1688 – The Four Stages of Community with Traction Conf’s Lloyed Lobo

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the Co-founder of Boast.AI & Traction, Lloyed Lobo.

Lloyed's story is a compelling one. Growing up in the slums of Mumbai, he experienced firsthand the power of community. He saw how people came together for safety during the Gulf War and how this sense of community was a lifeline in times of crisis.

His experiences with the community continued as he joined HubSpot's inbound marketing community and worked for startups. He learned the importance of surrounding oneself with like-minded individuals and how this can fuel personal and professional growth.

Lloyed's belief in the power of community didn't stop at personal experiences. He and his friend started their company, Boast, and had to build a community to grow their business. This community eventually rose to 120,000 subscribers and played a crucial role in their success, attracting customers, partners, and investors.

However, despite achieving financial success, Lloyed found himself feeling depressed. He realized that it was because he had lost his community. This realization led him to write a book about the power of community and its role in building iconic brands. He distilled his learnings into 13 rules for community-led growth, hoping to inspire others to embrace the power of community.

Lloyed emphasized the significance of community and its impact on individuals' well-being. He mentioned that loneliness is America's number one killer and shared his experience of feeling depressed when he lacked a sense of community.

Lloyed introduced the concept of “blue zones,” five places where people live long and functional lives. He highlighted that belonging, social connection, and community are essential for a fulfilling life.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Importance of community in personal and professional life
  • Lloyed Lobo's personal journey and experiences with community
  • Building a community for business growth
  • The role of community in achieving success and attracting customers, partners, and investors
  • The impact of losing community on mental health
  • Lloyed Lobo's book “From Grassroots to Greatness” and its focus on community-led growth
  • Avoiding common mistakes in building and maintaining a community
  • The significance of community for well-being and longevity
  • Starting with purpose, vision, mission, and values when building a community

About Lloyed Lobo:

Lloyed Lobo is a multifaceted entrepreneur, podcast host, and community leader with a remarkable journey. Having endured the Gulf War as a young refugee in Kuwait, he developed a profound appreciation for the power of community during times of crisis.

Lloyed's entrepreneurial prowess shines as the co-founder of Boast.AI, a fintech platform that achieved incredible success using the Community-Led Growth model. Under his leadership, Boast.AI reached eight-figure revenues and secured over $100 million in funding.

In addition to his fintech endeavors, Lloyed co-founded Traction, a dynamic community that empowers over 100,000 innovators through valuable connections, enriching content, and access to capital. His expertise extends to the written word, as he authored “From Grassroots To Greatness: 13 Rules to Build Iconic Brands with Community Led Growth,” a book offering tactical insights from iconic community-led businesses like Apple, Nike, and HubSpot. This literary gem quickly rose to the top of Amazon's new release charts in various categories.

Lloyed's accomplishments have garnered media attention from Forbes, TechCrunch, Fox Business, and more. He's a sought-after speaker, having graced over 100 conferences and podcasts, sharing his wisdom and experiences with audiences worldwide. In summary, Lloyed Lobo's inspiring journey and entrepreneurial achievements underscore the immense impact of community-driven growth in today's business landscape.

About Boast.AI:

Boast.AI is a cutting-edge platform designed to supercharge innovation and enhance R&D intelligence for businesses. With Boast, organizations can tap into the vast pool of available R&D tax credits and funding opportunities to gain valuable insights and accelerate their growth.

The platform achieves this by seamlessly integrating financial, engineering, and project data, substantially boosting the speed, precision, and magnitude of eligible tax incentives. Boast.AI stands out as the sole solution that empowers businesses to maximize their claims while fostering a culture of rapid innovation.

In essence, Boast.AI acts as a catalyst for companies seeking to leverage financial incentives and optimize their research and development efforts. By harnessing the power of this platform, businesses can access the billions of dollars earmarked for R&D support, ultimately propelling their growth and competitiveness in today's dynamic marketplace.

About Traction:

Traction is a thriving global community that unites over 100,000 entrepreneurs and innovators worldwide. This dynamic network is a hub for thought leadership and knowledge exchange, offering various platforms such as webinars, podcasts, meetups, retreats, and conferences.

What sets Traction apart is its remarkable lineup of industry leaders and visionaries who participate in these events. Founders and CXOs from renowned companies like Atlassian, Shopify, Twilio, LinkedIn, Slack, HubSpot, MongoDB, and Y Combinator, among others, have graced Traction's stages and platforms, sharing invaluable business insights and experiences.

Through this impressive lineup and diverse engagement opportunities, Traction empowers its members to gain essential Traction in their entrepreneurial journeys. It provides a unique learning, networking, and collaboration space, making it an invaluable resource for anyone looking to accelerate their business growth and innovation.

