouldn’t be ignored. You have to recognise ways to have an open door where participation makes the entire effort stronger. This means that everyone has an opportunity to be seen and heard.

Let’s Round-Up

When you focus on building for people, everyone has the opportunity to raise up. 

A platform, whether yours or someone else’s can be an invaluable part of people’s week. It’s a place where you can build commitment, respect, participation and fun. This is what a platform should be, a place where multiple voices can be heard and people seen. It’s about celebrating the opportunity to make an impact with other people.  

If you can create an environment that helps people to reach their full potential, you may be able to gain their appreciation. Your platform could become an integral part of their lives if it provides a way for people to improve themselves and enjoy being a part of the journey.

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