Geographic Micro-Communities

Continuing on my discussion about the Phoenix Tech Community, I wanted to describe some fascinating patterns I have seen while building my personal network in the Phoenix area. This applies to any large group of people, but it is very apparent in the loose and spread out Phoenix tech community.


When people only attend hyper-local social gatherings and don’t attend city-wide conferences, they tend to see only those who are also hyper-local. This causes circles of friends to be formed in physical areas as well as in interests (often very focused interests, like Linux desktop application developers, for example). Once a circle is formed, members of the circle may begin to think that the reach of the circle is more broad than it really is.

You don’t know what (and who) you don’t know.

These micro-communities can contain anywhere from 5-100 people and there are many of them throughout Phoenix. The trick to building and tightening the Phoenix tech community is to hunt down these small groups and plug their members into other groups.

5 Replies to “Geographic Micro-Communities”

  1. Brian –

    Well said and very perceptive. The physical distances in the Valley create problems for coagulating any type of group, whether it be wine lovers, jazz freaks, web developers, or golden retriever fans. Interestingly, in other spread out metro areas (LA comes to mind), this seems to be less of an issue. Could be that the density of people with a deep enough interest in a topic(s) to want to spend time with others with like minds is great enough there to make the need to connect over long-ish distances less necessary? Are there just fewer interesting people per capita in Greater Phoenix?

    I’m working on a project to help address this issue. Sort of a centralized blog clearinghouse (like on the juice) combined with Yelp and some other stuff. It’s going to be solid. We’ll be looking for contributors soon, and I’ll send you a link to the alpha when it’s ready. 45 days-ish.

    All the best.

  2. I’ve been running my info business from my home for more than a decade, and your have captured the essence of what I have observed in that time. But I also see that some of the meta groups (professional organizations) in the valley are also really very small in focus, which surprised me. Very cliquish and resistant to newcomers. I had concluded that all of this is the result of most people clinging to the stability end of the stability/change duality. I don’t know many people who really invite or embrace change except in limited (hence controlled) ways. Most appear to be rather stuck to me! I find the same tendencies in myself, and work at releasing them. I think I do pretty good, but that’s an internal observation option, and not exactly reliable, eh?

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