Success Podcast Post

The Power of Community with Taylor Harrington

George Grombacher January 27, 2023

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The Power of Community with Taylor Harrington

LifeBlood: We talked about the power of community, the challenges facing solopreneurs working virtually, how to connect with like-minded people for accountability and support, and the benefits of structure, with Taylor Harrington, Head of Community with Groove, a free app for solo workers from all over the world to instantly connect and conquer their to-do’s!

Listen to learn about the opposite of loneliness!

You can learn more about Taylor at Groove.OOO, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Thanks, as always for listening! If you got some value and enjoyed the show, please leave us a review here:


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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Taylor Harrington

Episode Transcript

Unknown Speaker 0:00

Unknown Speaker 0:15
I’m left with is George G. And the time is right welcome today’s guest strong and powerful. Taylor Harrington Taylor, are you ready to do this? Let’s go. Let’s go. Taylor is the head of community at groov. They’re an extraordinary free app for solo workers from all over the world to instantly connect and conquer their to their to dues together. Taylor, tell us a little about your personal life’s more about your work and why you do what you do. Amazing. Thanks so much for having me. I am so excited to be on this podcast. And I have to say, it’s funny when I heard other episodes and have heard about this personal life, I was like, Oh, I know exactly what I’m gonna be talking about. I love sharing experiences, quality time is totally my love language. And I live in New York City. And there’s just so much to do here. So I’m always looking for live music to go to Broadway plays to go to hosting different events in my apartment. Last month, or so I’ve been working on having flower parties, which are these gatherings I have for my girlfriends, everyone brings a bouquet we strip them down, put them in rainbow order. And then everyone leaves with their own unique bouquet by the end of the gathering. So they pick out their favorite flowers from all the the whole pile. So I’m definitely someone who loves loves a good gathering loves a good shared experience. And in my work, I also do that I like to say that I’m building the opposite of loneliness in the world, which is a phrase that I learned from someone named Marina Keegan. And her definition of it was, it’s not quite love, and it’s not quite community. But it’s this feeling that are that there are people who are in this together who are on your team. And I just think that definition is so beautiful. She basically argues there’s not really a good word for it. But that’s it. And it’s an it’s just such a beautiful way of looking at an impact that you can make in the world by helping people feel less lonely. So my work at groov, as Head of Community there is very focused on helping the world feel less lonely. As you mentioned, our app, it’s pretty cool. People just click a button and one to three other solo workers from around the world can join them for a 15 minute focus session to get stuff done and feel a little less lonely as they get through their work from home day. A

Unknown Speaker 2:25
lot of really great stuff they did. Did you call it a flower party? A flower party? Yeah. I have other ones that I do, too. I, I hosted one where it was like a blind date with a book where everyone brings a book and they wrap it up, you put a little Goodreads rating on the outside a little bit of a description. And then everyone rolls the dice and you find out who gets what book. So I love creating those types of things. But yeah, those are pretty with a hit. And in the summer, we did it up on my rooftop, which was a blast. I think that’s a wonderful idea and a great way to

Unknown Speaker 2:59
you know, it’s fun just to get together. But to give it a little bit of purpose and to be able to walk away with something beautiful. I think that that’s just an awesome idea. Well, thank you. Yeah, Priya Parker definitely inspired that one in her book with the art of gatherings. So if anyone’s listened to, or read that or listened to it, I highly recommend she talks a lot about that intentionality of coming with a purpose. And, you know, I think it’s funny too, I’ve actually read another book recently called the two hour cocktail party by Nick gray. And he basically outlines for someone who doesn’t know how to host a party. This is how you can do it in two hours, you can have a great time, here’s how to get a few RSVPs. Even if you’re in a city where you don’t know a lot of people, here’s how you get some of those initial people to come. And one of his things is everyone should wear name tags, whether everyone is close friends, whether there’s three people out of the 10 people that are showing up that don’t know each other. And so I started bringing the name tags thing into my gatherings. And at first it felt kind of funny, because it’s like, well, a lot of these people have seen each other at a birthday party of mine before or something like that. Or they’re new and it just feels funny to say like, Hey, put on your nametag when you walk into the flower party. But when we left the party, at the very end, someone one of my best friends who I thought would have made fun of the idea said the best part about this was the name tags. She was like it made everyone on the same playing field. But they didn’t we didn’t know who knew Taylor the best because we were all just equals with a name tag. And we didn’t have to ask what their name was. We could see it so anyways, those are two books that I would highly recommend if someone is into creating a gathering and making a pretty low lift and seeing that it’s something that you can do and you know with the flower party, the best part is that other than the name tags, everyone contributes I don’t have to do much I just say hey, here’s my apartment, everyone bring a bouquet.