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Traction website at

Check out Traction on LinkedIn at

Check out Traction on Facebook at

Check out Traction on Twitter at

Check out Boast.AI website at

Check out Boast.AI on LinkedIn at

Check out Boast.AI on Twitter at

Check out Lloyed Lobo on LinkedIn at

Check out Lloyed Lobo on Instagram at

Check out Lloyed Lobo on Twitter at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence com and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, Lloyed Lobo. Lloyed, you are the author of the new book From Grassroots to Greatness, and you're also the co-founder of Boston AI and Traction Traction is found on the web at Traction Lloyed, thank you so much for joining us.

Lloyed (00:01:19) - Thank you. Love the energy, Josh And you're going to drag the energy out of me.

Lloyed (00:01:22) - I can just feel it. You attract what you give out.

Josh (00:01:25) - I completely, completely agree. And I know you're such an advocate for this because again, and I you know, I read a book I don't know if you've ever heard of this book, but was it called The Business of Belonging? Right. And it talked about the community. And I bet that you've kind of taken that message and really built upon that about the just how critical it is for leaders today to embrace the idea of community. Can you maybe just share a little bit about your impact? And of course, we can talk about boats, we could talk about traction and how that kind of fits within here. But give us just a quick 101 on your work today.

Lloyed (00:02:06) - Definitely. So. You know, my journey to this book is entirely shaped by community. My DNA is community. So I was born in Kuwait to Indian parents who weren't educated, and their only option was to go to the Middle East and work. So the currency would work for them.

Lloyed (00:02:22) - Right? Taking the money, sending money back to India. So my childhood summers as a result, we couldn't afford to go to Europe or to the States or anywhere else. My dad would get two free tickets a year from his company in Kuwait to go back to India. So growing up, every childhood summer was spent in the some slums of Mumbai where watching TV was communal. There was no pub, there was no bathroom in the house. So going to the bathroom was communal. Puddles would turn into ponds, it would rain, we'd be swimming in it. And my mom had nine siblings and parents. They all live in this house, which barely had any place. My fondest memories were those because every time I would want to go back to Kuwait, I'd cry at the end of the summer. Fast forward a few years. I got to experience a marvel. I got to experience the Gulf War, and I saw how the power of people, combined with a strong, powerful purpose, can move mountains.

Lloyed (00:03:16) - The community came together to evacuate the people to safety when the security had lapsed and when there was no phones and there was no internet. Fast forward a few more years. We immigrated Canada. I got into sales and marketing after finishing engineering because I wanted to go into entrepreneurship and somebody told me sales is the best skill you can learn if you want to go in entrepreneurship. Everything I learned about sales and marketing in that time was through HubSpot's inbound marketing community. Fast forward a few years, started just working for startups, rubbing shoulders alongside startup founders. You become the average of the five people you surround yourself with. One day, my best friend from university called me, says he wants to do a startup. He came up with the idea for boast. Join him in college. He was always doing the programming. I was always doing the communication, so we had a good rapport there. When we started the company, you know, cold calling didn't work. We tried to will our way into existence by by dialing for dollars and it didn't work.

Lloyed (00:04:14) - And so we were, you know, necessity is the mother of all inventions. We were forced to build a community to grow the business. That community over time grew to 120,000 subscribers became traction. Not only we got customers and partners through it, we got social proof from it, but we also got our investors through it. One fine day in the middle of the pandemic, a growth equity firm showed up to one of our events and decided to buy half the company made US founders who have been grinding piss poor for years, rich derisking the short term and then had a lot of equity, owned almost 40% of the company to play the long game when I left the day to day of the company. I should have been happy. I should have been excited. I came in money. I got a board seats. We have a CEO who used to be the CTO of Sage intact $10 billion company running it. I should have been excited. I actually ended up depressed and face Planet and I couldn't figure out why.

Lloyed (00:05:08) - And everyone would tell me like why? Why is it that you got depressed? And I went on the soul searching, Travel went crazy. And then what brought me to sanity was surrounding myself with the community of fitness people, fitness enthusiast. And as I reflected, I realized all my life. I didn't have money, but I was happy because I was surrounded by the community. The only time in my life when I came into money, I felt my tribe left me. When I left the day to day had boast and I got depressed. And so I felt I needed to write a write something about it, share my thoughts about community and fueled by the thousands of people I had talked to, fueled by all the content we had done through the traction conf and just started to research every single enduring brand over time. And I found something interesting. Through all these conversations, I realized and recognize that every obscure idea that eventually became a worldwide global phenomena from Christianity to CrossFit went through the exact same four stages.

