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Industry Insider: CEO of Vibely, Teri Yu, Talks Future Of Positive, Tight-Knit Creator-Led Communities

We checked in with Teri Yu, CEO of Vibely, on her own personal challenges, how Vibely started out, and future of the monetizable creator-led communities. We talk about her background in tech, being a CEO in an ultra competitive space, and things that she does to empower herself to run a company focused on vibrant, motivational creator-led communities.

There are many creator-driven communities out there now, the most prominent ones being Patreon and Discord. Vibely, an app and platform focused on inclusive, monetizable, creator-led communities has set out to introduce a unique experience for all fans. Vibely includes an all-in-one platform that seamlessly integrates revenue streams, strategies, events and products.

We chat with Vibely CEO Teri Yu on what it took to get here, the challenges the company is facing and wants to focus on, and what makes Vibely unique. She also talks her own personal challenges, how Vibely started out, and future of the monetizable creator-led communities.

Read other Industry Insider pieces here.

Teri Yu

Teri Yu

Hi Teri, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m Taiwanese-American, born in Arizona, attended USC so I’ve been to many festivals, then moved to SF to work at tech companies like Microsoft, Asana, and now Vibely. I’m also a past viral creator with 2m+ views.

I’m an empath & extrovert, and it’s my personal mission to #spreadhappiness across the world.

That’s why I started Vibely, to create a safe & intimate place where people could accomplish their goals together around the world.

Being a CEO in the ultra-competitive tech space has gotta be exhilarating... And exhausting. What's something you wish you knew when you first started that you live by now?

Overcoming adversity is a signifier of the great. I knew this going into startups-- everyone warns you before you start-- but I didn’t realize how the extreme highs and lows can be so psychologically taxing.

I am where I am today only because of my persistence. I’m not afraid to hear no, aggressively seek out opportunities, and break down walls to find solutions. Everyone can learn to.

Prior to Vibely, you were at Asana, correct? How did your role there prepare you for what you’re doing now?

Asana has an exceptionally warm & collaborative work culture with strong and intentional processes. I took a lot of those cultural values and embedded them in our own team, which is a reason why our team is so self-driven and high-performing.

In general, my product career has made me acutely aware why social media has become so toxic. Social giants are optimizing for addictive experiences because the more you consume time there, the more money they make from ad dollars.

Vibely intentionally prioritizes meaningful experiences through real connections & personal growth, so the more you use the platform, the happier & more funfulled you feel.

What do you do when you get nervous (if at all)?

I still get randomly nervous sometimes, particularly when I’m being recorded.

What I’ve found helps is channeling that nervous energy into excitement, as our brains have similar chemical reactions and excitement actually uplifts your presence.

The other effective mechanism is repetition. If you push yourself out of your comfort zone enough times, that line starts to expand and you’re able to accomplish more with less hesitance each time. At some point, you’ll be 100% comfortable and wonder why you were even nervous in the first place.

Among the thriving communities on Vibely, what kinds of challenges have you seen creators posing to their fans? Any specific ones on the music side of things?

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Most relevant are dance challenges to specific songs or remixes, but I’d love to see more shuffle challenges or gloving challenges.

Many creatives host challenges as a mechanism for personal growth. For example: 7 days of music production, warped sound challenge, or remix challenges.

Oftentimes, when an artist tries something new, fan reaction can be unpredictable. At times on social media, it can be unreasonably nasty. Online bullying is clearly a major issue in today's digital world. How does Vibely prevent that and keep it a safe place for the artists and their communities?

We aim to protect our creatives’ energy, so we eliminate nasty behavior with 4 major mechanisms:

  1. Reflect authentic identities with comprehensive social integrations, so there’s more accountability
  2. Anti-spam, self-promo, profanity, nudity filters
  3. Automated flagging of misconduct
  4. Ambassadors who lead the community and remove members who violate their rules

The pandemic was devastating for the music industry, especially artists that relied on touring revenue as their primary source of income. Could you expand on ways Vibely allows music creators to monetize their content?

Absolutely. Vibely is an-in-one-place where creatives like artists & influencers can monetize vibrant & intimate communities.

  • Think of us as the center of your universe, in which you can integrate your constellation of socials, events, income streams like merch, and initiatives into one-place.
  • You can charge for access to exclusive perks like virtual listening parties, live streams, first access to concert tickets, discounts on merch, remix challenges, how-to resources etc.
  • All protected by our commitment to positivity, called our Vibe Check.

Vibely is emerging in a market where names like Discord and Patreon are well-established names with similar functionalities. These communities can be free or demand a monthly fee, but are fulfilling enough where monetary support is justified. What sets Vibely apart?

    What makes us unique:

    • Vibely is built for creatives to seamlessly monetize vibrant and toxic-free live interactions, all protected by our Vibe Check. We’re not a place creators need to push out content for money. There’s already enough of those.
    • We’re built specifically for a creative’s use case, so we offer a community layer that’s fully integrated into all your revenue streams, initiatives, shops, and events. You don’t have to hack it together anymore.
    • Our team consists of creators ourselves with 230K youtube subs, 200K tik tok followers, and 2M+ viral videos, so we believe in controlling our own destiny with tools like pinned announcements and email/UGC export whenever.

      Fast forward to the future. Congratulations! Vibely is everything you envisioned it would be when you started it years ago. Describe to us what that “everything” looks like to you.

      In a few years, Vibely will be the operating system behind millions of intimate communities, in which people grow together to accomplish their goals, depend on one another for support, and practice respect & kindness by default -- almost like mini-religions.

      And you’ll instantly find people just like you, who share your interests, goals, and passions.

      We’ll look back and say “Hey, remember when we stared at screens all day?”, and we’ll remember how isolated the world used to be. It’s now a ridiculous artifact of the past.

      The inspirational leaders behind our Vibely communities will feel incredibly fulfilled seeing the cascading impact they have in their community’s lives, while also earning 6-figure+ incomes from their own thriving organization.

      What is next in the pipeline for Vibely? Are there any pressing points of improvement that you’re focused on in the next calendar year?

      As the world opens back up (albeit slowly), I’m most excited about the world map by community. In your membership, you’ll be able to organize cities & drill into members who live in Tokyo, Australia, vs Los Angeles.

      It’ll be fantastic for meeting up at shows & inventory considerations for shipping merch.

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