Unknown Speaker 4:56
That is really cool. That is an interesting and really value

Unknown Speaker 5:00
They will feedback about the name tag. And I appreciate everything you said like I, you know, people are gonna think it’s dumb, it’s gonna be weird, it’s gonna be kind of uncomfortable to introduce it. And then it turns out that it does have that really beneficial effect of making people feel comfortable.

Unknown Speaker 5:18
And I don’t know when, as as, as says, obviously, you are the head of community, and you’re bringing people together from all over the world. So it’s not just one city where we have sort of commonalities, and we’re going through common experiences. So how do you approach that you’ve I click the app, I’m now in this in this space with strangers from potentially different countries and whatever with different experiences? How do you think about that sort of along the same lines we’ve been talking about? Yeah, so I think part of it is the structure the magic of the structure. And so when you hop into a groove, there isn’t a host. So you’re, you know, you’re in charge of running the room just as much as anyone else who shows up. And so the way that the app instructs you to move through that is someone gets the pink box first. And so the pink boxes around your face. And that means it’s time for you to share what you’re up to for the first 15 minutes or for the full 15 minutes first. And that’s basically your chance to say, Hey, I’m Taylor from New York City. It’s beautiful and steady here today. I’m trying to get through this project, and it’s just not working. I’m not doing it well on my own. So I’m hopping into a groove, it’s great to meet you all, let’s go ahead and get to it. This is what the project is. And so I would share what I’m up to, when I’m done sharing, there’s a little button that I see that says pass the mic, so it moves over to the next person, and so on. And so I do think that that shared structure, and that ritual of how that happens is a big part of the magic of it, because it’s automatically assigned, who goes first and what to do next, the same way that someone walks into my apartment. And the first thing you do is I go over and greet them. And then I say go ahead over to this table. That’s where the name tags are, put your first name in big capital letters. And so everyone has the same experience as they walk through every single time. So I think that’s, that’s the key to it. As far as culturally and just being around the world from each other. It’s quite beautiful. I mean, I have met so many interesting people. And my work prior to working at groov, I worked with a best selling author Seth Godin, and worked on building X shared experiences online at a Kimbo and all NBA. And I saw the magic of connecting with people from all over the world in that job, because people were coming to these workshops, saying, I’m in a moment of, I need to figure out how I can go on this path that I really want to go down. And they gathered around that shared feeling of this is something that I want to make a change in my life. So I’m showing up to do the hard work and get through this workshop and X, Y and Z. So when I had this moment of okay, what do I want to do my next role, I wanted to do community full time, I wanted to help people feel less lonely, full time and gather people from all over the world. And I think that there’s that same shared

Unknown Speaker 8:03
experience that leads to someone come coming to groove, whether it’s feeling lonely, working from home, whether it’s feeling got, I just need a bit more accountability, I work by myself, and I don’t have someone to go plan with, I don’t have someone to say, Hey, did you do that thing. And I could just use someone who could keep me on the hook. And so I think group does a really good job of building that community for you. So it feels like that ongoing accountability crew that you’re meeting up with, you can bump this familiar faces once you’ve started grooving often. So if I grew up with you, we might see each other again in two days. So it builds it up around the world to help it feel connected.

Unknown Speaker 8:41
Yeah, I think that that’s super powerful.

Unknown Speaker 8:44
And I remember learning about the success of alt MBA and says frustration with having this wonderful program, but that nobody was finishing it. So trying to crack that code and how incorporating community was sort of the linchpin for

Unknown Speaker 9:00
actually making sure people actually matriculated all the way through the course. So I think that that makes a ton of sense.

Unknown Speaker 9:07
You mentioned at the start that your one of your love languages or your love language was quality time. And that suggests to me that you really are self aware and you know yourself, for somebody who is going to be successful in with, with with groove, hopping on to a groove

Unknown Speaker 9:26
that I don’t want to be lonely, or that I’m feeling a little bit lonely that I recognize I could use a hand up or a kick in the butt every once in awhile from an accountability standpoint. What else do I need to do to make it successful from a personality standpoint for for me?

Unknown Speaker 9:45
Well, it’s interesting. We do have quite the self aware community. So it’s funny to hear you kind of point that out. And we just did our first a really in depth survey to gather some information about this early community of ours.

