This is Dyne N’ Out! Dyne’s new podcast is all about connecting community and food through good conversations! Catch the full episode here or read the full conversation below!

Parsa: And we’re live! Welcome, Marissa everyone here. Welcome to Dyne N’Out! This is one of our first recorded episodes, so really happy to have Marissa Huggins here from Spontivly, uh, for the viewers at home and listeners, I suppose. Why don’t you tell the audience a bit about yourself? Marissa.

Marissa: Awesome. So, hi, thank you for having me. Um, my name is Marissa Hoggins, as you mentioned, I’m co-founder and COO of Spontivly. Spontivly is a community management system that is helping companies like Airbnb discord and SalesLoft with generating insights into their community. So I come from a community-building background myself. I’ve worked with a number of nonprofit organizations to also just marketing and branding communities to help them, um, with the early stages of community growth and community building. So I’ve been brought in oftentimes to help with the KPIs and the strategy discussions around that. And so I came to sort of join this team when I was experiencing the problem myself, working in an accelerator program. And I felt like I couldn’t generate any insights into my community because all of my tools were scattered across so many different platforms. And so it was, it was a really hard time every year when we had these discussions of what’s the ROI on our community programming, what’s the ROI on what we’re doing? How can we showcase that? What we’re building is valuable. And I realize that a lot of community managers tend to feel that way. They feel like they inherently know it to be true. That what they’re building is valuable, we see the value in community. We see the value in generating one-to-one connections, but there’s really no tangible way of measuring those interactions. And so essentially what I’ve come out to do and what my tool does is help measure those interactions.

Parsa: Well, that is super awesome. And I know that, uh, we had diner really interested in losing responsively as well, but it’s great to see so many, you know, startups in that community space looking to really make that impact of, you know, what is social media done in the last 10, 15 years? And how can we really take that and sort of revolutionize it to a new level and create that sort of new stratosphere of, of connection to community. And, you know, we do it over food. You guys do it over KPI tracking, but it’s a real sort of nice synergy that I’m super excited about talking today.

Marissa: Yeah, for sure. No community is definitely very trendy right now. And I think it’s gonna be the trend for the next few years, but the moral of a story is, you know, people love to gather over things and whether they love to gather over food, whether they love to gather over, you know, experiences or whether they love to gather over their favorite products at the end of the day, I think the important piece is just people connecting and gathering. So I think that’s one thing that, you know, both tools host in common, it’s like we are all focused on just helping people, strengthen relationships and build connections Sort of I’m excited to be here.

Parsa: Exactly. Yeah. And so trying to understand, you know, where, where you’re coming from, um, you know, maybe people at home don’t know responsively really is, maybe you can tell them sort of like, what’s the ideal process that a user goes to when they use ly, you know, like what’s the, the best compliment you can hear from a user and sort of what are the, the insults you’re really proud of hearing as well?

Marissa: Yeah, for sure. Um, so the ideal, you know, I always tell people this, my favorite flow that I hear of when it comes to using our tool is if I am able to save a community manager time or effort. And so for example, um, every time a member wants to come to community manager for an introduction to another member that is a flow that could be automated honestly. And so my tool wins every single time. Something like that happens. So one thing that we’re doing is building out automated one to one connections between people who have very similar interests and skill sets, because now rather than a community manager saying, oh, you know, Ashley, you have very similar interests. As for example, Parsa, I’m going to link up Ashley and partially Parsa. So they should talk rather than doing that. My tool will automatically do that with AI.

Parsa: And so, and so who can become a community manager in this platform?

Marissa: Honestly, anyone, anyone can be a community manager, but anyone with, you know, the specific skill sets that I look for that I tell people to look for in, in good community managers is great communication. You have to be interested in people and you have to be interested in building relationships with people because at the end of the day, as a community manager, your job is to service people and build relationships. And if you aren’t enthusiastic at about the community that you are part of other people will take that and they’ll notice. And so one of the biggest things I say is just, you have to be interested and you have to be engaged. And oftentimes relationships are what we put into them. And so as a community manager, you have to be willing to put in the effort. But if, you know, you feel like you have all three of those things, then you’re primed up for the role

Parsa: And I think there’s something to be said about, you know, everyone who runs any business or runs, you know, does anything for the community should aspire to have a second job as a community manager. You know, whether it’s a restaurant in our case or any other business, really like you’re servicing the community. And if that’s not your primary goal, uh, then it’s gonna be a difficult. And so what we’re trying to do is make sure that people have the ability to take those, those positions ask me to manages in the community, whether it be restaurants or any other or any other sector.

