Ep. #13, Searching for the Spark with Rosie Sherry of Indie Hackers
about the episode
about the guests
Patrick Woods: All right, Rosie. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
I'm very excited to have this conversation.
So as we dive in, would you mind just sharing a little bit about who you are and what you're working on?
Rosie Sherry: Sure. Thanks for having me.
I'm Rosie Sherry, and I've been in tech about 20 years now.
I started around the year 2000 as a software tester.
I was about 20 at the time. I kind of blagged my way through tech for a few years.
Along the way, I discovered communities and that's kind of what I focus on at the moment.
And as a software tester, I ended up bootstrapping a business called Ministry of Testing, which was a community for software testers, and that did all right as a bootstrap business.
It's still around. I still like going it and it's still going strong.
But a couple of years ago, I stepped back from that just for a change of scene.
And more recently I've been leading the community at Indie Hackers, which has been great to be honest.
And again, I guess as an Indie Hacker myself, I've been diving into my own side projects as well.
Patrick: Awesome. I would love to hear about any of the side projects you're working on.
Rosie: Yeah, obviously because I'm into communities, it's around communities.
But to be honest, I'm kind of making things up as I go along, and taking my experience that I have of building communities and taking where the world is now and figuring out how to build a community in the current world, I guess.
With COVID as well, that's been interesting, I think.
But mostly, I'm focused on something called Rosieland, which just a bit over a year ago is just meant to be a blog.
It was my commitment to dive into the community world.
Because I'd spent many years building a community and I kept meaning to participate in the world of community for community builders, but never found or justified the time to do it.
So this was kind of my way of having accountability.
If I had a blog and the newsletter, then I would have to show up and write stuff or see what other people are writing about, or follow people on Twitter and see who's who kind of thing.
So that was a year ago. I came up with the domain Rosieland after me.
It was actually an Indie Hacker who recommended the domain name, which was kind of cool because I'd always referenced the space in my head as Rosieland.
And an Indie Hacker noted that, and he had this fascination with domain names ending with land.
And he pointed out that it was available and that I should grab it. So I did.
So yeah, I mean, at the moment Rosieland is kind of a newsletter on Substack, and combined with that, I've been building up like a knowledge base, kind of a research hub, which is based on Notion.
So it's all kind of no code kind of stuff. But the more I've been doing it, the more I've been thinking about, well, actually Substack doesn't quite work for me.
So I'm in the process of trying to turn it into a community basically.
So Substack is free and paid. So I've got about 110, 112 subscribers at the moment, paid subscribers.
And just slowly in the background, I've been building up a tool to migrate those subscribers.
Well, I can't migrate them. I have to tell them to cancel it.
But the whole point is that I'll be moving off of Substack, I guess, to build a community slowly, custom built, I guess.
Patrick: I'd love to hear your journey from your mailing list to knowledge based, to whatever platform you're moving to.
Can you talk a little bit about that evolution and what worked at each phase, and what you were looking for as you transitioned to each next inflection point?
Rosie: Yeah, I guess the first phase is me trying to figure out is this something I want to do.
So the newsletters, when I started it, I started doing a weekly curated newsletter, which was essentially just grabbing links of what people were talking about in the community world, and trying to find things that were interesting.
And for me, I've been doing this long enough that I don't really care if I have followers or subscribers to begin with, because I know it's more about the habit of showing up and doing the work.
So literally for the first six months, I didn't really promote it much at all. I still don't, to be honest.
But I had a hundred subscribers within this first six months, which wasn't a lot, but in those months I had built that habit of showing up every week and creating this newsletter.
I never missed a day apart from I guess, during the Christmas holidays, I took a couple of weeks off because who's going to read during those times.
But the habit I know in these things is so important is if you can't have the habit, then what's the point.
And in addition to the habit, it's also me trying to figure out whether this was something that I wanted to do as well.
So by not promoting it, it's less pressure on me, if I chose to continue doing it or not. I wouldn't feel so bad or so guilty if I quit, stuff like that.
But yeah. So after six months of doing that, I was kind of happy enough within myself that it was something I wanted to continue.
And then at least for me, after I do something for a certain amount of time, I start to think about, "OK. What's next? I've got the hang of this. What else can I do to make it better or to add onto it?"