Lloyed (00:06:10) - People listen to you. You have an audience. One way communication. When you bring that audience together to interact with one another, it becomes a community. Now, here's the interesting part. When that community comes together to create impact towards a greater purpose far greater than your product or profit, it becomes a movement. And when that movement has undying faith in its purpose through sustained rituals, over time it becomes a cult or a religion. Audience, community movement, religion. And I distill those learnings into 13 rules to build iconic brands with community led growth. Mean I wanted to write a book always because, you know, growing up my mom was told that your son will amount to nothing. In fact, my wedding, my my wife's a brilliant doctor, got into med school in second year of undergrad without MCATs. Also Indian family. Two days before the wedding, my wedding was called off. 2008 recession. The company had shut down. I had lost my job. We're in India now. And basically what was relayed was, you know, your son's kind of like a bumbling idiot jumping from thing to thing, not serious in life.

Lloyed (00:07:19) - Our daughter is a doctor. Our other kids are doctors. We feel like he's just going to live off her. He'll not amount to anything. We don't think. At least he's the right fit for her. And my mom took it to heart and she asked me one question that day that did I make a mistake to give up my career and stay at home and look after you? Are they right? Did I raise you wrong? I think every entrepreneur is driven by some spite or some burning anger to change the status quo or prove the naysayers wrong. And I hadn't realized. But that really, really drove me and did a couple of startups that failed. Did a events company where the co-founder ran away with a quarter million in profits. Boast was successful, and despite making millions of selling half of boasts, I felt unsettled because it was always like he you know, he didn't finish high school. He bumbled his way into engineering like, you know, he finagled his way through engineering. He doesn't have a master's degree.

Lloyed (00:08:15) - My daughter is a doctor. And this book. I'm fortunate that the community has made it so successful so far that the presale has topped Amazon's charts. Two weeks ago, when I released it, it was next to Elon Musk book. It was bestseller on Business Cetera. And so we'll see how it goes. But my goal is to do a best seller campaign for Wall Street Journal, and copy number one of the bestseller is for moms saying, Hey, you didn't make a mistake quitting your job to raise me. I may not have a master's degree. I may have been a bumbling idiot. But I wrote something that some of the most educated people on the planet are reading.

Josh (00:08:52) - You know, you said something. And I think, you know, when we think about this power, what a great story, by the way. Thank you so. Thank you so much for sharing. You know, I really want to top it. By the way, I just purchased your book because I'm so excited about this concept from grassroots to greatness 13 Rules to Build iconic Brands with Community led Growth.

Josh (00:09:12) - It's on Kindle, it's on Amazon, it's everywhere You get books. And so I'm so excited to read this. But we talked about this doing community well, right? And doing community right. And I think you said something. I don't know if it was before we started recording or not, but you know, you talked about the fact that if you want to get a bunch of people together and I've seen marketers do this bad, you know, or it's like they want to create a community around themselves or they want to create a community around their product or service. Like, that's okay. But I think the bigger opportunity is try to identify what are these things that we all believe we have in common, right? You're by the way, you're referencing some stuff I think is is really eloquently put in sapiens as well about this know how we survive and thrive together and just that human spirit that that really just it craves connection. And can you share maybe just a little bit about that and, you know, just, you know, how to do community well or also maybe just a little bit of a red flag on maybe mistakes that you might not want to make in this process.

Lloyed (00:10:21) - Definitely. So. You know, a few tips here, but what you said is absolutely right. Loneliness is the number one killer in America. I just told you that the only time I had money, I was depressed because I didn't have the community. All other times in life, I was piss poor and I was the happiest. Blue zones. This concept of blue blue zones where five places in the world where people live functionally, functionally is key. Because it doesn't matter how long you live, as long if you're if you're dysfunctional, people live functionally until they are 100. Nine traits exist. 4 or 5 out of these traits have to do with belonging and social connection and community. So a lot of people that come to me ask me, Oh, you know what, I want to start a community. When can I monetize the first question? And the second question is. Do build a slack group? Do I build a Facebook group? WhatsApp group? See, here's the thing. Asking a question like, do I build a Slack group or a WhatsApp group for my community? Is like saying.

Lloyed (00:11:20) - I want to build a church, but I don't know if I'm Hindu or Muslim or Christian. I don't know what religion am right. Or saying I want to I want to build a home, but I don't know what location, who is going to live there, None of that. So it starts with a few things. Number one, understanding your purpose, your why, your vision, your which is one day what the world will be because of your existence, your mission, how are you going to do it? And your values? The values are really key when building a community or a community led business because you need to have the DNA of giving. If you don't draw joy from giving, you can never sustain building a community because it's a labor of love. It's a marathon of the heart and mind. It takes a long time. I'll give you an example. Atlassian, 40 billion, $50 billion company. Last year the community came together to self-organize 5000 events. What that tells you is they have 5000 superfans that on average engaged 100 people.

