Pioneer "Lunchclub" - a modest proposal
Shared by AndyDent-Touchgram · 105d ago · 9 comments

For those of us in the top 100 on the leaderboard, Pioneer has had weekly video calls available to meet other founders in that state. That's not the Pioneers who presumably have their own stuff happening.

After a year of this, Pioneer have decided to suspend the calls whilst they work out how to deliver more value. I suspect the number of participants was dropping a bit too.

I've made some good friends and got great feedback through the calls and we're definitely staying in touch.

However, frankly and not trying to give offense, sometimes the calls haven't felt like they deliver much value. A few have even been a tiring waste of time (they are at 2am for me, so it's tiring to start).

As a solo founder, I greatly value getting feedback. Often, giving other people feedback is a useful mirror on my own thinking. I've certainly felt that with the weekly reviews, even if I don't have the time to deal with all of my bright ideas I should be applying at home.

At the same time as being in Pioneer, I've also had a few calls on Lunchclub. Those are 1-1 calls often 30-45 minutes. The difference with those calls is that I am able to pick in advance the kind of concern I have, do I want to meet someone to talk about marketing, or design, or art...

So, I'm throwing this open for others to contribute some ideas on how Pioneer might meld the two models. I don't necessarily have answers, but I think I've worked out a few questions.

Stuff that worked well in the Pioneer Founder calls:

1. having a consistent community that felt like a safe space in which to discuss issues, something built up by seeing the same people over time

2. The regularity of having a call coming up and thinking about my biggest problem this week to discuss.

What did not always work well was lack of control over who I got bundled with. The official intent was to try to keep the same people together week-week but that varied. Sometimes the founders I met were in such wildly-different areas that I couldn't offer much help and they certainly had few ideas relevant to Touchgram.

One way to expand the experience and maybe counter the last point is to have a wider pool of people with more targeted interests, like Lunchclub.

I feel like there's almost a two-step model, like real-life:

1. get to meet people
2. invite them to be part of a curated group

kriskay · 103d ago

I'm really sad that the calls are stoping, but I agree that they were a bit hit or miss. Maybe adding some quick voting after the call could help keep up the quality?
- lose points if you sign-up but don't show up
- gain points if you are voted as most helpful
- a "please don't match me with this person again" button

Also, I think that the calls could benefit from promotion on the dashboard. They are the perfect challenging but attainable step between "Submit your next progress update" and "Place in the Top 50". If people strive to get into the calls, they might put in more effort once they get there?

kwakutabiri · 104d ago

I've been a bit negligent, but I didn't realise the calls existed till last week, to be honest.
This is an interesting idea I would love to try out · 101d ago

Andy - I really enjoyed the couple of times we were in a weekly call together. I definitely agree with the goals and challenges you've shared. I was fortunate to be part of a small group that really did "click", so I feel like I've made really valuable connections and long-term friends. Unfortunately, the the SUS Build Sprint group calls have been largely a bust. That was disappointing. LunchClub sounds interesting. I'll explore that.

manojranaweera · 104d ago

We've got a WhatsApp group for UK founders. At present, there are 7 of us. Just to have a bit of banter and support. · 104d ago

Yeah I second Manoj. I think Whatsapp is a good solution for asynchronous chat and could use Clubhouse or even Twitter spaces for group chats. At least until we release groups for Miit.

rashmi_mahadevaiah · 105d ago

I suggest that frontier posts have tags like StackOverflow and an upvote button for a zoom call. If there is enough interest in the question then a zoom call can be organized to discuss further otherwise it can be discussed in frontier itself. This might help relevant and interested people will attend the call.

NFT-gal · 104d ago

Interesting! Frontier as a mechanism to generate meetups.

oras · 105d ago

I agree with your reasons Andy, I actually left the weekly meeting calls as I stopped seeing any value in them. You have identified the exact issue, lack of control and matching.

I had the exact same issue with YC startup school, out of the 4 meetings during the last build sprint, I had only one valuable call where all founders were in the same field and we are still in touch 6 months after that call.

Is there a way in LunchClub to add a tag? For instance, we can add a tag ( so you can meet founders from pioneer without reinventing the tool specifically for pioneer.

AndyDent-Touchgram · 105d ago

LunchClub lets you pick broad areas of interest to guide your matches.

If you want more selectivity you need to earn Clubpoints which includes getting others to sign up.

They are basically still in the virally spreading make-money-later phase.