And I was using Substack at the time and I was looking at Ghost as well, as a platform to write.
I had wanted to write about community, but I'd never justified the time to do it.
And then COVID happened, and with family and kids and COVID and everything, there's even less time available to try to think about these things, let alone write stuff.
So I was basically trying to think of a way of making myself accountable to show up every week to write something.
And I decided, well, the best way to do that is just to switch on payments for Substack, and charge them money.
So that's what I did. And that was four months ago or something.
And so basically every week I've been showing up, writing two newsletters, the curation one, and then an article.
And then alongside that, I have this notion knowledge base I've been building up as well, which helps me with my research.
And it helps me with my writing as well. So it's all kind of, I guess like stacking the bricks.
I'm not sure if I would recommend it, to be honest. It's been hard.
And I still write week to week. I try to plan ahead, but life at the moment just doesn't allow me to do that.
But at the same time, I'm really proud that I've shown up every week and written an article that I'm mostly happy with.
I think a lot of them could be better if I had more time.
But I've got a good bunch of articles there that I've never done before.
I've never written so consistently. So I'm quite happy about that.
Patrick: I would say, as a happy subscriber, I learn a lot from every article.
We talk about it internally at Orbit. It's always good food for thought.
I know it's a lot of work, but we're enjoying it.
Rosie: Thank you.
Patrick: So you said before that the best thing about building communities is helping people realize they belong.
And I'm curious, what do you think are some tactical ways that community builders can help foster that feeling?
Rosie: Yeah. I think to be honest, I've always just listened and researched, and I've always enjoyed doing that.
So when I started Ministry of Testing, I did my research before starting a community, and I knew what was out there.
So when I came to start it, I knew a few people, but I also knew what I was talking about to a certain extent.
I wouldn't say that I was an expert tester, but I had taken the time to consider the ecosystem.
I've done the same with Indie Hackers.
When you join a community or you're getting to know a community, it's just really important to not jump in and think that you know everything.
It's just taking the time to study the ecosystem and get to know your people and to understand what they're talking about.
And then as you do that, to me, everything comes naturally once you know that because you know you're not going to put a foot wrong.
You know you're not going to say the wrong thing. You kind of know the history of certain people. You know the language to use. You know the language not to use. You know the debates that are always going on or not going on, or you know trigger points. And just using that knowledge to your advantage, to work with people and figure out what it is they need is key.
And then alongside that, it's considering that everybody wants to belong somewhere, and even more so these days.
Everybody's seeking something. And if you have that at the top of your mind all the time, then every person you look at, you can search for something.
I call it searching for the spark, because that's something that they need, something that they're good at, something that they just need to hear an opportunity that no one else will give them because it's hard to get opportunities.
But in communities, sometimes you can do that.
And it's just like, people are people, and the majority of the time just being good to them helps people belong, and giving them opportunities is what worked for me.
It's not magic. It's not rocket science. It's just taking the time.
And I think unfortunately in the world today is that people don't like taking the time.
But I believe in just taking the time to be with your people.
Patrick: Yeah. It seems like there's not a substitute for that type of listening and credibility building.
Rosie: Yeah. And people say it doesn't scale, but I believe it does.
I believe everything scales. It's just like racism scales.
Because if you grew up with racist people, that's going to rub off of you likely to be racist yourself.
Whereas if you grow up in a supportive environment and the kind of environment, that's what ends up spreading more generally speaking.
So I believe in just focusing on the behaviors that I want to see to help people belong and to help them to implicate that behavior so that it spreads and it spreads naturally through humans.
It's not email marketing spreading it. It's not the data.
It's not SEO. It's just you can spread human behavior, and it's probably in my opinion, one of the most effective ways and sustainable ways to grow something.
Patrick: One of the things we think about and talk about at Orbit is empathy at scale.
And it's similar to what you're describing here and the fact that it scales through the sort of replication of behavioral norms, less so than through scaling up an email program.
I think it's a really apt comparison.
Rosie: Yeah. And we see this a lot Indie Hackers.
We say a lot of people come to Indie Hackers and they feel it.
They feel the kindness and the generosity of most of the people there.
And it's not like we've gone to every single one of those people and given them this recipe of generosity, it's just something that has naturally replicated from how it started from Courtland.
