Company

The Global Power of Local

Written by Sarah Friar

Sarah Friar is the new CEO of Nextdoor, the world’s largest neighborhood network that enables truly local conversations online. On Nextdoor, neighbors create private online communities that help them build stronger and safer places to call home. Building connections in the real world is a universal human need. That truth, and the reality that neighborhoods are one of the most important and useful communities in our lives, have been a source of inspiration and a guiding principle for Nextdoor since it was founded in 2011. Today, neighbors rely on Nextdoor in more than 220,000 neighborhoods around the world in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Australia, and many more to come!


Happy 2019! Looking out on a brand new year, complete with that wonderful clean slate feel, I wanted to say hello and re-welcome everyone to the neighborhood. Growing up in Northern Ireland, I was very aware of the importance of strong communities that crossed many divides, including religion. I’ve also lived in countries as far as Ghana, South Africa, and now the United States. What I’ve learned is that everyone cares about the community they live in, and stronger communities have significant bearing on health, wealth, and ultimately happiness.

Today, technology has connected billions of people, enabling quick and easy access to astonishing amounts of information. Despite these global connections, division and discord feels at a fever pitch with long-standing assumptions about our social fabric, universal values, and even the nature of truth and trust becoming frayed. Why?

In so many ways, these connections and this broad access are helpful. But, it naturally forces people to curate and organize the information they consume, in many cases reinforcing assumptions. This tends to spill over in our online and real world networks, and often groups us with increasingly like-minded people to create our own personal echo chamber. The less we prioritize the intentional building of relationships with people whose worldview is different than our own, the more we seem to experience tension and a lack of empathy towards the world around us.

As part of the Nextdoor team, I am privileged to have a front row seat to a different movement. Across the world, there is a universal yearning for the connectedness of proximity. Neighbors everywhere still love and care about belonging to a tangible, real place. In fact, neighbor is defined as “one’s fellow human being” or “a person who shows kindliness or helpfulness toward his or her fellow humans”, underscoring that proximity transcends just finding like-minded people. While neighborhoods of today often look different in terms of their racial, cultural, and socioeconomic makeup, neighbors still clearly understand what makes a block, a street, a village… a good place to live.

Nextdoor has become a place where neighbors can naturally come together to help make their local communities better. The relationships sparked on Nextdoor connect millions of people back to the original social network – their neighborhood.

What makes Nextdoor unique?

You could say Nextdoor “shrinks the internet,” making it truly local. Most of what we do online every day connects us to things in spite of distance. Nextdoor is gloriously swimming upstream, obsessed with being local. Relevant local conversations, organizations, and businesses catalyze neighbors to engage in real world interactions, and build stronger trusted communities together.

The data all around us is overwhelming. Countless studies show that wellbeing is higher among people who have regular contact with their neighbors. We need no convincing that this is a reality. We see it all the time on Nextdoor.

As we start out on our 2019 journey, we want to re-emphasize that we are here to serve you. As our membership surges to include millions and millions more neighbors across the world, we maintain our commitment to empowering local interactions for our members. Our product features and offerings must evolve and appeal to an increasingly diverse array of members, partners, and businesses, and immediately provide tangible value in connecting all of these stakeholders with their community. We’ll always have more work to do, and of course we’ll get it wrong sometimes – bear with us and help us improve.

Local. Local. Local. This is what makes Nextdoor useful, makes us unique, and represents our shared opportunity with all of you. Let’s make 2019 a year to discover what we have in common with neighbors, so that we might see past our differences. Start small, commit to connecting with one neighbor today. It’s these connections that make us collectively powerful, building stronger and safer communities.

Sarah Friar and the Nextdoor Team


Throughout the year, we’ll continue to share inspiring examples of community leadership, what’s new on the platform, and our learnings on the Nextdoor blog and via Twitter and LinkedIn.

101 Comments

    • I second your comments, Laura. I am the owner of a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (travel agency), and ND would be the perfect platform for me to compete effectively against the ‘big dogs’ in my industry. The travel business is a relationship business, but platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn are either too broad in reach and scope, targets the wrong demographic, too expensive or all of the above.

      Help us, Sarah. Bring local business into the ND family in a more meaningful way.

    • This is a god send! Thx for your collective collaboration and wisdom to see beyond the immediate for a most rewarding connectivity as human engineering is the success of all our future, tomorrow’s. Well done!

  • Thank you so much for creating a local platform for community. Communication is key to maintaining good relationships, safety and allows a community to better strengthen it self

  • Thank you! It’s a great asset to find out what’s going on in the neighborhood, locating lost or found pets, and generally Lee what’s happening with our neighbors!

    Happy New Year!

  • Thank you. This is truly a great way for my family to meet others in my community, to converse with the local authorities and businesses in the area.

