Uwem, I agree with you. Finding your people and building a small community is extremely valuable for many reasons.
It makes you feel heard and appreciated, it helps you connect with like-minded people, and I assume it also helps the algorithm push your stories a bit more.
If every time you post something some people are reacting to it and engaging soon after that, the algorithm might start showing your content to other people as well.
At the same time, from what I read, making a significant amount of money on Medium will never come from the small community you build.
Because each member's money is divided between the persons a member reads, there will be little money to share within an active community of writers and readers who support each other.
Money here comes from those who are primarily readers rather than from writer-readers.
Of course, it's best to seek the attention of all categories.
But it's still important to think of ways you can reach people who only come on Medium to read something interesting and who are not necessarily even clapping or commenting.
Other than that, absolutely, the tribe we get to build is worth its weight in gold!