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Author: Ilie Pandia

Tools and Resources for Building Communities

This article is about the tactics of “how-to.” Read about the strategy and the “why” in “high-frequency tribes.” 

The list focuses on “friendly apps” – and not so much on privacy. It does stay away from Facebook/Meta apps, and suggests alternatives to Google apps where possible.

  • The easiest way to connect and communicate with a group of people is to use Telegram Channels and Groups. Channels are best for broadcasts, and announcements and groups allow members to chat among themselves. You can also use Discord, but the name and the gaming theme tend to be a put-off for non-gamers and people who want to stay clear of “discord” :). 
  • For collaborative writing, use Google Docs or the Zoho alternative.
  • To create a public library of resources or an FAQ section or to document a process, you can use Notion web pages. 
  • For live calls, you have Zoom or Telegram. You can find less mainstream alternatives, but familiar and known tools create less friction. 
  • For private email, use protonmail.com.
  • For private instant chat, use Signal or secret chats in Telegram
  • For managing projects, use a Trello board or Notion.
  • If the community grows large and complex enough and needs a website, look at SquareSpaceWixNotion, or WordPress.
  • For broadcasting updates, there are two categories:
    • One way broadcast: use a newsletter service like AWeber, or a Telegram channel
    • Anyone can broadcast: email groups (aka distribution lists or listserv) – here, people email one group address, and it gets automatically distributed to all those who are subscribed. It is very similar to the newsletter service, but anyone can send a “newsletter,” not just the list owner. This service does not seem to be as popular as it used to be, but here is a provider: eMailDodo (for just $10/year, you get no ads and extended membership). Using email groups is easier for people who communicate over email by replying to the notifications they get. If you have a tech person on the team, these email distribution systems can be setup up on your server.
  • For accepting payments, you can use PayPal or Stripe. Or you can go the crypto way and accept things like LTC (lite coin) or other micropayment options.
  • For events, a shared Google calendar I found works best. There may be other alternatives with friendlier privacy policies. 
  • If you need a forum, I can recommend Circle, it is not perfect or complete by any means, but you get a lot for the price you pay. Alternatively, you can try the groups in MeWe.

When you choose your tools for your community, consider what the needs will be, allow the community to grow, and consider what your audience is comfortable with using. The best tool for the job will do nothing for you if no one uses it.

Begging for clients

Most new entrepreneurs ask the question: how do I find customers?

But that is the wrong question to ask. It puts you in a position of begging the clients to buy from you.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to say instead: “Sorry! We are sold out, but we have a waiting list?”

So how do you get there? Why do people stay in long lines to buy the latest product from Apple?


People are not lining up to become customers; they are lining up to become part of a movement, of something that inspires them to take action.

Therefore a better question to ask is: how do I inspire people?

And you can start with things that inspire you and talk about them in a way that might inspire others. You can help solve a difficult problem or assist with a worthy cause. Or you can write your inspiring vision of the future and then ask for help to bring it about.

When you focus on inspiration instead of sales, you shift from a self-centered approach to creating value for others.

Artificial Intelligence is not Human

When we think about artificial intelligence, the images that come to mind are from Terminator, Ex Machina, Eagle Eye, or maybe AlphaGo. 

But I believe that is missing the point. It makes us think that AI will happen sometime in the future when it is already here.

Today AI narrates videos on YouTube. If you listen carefully, the narration still feels slightly off, but I know many people who can’t tell the difference unless you point it out. 

There is the fear that AI mass deployment will displace the workforce, and if you can’t work, how will you get paid? And if you don’t get paid, who will continue to be the insatiable consumer that powers the capitalistic economy? 

These are good topics for debate, but AI is already used in a subtle but powerful way. 

Artificial Intelligence is used to control human perception. And when you can control someone’s perception, you have a high degree of control over their behavior. 

You may think that you are immune to this. But if you use a smartphone, a search engine, or any social media, you are in the middle of it. 

There is so much content generated every second that no human mind can ever process it all. So we need a filter. We need a way to sift through all this data and find the information that is relevant to us. 

When you search for something, you will get the first ten most relevant results out of millions or sometimes billions of entries. But who decides what “most relevant” means? 

You could argue that the end-user decides because if the results were not relevant, they would use a different search engine. But it is not that simple. The order in which results show up impacts how much you trust the result. And what happens if a business is pushed on the second or third page? It becomes invisible to you because you trust the engine, so if that business has fallen in rank with the search algorithm, then for sure, they are no longer relevant to you. Right? 