  • Congrats Sarah. Loved reading your platform. Wishing you all the luck and extending my hand for any help or projects especially for the Seniors and disabled in our neighborhood. I ask that we all take the time out to get to know us.

    • Yes being a senior and having challenging back issues and my husband recovering from prostate cancer treatment makes us realize how much we need each other.

    • This is the best of the many thoughtful commentaries in order to help the neediest of our neighbors and to show that our community really cares.

    • Very nice, Sarah! It’s great to know that we are part of a world web of communities that care about their neighbors. There are 196 countries in the world. Maybe one day we will be a small piece in an universal puzzle of solidarity minded people.

    • This is my “Me Too” moment. I want to make my neighborhood better. I am a senior too. As I will celebrate 65 years next month. Although inside I still feel like a youngster !
      Thank you for this outlet.

  • Our Neighborhood has grown to 4% of homes within the border. It has found and rejoined many pet owners with their lost pets. Living in the mountains means finding pet needs to be done immediately due to the mountain lion and raccoon predators. Last week alone linked 3 owners with their pets. Also, selling or giving items away on Nextdoor has been very successful too. I got a brand new, free, king-sized double zoned air bed. I have swapped washers and dryers and I currently have a pool table for sale. This is truly a local community linked together by Nextdoor. I also sold a lot I had listed as a broker.

  • I enjoyed reading your blog, Sarah. I have learned more about my community during the last two years, as a member of Nextdoor, than the previous five years without it. I was notified about my lost fur baby through Nextdoor. I’ve met the nicest people and have joined several classes and organizations because of it. Keep up the good work.

  • Welcome Sarah. Nextdoor is a wonderful medium for social interaction.i hope you tenure as CEO will be a fruitful one. God bless.

  • I love Nextdoor and use it in both Virginia and Tucson. Because VRBO and AirBnB have become so expensive and have taken over the owners, I wish there were a format for Rentals by Owners so we could manage our own homes without Big Business.

  • Welcome Sarah and congratulations. I wish you best of luck in your position as Nextdoor CEO. It is nice hearing of someone from Northern Ireland. I lived there for two years when I was stationed at the U.S. Navy communication Station located in Londonderry, N.I.

  • I love this app… it has done great things for my business … and helps keep us aware of crime and saftey.. plus my family and I find great items for free and for sale … thanks Nextdoor for everything…

  • This site has been extremely helpful to me. Thank you and your team so much for the creation! Happy 2019 with more ideas to make it even stronger.

  • I feel very at home on this site like a community should …there’s not a lot of garbage it’s stuff we certainly together on in all areas so thank you for your time and thank everyone for being my neighbor! Happy New Year!

  • Thank you very much, Sarah Friar, for your letter to all of us. I have been a member of Next Door since the very beginning, when it was known as Next Door/Harbor Heights. I have contacted the many people, companies, shops recommended, plus shared information about my recommendations to help my neighborhood’s needs and requests. It’s great to hear how much we all have in common and how much we need to know about newcomers who need our help in settling into our neighborhoods. I wish all my Next Door friends a very Happy, Healthy New Year.
    Congratulations to you as our new CEO. Good Luck and welcome. Joyous New Year to you and yours.

  • Welcome and congratulations on your new position! Thank you for your insight and encouragement to all of the Neighbors. I love the app and I’m on it constantly. Being a neighborhood lead I have a chance to help people find information they need about the city and surrounding areas and how to use the Nextdoor app. The people I talk to are so nice. I too have bought things, found out about community events and what’s going on with traffic and road closures, etc. I feel safe knowing that we have a police officer that checks in with updates. It’s exciting to see where this goes. Take care.

  • I think app is very significant it keeps neighbors and neighborhoods in contact on what’s going on around us and that is a very important to me!!!!

  • What a wonderful resource for all our local community so far. It’s not like knocking on your neighbors door, but it’s damn close! Looking forward to a great new year and getting to know all around and what’s going on, -good and bad. Thank you Sarah for sending a shout out. – Penny in Rincon Heights.

  • Congrats and welcome Sarah! I look forward to an exciting new year of possibilities and events. I’m fairly new to Nextdoor and don’t do Facebook or any other social media but I’ve found Nextdoor to be just the medium to keep me informed and up-to-date with what’s important—which is what is going on in my neighborhood and secondly whatever else that may be happening socially, nationally and/or politically. So all the best to you!!

  • Thanks Sarah for your inspirational message for us all. It’s reassuring to connect with people that share so many common interests. As a senior citizen, your awesome app is greatly appreciated as a service in many ways. All the best for 2019.

  • Thank you! We really must learn that we’re all much more alike than different and be more supportive of our differences. It’s really easy to just be kind!

