Create real value in your online community.

It’s easy to know the value of a sale or a customer. But what about followers? Or forum participants? Or webinar attendees? Or open-source contributors?

The Orbit Model is a new way to visualize and quantify your entire community, so you can better engage with them and provide a more valuable experience.

See how the Orbit Model can boost your community.


Identify and segment your community into Orbit levels


Know what to offer someone based on their Orbit level


Create connections between members in your Orbit levels


Incentivize those in outer levels to interact more and get closer

The Orbit Model equips you to deliver a better experience for your community.

Built with community at the core.

The Orbit Model was created by veterans of the open-source and developer relations communities. And we know that getting buy-in from developers looks a lot different from a typical product sales cycle. The Orbit Model was built with this field in mind, but the approach can be applied to any number of industries, types, and sizes of communities.

So, how does it work? Start by understanding Orbit levels.

What’s an Orbit?

Your organization or product is the center of your universe. Around it are all the people who interact with you and other community members in different ways and in various amounts.

Some may be highly active members who are closer in, others might just subscribe to your newsletter and are further away. These different kinds of engagement are your Orbit levels.

Orbit levels — and the community members within them — are the keys to creating real community value.

To measure that value, the Orbit Model uses some complex data science. But we represent it with a simple idea:

Let’s talk about Love.

Your community members show you Love in lots of ways: by signing up for emails, attending a meetup, writing a guest blog post, or helping out in Slack or your forums (that’s just a few).

The quantity, quality, and recency of a member’s activities determines their Love. The more you know how and how often your members are engaging, the better you’ll be able to connect with them at the right moments — and design new ways for them to interact.

Love determines a member’s Orbit level and captures the many fluid relationships in your community.

Reach for the stars

Reach simply represents the size of your members’ networks, influence, and activity across the internet. If someone in your community is well-connected on Twitter and active on Github, their Reach will be high — and that’s good for you.

Reach shows how influential individual members are.

It all adds up to Gravity.

Based on the Love and Reach of your members, your Gravity represents the ability of your community to attract new people and retain existing ones. When you measure and increase your Love and Reach, your Gravity grows.

Gravity quantifies how attractive your community and product are.

Let's recap.

Now, let’s see how the Orbit Model translates into real value.

Create more community value.

You know your community is beneficial to you and your members. But you might not know exactly how to track and amplify that value. Since there are a zillion potential ways to use the Orbit Model, check out a few examples and you may start to see how it can work for you.

Regardless of your industry or scale, the goal of the Orbit Model is to create more value with and for your community. Want to capture all that value? Take a look at how it works alongside a more traditional sales model.

Open Source Community

~8,000 members

e.g. React Native, Kubernetes

Benefits to Members:

  • Collaborating to deliver a truly useful project
  • Organizing and promoting events and meetups
  • Getting hired as a result of your contributions
  • Troubleshooting with peers and experts

How Orbit Model creates value:

  • See who’s contributing at what frequency
  • Reward members based on contribution milestones
  • Identify member-created content and amplify it through owned channels

Common Interest Community

~1,500 members

e.g. local developer group

Benefits to Members:

  • Learning new skills
  • Finding job opportunities
  • Creating social connections
  • Gaining motivation from peers
  • Growing personal and professional networks

How Orbit Model creates value:

  • Discover new members
  • Get help with moderation from highly active members
  • Select those with high Reach to help with promotion of meetups
  • Keep less active people connected through intentional outreach

Product Champions Community

~25,000+ members

e.g. Airtable, Roam

Benefits to Members:

  • Swift and robust product support
  • Discovering and sharing of new use cases, ideas, and hacks
  • Leveling-up your own skill
  • Creating and sharing templates, demos, or starter code

How Orbit Model creates value:

  • Better manage the time you spend managing your community
  • Deliberately track the type and quality of engagement
  • Re-engage those who haven’t contributed in a period of time
  • Identify untapped networks and true product ambassadors

Create real value in your online community.

A traditional sales funnel is binary — a person is either a lead, or they’re not (it’s also more than 125 years old, but that’s a story for another time). But an online community is much more dynamic and distributed. Always in motion, the value of a community is hard to quantify. And it gets harder when you have points of contact across multiple platforms (email, Twitter, GitHub, Slack, etc.).

Here’s how the Orbit Model is different, yet complementary:

Orbit turns your sales funnel into an ice cream cone.

Hear us out: the Orbit Model doesn’t replace your sales funnel, it sits on top and enhances it. When you have a dynamic view of your community, you can better identify who and when to engage members into your sales process. Your Orbit creates value, and your funnel captures it.