Unknown Speaker 10:00
And one of the things that emerged is coaches tend to be one of the biggest groups of people inside of groove. And I think a lot of it is they get it, they understand the 15 minutes of magic of focusing, they get the power of accountability. But I think that, you know, there’s a couple of things here, someone who is willing to try something new we are in our early stages, we just launched out of beta, this fall and fall of 2022. And still early. So it’s someone who’s probably interested in testing something, probably someone who’s interested in giving a little bit of feedback. And okay, if it doesn’t have all the features that they ever wished existed right now, we are building with our community from day one. So any of the features that you see within the app are things people have said, Hey, I wish this existed and we bring them to life. So that’s one thing, I think another thing is, people who have probably had the experience of being really connected to someone and feeling productive around them. So I remember one of my first days on the job, I chatted with Josh, our CEO and co founder. And I remember we were painting the picture of what is it like to walk into a virtual co working space, if we use that as an example. So we had both had experiences working at physical co working spaces earlier in our lives. And the conversation actually ended up bringing us to talking about sitting at the kitchen table. And we both had parents that would sit next to us when we did homework sometimes, whether they were working on something else, or whatever. So I was saying how my mom when she would cook dinner, I would often be in the kitchen with her. And just being there in the kitchen, having someone near me,

Unknown Speaker 11:42
who knew I was trying to get something done, actually was very motivating. And it helped me stay accountable that I was going to get my homework done. And Josh had a very similar experience in his family’s home. And that is what we’ve leaned on a lot is it reminds people of what it was like maybe in school in college to be next to someone and have them say, Hey, you got this, you’re gonna get it done. You’re focused, you’ve done all the right things, you’re here now. And so I lean on that as something that someone has probably experienced in the past, and maybe doesn’t doesn’t have in their professional life right now, which they did. Yeah, I think that that makes a ton of sense. And I’m finally thinking back to, to when I was a kid and even with with with my own kids now, what a wonderful environment that, that that kitchen table kind of scenario is and and to recreate that. And it also strikes me that that we’re, we’re this is new, you know, working virtually is a new thing for us human beings. And you know, being solo entrepreneurs is probably a new experience for for the people that are going through that as well. So helping to bridge that gap, and to pull some of those things that we really value and then the other elements that we know will help us to be more productive. That makes a ton of sense. Yeah, and I think one of the biggest things I hear from Groovers is that they’ve really learned how to manage their impostor syndrome. And the reason being that they have been surrounded by other people that they are inspired, even if it’s a different field of work, they are inspired by them that they are doing the work that they care about. And they’re getting through it. Another thing I like to hear is people say, Wow, this is like the real version of LinkedIn. And what they mean by that is you can look at someone, there’s a groomer who makes YouTube videos for a living, she’s a full time YouTuber. And I remember one river saying, Gosh, it’s so cool that I get to see the non polished version of her when she is waking up, she got her coffee, and she’s like, I’m in the zone here, I’m gonna do this. But then you see that next to the polished YouTube video. And so you really get the real version of someone who is kind of making the thing that then eventually looks polished. And so that’s another piece of it. And then the last thing I’ll say, is the power of 15 minutes, almost every time someone ends a groove, they say, Wow, that flew by, I didn’t realize how much time 15 minutes was. And now I know and that’s a gift because now I can change how I do things, how I spend my time. And that’s I think where the real magic is, is once people can reevaluate the relationship with time and who they spend their time with. You’ve got something really special. Yeah, yeah, those are those are super powerful.

Unknown Speaker 14:32
Just have it yeah, having an appreciation for how much time 50 minutes really is. Before I had an appreciation for that I probably wasted a lot of time but once you know

Unknown Speaker 14:45
that the the helps a ton. And that you do get to see the real aspect or the real side of people I think is super cool as well. So

Unknown Speaker 14:58
So I hop on the app

Unknown Speaker 15:01
Walk me through it, I’ll actually works. I click I want to, I want to hop into a groove. And it could take a little while sometimes it’s immediate. Yeah. So we like to say that usually matched up with someone within the first five minutes, especially if you’re based in the US because we have quite the US following. So if you’re trying to get on between that 7am, Eastern to five or 6pm, Eastern on a weekday, you’re probably getting matched up with someone in those first five minutes.

Unknown Speaker 15:29
We want we’re actually launching features in a few weeks, and maybe when this episode is out, it’ll be even better. But it is pretty cool. Just how quickly it can happen. And you’re like, Alright, I’m ready to go Someone’s here. Sometimes it’s seconds. You know, sometimes I’ll hop on and one of my close friends I’ve now become friends with on group is there in a second because they’re like, it was like the bat signal. I’m suddenly here because Taylor needed to groove and I’ve got stuff I could get done in 15 minutes. So yeah, it’s it’s pretty quick. And we’re hoping to make it quicker as we get more people on the platform for sure. Yeah, that, that makes a ton of sense. So it’s free. It’s free. Yeah. So we were a venture backed company. So we just finished our seed round of funding. The co founders, we have three amazing co founders, and they’re all very passionate about keeping Gru free forever, and having some sort of a paid like, like a freemium product. So you can have extra features, if you pay some sort of a monthly fee or something. We’re still exploring what that looks like. But, you know, we don’t have any plans to launch that anytime soon. And we want the full grooving experience, the the main let’s come and get stuff done and meet cool people while you’re at it to be something that’s accessible to everyone around the world. I love it. I’m such a proponent of community, I recognize the value and the importance of it.

