Lead Like A Gardener Part 3:
Community Strategy at the Stacks Foundation
  • Adam Haun
    Community Programs Lead
  • Jenny Mith
    Director, Community Programs & Governance
This post is part of a series dedicated to articulating the strategies and working models leveraged by the Stacks Foundation as we continue to serve and steward the Stacks ecosystem. The series will provide the latest plain language breakdowns of our focus areas and the rationale behind how we prioritize and execute.
By now, you hopefully have read about our overall approach to our work here at the Stacks Foundation in the first post of this series and a bit more about our approach to events in the second post of this series. This post will provide a closer look at how we approach community programs and our intended rollout strategy.
With Ordinals, BRC-20s, and the rise of Bitcoin L2s, it’s an exciting time to be building on Bitcoin. Stacks in particular is uniquely positioned to take Bitcoin innovation to the next level, thanks to the talent and efforts of our community, who supported our vision of building on Bitcoin even before it was cool. At the Foundation, community work has always ranked among our highest priorities because we believe that our community is our competitive advantage. And with major developments like sBTC, the Nakamoto release, and subnets on the horizon, strengthening and growing our community has become more important now than ever before.

In this post, we’ll outline our strategy and vision for growing the Stacks community over the next 12 months, as well as our general community building methodology. By the end of this post, you should have a clear understanding of

  • Where we’ll be expanding our community
  • Why we’re focusing on those regions and how we believe they’ll add value to the ecosystem
  • How we connect with new communities and integrate them into Stacks

Additionally, we’ll share a brief “year in review” of Stacks community to illustrate how we got to where we are today, plus a community roadmap detailing major events and programming that you can look forward to in the next 6 months.
A note on "strategy"
Before we delve into our community strategy, it’s worth clarifying what we actually mean by “strategy.” For our purposes, our strategy is essentially our plan for ensuring that the Stacks community remains highly competitive among the wave of Bitcoin L2 solutions. This plan is thoroughly researched and thoughtfully curated to maximize the value that we deliver to the community while also minimizing the risks we could face. This means that even though we focus heavily on identifying opportunities to connect with new builders and unlock new markets for Stacks, we put just as much effort into assessing potential obstacles to community building, like limited resources (team capacity, budget) and unpredictable market forces (crashes, restrictive regulation). So if you’re ever wondering, for example, why we haven’t organized many events in a specific city yet, chances are that it’s on our radar but we’re prioritizing locations with a dependable ROI now, in order to make room for more experimental locations later.
12 month plan
Our goal in the next 12 months is to activate 20 new markets in 4 major regions worldwide. In particular, we’ll be focusing on regions where there are high concentrations of developers and founders who are eager to build out new use cases for Bitcoin, as well as regions whose economic policies are supportive of expanding crypto infrastructure in general. We intend to connect with these regions by working closely with local representatives to offer high quality community and educational programming in the form of meetups, workshops, hackathons, and more. We’ve already gotten off to a great start with over 30 meetups, 12 workshops, and 3 hackathons hosted in the past 6 months.By the end of 2023, we envision these numbers to more than double, leading to powerful connectivity across the entire Stacks ecosystem: Imagine Stacks developers from Indonesia seamlessly working together with builders in Berlin, Miami, and other corners of the world. We’ve seen results like this come to life before (consider the Stacks Chapter Leaders who have been collaborating across continents for nearly 2 years) by simply creating opportunities and environments where the right people can come together. So, in addition to the many meetups, workshops, and hackathons we plan to host in the upcoming months, we’ll also be organizing rotational summits and flagship events where you can seriously bond, learn, and build with other Stackers.
Global Community highlights
Below we list the 4 main regions where we’ll be cultivating community this year and explain why they’re top priorities for Stacks. Keep in mind that these are the regions we aim to activate the soonest because of their high potential, but they’re not the only regions where we’ll be building community.