And I guess the discussions here originally instigated and like the design that he's built into it has helped as well.
But that's all started from one person which was Courtland.
And if you look at the size of Indie Hackers now, how is that not scaling?
Patrick: Thinking tactically, you mentioned this idea of searching for the spark, which I think is beautiful.
What's going through your mind, if you could sort of introspect a little bit, when you're having a conversation with someone?
How do you search for the spark sort of very tactically?
What are some questions you're asking yourself or sort of behaviors you're looking for as you're going through that process?
Rosie: Yeah. Quite often I looked to see whether someone really wants something or whether they're just in it for kind of more selfish reasons.
So to find a spark, I think you have to look for people who hang around a bit more often.
You kind of see them popping up or reappearing, occasionally.
It's hard because I think everyone is so different.
So I guess going with examples, it was Ministry of Testing, I use this example quite a lot because it's a bit of a special one to me.
But part of our culture was to support people whenever we could.
So quite often we would give away scholarships. And people would apply for scholarship and you'd get submissions.
And a lot of the submissions would be really lame with no soul to it. No heart, no true, "Oh, I really appreciate this."
But then sometimes, something stands out and there was this one that stood out from someone called Emma, we're still like good friends today.
But she just submitted this crazy submission, and she used terrible Photoshop skills with her image on it and the logo and just put stuff together.
And then she explained that her story and how much it would mean to her to get this scholarship to come to the events and what conference we were doing.
So sometimes, I guess things take you by surprise, which was this instant.
And she was basically looking for a break into the world of software testing.
And she was 30 years old or something at the time she'd worked in a minimum wage job her whole life in a factory type place.
And she just wanted an opportunity to break into the testing world.
And I was like, "Well, how can I not give that to her?"
And then it became a mission to get her to not only to get the scholarship, but to get a job by the end of the conference.
And she did. And the whole community got around her and they were introducing her to everyone.
And there wasn't anyone who didn't know that she was looking for a job and she had a couple of interviews at the conference and she had a job at the end of it.
And I thought that was amazing. Other sparks could be again with Ministry of Testing, we have hosts who had done the events, hosts gotten up on stage to host events.
And that was a job that I never wanted to do, so I was always looking out for characters or people who would be good at that job.
And there's one guy, Vernon who at least until to COVID happened, was always presenting at the conferences.
And he just had such a natural way with his style.
And now he's just such a dude. Such a cool, fresh dude.
And I think it wasn't only that it was him that had the spark within him, but it was also what I felt aligned well with the community, what the community needed.
Because for Ministry of Testing, my whole mission was to make it more cool, more fun because the whole industry was really very corporate-y before I started it.
So everything I did had to have this fresh feel to it, and this guy Vernon had and still has the vibe.
So, it's a bit of kind of looking for talents or desires within people and also aligning it with what your community needs.
Patrick: Yeah. That's really, really helpful.
So we have a lot of early stage software company founders here in the audience for Developer Love.
I'm curious, what tactical advice would you give them as they're getting their own communities off the ground?
Rosie: Yeah. So I have the saying of studying your people.
So this is what I kind of did this Rosieland as an example.
And when I think about it, Courtland did it with Indie Hackers and I did it with Ministry of Testing as well.
So before you start anything, you should do research about the space that you're heading in into.
When I say it kind of feels like common sense, is obviously, yes, you need to do research before you start something.
But it's kind of surprising how many people don't do it.
So as an example for Rosieland, I researched all the blogs that were out there and I followed them.
I picked up all the newsletters and I subscribed to them.
I looked for anyone who was kind of popular in the community world and I would follow them on Twitter or blogs.
I researched what communities were out there for community builders.
I paid attention to all the discussions that were going on.
And it's actually quite surprising how, I guess not little time, but within six months, I kind of felt like I knew everything that was going on.
I don't think the community world is a biggest industry out there.
So, it would be much harder, I think in the generic developer ecosystem or even if you go into specific languages, it might be even harder.
But I felt like within six months of doing that, I had a good idea of everything that was out there.
And by doing that, not only do you get a feel for things, but if you kind of take a proactive approach to doing this.
So for me, I started this notion, knowledge base as part of it.
