Dev Rangarajan
    Digital Trust and Community

    My friend Grant cares a lot about trust

    So much so that he’s starting a company to try and improve it

    Digital communities generally have one of two problems

    1. They’re totally focused around one personality or brand, and the side conversations become weirdly status seeking/yes-men type interactions. You see this a lot in creator driven paid communities, and it makes sense if you’re trying to sell a course, but isn’t super great for building real relationships.
    2. They’re totally open/exposed. Forums and twitter scenes are great, there are awesome people who hang out and are generally all passionate about one thing or another. But people act different when they feel like anyone on the internet can come watch what they’re doing, and that’s not always good. Pseudonymity can circumvent this, at the cost of trust. Every community like this on the internet falls somewhere on the Anonymous (4chan) to Fully Real (linkedin) spectrum, with pseudonymity (reddit) being thought of as a happy medium.

    But Grant (and I) think there’s an additional element missing here - private communities that are incredibly high trust. Much in the same way a fraternity, rotary club, freemason society, church group would be.

    All of these old social clubs are essentially set up with the explicit (or strongly implicit) goal of providing great member experiences.

    That goal is missing from most - if not all digital communities today.

    Paid product communities have the goal of providing value to members, but in a very explicit/transactional way. Forums generally put the rules of the forum over everything else (because they can’t reliably establish social relationships with everyone who participates).

    So Grant’s decided to try and build a product/company that tackles this problem, and I’ve agreed to help build the first club on the platform.

    It’s called the Peninsula Club, and the goal is to build a small social community of Bay Area Tech people.

    Dues are $20 per month, and they accumulate in the club treasury. Members will then be able to vote on how the money is spent.

    You can think of this as much more about filtering for investment than a profit generating exercise (I’d imagine the entire treasury will be spent on a single club dinner or something similar in a few months).

    The goal is not scale, but depth. Membership will be capped well below 100 members - it’s very hard to foster good relationships otherwise.

    If you want to join - here’s a link to the application (some interesting things will be happening w deep links as well).

    It’s all an experiment, if you want to make some deeper connections with a different social circle than you’d normally interact with (without having to put in a ton of effort), then come check it out. Happy to chat more on twitter about any questions you might have.

    © 2021, Dev Rangarajan | Rights reserved
    Some images from