Lloyed (00:12:16) - So now you've got the community self on their own, engaging half a million people. That took 20 years, but it took 20 years of enabling the community if you are. All about control, saying, Oh, don't touch my logo like this and don't say this and don't say that. They're going to be like, Go screw yourself. We don't want to do anything for you. So I think the values are important. One of the things I found key to community led businesses are six values. I call it camper connection, autonomy, mastery, purpose, energy and recognition. Energy and recognition are really important because community, if there's no energy, you're going to fall flat, right? Look at the biggest movements. There's energy recognition is important because people are showing up. You can just assume that, you know they're going to do the work and it's their job. No, it's not their job. It's your job to uplift them, to recognize them, to thank them because they're giving their time.

Lloyed (00:13:08) - The next thing is understanding the kind of community you want to build. There's three kinds of communities you can build a community of practice. A community of practice is educating people on how to become good at a skill, become better versions of themselves, right? So like HubSpot's inbound marketing community in the early days, what HubSpot was doing was teaching people how to become better marketers. They didn't even have software. In fact, I didn't know that software and everything I learned about marketing digital marketing in 2004 five, when no other digital marketing content was there, was from HubSpot or, you know, the next kind of community you can build is a community of product. A community product is like notions, community, where people come together to build templates and learn and best practices. Evangelize your product or the Atlassian community or the Microsoft community. They're you educating people on your product, you're helping them build on your product. You're you're helping them distribute on your product. And the third one is a community, a play where you come together to have fun, like the Harley-Davidson community, like the Nike running club, like your local paddle club or your, you know, your golf club.

Lloyed (00:14:14) - Now, what I tell people in business, if you don't have product market fit. Or you don't have any customers or you're a product that's barely used, meaning like it's a set it and forget it. Yeah. Then don't build a community, a product because people are going to be like, you're trying to sell to us. Yep. Build. Build a community of practice. A community of practice you land on by understanding not only your customers problems and goals because problems and goals are short lived, right? Like the goals change, problems may change, come and go. It's about understanding your customer's aspirations, which is the forever. What is the aspiration this ideal customer profile has and what stands in the way? So it's a combination of understanding the aspirations, the goals, the problems and then providing value to that. Now for us, for both our customers, were founders, innovators. What is an innovator's aspiration to create impact, to change the world? Why? Like, what are they looking for? The aspiration is what is the forever traction, right? Everyone wants traction.

Lloyed (00:15:16) - They're never going to stop wanting traction. So we called the community traction because every innovator wants traction on the product on their business. We if we call it the boss community, I don't think it would have gone far because people thought we were trying to sell them our service.

Josh (00:15:31) - Yeah. Lloyed, again, I want to just encourage folks to to grab this book from grassroots to greatness 13 Rules to Build iconic Brands with Community led Growth. Lloyed How do people plug in with your community?

Lloyed (00:15:47) - Definitely. So one, follow me on LinkedIn, Lloyed Lobo or Lobo on LinkedIn and go to From Grassroots to Greatness. Com. The book will be there now. I wrote this book in story. So one of the hardest things for me growing up was reading and writing. I wasn't good at it. And so everything I learned is through doing or through listening. And so this book was a massive challenge. And I think the the spirit to, you know, honor my mom is what drove me a lot. Um, but so I wrote this book in a way that I could consume.

Lloyed (00:16:19) - It's written through stories. So I have an accompanying notion workbook, which is going to be for each chapter. There's going to be very tactical academic templates to go with the stories and the case studies in the book, and then there'll be interviews that I've done, some of the select interviews I'm going to put on their all the podcasts that I've been on will be on there so you can reference. So it'll be a great accompaniment to the book. And then for the traction community, just go to Traction conf IO and you'll see newsletter sign up in the footer or on the podcast and you can just sign up and you'll be able to get access to a newsletter. And the events were hosting and whatnot.

Josh (00:16:58) - Lloyed Lobel Lobo. It's been great having you again. Co-Founder of Boston Traction and author of the book From Grassroots to Greatness. Well, of all the links, Lloyed, that you just shared in the show notes for this episode to our friend that's listening to us, just click on the little information icon, click on the click around, keep clicking.

Josh (00:17:16) - You're going to find it. Lloyed, it's been a great conversation. Thank you for the work you're doing. Thank you for inspiring more authentic community and connectedness in the world today. It's what we need most and it's what we all crave. Lloyed, thank you so much for joining us.

Lloyed (00:17:31) - Thank you. You know, yesterday's innovation always becomes tomorrow's commodity, from electronics to AI. If you build a community, you won't become a commodity.

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