Secrets Behind Glue Up's Decade of Community Software Success

By Jim James, Host of The UnNoticed Entrepreneur.

In tech, innovations launch in garages before outgrowing their zip codes. For Glue Up founders Eric Schmidt and his wife, the journey began hosting events in Beijing through their first startup EventBank. Ten years later, with over 100 employees across 12 offices, their community management software serves organisations globally.

Schmidt reflects on the constant balancing act startups face – underfunded and understaffed, while tackling member acquisition and retention. Automating cumbersome tasks like invoicing frees employees to boost engagement. Centralising interactions, content and data spotlights member insights enabling personalised experiences, ultimately driving renewals.

Local to Global Goals

Glue Up focused first on satisfying Asian client needs before expanding capabilities for global applicability. The US and Europe initially lagged Asia’s early mobile adoption. So EventBank built features for the Philippines’ infamous traffic jams, allowing staff remote membership management. Only recently have Western users appreciated the flexibility.

Nimble pivots like mobile preceded larger ones like identity. As Sino-American relations chilled, EventBank’s pending China-affiliation risked hindering uptake. Diversifying staff locations eased this. Additionally, “event” inadequately captured their full suite of community building tools. Thus “Glue Up” was born, conveying their sticky social connections. Securing sealed the change.

Cultural and Channel Customisation

Effective outreach methods vary across cultures. Asian groups responded better to personal invites; social sufficed elsewhere. However, COVID forced digital dependency, changing engagement habits globally. Adapting Glue Up’s community and speed networking offerings maintained connections virtually. They continue enabling distributed workforces to bond casually, fostering culture without watercoolers.

Entrepreneurs export ideas but import advice. Glue Up’s B2B niche forced Schmidt to accept businesses adopt platforms progressively as trust builds through consistent positive exposures. Early on, surviving quarterly sales fluctuations and remaining focused distinguished Glue Up from fly-by-night vendors. Patience to build authority kept them glueing along.

Future Foundations

When reflection reveals roads not taken, redirection renews. Glue Up wandered Web 2.0’s social labyrinths before realising clicks didn’t convert. Future growth will come through consultative customer insights and tailored tools solving key pain points.

What bridges entrepreneurs across Beijing and Boston are shared struggles surmounted. Like Schmidt, keep products adaptable and organisations agile. Consistency and empathy overcomes expanses. Anniversaries aren’t endings but springboards further. Where will the next decade lead? Onward. Upward. Glue Up.

Eric Schmidt
Eric Schmidt
Co-Founder & CEO