Avoid automation with founding members of your community

Zander Whitehurst

Zander will respond in 1-2 hours

As a product designer, my weakness is marketing and customer success. I've little experience in sales funnels or automated retention flows and have no doubt I could be doing a much better job of engaging and retaining the Memorisely tribe. But the truth is, I'm not a fan of automated welcome messages, avatar led onboarding flows or chatbots that tell customers I'll respond soon.

I kinda understand the need for increased automation when your business scales to tens of thousands of customers, but in the early days, automation only deters early members. It screams: 'Hold up, I don't have time for you right now.'

Founding members are golden and human

Early members of your community are golden; they are your founding members who shape what and how you build. Without them, it's tricky to stay motivated and focused on shifting gears from idea to MVP. With Memorisely I've taken an EVERY approach to early members.

I make a habit of responding to every new member of the Memorisely Tribe


Anatole was the first Memorisely member to introduce himself and I've learnt so much from him!



Every response is personalised; I'm generally interested in stories vs statistics.

Welcome EVERY new member personally.

Every member that joins the Memorisely Tribe slack I welcome with a personal message and guide them to their local tribe to meet other designers. With so many designers around the world, it's an awesome opportunity to hear their UX/UI story and interests. So far I've welcomed 815 designers around the world with a personal message. It's 800 minutes I wouldn't want to invest anywhere else but in them.

Reply to EVERY message punctually.

On Instagram I receive 5-10 messages a day from new or experienced designers. I make a habit of responding to every direct message with a personal response, ideally offering guidance, a resource, or motivation.

You can't Automate personalised advise



It takes a minute to respond positively.



It's important to build friendships with your founding members.



Respond to EVERY comment positively.

Comments in slack or posts are a super way to broaden perspectives. I respond to every comment personally, doing my best to add value to any conversation.

Answer EVERY question honestly.

Either via message or video, I think it's important to answer every question honestly. Building a SaaS business doesn't happen overnight, and it's important to be transparent and answer every question honestly.


This personal approach may not be uber-efficient or best-automated practice, but it ensures your building honest, human relationships with founding members. Investing a minute in chatting honestly to a founding member is priceless.

Thanks so much to those founding members who have shared your story, remained curious, and offered constant feedback.

Zander Whitehurst
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