Office Hours: We're building a community harnessing the power of small groups to help people grow. We are Edith Cooper and Jordan Taylor, the co-founders of Medley.Featured

Hi everyone! We are Edith Cooper and Jordan Taylor, co-founders of Medley, a community of the future that harnesses the power of small groups to help people grow. Edith: I am also a board director at Slack and Etsy. Prior to founding Medley, I was a senior director and head of human capital management at Goldman Sachs. I have an undergraduate degree from Harvard and an MBA from Northwestern.Jordan: Prior to founding Medley, I was Chief of staff at Mic and worked in consulting at Boston Consulting Group and finance at Google. I have an undergraduate degree from Harvard and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Ask us anything about leadership, culture, finance, being on boards, communities, business school, the startup journey, and anything else!
Thanks so much for joining us @jordantaylor!Elphas โ€“ please ask @jordantaylor your questions before Friday, October 2nd. @jordantaylor may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพโž•
Hi! Thanks for giving some of your time. Can you talk about the development and launch of Medley and how you tested the idea before final launch? General advice on idea validation and knowing your ready to transition to a hard launch appreciated. Also would love to hear any advice you would give your 25-year old self (or another 25 year old). Thanks!
Hi Alana - For sure. We did a lot of testing! We started working on Medley September 2018 and launched in July 2020. We tried to (and still) orient all of our work by focusing on the key questions hypotheses we were hoping to validate at any given moment. We first started by doing customer interviews to understand how people were thinking about their growth. We then asked - Will people engage and share openly in a group format? We held focus groups that were in essence mini Medley sessions and emailed friends and family and invited them to attend. We then did a few groups with people we sourced on craigslist and paid for their time (this was pretty easy and would recommend). We developed our customer personas based on the interviews and focus groups, then we did a paid survey using SurveyMonkey which further validated our customer personas. Next, we wanted to understand whether the group experience has compounding benefits over time, with the same group meeting multiple times. We held a pilot where we proved that out. Then when COVID-19 started, we were a month from launching our in-person community in NYC. We realized that wasn't going to happen! So we did more testing to figure out whether we could launch with a virtual offering that met our customers needs. We held several free group coaching sessions to test the format, then did a series of interviews with people who had some interaction with Medley, either attending a free group on video chat or our pilot, and some people who we paid. We used to find paid participants and it was super helpful. Then, we did solution validation, and showed a mock of our website to paid interview participates and asked them to narrate their reactions going through each part. This was hugely helpful and would 100% recommend. After a certain point, it's hard to critique things you've worked on for a while and words that may seem obvious to you might be confusing to a stranger.How did we know we were ready to launch? We'd done a lot of interviews, research, prototype validation and we felt a huge sense of urgency to get to market . We just accepted that there was always going to be more we could do ahead of launch, and we felt like the experience was at a level of quality we were proud of. We wanted some paying customers. The night before 'launch day', Edith and I were very nervous, but knew that another tweak of the copy on the website wouldn't do any good. Big learning from launch day - draft all of your email and text outreach to friends and family and neighbors and people you met once ahead of the day and schedule as much as you can. Ask friends to share on Instagram / Twitter / any platform. It's a day where people are excited to support you!! And take a moment to celebrate.
Thank you very much for joining us! Edith โ€“ how did you get your first board seat? How do you make yourself a good candidate for that kind of role as an operator when you've never done it before? Would appreciate any tips or tricks. Thank you!
Hi Jordan & Edith! Thanks for being here. You guys are such an awesome duo! I love the mission...the world needs Medley now more than ever!I notice that you guys have a lot of notable press features ( TC, Forbes, etc.) What is your advice for getting your foot in the door when it comes to PR when/if you have no prior connections? Where do you start? What does that process look like?