So I started collecting tools. I started collecting podcasts.
Everything I could, I just started taking notes and I was thinking, well, to keep me accountable, I might as well make it something that other people can kind of use.
Which has ended up being the notion knowledge base that I share.
But that also kept me accountable to making sure that I was always looking for stuff that was going on.
But the more you look, basically, the more you have a feel for what the industry is like.
As a bootstrapper Indie Hacker business person, you shouldn't start a business if you don't know the industry that you're entering. A simple thing is to say, if there's already a Slack or two in your industry, should you start another one or should you think of something else?
Now, if you're going to start a podcast, you should know what other podcasts are out there so that you can understand not only what people are talking about, but if you do start a podcast, how can you be different?
How can you make sure that you're not regurgitating what everybody else is saying?
So basically, once you get to know your people, to me, it's almost like the answers come to you.
You start to see the gaps, you start to see how you can do things and how you can stand out.
But you can't do that without taking the time to do the research.
And that's the biggest tactic that I can give to anyone.
And it's not specifically community building, but that's the foundation of it.
And then you can use that knowledge to your advantage.
So once you have that, and then once you make a decision on what action you're going to take, you know where to reach out and the people will hopefully already know you to some extent.
And it just makes everything so much easier because you're not this kind of stranger coming out of nowhere saying, "Hey, look at me. Look how cool I am or look at this."
No one's going to pay attention to you because they're like, "Who is this person?"
Patrick: So I'm curious, what do you think you believe about community building that no one else believes?
Rosie: I'm not sure if no one else believes this, but I think communities can be really strong businesses whilst also giving back to the people.
I don't think a lot of people do as well. I've not heard many people do as well.
And I think there's opportunity to create better communities by working together rather than what it is these days is that someone is a founder of a community or company runs a community and they own it, and the company is always going to own it.
They might work with people and try to compensate them in some ways, but I believe it's very, very unbalanced, especially in the startup world, in VC world.
There's a lot of talk in the VC world at the moment.
Everybody's talking about community and it feels like everybody wants to capitalize on it, almost jumping on it like hawks.
And I don't like that. And I think there should be a different model.
I want to see a model where yes, someone owns it, but there's more collaboration, real collaboration between the community members.
I tried in ways to do this administrative testing, but I don't think it was quite the right community to do that.
But for example, we did conferences and we expanded the conferences.
And the way I expanded them was by doing profit shares with people who wanted to expand into different locations.
And I don't think many people have actually done that, but it worked quite well for some of them, not all of them, but it was a way of growth and it was a way of me saying, "Look, if you want to do something, do it.
And we'll work together and see how it goes. And if we do well, take half the profit, I don't care."
It's not that I don't care, it's that I'm happy to share the fruits of our labor because community, it wasn't about me. Community is about the people yet when it comes to money and communities that run these days, it's all about the founders. It's all about the person at the top reaping in the money and sometimes paying people. But at the end of the day, it's the founder who benefits the most.
So for me, basically, I guess a long story cut short is that I would love to see more communities collaborate, truly collaborate.
Not necessarily ownership, I think ownership is very complicated, especially with people living in different countries.
Co-founding anything is like getting married and it's full of nightmares.
So, for me is that I'd love to see more like real collaborations of people, building either communities or projects, whatever it is, but agreeing upfront saying, "Look, this is what we're building. Let's share the profit. How can we do this and share the profit?"
So yeah, I'd love to hear stories of more people doing that. I'm actually trying to do this with Rosieland at the moment.
So it'd be interesting to see how that works out.
But with Rosieland, I've teamed up with four other people and I've agreed to share the profit of what we make.
And that's once we move over to a new platform as well.
So we'll be moving over to a new platform and then from that point onward, is that any money that we make is shared as a percentage that we've agreed.
And it's pretty amazing actually, it's been a few weeks we've been collaborating, sharing ideas on what to do and I'm excited about it.
I love what's coming up. And just the whole idea of working with people is nice.
And they're not employees. I've had employees in the past and I don't want that again. That's like a model.
I just don't want to employ people, but the idea of working in collaboration with people and sharing the rewards, I think is amazing.
And what I'm trying with Rosieland could fall flat on its face.