  • CONGRATULATIONS SARAH!! May God bless the work of your hands at Nextdoor. Love the app. It helps our senior community here in San Marcos feel more connected, more vibrant, more intimate.

  • Happy New Year Sarah and the nextdoor team!!!! This is a wonderful site to connect with our neighbors of many communities! Wishing you and all of my neighbors throughout the community a very blessed 2019!

  • Thank you Sarah for the inspiration. It would be interesting to see all the communities that have used ND to connect. Hiw about a shout out from South Bend, Indiana

  • Welcome to our worldwide neighborhood.
    Good communication is the basis for a peaceful neighborhood and this app really works. I look forward to reading your blog.

  • Very useful website. Has proved invaluable resource for much needed neighborhood information, Home office items, etc.

  • Thank you Sarah for the information as well as, congrats on you new position. My husband and I are somewhat new to our neighborhood under a year, I like that when something is going on in our neighborhood or town that I can jump right on the site and get information that I would not know or even begin to find out. For instance a neighbor inquired about an explosive sound near by the neighborhood, and when our bridge went out of service I was able to find out how long would we be re-routed. That’s just a few. So thank you for your thoughtfulness.

  • I currently singed up for this ND group and I have to say, what a way to stay on top of the current events happening in our community. This is so cool. And I have yet explore many options. I am excited for this community.

  • I am very thankful for this app it has helped alot of us. Where I live most people don’t speak English so Nextdoor helps me alot, thank you.

  • Thank you, Sarah, for the letter. I know that what you wrote is the truth and have witnessed it in Studio City for the 30 plus years I have chosen to live here. When my neighbors are kind to one another and get involved there are fewer problems. Kindness is the key! It works! Keep up your good work – you are appreciated.

  • Sarah – Hopefully you read through all these wonderful comments! This is a community in which we can reach out to others and you can reach out to us as well. I personally have found Nextdoor to be an amazing tool and resource. I learned about activities in my neighborhood, posted/sold/given away/bought/received free items and more on Nextdoor. I really love Nextdoor and suppose that could be the reason I am the top inviter in my own area. 😁 Best of luck in your new role and keep us posted right here on Nextdoor! Thank you, Karen Durante

  • Welcome, Sara! Your letter was hopeful and inspiring. Nextdoor.com has been a wonderful resource for me since moving to my new neighborhood; it’s a great app that has provided me with many social contacts and much practical advice. I love its simplicity and hope that always remains at its core.

  • Sarah, Nextdoor has been a blessing to me helping me learn about my community when I was new. It also helps us communicate about events, criminal activity as well as individuals needs. I love Next Door!

  • Thank you Sarah – I do appreciate Nextdoor for its resourcefulness and platform of opportunities for sociable lifestyle in our neighborhood.

  • I love the Nextdoor community. I have been a member since its early inception. It’s amazing to me how much it has grown in a few short years. I will say that I have not been happy with two changes that have been made from the “ old days of 2012,” that is, allowing advertisers to post and allowing political posts. Otherwise, it’s a great site and I will continue to follow it.

  • Thank you Sarah for overseeing this blog on our neighborhood. It is very refreshing to have all this local information in one place. Also the lost and found pets and all the items that are new or being sold or given away free—outstanding way to recycle and decrease our carbon footprint while saving money! A lovely social forum for starting up new groups who share similar interests. Say hiking, that might want to plan and share a beautiful winter hike to Point Reyes. Or start a wed. Night Poker or Bridge club . You have given them a place to come together and find each other.
    Even to advertise a Garage Sale. Whatever is happening on your street has a place to call home thanks to you. I haven’t been a member as long as some, but I read it all the time, it’s important to get to know your neighbors…
    Thank you.

  • Happiest New Year Sarah! Congratulations to you.
    My husband and I are new to the area! This is quite an amazing tool. We are hoping to become involved around our new home. In hopes to meet new people and excited to become involved in our new beautiful community.

  • Congratulations to the new CEO and look forward to continued news of the neighborhood which is so interesting and helpful. Happy, Joyous and Fruitful year of 2019. God Bless you for all you do. Jean Cutrone

  • Congratulations on a job well done Sarah and while it is a great and fun application to just keep in touch with everyone whether you ever actually meet them, buy, sell, or trade with them, this app serves a greater good to provide much needed information when the time arises.

    Case in point:

    I submit how very useful this application has been during this past summer of “Fire & Smoke” in the Pacific Northwest Oregon, USA. It gave us another tool to keep pace of the fires and help insure we had time to contact neighbors of pending threats of danger in time to evacuate. It also gave us a way of knowing who needed assistance with moving animals out of danger in our own neighborhood. Neighborhood members made meals, collected water, and fed firefighters organized through this app! ••• The list goes on•••

  • Thank you Sarah Friar and congratulations on your new position as CEO of Nextdoor. Nextdoor is such a valuable tool in my community. Thank you for your dedication to Nextdoor and its many communities! Best wishes to you in 2019!