Marissa: That’s absolutely true. One thing that I often tell people is like, whether you realize it or not, you are a community builder, almost every one of us is in the same way that sales is everywhere, right? Like every single day I tell, I tell a lot of my friends this too, every single day, you walk into work and you sell yourself as a person. So we all inherently understand some of the basic fundamentals behind sales. Uh, and the same thing goes for community building. It’s actually inherent within us. It’s just completely natural, but everybody is a community builder. You are constantly connecting with the people around you. You are constantly building new relationships and facilitating that. Whether you are posting on LinkedIn as an individual, whether you’re running your company programming, it doesn’t really matter one way or another. You are building a community of people who are supportive and who are surrounding you and your mission in life. And so at the end of the day, we’re all community builders. I completely agree.

Parsa: I think that’s really well said. Um, you know, I’ve talked to a lot of these community builders when they, maybe they don’t even realize they are the community builders in the communities, but they’re facing a lot of challenges. What sort of, um, is the pain point you’re solving for? And then what are the pain points that you haven’t solved for that you’re looking to solve for,

Marissa: For sure. One of the bigger pain points that we see is that a lot of community programs are getting cut. Um, because community managers don’t really have any way to advocate for themselves. And so we see that, especially, I would say this problem is amplified. What, with everything going on in the market at the moment, um, just kind of being in a downturn, just by nature of, I think the little bit of recession we’re going through community has become sort of this topic. It was very trendy. And so a lot of people pooled their interest towards it, but then all of a sudden it became, well, we pooled company resources towards this strategy. And how did we gain any value from that? And so the questions, you know, once you go into a recession, become very ROI oriented and very ROI focused community is a long term strategy. And so proving direct ROI can be difficult. So that’s one thing that we’ve seen a lot of community managers. Another thing that’s interesting is that community management doesn’t go away. And so what happens is that if you cut your community programming, oftentimes community just ends up being a different element of a new department. Mm. So oftentimes a marketing manager will be tasked with doing what the community manager would’ve done. So you haven’t gotten rid of the community. <laugh>, you’ve just, unfortunately, moved it into a different area of the company. Yeah. And so this is what we mean when we say community managers have a hard time advocating for themselves, um, and a hard time proving tangible ROI. It’s like, they are almost oftentimes operating in pre-qualified leads. It’s like you’re pre-sales leads. So how do you showcase that, that, you know, event that you ran that, that social media post actually led to conversion at the end? Yeah. Marketing and sales often butt heads over this very concept marketing is like, well, I ran your social media channels, your programming and your events. And that’s what generated your sales and sales is like, well, prove it, those are crappy leads. Right. And so what this sort of does is help facilitate that relationship with the two. So there’s no longer that budding of heads it’s, everybody’s working collaboratively yeah. To help bring in new sales leads

Parsa: And I think there’s something sort of funny to note about, like, you know, we went through the pandemic and community got cut to zero, and now we’re trying to get back up and it’s recessions another cut from the community. And it’s just like, what can you do? And you know, if you’re gonna put resources towards developing community, how do you know they’re put in the right place? And how can you make sure that you’re not wasting your time along one tangent, we should go going along another tangent. And so, you know, I think we both have seen that ly in D in different ways, different sort of analytic purposes, different ways of, you know, pushing people out there. And that’s really been, you know, we’ve seen our traction, but of course we wanna make sure that people can see that value as well. Uh, and so sort of what’s the, the long term future, this, you know, when someone says, I want to use Dyne I wanna use Spotivly, I wanna use whatever <inaudible> platform, what’s that sort of five-year vision that you have, like, what’s, how’s the world really gonna be changed with these platforms?

