The Discussions You Can’t Google

We often wrestle with how advanced discussions in a community should be.

Should we let people come and ask the simplest, easiest, questions in our community?

Or should we demand that discussions should take place at a more advanced level?

Here’s a simple rule of thumb. Discussions in a community should focus on answers you can’t Google.

If we’re looking for a designer, we can search for designers. If we want to get a list of trusted designers that others have worked with and would recommend, that probably requires asking the question.

If I am overwhelmed with information on a topic and want to know which information is most accurate by the experiences of others, I need to ask others.

If we’re looking to find an accountant that has experience working with UK companies with staff employed in the USA and the tax issues involved, that’s probably not an easy question to Google.

If we want to know what everyone else is working on this week, we’re going to need to ask others like us.

If we’re looking for a sense of connection and to get a sense of how people like us setup their ideal workday, we need to ask that question of people like us. Google won’t help much there.

If we want to know how others afflicted by the same disease we have have handled feeling exhausted while expected to appear strong, we probably need to ask that in a community.

Most of the discussions you have with friends are probably questions you wouldn’t be able to Google.

I’d argue if people can Google the answer to a question, it probably doesn’t belong in a community. You can’t compete with Google. But Google shouldn’t be able to compete with you.


  1. Sarah Hawk says:

    I experienced this earlier in the year when I was upskilling on marketing and conversion topics. There is SO much information out there, but going to @edfryed’s community and asking a few specific questions meant that I could narrow down what I read and could form an actionable strategy.

    On a micro level, this is the same concept as consulting. I remember suffering a crisis of imposter syndrome when I first worked with a client because I felt like I wasn’t telling them anything that they couldn’t find out elsewhere. I realised that I was providing the filter through with the information passed so that they only had stuff that was relevant and valuable to them.

  2. Darren Gough says:

    Love the honesty about the first client experience @HAWK - I think everyone can relate to that!

    There’s a great quote about successful people doing the things others don’t want to do. I think that tends to be true. In theory the internet holds every piece of free information somewhere to achieve any result - the value of communities, for me, is about the experiences and stories. How did people get on? What was the challenge? What was the application and context?

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