Social media takes this to a whole new level. Not only do you expose yourself to “only what you like,” which reinforces your confirmation bias, but AI has the power to subtly but surely affect your feed. So you are more gradually exposed to a product or a concept in a way that you feel is natural, and therefore it was always “your idea.”

This ability to alter perception is what I mean when I say Artificial Intelligence is not human. It is a mistake to assume it has human capabilities, interests, or even goals. It does not. 

Think about it.

It used to be impossible (or extremely expensive) to track a group of people, a target population, and slowly alter their perception of reality by gradually changing the information they are exposed to. Not because it was hard to do, we’ve known how propaganda works for a long time. 

The difficulty is the focus and effort you would have to put into it, track everything, and do micro-adjustments on the fly. But where humans fall short, AI shines. It is trivial for a computer to keep track of large data sets, to apply a gradual change, and monitor the response. 

What a human controller needs to do now, is to simply instruct the AI what the goal is and then relax. The algorithm will apply subtle but precise pressure to shape the target audience’s behavior.

And this is both good and bad. 

Parents are well aware that techniques to shape behavior are useful to help their children rid themselves of harmful habits. An AI assistant would make this very easy, with constant reminders and suggested actions based on the latest data. 

But what happens when the controller behind the AI does not have your best interest at heart? When, instead of being used to create empowering habits, it is used to develop addiction and further unconsciousness in people. 

Is there a way out? 

I believe it is. And it has to do with expanding your awareness.

Pay more attention to your thoughts and monitor your emotions. Ask if this is truly important to you or have you been conditioned to perform a particular activity? Determine what is important in your life and write it down as a guide system. 

Mystic schools say that the mind is an excellent tool but a lousy master. And we are now in the era where the mind can be greatly amplified to our benefit or be used to sink us into unconsciousness. 

Why are you doing what you are doing? Who is in control of your thoughts, emotions, and desires? What informs your opinions?

Things are never going to get back to “normal”

This post will depart from the usual topics, but it will describe the underlying vision of what I have written so far.

“The world is changing” is probably the understatement of the year.

The latest “COVID” situation has amplified existing trends, and there is no going back.

Here is why.

There are three guiding stars that I look at when I try to predict the future:

1. Consciousness

2. Artificial Intelligence

3. ETs (as in “aliens”)

They may seem random or disjointed if you are new to these, but Consciousness unites them all.

Let’s start with the Aliens.

If you think there is no evidence for alien contact, start with Steven Greer’s Disclosure Project and go from there.

I could speculate why we don’t have “mass contact” yet, but let’s focus on observing how “normal” aliens have become: from the Vatican scientist writing about the subject matter to governments declassifying various documents, to the plethora of alien movies in the past decade.

Many people have different feelings about ETs, but I doubt many humans on the planet today have not heard of the words “aliens” or “UFO.”

So why are ETs so important?

It is primarily because their presence forces us to ask interesting questions:

  • What is our place in the larger Universe?
  • What is our relationship with other beings and possibly other dimensions?
  • Will they save us?
  • Will they destroy us?
  • What will happen with organized religion and our old belief systems?

And the most critical question for me is about technology: what kind of energy systems are they using to zip around the Universe? I bet they are not strapping a hydrogen bomb to their bottoms and hope for the best, as most of our rockets do.

Imagine for a moment what we could do on this planet with such a powerful and stable energy system. There will be no point in mining coal, extracting oil, or burning trees, just to mention the basics. That alone would have a massive impact on the quality of our air and the regeneration of our forest. But the more important aspect is that of self-reliance. Anyone on the planet would have their basic needs covered for free.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Imagine all humans on the planet free from the daily grind, from worry, from meaningless work, and instead just creating stuff out of being inspired to do so. Those humans would be very hard to control, convince to go to war in another country or be forced into compliance. The power structure we have on the planet today would be very upset by this.

The ET issue is connected with an expansion of awareness. And there is a solid case to be made that you need the expansion of awareness first, before being open to a harmonious open contact where we treat these beings like our distant cousins and not like our Gods or our Destroyers.

Let’s shift our focus to Artificial Intelligence.

Most people don’t realize this, but AI is here, and it is everywhere. Do you have a smartphone? Then you are linked to a powerful AI system that helps run your device while collecting data about you.