But I hope that if it works, it could be just an example to the world of how you can make communities, make it work for everybody who helps out.
Patrick: So you obviously have a lot of perspective on the arc of community as a concept over the past many years.
And I'm curious from your perspective, how has community building changed in 2020?
Rosie: So I think I've long been a bit of a contrarian thinker, a bit of a refuser to do certain things.
As an example, I've got five kids and we homeschool our kids and we homeschool with no curriculum.
So it's kind of, I would call it child-led.
It's not "Let your kids do what they want,"it's working with your kids and with who they are and figuring out what's best for them.
A lot of people don't quite understand that, and COVID happens, and yes it adds extra stress onto me or us as a family.
But actually apart from nursery for the youngest kid, life has not changed a lot, right?
So we're used to being around each other all the time.
We're used to working around everybody's needs, juggling things.
And when COVID hit, it's all these people freaking out and trying to manage.
And it's interesting because I would just look on that, I think, oh I feel calm at the moment, about the situation despite the obvious negatives of COVID.
But I guess from that aspect, it's interesting.
But anyways, I take that and then I think about communities and I think with COVID, everything's changed, I think, oh this is exciting.
We have an opportunity to change things because there's no excuses now.
All of a sudden everyone's working from home and there's been years and years of companies refusing to allow people to work from home and now all of a sudden everyone is, and we realize that they can.
It's not that we have to, but I just think it's pretty amazing that we can adapt.
So how can we adapt that to the world of communities and how can we realize that actually we can do a lot more of the tech that we were never doing.
There's so much more we could have been doing all these years and we've not done it.
So, yeah, I guess from that perspective, I think it's exciting, but I think at the same time, the technology might be trying to move too fast but the human aspect hasn't quite caught up or they haven't quite managed to match the human needs with the tech.
But I think it's pretty exciting that people have opened their eyes to the fact that we can do more online and we can create more and we can create better tools.
So the creativity of the human race is, I hope it will create some new norms because I just think the whole world is totally inefficient and totally--
Things people do and say, so much needs to be gotten rid of.
And I guess that's what I'm excited about is what can we get rid of and what can we keep to make our world a better place. Kind of cheesy.
Patrick: So in 2020 more and more companies and communities are moving online, but it seems like the technology hasn't quite caught up with the human needs of the new realities of online community.
I'm interested in your perspective on what do you wish the technology would do or provide to help facilitate a better or more meaningful connections online?
Rosie: Oh, I guess I basically wish that big companies wouldn't own so much of things like Facebook.
I don't know the answer to it basically, but I wish for a world that doesn't have Facebook that dominates, or Amazon that dominates.
Because I think the world is not better off with them.
I think when I look at my local community, like my local parent family community, there's a moms and dads group for example, for the very local area that I live in, it's on Facebook.
That's depressing that it's on Facebook. But then I think why does Facebook and Google have to own everything in relation to that?
And the people lose control of things.
So many people don't know how to make their own websites.
They don't know how to connect people.
They get stuck so quickly and it's crazy that we can't connect more easily in the world with our neighbors or specifically why don't we have local communities that serve each other better that aren't owned by big corporations?
Why aren't people empowered to set up their own?
I think there's a few examples out there, I can't remember the name of it, but it was basically an independent run community that's closed off.
But it really serves the local communities and I wish there was more tech to enable people to do that.
Or it's not even about the tech, it's about giving people sustainable options, business options, to feel like they can afford to run things like this or that there's ways to make money from it.
Because I think there's no one better to serve local communities then the people that live in them and it shouldn't be the big tech that kind of control it.
Patrick: Shifting gears a little bit, could you talk a little bit about the Indie Women Slack group and how that's going?
Rosie: So Indie Women, I'm a woman in tech and I'm a woman in business and in both instances is lack of women.
And when I started at Indie Hackers, the biggest thing that I was worried about was leading a community as a woman.
What's going to happen? Am I going to get trolled? Am I going to get harassed?
So I've always had it in the back of my mind to do something more for Indie Women but it took me about 18 months to actually start doing stuff and having the confidence to do things properly.
But basically it's like women, I believe, need extra support or a separate space to hang out.
Quite often, they don't feel comfortable participating in the main forum.
So with Indie Hackers I have a lot of flexibility in what I choose to do.