Hi Trinity - Thank you so much!! We were new to the PR world as well and ended up partnering with an incredible PR team who helped to craft our strategy and share our story. We were very happy with our coverage at launch. In deciding whether or not to hire a firm, we spoke with several entrepreneurs who took different approaches, including two who did their own outreach successfully. The big takeaways there were that they kept detailed spreadsheets and made lists of reporters who wrote about startups and trends in their industry. They then focused on personal outreach and tried to view it as building a relationship. Many reporters share their contact info on twitter or their company's site, and you'd be surprised how far thoughtfully engaging can go! You can share an article the reporter wrote with a comment, reply to one of their articles, and share your expertise that you've built up as a founder / operator in your field.
Hello. Iโ€™m a first time founder and Iโ€™d like to know what advice youโ€™d give someone who is thinking of having a board but doesnโ€™t know how to start. What are some of the things that people should look for when looking for creating their boards? What made you agree to be a board member to those companies? Are there things that youโ€™ve seen startups doing wrong when creating their boards? Thank you so much!
In deciding whether or not to join a board, I ask myself several questions and do a lot of due diligence, since joining a board is a big time commitment and responsibility. Is the business at a stage at which I can make the greatest impact? My experience in creating and building large business units and then running HR as a large (35,000) person organization is hugely valuable for a rapidly scaling company. Is there strong alignment between the company and my core values and interests? Does the compensation reflect the impact I can make on the organization? And most importantly - would I be working with good people who I like and trust?Typically on startup boards, boards are often created during a funding round - and a board seat will go to the lead investor. This is negotiated as part of the term sheet. A board can also be created at any point, but it's less common for Independent Directors to be added until the company is at a later stage. Advisory boards, in which industry experts receive a small amount of equity / options in exchange for advising support, are more common.(From Edith)
HI @jordantaylor, thanks so much for your time this week! I'd love to understand better the process of sitting on boards? How do you approach companies? Or do they approach you? And as a member of a (relatively large?) board, what do you find yourself doing on a daily basis for each company? :)
Hi Jordan & Edith, Thanks so much for your time. Could you talk about how you measure success and impact in your community building process so far? Thank you!
Yes! Success and impact for us at this point is if our first 1000 members have an absolutely incredible experience. Another common measure of success is growth rate and volume -and we'll get there :) - but we are trying to create spaces where people can be truly open, vulnerable, and experience the power of shared commitment through their Medley group.We recognize the challenge in that and are focused on a few aspects of success to understand our impact: We think about 1) the growth of our members over the course of their Medley journey, 2) the range and diversity of the Medley community and 3) the feedback we get on the Medley group experience and our events and programming. Tactically, we provide a simple reflection tool that members complete several times at the start and throughout the year to understand their evolution. We track attendance for all events and group sessions and send a ton of surveys after each one - and really emphasize how much we appreciate and value feedback. I think there's no one measure of success that should be the right for all communities (except for maybe referral rate!). We've tried to zero on in metrics that our core to our value proposition and use that to constantly prioritize.
How do you hope to address socioeconomic diversity in Medley groups? I was wondering about your thought process behind having a membership fee to join Medley?
Hi! Thanks for raising this. This is a big priority for us. We do have sliding scale pricing that enables us to make Medley more economically accessible and inclusive - we don't want cost to be a barrier for anyone eager and excited to join Medley. In terms of having a fee at all, a big piece of the Medley experience is the Medley group - a group of 8 that meets monthly over the course of the year. These groups are led by certified coaches who have done extensive trainings and whose hourly 1:1 rates are typically more than Medley's monthly membership fee. We've invested in high-quality coaches and leaders for all of our workshops and events and find that our members value the quality at our current price.
Thank you Edith and Jordan for doing an Office Hour with us! I was so excited to receive the launch email back in July about Medley. My question for you is โ€”ย what is it like building a company with your mother / daughter? What are some friction-ful moments, and maybe silly stories? Would love to hear both your perspectives!
@jordantaylor this is really interesting! I work as a growth advisor for social impact startups, id be happy to connect if you're interested :)
GreatI'm starting to built own company, this is going to be focused in college students, I want to provide content related to tools and resources that help them to solve quick needs, how can I start to offers content that offers value?, how can I keep the consistency and keep them interested?.Thank you.