Inspiring Community Builder: Andrew Yeung (Lumos House)

How Andrew Yeung hosted free high quality meetups at SXSW with an impressive waitlist

 

Andrew Yeung is a VERY impressive community builder – building communities across the USA that people love to be a part of.

Andrew wanted a “more thoughtful way to bring together the tech community to gather” and decided to do something different at this year’s SXSW.

His mission (i.e. the WHY) was to encourage people in the tech community to gather, collaborate and explore new ideas. 

In order to make that happen, he would have to create a space where:

  • People felt comfortable with each other (and eventually, build trust)
  • Be willing to turn up and share about themselves, trade knowledge etc
  • Feel inspired to build something new
  • Want to work on new things together

There’s something really important that Andrew also focused on…

People connect with each other when they’re genuinely ENJOYING THEMSELVES.

If you are a tech founder, operator, or cool person in Austin from March 12–14 looking to meet other cool ppl, keep reading:

I rented a mansion + hired a private chef for 240 meals for Lumos House.

I have a feeling we’ll have extra food + space and want to invite awesome… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

— Andrew Yeung (@andruyeung)
8:22 PM • Mar 10, 2024

Andrew set his set of events apart from everyone else by hosting amazing experiences including curated meals by private chefs, wellness experiences, games and activities.

These are all ways that people connect IRL (not to mention creating FOMO – who doesn’t want to sign up to at least one of the above activities?).

P.S. every hour at Lumos House tonight, we’re doing surprise food drops:

• 7 pm: Chicken nuggets
• 8 pm: Pizza surprise
• 9 pm: Mexican dishes by a private chef
• 10 pm: Donuts, donuts, donuts
• 11 pm: Ice cream

— Andrew Yeung (@andruyeung)
11:30 PM • Mar 11, 2024

 

Here’s how he stayed true to his “WHY” – to encourage collaboration and explore new ideas. 

He put attendees up on the “stage” with:
  • An ongoing podcast always running at the events interviewing extraordinary people (you can already see potential collabs happening)
  • LED billboard trucks showcasing the products that founders in the community were building – and shown to everyone at the events.
  • Open-house co-working opportunities during the day.

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This is all true to the WHY – and it also provides VALUE to the attendees.

We’re filming short form content at Lumos House.

If you have a cool story I’d love to interview you.

DM me!

— Andrew Yeung (@andruyeung)
9:46 PM • Mar 12, 2024

 

Other really important points to note:

1) The community didn’t pay a cent for all of these experiences
2) It was application-only to attend (most importantly: you can’t buy your way in.)

This ensures quality people attend the event. As an attendee this is maximising the value they receive.

If the WHY is to have quality people come together and collaborate, then you shouldn’t be paying your way in. Applications in this case make a lot of sense.

This gives the opportunity to conduct some “match-making” behind the scenes. You want to make sure the right types of people were attending that could collaborate together on new projects.

 

Key learnings you can apply to your own community (you don’t need to spend $$$ to achieve these):

  1. Be clear on the mission of your community – your WHY is important and central to all future community strategy
  2. Understand what people really want and deliver value to them – in this case attendees superficially want fun and the clout of being able to attend an exclusive event – but they also want to be inspired, have access to future exciting opportunities and receive help to raise awareness and other advice required for their projects/businesses
  3. Think twice before charging people to attend events or be a part of a community – it’s not to say this doesn’t work, but there are better ways to ensure you don’t have people dropping out. Creating a higher sense of FOMO will help a lot in this case.

Read more about Andrew’s experience building the Lumos House community at SXSW:

I wanted to do something different at SXSW this year…

Instead of just hosting another tech “networking” event, I wanted to find a more thoughtful way to bring together the tech community to gather, collaborate, and explore new ideas.

So I partnered with old friends,… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

— Andrew Yeung (@andruyeung)
2:36 PM • Mar 17, 2024

P.s. – if you are rolling your eyes thinking “wow another tech bro event”, I want to point out it is worth your time to read some of the responses to Andrew’s post above.

You can see from the comments they weren’t just “bros” that attended and they absolutely raved about the experiences.

This is a sign of an inspiring community builder – staying true to the WHY.

You can see an incredible community forming with Lumos house – Andrew is headed to Miami next!

The opportunity to scale out this community is huge.

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