And Indie Hackers is huge and it's overwhelming to participate in quite a lot.
So I believe in the idea of small groups and connecting and making deeper connections.
And I believe that once in this instance Indie Women have a few strong connections with each other, then they can be stronger, more confident to step up.
And that's the idea behind Indie Women. And hopefully it is just the start of lots of smaller groups that I can like lay the seeds for.
And the Slack started because we just started doing meetups.
And then they said that they wanted a Slack group and I didn't even start it or someone else who was helping run a meetup and they just started it.
So I was like, "Okay, I can't say no to this. Let's start a Slack."
That's the general idea behind it, but it's basically, it's a different way to engage.
Obviously Slack is very different, it's more about the conversation, it's more instant.
But it also just gives me a chance to see all the Indie women that are there and reach out to them, and for them to share what they're working on.
And then for me, it's like I can then communicate things that we're doing and get feedback.
And off the back of that I've started the accountability meetups, so we're doing that every two weeks.
And we're doing an Indie Women party once a month, the first Thursday of every month, we've decided to do that.
And it's going well, we've got 30 people signed up to the party. So, that should be fun.
But basically I want more Indie women running businesses because I think the world needs more women to rule the world.
Basically, I think women have-- I often struggle to explain it, but when you're surrounded by men it's really hard to get your voice seen.
So, by having these smaller environments, and again, looking for the sparks, looking for the opportunities, trying to understand what people are working on.
And there's actually quite a few interesting tools that Indie Hacker women are working on, that I was never aware of until I started this Slack.
So, again, it's like studying your people.
I'm going deeper in to study Indie women to see how I can help them.
And then I'm going to be looking for more opportunities to support them, and also to integrate them into the Indie Hacker community more and to help them grow.
Patrick: Yeah. That's incredible.
This is a very tactical question, but I'm curious what happens at an Indie women party online?
What tool do you use? What's the structure, what's the format look like for something like that?
Rosie: Yeah. It's the first party we were doing, but we've done a couple in the past, which is basically the same thing, but use an Icebreaker.video, which was quite fun.
So, we've done a couple of those with 10 or 15 people.
And you can play music in between sessions and then match people up for five to 10 minutes to meet.
So, that's the basis of it really. Icebreaker is quite a good tool if you haven't used it.
It brings a lot of fun into the environment. And it's quite funny because I think I'm going to do one for Christmas, for Indie Hackers as a whole, just see who shows up to a Christmas party.
But it's quite funny because you get matched up randomly, so when people would get matched up with me they would get quite excited.
I would get all awkward and embarrassed about it, because I'm just Rosie at the end of the day.
But obviously people get excited to meet me. So, yeah. I think there's some fun things that could potentially do around that.
Like give prizes away for matching up with certain people or something like that.
Patrick: Are there any other interesting tools or platforms you've been excited about or have been using a lot lately with regards to doing community online?
Rosie: I use Calendly just to organize events, so the accountability sessions, just to get people booked, to register. It sends them reminders, which hopefully helps them actually show up.
It seems to work all right. I like to use Whereby just as a video tool instead of Zoom.
It's got a more funky edge to it, and it's got a simple URL that you can go to which I prefer.
Trying to think what else. Notion, I love Notion, it's not a community tool, but it's just a way of sharing knowledge and writing stuff down.
My life is a bit on Notion at the moment. Slack. I love Slack as a community tool as well.
I think a lot of people, they say it's a terrible community tool, but actually I think it's pretty amazing.
It does the job. It's baked into the tech world.
I think, like Lenny's newsletter, he's got a great Slack going and I always point to him as a good example of how to have a great community with Slack.
But there's a few out there and I know other people have tried to use tools similar to Slack, but they just never get the engagement.
So, yeah. I'm on loads of Slacks. Too many.
Patrick: Yeah. We've seen, I think with our customers at Orbit, Slack and Discourse are the two most common tools that we integrate with and people ask for.
Discord is coming up quickly though, I would say, in terms of adoption, given the granularity around moderation and permissions and things like that, that seems to be a big differentiator when compared to Slack.
So, it's interesting to see those trends change in the front row seat that we have at Orbit. Pretty interesting.
Rosie: Yeah. My teens are on Discord.