All of your activity online is tracked and analyzed by powerful AIs to spot trends, to create a more tailored experience, and, for sure, to try to control your perception as well.

AI use is not all bad. AI is a tool. As RFK Jr mentioned in his talk with Tucker Carlson (24:00 time mark), an AI system was deployed, as a test, to determine how effective the vaccines really are. Unfortunately, the system was shut down because the results did not align with the mainstream view. Still, the point is, AI is a powerful tool that can be used for good, and it can sift through a mountain of data to find inconsistencies, patterns, and connections that would escape a human mind.

If such a tool were to be asked questions like:

  • “What is the likely cause of this disease according to all the data we have,”
  • “How likely it is that we have a misdiagnosis in the case,”
  • “What industry is causing the most pollution on the planet.”

We might get very surprising and insightful answers in a matter of seconds. And with references to original studies as well.

Instead, AI is used to answer questions like “how do we capture the attention of children and young adults for profit,” “where to apply pressure to steer public opinion and perception towards a given agenda,” “what mechanisms of control are most effective with a population group or even individual?”

This AI tool gets even better and more powerful and an exponential rate. I hope that we start asking it better questions.

And finally, we have Consciousness, the thing that glues all these together.

For now, the most helpful way to think about Consciousness is to ask questions like “What is most important both individually and collectively?” and then look into “Why do I believe that?”

There are two common answers to the “What” question depending on where you look. One is to have power. And the other is to be safe. And the exploration of the “why” is revealing.

Power can help you get a sense of safety. But power can also be satisfying in itself, whether it is power over others or power over oneself.

Looking at why do we want to feel safe, what comes up to me is the fear of death. And behind that is the belief that death is the final end, the ultimate demise, and it will be painful too.

But is that true?

And here, expanding your Consciousness or awareness comes into play. If you can get, within yourself, at a place that cannot be hurt, destroyed, or killed, you can be at peace. You can look at reality as an exciting exploration instead of a continuous unfolding drama. And this shift in perspective can change everything both individually and collectively.

We are at a crossroads. The stars we guide ourselves by matter more than ever. Choose wisely.

We’ll take your money, but…

I have used three marketing services so far, and I have lost all the $15,000 I’ve invested in those services.

Part of it it was my fault because I did not know what to ask for.

I would say I need help with marketing, and they would say: “sure, we’ll take your money, but there are no guarantees this will work!” And sure enough, it didn’t work.

This offering is such a common practice that we have accepted it as the cost of doing business. 

However, I have discovered this proposition from a marketing agency:

“You will only pay for the ad costs and 10% from each sale you make from our leads. If you don’t make any sales in the first 30 days, we will refund you all the ad spent.”

Crazy right?! Who would refuse such an offer? There is zero risk to you, and you can only make money from this investment.

So why do most agencies shy away from making such a bold offer? The answer is simple: they are not that good. Therefore they will put all the risk on your shoulders. If it works, great! If not, they still get paid. 

I love performance-based compensation. It immediately separates those who know what they are doing from the pretenders. It aligns all the incentives: all the parties win, not just the agency. 

If you read this and think “it can’t be done”, it might serve you better to change your thoughts to “I don’t know how to do this.” At least this new attitude opens the way to learning new skills. And if your crack this nut, you’ve hit the jackpot! 

Size does matter! (for AI)

There was a contest where a man used a scythe to cut the grass from a parcel faster than a person using a lawnmower. Here is the video.

I was watching that, and something felt wrong about the whole setup. And then it hit me! No, it was not the fact that there is nothing scientific about the video :). 

The problem is that the parcel had a carefully selected size so that the man with the scythe does not get tired. What if the test parcel was ten times larger? 

Even if a machine is one hundred times slower than you, it will beat your performance on a long enough time horizon.

Why? Because it does not get bored, it does not get tired, and it does not sleep. In three words:

It doesn’t stop!

This idea applies best to Artificial Intelligence. You can argue that AI is still not smart enough or fast enough to make connections, but the progress never stops!

There was a time when you could say:

“I have read all the books on this planet!” or

“I have watched all the movies ever produced!”

Not anymore.

No human mind can ever go through all the data we have produced (and continue to produce). But for a computer algorithm, it is not a problem! 

Imagine the connections you could make or the insights you would have if you could read all the books that exist today.

An AI can already consume way more that than we can imagine. And the ability to also comprehend the data is increasing with time at an accelerated pace. 

In a few short years, I believe that AI will be objectively “smarter” than us in measurable ways. 