Unknown Speaker 16:53
And I love the way how thoughtful sounds like y’all have been and the structure of it. I think it’s super exciting. So

Unknown Speaker 17:04
the opposite of loneliness, I think is a very cool thing as well. Is there anything that’s that’s been surprising, I know that you’ve just launched in the fall of 22? Here? What, what, what has been surprising?

Unknown Speaker 17:18
Yeah, I think, you know, one thing, and I will say I joined the team back in June of 2021. So we had been in beta for about 18 months before launching out of beta, which was a great period, we got to learn a lot. And we were able to build a bunch of features. I think that you know, one thing that would be very surprising is we launched a feature pretty early on and to me joining the team called the leaderboard. And if anyone has a peloton bike rider, it’s very similar to that where you have some sort of a leaderboard where people can move on it throughout the week. So the idea was, if you grew more, you’re in one of the number five spots on the leaderboard. And so you got featured on the app. And it was kind of this cool thing of like, ooh, like, people can see me and see that I’m getting stuff done. And at first, it was great. People loved it. It was boosting our engagement. People were excited about it. They were like, well, my pictures featured. But then people got obsessed with it.

Unknown Speaker 18:15
People were like, can you remove me from the leaderboard, because I’m actually having like an unhealthy reaction to this where I’m opening the app, and I’m watching my, like, I’m watching me slide down the leaderboard. And then I’m off of it. And I’m not okay at work. And so it was this really

Unknown Speaker 18:33
question of like, what is healthy productivity? And how can we be a proponent of that? How can we help people experience healthy productivity and knowing that that is different for each person? So after that experience in the fall of 2021, we really had a hard look at the app and said, Okay, what are different things where, you know, gamification is a big piece of it, you look at Duolingo, for example, Duolingo does a really great job of helping people come back with streaks and things like that. And it kind of runs that line of like, Is that healthy? Is it you know, it’s great for their engagement. But is it too much that people are obsessed with it, and maybe you’re only showing up for a couple of minutes on Duolingo. So it’s not as big of a deal. But to be trying to hit a certain number of groups every week, it can be a lot of hours, that you’re trying to keep your spot on the leaderboard. So that’s been a huge thing for us is thinking about vanity metrics, thinking about gamification, and how to do that in a healthy way. So that it can, of course, help bring that retention up, but also help people feel good on the app. Some people say ungroup, they’re like, that’s the one app that after I use it, I feel good using it. I feel better using it. And part of it is once you’ve closed the app, once you’re done with your work for the day, you take time off your phone, get off of your phone, the point of groove is not to stay on your phone all day. It’s to do your 15 Minute focus sessions that you need to get done. And then put the phone away and go enjoy

Unknown Speaker 20:00
Life, whatever you want to spend your time doing. So that would be Yeah, one of the biggest mistakes when business biggest learnings is, as the rise of gamification increases, how do we play a healthy role in that? Right? Taylor, you must use your powers for good instead of evil. I know what haha.

Unknown Speaker 20:20
You know, I’m joking, but, but not really, obviously, I want folks to be on the app. And you want to be a good steward and create a positive community. And if I’m on, if I’m in in a groove all day long that I’m not actually doing the work that I need to be doing. So finding the right balance and everything else. Super important. So appreciate you be mindful of that. Yeah, for sure. It’s important. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? Where can they find the groove app? How can they? How can they? How can you become a Groover and hop into a groove? Yeah, cool. Well, I would love to group with any listeners. So if you go to groov dot o like out of office, that’s our website, you can go ahead and sign up right there. And I will send you a welcome message when you land inside. So we will have a little chat together and we can start a private group. So the two of us can group for the first time together. I also typically host some welcome groups for new Groover. So you can join one of those. And of course, you can click the big button and hop into one yourself. If you want to find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, I’m Hey Tay hair. So hey, ta y h Jr. and I’m also on medium with the same username as well and like to write a lot about work from home, work life, harmony, productivity, things like that. Community, of course, so we’d love to have you there. Love it. If you enjoyed this as much as I did, so tailor your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to groov dot O O. And you are the first company organization person who’s ever told me about the the Oh, so pretty cool. I’ll take it. Yeah. You can find Taylor on LinkedIn and Twitter and medium at Hey Tay HEYTAYH Jr. Hey Tay hair.

Unknown Speaker 22:13
So check out everything she’s working on and jump into a groove become a Groover. Hop into a groove and see if it’s a good fit for you.

Unknown Speaker 22:22
Thanks. Good. Taylor. Thank you so much for having me. It was a blast. And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best and we’re all in this together.

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