Rosie: I'm trying to get into it, but I'm struggling, but I'm sure in time, as I have no choice as time goes on, sometimes you have no choice but to get sucked into these tools.
But it seems pretty good.
Patrick: We've covered a lot of ground today, I would say.
And it's been wonderful to hear your story and your progression through different stages of your own community building.
But I'm curious, what keeps you coming back to community as a discipline and as a vocation?
Rosie: You know what? I don't know. I think in my heart there's this need for belonging, and I think--
It's like when I go to other people's events or things that other people organize, I struggle to find a place to fit in.
And the way that I feel most comfortable fitting in is by creating the community myself.
And so that's why I quite often just end up starting communities because I can design it around me.
And that's not in an egotistical way, but it just makes me feel most at ease, that I see stuff happening that I love to see happening, and I don't have to introduce myself to anyone.
It just makes life so much easier. It's like people come to you and it's just pretty amazing to be able to live like that.
I've managed to do that on repeat several times in the past 15 years, I guess, at Ministry of Testing.
And I did a Coworking Space, I did the same kind of thing as well.
I've done Meetups and then Indie Hackers, now Rosieland and, yeah.
So, it helps me feel like I belong, because if I look to my local community, not many people understand what I do.
So, if I was trying to explain what Rosieland they'd be like "What? I don't get that. Indie Hackers. What?"
So, it's like, yeah. I create these spaces to help me feel like I belong, and that helps me feel good.
Patrick: That's powerful. So, Rosie, I have one question that we ask every person that comes on the show.
This podcast is called Developer Love, and I'm curious. What's one thing that you're loving right now?
Rosie: Yeah. So, I guess, I've been in Community tech for quite a long time, and I think being more experienced, being 40 plus, I have experience.
So, I have experience of running a business, I have experience of starting communities that didn't work out and failing.
I have experience of employees.
And so for me, I'm thinking about all of that experience at the moment, and I'm taking it into new things with a new perspective and thinking about how I can apply what I've learned over the years to work better for me.
And that's making me feel really good about what I'm doing. So, I'm working for Indie Hackers full time.
I never thought I would work for anyone else. I've been there almost two years now.
I love that experience and I appreciate it. I love not having to have employees to manage.
You learn to appreciate things only in hindsight.
And then coming with Rosieland, I appreciate starting things from scratch and having a clean slate to try anything.
And that really excites me though. It's like I can do anything I want now.
And what will I do now that I have a clean slate?
What have I learned from all those years? Not necessarily about what's wrong or what's right, but more about me as a human being.
What do I really want out of life? And I have the opportunity now to do stuff, and it's not about money necessarily.
It's not about anything. It's just about me having a smile on my face day to day, enjoying the work that I want to do.
So, basically, I love the freedom that I have now and the choice that I have to do those things, because I could quit any of those and I would be fine.
I guess, financially, I would be okay. So, everything that I'm doing now at the moment is out of choice, not out of necessity.
Patrick: Well, Rosie, you've been very generous with your time today.
If people wanted to learn more about Rosieland and what you're working on and anything else, where would you send them online to find more?
Rosie: Yeah. @Rosiesherry on Twitter, and Rosie.land is the Rosieland website.
I also have Rosiesherry.com as a personal website.
Patrick: Awesome. Well, thanks so much for coming on Developer Love, it's been a real pleasure.
Rosie: Thank you for having me.
Subscribe to Heavybit Updates
Subscribe for regular updates about our developer-first content and events, job openings, and advisory opportunities.
Content from the Library
Jamstack Radio Ep. #103, Visualizing Codebases with Nahrin Jalal of CodeSee
In episode 103 of JAMstack Radio, Brian Douglas chats with Nahrin Jalal of CodeSee. Together they explore tools and actionable...
Jamstack Radio Ep. #76, Growing Alongside JAMstack Communities with Tessa Mero of Cloudinary
In episode 76 of JAMstack Radio, Brian is joined by Tessa Mero of Cloudinary. They share stories from the developer advocate...
Developer Love Ep. #14, Community Transparency with Tracy Lee of This Dot Labs
In episode 14 of Developer Love, Patrick speaks with Tracy Lee of This Dot Labs. They discuss the prevalence of online events,...