Will it also be sentient? That’s is a story for another time.

Are you missing a leg?

As I have started my online business, I have made a lot of hidden assumptions that kept me stuck. 

The most important of them was acting like a highly skilled employee. I was excellent at my job. But the problem was, nobody was giving me a job anymore…

For a long time, I kind of walked in the dark, trying to stumble into meaningful work. Looking back, I realize I was pretty lucky. But luck is not a strategy. 

What I eventually learned was that my business had only one leg, and I was hopping around. 

That one leg was fulfillment. I was good at fulfilling the promise I had made to my clients. I had the skills; I knew my craft!

Shortly after, I had to add another leg. And that was operations. Having to pay taxes made sure I found this leg very fast. 

I did a balancing act on two legs for almost a decade, not understanding why I am not growing. 

My skills got better and better. My relationships with bills and taxes improved. But I was still stuck. 

Eventually, I found that I was missing a leg. And that leg is called “customer acquisition.” 

I know it is obvious now that I can see it, but I was not consciously developing my ability to bring in customers for a long time.

Yes, I would be busy, but I would be busy doing the wrong things. 

Sometimes we get stuck fixing the wrong problem: adding more skill when the issue was a lack of clients, not talent.

Are you also missing a leg :)? 

If only more people knew about my product…

In a community of young entrepreneurs showcasing their ideas, I see this belief a lot:

“If only more people knew about my product, more people would buy and everything it would alright with the world.”

That was also my belief for a long time. 

I knew from the get-go the saying: “The more value you provide for people, the more successful you will be.” However, my brain interpreted this to mean: “Well, my product is valuable (’cause I think so), so the more people buy my product, the more value I provide. So only if more people would know about product…”

Being stuck for 10+ years can be traced back to this faulty interpretation. 

And I look back at my younger self, thinking what could I have told him to understand better what creating value means? And what comes to mind is telling him:

“Nobody cares about you or your amazing product!”

This statement feels like a kick in the mouth, but it summarizes the reality that eventually sank in! It feels harsh, but it can potentially save you 10+ years of being stuck. 

You do not create a product that you then try to sell. Instead, you connect to an audience and create something for them that solves their problem. The “marketing” is built in the product. You already have a cohort of customers waiting to throw money at you and cheering you on! Not because they care about your charming personality, but because you are generous enough to solve their problem!

How come I was stuck for 10+ years, and what got me unstuck? 

One word: Mentors!

Not having a mentor allowed me to believe my thoughts, mistaken as they were. A mentor can look at your situation and give you one piece of advice that changes your life simply because they removed the constraint that was holding you back: “your limiting or confused beliefs.” 

Do the hard and scary work first and start with an audience, which means being OK with beginning with an audience of ZERO. 

the power of multitasking - ilie pandia

The power of multi-tasking (to distract you)

The best way to be productive is to multitask. Write your emails as you listen to a podcast. Talk on the phone as you are planning your day. Run two or more projects simultaneously, so none of them has “downtime” waiting for your attention. Create meetings with at least seven items on the agenda; this will force you to be on point and effective. And always stay on top of your phone notifications with near-instant response times. That is how productive people rule the world!

If the above sounds bonkers to you, you are correct. However, this is how I used to run my life, and I was a big believer in multitasking. As a software engineer, the way computers multitask is fascinating to me. And it was only “normal” to adopt the concept in my attempt to be more productive.

“There is no Spoon.”

Or better said, in this context, there is no multitasking. What happens inside a computer is that the CPU switches between programs so fast that for the human perception, it looks like it does a million things at once. In reality, the computer does one thing, then changes the context and does the next thing, and so on.

And our brain does the same. It can focus on only one thing at a time.

When you work and “at the same time” answer your Telegram, here is what happens:

  1. Your brain interrupts the work.
  2. Remembers what the Telegram conversation is about so it can understand the message.
  3. Then it creates a response.
  4. And then it goes back to work mode, trying to remember where you left off so you can continue.

Unlike a computer, changing the context of what to focus on is not as fast or easy for us humans. Context switching has a high cost! It may appear you are doing more, but the quality and depth of what you are doing drop dramatically.

I will not quote any studies around this. Instead, let’s look at some examples that are easy to understand:

If you work on a novel, or your next article, or your piece of art, and you get really focused on it, you can get into what is called “the zone.” You are inspired. The words flow, the vision is clear. Then the phone rings! How easy do you think it is to get back into that flow? Yes, you remember where you were, but the words are not flowing; the vision is now blurry. You are still spending time with your craft, but instead of bringing it forth, you stare at it uninspired.