  • North America: Cities like New York, Miami, Austin, and San Francisco are favorable due to robust engineering and entrepreneurial talent, a strong investor and venture outlook, and a diverse, tech-savvy population. We’ll activate communities in these types of markets through Bitcoin Builder meetups, Clarity Camps, pitch competitions, and hackathons.
  • Latin America: Countries like El Salvador, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico provide several strong use cases for Bitcoin due to their large unbanked population and remittance market. There is also vast developer talent and increasing support for entrepreneurship from government officials. Working with local education partners and community leaders will allow us to provide educational programming at universities, bootcamps, and hackathons where we can train engineers to build on Bitcoin first-hand.
  • Europe/Middle East/Africa: There’s a strong advantage to building in regions like EMEA due to their diverse and interconnected markets and cross-border collaborations. This enables us to connect with founders in high-capital and financial markets such as London, while also engaging with active trader communities like Istanbul, and investing in emerging markets like Nigeria. We’ll work with regional community partners to provide online developer resources, organize large-scale hackathons, and facilitate several meetups to reach new developer and trader audiences.
  • Asia-Pacific: Launching initiatives across APAC will set us up to tap into the vast market potential, technological innovation, and growing interest in/advancement of web3 in this incredibly diverse region. To successfully achieve this, we’ll partner with local community leaders who can more easily build on the ground. They’ll link up with well-known community groups to coordinate large-scale events and hackathons, as well as intimate developer meetups, while building online awareness campaigns to reach wider audiences, including traders and investors.
Key initiatives
To effectively reach our prospective audience of builders and onboard them into the Stacks ecosystem, we’re focusing on community activation initiatives that fall under three key pillars of community building: events, programs, and partnerships.

  • Events: We’ll collaborate and onboard local community leaders to host Bitcoin Builder Meetups, networking mixers, summits, and single-day conferences.
  • Programs: We’ll provide top-notch educational resources and playbooks for community leaders to host Hackathons, Clarity Camps, Pitch Competitions, and Developer Workshops.
  • Partnerships: We’ll join forces with local leaders to develop and roll out community activation strategies to reach new audiences. These partnership will likely come from entrepreneurial and developer networks, code schools, universities, tech incubators, and startup studios.

Interested in creating a Bitcoin builder community in your area?

Email us at [email protected].

Stacks Community year-to-date
Over the last year, the Foundation has worked hard to balance both community growth and maintenance. In our experience, we’ve learned that in order to effectively grow our community, we have to take the time to regularly nurture it. So, when it comes to maintenance, we ensure that new and old members alike get a warm welcome and support at every entry point. This includes facilitating Discord and Forum moderation (shoutout to folks like Hero Gamer and Sleepi), hosting open community discussions like the SIP and blockchain engineering calls, and working with Stacks Advocates to onboard new community members. In terms of growth, we’ve worked closely with Chapters and other community leaders to make dozens of connections with educational partners and community groups in strategic regions around the world.

  • Cultivated a truly global presence of Clarity developers by launching a Clarity Camp Instructor Training course (led by Stacks Foundation Clarity resident, Whitelabel, with recruitment support provided by Chapter Leaders). This course trained dozens of new Clarity instructors worldwide, enabling them to host Clarity Camps for their local developers in a simple and repeatable format.
  • Organized the Build on Bitcoin hackathon, which brought in 90 builders who submitted 16 high quality project submissions.
  • Onboarded over 500 new members to the Stacks ecosystem via collaborations with the Bitcoin Builders Association in multiple cities worldwide.
Stacks Community roadmap
  • Nairobi was the first city to host a Bitcoin Builders Meetup with 45 attendees
  • Miami and San Francisco held Bitcoin Builder Meetups
Understanding our Community Building Methodology
Who We Target + How We Reach Them
With all of our community efforts, we seek to reach and retain highly experienced and talented developers and builders with a track record of delivering valuable projects in early startup development, venture capital, consumer tech, commerce, SAAS, and fintech. In order to reach more builders, we work with passionate enthusiasts who believe in building communities on Bitcoin, Stacks, decentralized technology, and creating a more open internet in general. We call these enthusiasts Community Leaders. These leaders share an intrinsic motivation to improve their communities with Bitcoin, which is what drives us as well.

Finding the right Community Leaders is important because they have the local knowledge needed to influence movements, culture, and priorities within their communities. They provide valuable insights into their local markets and build bridges between internal and external stakeholders. The Stacks Chapters program is a primary example of this model in action. By providing community training and funding through the Chapters program, we were able to connect and work with incredible community leaders who truly understand the needs and motivations of their local communities. Over the past year, we’ve had the privilege of tapping into the networks and local insights of our Chapter Leaders, which has helped us immensely in organizing high quality localized programming such as Bitcoin Builder meetups and hackathons. Our work with Chapter Leaders has significantly shaped our “on-the-ground” community organizing strategy, which is defined by three key pillars: events, programming, and partnerships.