Marissa: I think that the world is headed for some really interesting places. And it really depends on where things go in terms of technology. There are many ways that the world could head and, and you know, you and I have spoken about this, but one thing that I think is going to be a massive trend is web three and decentralization. I think we are headed into the decentralization era of the internet, probably on any given day. 

Parsa: Before we get too deep into that, you gotta explain web three is, cause I still live now,

Marissa: Oh man, web three is essentially just the new era of the internet, where in which decisions will no longer be controlled by one centralized sort of platform or tool of way of doing things. And the idea is to make everything. And so, you know, the technical side of it still confuses me a little bit to this day. And I think it’s a buzzword. So finding actual resources on what web three is, is a little bit difficult. Yeah. But the general idea and the general principle behind web three Dows and NFTs is to essentially, um, just not have decision making, have everything completely anonymous mm-hmm <affirmative> so that you have a general ledger of all of the interactions that have taken place and it’s completely anonymous so that there’s no real way of tracking everything. And that’s how people believe that you can get your democracy. Um, what’s interesting about that is that that is almost entirely community-run. Yeah. By nature, it kind of has to be right, because now what you’re doing is depending on the community’s general perception. And so the most tangible example I can give you that’s close would be cryptocurrencies. So the value of crypto, and I think everyone agrees on this, the value of crypto inherently lies in the general perception of the value of the crypto. Yeah. Especially the way that things are running right now. Well, that general perception is determined entirely by the community. And so the same thing’s going to happen when the world shifts over to web three. And when we shift over into this new era of the internet, a lot of the decisions that we’re making are going to be completely valued by how the community feels about something. Yeah. We’re trying to essentially decentralize.

Parsa: You’re letting the market respond in a more sort of, um, like you say anonymous way, but it’s also like sort of very decentralized. And so you see, you know, where Facebook had a lot of success early on in, within universities. Uh, we’re seeing that these platforms can be, you know, taking up that same sort of market share and making sure that they can grow based on what people wanna see and not what corporate interests want. So you, really’s really driven by if this is a good product, it’ll stay around and if not, then it deserves to die in some way. 

Marissa: We’re seeing a lot of rise. Yeah. And this has to do with just influences of decisions. Right. And so we’re seeing a lot of rise on, on that concept. And so I think that trend will continue to build and that’s going to greatly influence where things go in the next five years.

Parsa: Yeah, definitely. Uh, I think there’s also like a sort of component there around, you know, how do you handle trust and privacy and all these things when everything’s anonymous, you know, who do you look for to, to, to sort of be that, that guiding light and, you know, hopefully in some way with all the, the traction that we’re seeing, we’re able to make this guiding light, not just one central body, but you know, from the community for the community, um, so on and so forth, you know, throughout those five years and beyond.

Marissa: Yeah. I completely agree. Absolutely. Yes. It’s going to be, it’s gonna be interesting where it goes and there’s a lot of, it’s very hard to predict where it’s going to move, but I know that it’s going to go, it’s going to pick up quickly as a trend. Yeah,

Parsa: Definitely. Um, so sort of starting to close this podcast up in the next five or 10 minutes, what is one question you wish I’d asked you and how would you have answered it?

Marissa: You know, I don’t know. I actually think that you addressed all the questions that I would’ve asked. I think you really hit <laugh> you hit the rise and fall of community, which I was really excited about. And, and I’m of course, quite passionate about. Um, so I, I, I don’t know if I would’ve asked any other questions.

Parsa: well, perfect. Uh, and let the listeners know where they can find you.

Marissa: Awesome. Well, you can find me on LinkedIn. I’m always there. You can just look me up Marissa Huggins.

Parsa: And we’ll have all those links in the description on your podcast, on any platform your choosing Marissa Huggins has been a great pleasure. 

Marissa: Thank you. Thanks for having me have a great day!

Parsa: This has been Dyne N’ Out everybody. Thank you for listening and we’ll see you soon. Bye-bye.

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