A different example.

You are in a deep conversation with someone. You feel connected. Feelings and emotions are shared. The phone beeps again! It’s a fun emoji from your knitting group. You choose not to respond at this time and return to your conversation. What you will notice is that the quality of it has changed. There is no more depth. You need to connect again and dive deep again. Something was lost the instant your attention changed.

Multitasking gives us the illusion that we are connected with multiple things at the same time, but in reality, we just touch them briefly while we thirst for connection and meaning.

But let’s bring this back to business and being productive.

The two examples above illustrate an ability that we humans have, and computers don’t. And that is to go deeper into things and to access a place of intuition and inspired action.

That is the place where you have the insight that changes your life. That is the place where a product comes from that solves a problem in a unique way. That is the place where you can write something for your audience that shows a deep understanding and care for them.

You cannot get to that place if you are constantly switching between the things that you do.

And here is the crazy part.

Setting aside uninterrupted blocks of time for each project is better, but it is still context switching. Instead of doing it each 5 minutes, you do it each hour or two, depending on how long the block is.

Maybe this feels natural to us because of how school is set up. It fragments our attention, and you constantly need to change the context, so you begin to think this is “normal.”

But have you ever lost yourself in reading a book? Or in creating a painting? Or in dancing? When hours go by, and you don’t notice? Maybe that is the natural way and more effective way.

I notice in myself that when I focus on one thing, for days or weeks, my mind creates connections that do not happen otherwise. Because the context is always the same as the day unfolds, I experience and observe the same things from many different angles. Everything around me is suddenly connected and related to what my mind focuses on in a very real way.

If you’re focused on marketing and better communication, even when you drink your water, you find yourself thinking: why did I buy this cup? How was that choice informed? Was it the colors? The comfort of purchase? Why do I still use it? How can I communicate all this to my audience?

I am now in the process of decluttering my life. Even though I am curious and I love learning, I am choosing to say “NO” to most things so I can give myself the chance of going deep on the things that I say “YES” to.

There is no multitasking. Choose one thing, do it well, do it until you feel complete. Then choose the next one.

Why do people buy spiritual products?

The essence of making a purchase is the belief that “what you are getting is more valuable to you than the money you spend.”

But it is challenging to pinpoint the “thing you are getting” with spiritual products.

It could be access to some teachings, it could be a membership, it could be a personal or a group session where you get some insights, or it can be a form of healing.

In some cases, it can be the feeling of being seen and accepted as you are. It can be a cure for feeling alone or alienated. It can be a way to create meaning and purpose in your life.

It can be a way to increase your self-esteem or to make you feel more worthy. It can be a sense of belonging. A fulfillment of a need for validation.

Most of the above are needs or desires that go deep in our being. And so they are potentially very valuable.

If you are a spiritual seeker you will eventually stumble into the saying that everything you need is already within yourself.

So then the question arises: why pay money for something that you already have?

I believe that it is similar to paying for coaching. A good coach inspires you to discover, nurture and bring forth the talent or skill that is within you. They cannot train for you, but they can give you feedback, they can help you see where you make mistakes, they can cheer you on when you feel discouraged.

Another way to look at this is looking at priorities. When you are giving your money for something you are communicating to yourself and those around you that this “something” is important for you; that is a priority. So spending money on spiritual products can be a way for people to say to themselves that “I am now getting serious about my spiritual development.”

Should spiritual teachings or products be free?

Some say that yes they should. That the information comes from Source, God, Divinity and therefore it should be accessible to everyone. But if that were true, how come not everyone has access to the information already? How come we still have teachers around the world? Why is “Source” only favoring these teachers?

So maybe is not the information that you’re paying for, but instead the guidance, the mentorship, the way showing. The information may be available to everyone, but not everyone is able to easily access that place inside where they know it.

We could argue that those teachers need to eat and that would justify the price, but I disagree. People buy things because they get value out of them, not to feed the teachers. Yes, that is a nice side effect, but not the main reason. It is an energy exchange. The more value the student gets, the more money they are willing to pay. This way the teacher gets more money they can then use to further advance the teachings or to just have a nice comfortable life.

So maybe Spirituality is a business like any other business: where the teacher creates something of value, and the students are willing to pay to consume that value. What do you think?