The Story Behind Palapa

Finding great community software isn’t easy. We know first hand. We’ve been building online communities ourselves for over 10 years.

Some of those communities have been pretty darn successful. Our most recent and biggest success is Fizzle, a community of independent entrepreneurs that started back in 2013.

Over the years, we tried just about every kind of community/discussion software we could find, in search of the perfect platform for our people. Forums, chat, social media, you name it. But we never really found what we were looking for.

Eventually we stopped looking, and started asking ourselves what the perfect community platform would look like, from the ground up. We knew we wanted something that was engaging, simple and well designed. We wanted the best of forums (long-term search-ability and content discovery), social feeds (engagement and focus on both content and people) and messaging apps (direct real-time / ephemeral conversations).

We knew building such a platform wouldn’t be easy, but we had the perfect proving ground, our own community of hundreds of entrepreneurs at Fizzle. We built Palapa first to satisfy Fizzle’s needs, then expanded on that vision to support other communities as well.

What you see today is the result of an enormous amount of testing and feedback from our community and others. Palapa has been powering the Fizzle community for over a year, and now it’s ready to become home for your online community too. Or maybe we should say it’s ready to become the palapa for your community…

What’s a Palapa, anyways?

Palapa ( puh-lah-puh ) is a Spanish word for an open-sided structure with a thatched roof made of dried palm leaves. They’re very common in Mexico. They also happen to be a great place to escape the elements and gather with people you care about. Sometimes they’re small and modest like the one you see to the right, other times they’re impressive and grand.

It also happens that while some friends and I were brainstorming names for the software platform, we were sitting under a palapa in Mexico. Sometimes you don’t have to look far for inspiration 😊

– Corbett Barr
Founder and CEO