Events are a major gateway to activating a community. We’ve witnessed time and time again how effective it can be to gather like-minded individuals and foster connections across a global community. In addition to hosting many events ourselves, we scale our event programming by encouraging Community Leaders to host their own in-person events. We empower them with resources like hackathon playbooks and pre-designed pitch decks to guide them through the end-to-end event planning process. Events are hosted in one of two formats:
  1. Online: The goal of these events is to introduce and inform people to build on Bitcoin. They provide an overview of web3 concepts, technology, and resources on how to begin their Bitcoin journey.
  2. In-person (IRL): The goal of in-person events is to create strong connections among community members, inspiring them to work work together and dive deeper into their projects. By forming strong bonds, community members are more likely to lean on each other for support and accountability throughout their Bitcoin journey, which also leads to higher rates of community retention in general.
Examples of our signature events include Bitcoin Builder Meetups (IRL), virtual hackathons, and community town halls (online).

Programming refers to any event that aims to do more than simply bring people together. Programs often require an agenda, curriculum/content, and specific goals. Through programming, we are able to create focused environments where the community can work together on projects, problem-solving, or skill development. Some key examples of programming include hackathons, Clarity Camps, developer workshops, and bootcamps.
In our experience, in-person programming is perhaps the most effective type of community initiative because it enables real-time collaboration, mentorship, networking, and immersive learning between like-minded, mission-driven community members. However, it takes a fair bit of preparation to make sure that people can get the most out of this kind of in-depth programming. We’ve helped our community get to this point by holding numerous “ice breaker” events like meetups, happy hours, social mixers, and networking events, where they’ve been able to get more familiar with the Stacks community and mission.
Ultimately, the goal with programming is to help builders get situated in order to encourage and support them through building on Stacks for the long-run.

Partnerships with local establishments enable us to leverage the networks and distribution channels within existing communities. Our partnerships play a major role in helping us reach vast audiences more efficiently, saving us time from having to build new communities from scratch. At the moment, our partnership efforts are geared toward developer communities, colleges and universities, tech incubators, code schools, and startup studios.

Where we reach them: List for 2023
The four strategic regions we’ll be focusing on this year include North America (USA), LatAm (Central and South America) Europe + MEA (Middle-East and Africa), and Asia-Pacific. Note that this is not a fixed list. We may add to it or make changes as the community evolves and we learn more about the potential of different regions:
  • NYC 🇺🇸
  • Austin 🇺🇸
  • Miami 🇺🇸
  • San Francisco 🇺🇸
Latam 🌎
  • San Salvador 🇸🇻
  • Bogota 🇨🇴
  • Buenos Aires 🇦🇷
  • Mexico City 🇲🇽
  • Santiago 🇨🇱
  • London 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Berlin 🇩🇪
  • Amsterdam 🇳🇱
  • Istanbul 🇹🇷
  • Kenya 🇰🇪
  • Nigeria 🇳🇬
Asia-Pacific 🌏
  • Korea 🇰🇷
  • Tokyo 🇯🇵
  • Hong Kong 🇭🇰
  • Indonesia 🇮🇩
  • Australia 🇦🇺
Why these regions?
These specific markets have been selected for two primary reasons:

  1. They have established networks of prospective entrepreneurs, developers, and Venture Capital or VC support, providing a rich foundation for new startups to grow
  2. There are large pools of existing builders in these regions, meaning there are opportunities to convert existing builders to the Bitcoin community or educate new builders on the potential of building on Bitcoin.
  3. There’s a strong pipeline of technical and entrepreneurial talent from universities, coding schools, incubators, and founder boot camps.
  4. These regions tend to have strong business, financial, and trade markets with a track record of investing in innovation and market growth.
  5. They are an emerging market with the potential to create major economic or technological advancement opportunities.
  6. The open-internet enables any individual to effect positive change and impact in their local community and worldwide through technology. Bitcoin in particular can help people in regions struggling with major social issues like financial censorship.
  7. If implemented and utilized correctly, Bitcoin tech can offer legitimate alternatives to financial savings, investments, and traditional commerce, improving the lives of those dealing with financial censorship.
  8. These use cases reflect an enormous market opportunity, with the potential to not only increase mainstream adoption of Bitcoin and bolster the Stacks economy, but to also shift the economic dynamics of entire countries in a positive way