  • Sarah, this is an uncommonly well-articulated and well-considered commentary on social media and the virtues of tangible community. I tired of Facebook when I realized that, understandably, people gravitate to their own, preach to the choir, and pat themselves on the back.

    When I saw that there was commentary from the new CEO, I cynically anticipated a treacly, have-a-nice-day, come-on-people-smile-on-your-brother blob of boilerplate. Instead, I got a concise expression of my own thoughts put much better than I ever could have.

    Thanks.

  • Welcome Sarah, and congratulations on your new position as CEO. I am excited about the plans you have for Nextdoor and as this new year begins, I hope our community will continue to demonstrate that we are better together than we are separate. Together we can accomplish so much more. The adage “It takes a village to raise a child,” can also be used for Nextdoor, as it will take all of us working together to get things done that better our community as a whole! Best wishes and you have my support.

  • Welcome to the family — ND makes everything local. I wanted to tell you about a positive experience I had recently. I had a technical question (I won’t go into it) at Next Door and was somehow escalated to a high level guy named Joe Barbato. Let me suggest this: He’s a treasure. He guided me through everything, although it’s clearly not his job, and he has better things to do. I thought I was talking to senior management. He was that good. Congratulations on hiring the best people. Keep up the good work. Hat tip to Joe for going above and beyond.

  • Welcome & Congratulations Sara!!! And a 🎉Happy Healthy & Prosperous New Year🎉 to ALL my neighbors!!! I’m very new to this app and fairly new to Illinois!!! I moved here about 2yrs ago.

  • Happy New Year Sarah and thank you for your time and commitment to keeping the communities connected. Especially helpful for our Seniors and disabled neighbors. Awesome work (-:

  • iv have been using nextdoor for over 2 years. practical and useful tool for communities. i like what you wrote Sarah, about this being a movment!

  • Sara,
    Congratulations on your new assignment as the CEO of Nextdoor. Wish you much success. Nextdoor is a superb app that serves the diverse needs of all living in the “neighborhood”. I am very glad I found out about Nextdoor, probably because I was already subscribing to several other similar sites, e.g., Somersetfreecycle, Sometrsetforsale, etc. Nexdoor covers all such diverse needs to communicate with our immediate neighbors for just about any topic.

  • Welcome to you new post Sara! Glad you’re here. ND is a valuable asset to our neighborhood as well as those surrounding us. So glad you’re teaming up with us.

  • Sarah, I comment you for excepting this leadership initiative. I didn’t know that this website was world wide, learn something everyday. Again thank you for allowing me and my family a chance to be apart of keeping our communities safe.

  • This site keeps everyone informed of any possible activities in the neighborhood
    Is a great site to be updated on any news that are happening in the area
    Thank You

  • Thanks, Sarah, for your comments!! We’ve been here since February of 2017 and love it here!! Welcome and best for wishes to your new commitment!

  • Welcome to the community and to New Mexico. You also mentioned disabled my husband and I r disabled, Its great to have Nextdoor to be able to check out what is happening in our community.
    We r selling our home 2 bed, 2 bath needs a
    Little bit of work but we have done a lot this past year! It’s to big for us. We have to move south due to Dr’s orders!

  • Thank you, Sarah. I do hope the members in my area read your message and see that solution focused discussion is far more pleasant than arguing, ganging up on other members with differing opinions, and general sarcasm.
    Thanks for the encouraging words!

  • Nextdoor truly “saved” me in so many ways during the Woolsey fire here in Malibu. It was the only source of up to date info I could get about the fire from real people. This platform is not only connecting local it is creating safely thru local real conversation. I am forever grateful.

  • Our family enjoys the neighborhood news for the security aspect and seeing how we are growing as a community. Thank you Sarah for taking on this project. Happy New year to all !

  • I live in Paradise CA. Yes, that Paradise! The one that was destroyed on Nov 8, 2018 by a wildfire. Our community used Nextdoor to find lost friends, hear news from ours community leaders about evacuation orders, and share answers with our neighbors at a time when it was hard to get info from our papers and authorities.
    I am grateful for the app. It really helped many in a time of darkness and confusion. You have no idea the role you played in helping us to share info at a time of crisis.

    Thank you!

  • Sarah,
    Was inspired by your email. Being single, it gave me “hope” of belonging! I look forward to our neighborhood to thriving under your leadership! Ask for help, MANY of us are here and ready to go!

  • I have lived in Cantamia since September 2018 and really became dependent on ND to know where to go for best restaurants, best nail/spa, best grocery store, best Drs, I have found a lot of great places thanks to ND people gladly give their advice and share information with you. It’s been a great help. Thanks Sarah.

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