Thoughts of a Chicana Feminist

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Community Next - February 10, 2007 @ Stanford University


Components of building a community…the rules of engagement…
Tara Hunt, Citizen Agency

What can you learn from a community? Community does not equal marketing strategy. Markets are “conversations”; market places are full of conversations amongst peers; need to respect these conversations


  1. Become a community evangelist

  2. Guy Kawaski, most famous corporate evangelist; for Apple. He took it out from Apple out to the web
    For community you need to bring back the voice of the community back to the company
  3. Shift your measures of ‘success’

  4. GDP example - gives only part of the economic picture (only financial transactions); doesn’t represent health of country; GDP could grow, but more crime/poverty/etc; GPI (genuine progress indicator) developed as alternative to give more holistic view of economy.
  5. Embrace the chaos

  6. Friends of O’Reily Camp (FOO camp); BAR camp said why invite only, let’s do our own; first BAR camp had 300 people in a building; watched it on a wiki; now doing their own
  7. Find your higher purpose

  8. ?Oprah-ization of the web? Look up history of wikipedia; develop things that resonate with people
  9. Understand who you are building that app for

  10. “We are building this out for everybody. We don’t want ot limit our options
    - Who do we serve? Must be a very specific group. Can’t be “We serve people online” or “MySpace”
    - Why would they give a damn? Why would anyone else come and enjoy my product?
    - What are the next 10 steps will you take so people give a damn? Not we are going to put up a wiki or a blog so people can gather. Its going out to the community (in person and online) to explain to them what we are offering
  11. INreach, not outreach

  12. If you don’t do INreach people will come, have a bad experience and then leave. Flickr did personalized greeting when they first began. Acknowledge their interests; ‘oh, hi. I notice you like mountains. Join our mountains group.”; need to teach employees how to do this; not just going to happen; how to make this scalable; look at FireFox’s member kits – how you explain why FireFox is a better choice; Who are the founders of Flickr?
  13. Design to delight

  14. FLOW The psychology of optimal experience – see this book
    Defensive Design – another book
  15. Be part of the community you serve

  16. Marketing is not an after thought

  17. Have patience

11:15am DIY – tools for creating, analyzing, and marketing your own online community

Hiten Shah, Crazyegg

Matt Roche, Offermatica

Mike Jones, Userplane

Joe Hurd, Videoegg

Rohit Bhargava – moderator

What do you think makes an online community successful?

Joe Hurd: Understand why your community needs your tool; we use video.

Matt Roche: Democratized marketing
- “over taking of America by the 8th grade”; like binder with stickers; shows how little we have our ability to express ourselves; i.e. employees of walmart – work all day, unable to talk all day, go home and purge – tell everybody everything; everything in corporations is filtered
- finding truth through volume – put it out there and see what happens

Mike Jones: Deciding what tools to use
- Regardless of what you choose it must be a genuine experience; whether the content is relevant; authenticity
- Apps and modules are the means

Hiten Shah: User engagement

How would you evaluate whether or not you are ready to integrate one of your tools or building their own?

It’s not as easy as “if you build it they will come”.
Can’t just say “it will be viral”; viral marketing is a myth; just jargon for spam and banner ads
MySpace was built one user at a time; every night they were looking for users

Have dialog with community; listen to what they want and give it to them; if you aren’t ready for it; then you need to change their tune

Speed – you don’t ‘design’ a site; you discover one

What makes a community stand out?

Book – The Tipping Point (Community with traction; then making it explode)

Get someone inclined to bring communities together on the job; not business execs/not the easy targets; get the ones that aren’t easy targets

Niche communities – small communities; great volume of communication; they reach particular sizes and begin to break out

Monetization – What strategies? Will communities online ever exist without a monetization model?

Put ads in videos – there are ways to blend ads in with high click rates without bothering user

Choose ads or pay for ads – distribute money to those who post apps on their sites

Develop apps for average users or super users?

Balancing act.

Mix and match.

In video 1% creators; 99% viewers. Giving regular users tools to become part of the 1% in hopes of growing to 2%, then 3%, etc.

Factors – Always better to make it simpler regardless of the type of user.
Shiny object factor – Constantly need to offer something new to keep their interest.

How do you measure passion and engagement? Time on site, number of articles they read, etc.

Points every time you login, refer a friend, etc. (like token idea in Kintera system); rewards participation; motivation to return

Also good for community; measure engagement to demonstrate strength of community; no standard analytics

1:10pm - SkinnyCorp method for creating online awesomeness and other cool stuff
Jeffrey Kalmikoff and Jake Nickell, Threadless

Puzzle: “Using math to find a missing piece of a community”
I started skateboarding without calculating my potential success or failure rate.

Threadless “nude no more” – people submit t-shirt design; high scoring designs are sold

Started on ‘dreamless’; founder won contest; when dreamless went out of business they created threadless; gives art a space to be produced into a product. Lesson learned – keep fundamental core; add to it, but don’t fundamentally change it

Naked and Angry – same concept as threadless, except tiling patterns. Ties, wallpaper, etc.

Extra Tasty – not product oriented; you submit recipes; recipes scored; highest scores become drinks of the day
set of social experiments

Add the fun factor; add the fun factor; LinkedIn is a good example of good scalability, good purpose, good UI. But you don’t hang out there.

? Does ABI want women technologist to hang out online?

Not awesome ways to make money on the internet: identity theft, phishing, advertising (myspace)


  1. Allow your content to be created by its community.

  2. Put your project in the hands of its community.

  3. Let your community grow itself (give them incentive; nurture them so they contribute back and tell others about it)

  4. Reward the community that makes your project possible

? Get call for artist from Eric for GHC 2008 ?

The quality of the submissions has gone down as the community size has grown. Why is this?

How does the scoring work? The score is hidden until it is done.

Do people who score get rewards? Not right now. May in the future. Name in the hat – win swag that has been donated to the company to registered users.

Have you ever introduced a feature that users reacted really negatively to? Every time something has been changed you get negative feedback in 24-48 hours. Never rolled back, but do need to make adjustments.

? Community self polices – how does this work on Systers?

2:00pm - Community Choice: “Community ecology: Finding balance when working with fan groups” - Jake McKee

What happens we you start working with a group that already exists?

Case study - Lego had fan groups; went to them. Adult consumers.

Monetization vs. support? It’s a balance between these two. What’s our ROI, Lego kept asking.

Everybody goes home happy. Fan groups get what they want. Marketing team gets what they want out of the deal.

  1. Redefine Success

  2. Be sure you are clear on the question and what are we trying to achieve. You need to know this before approaching groups.
  3. Share. A lot. (aka ‘transparency’ ‘openess’)
    Scary concept to many people on the business side; give people small details. It makes them feel like they are on the inside.

  4. Constantly adjust

  5. Skip the NDA (non-disclosure agreement)

  6. NDA stop conversations. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you skip it? Ask yourself, “Why does this information need to be protected?”
  7. Set and maintain expectations

  8. Train your colleagues

2:45pm - A Report from the Trenches
Fred Stuzman, claimed

What are the social needs of your users?
How is your social community providing utility to your users?

Primary and secondary relationships
 Primary: family
 Secondary: co-workers, classmates (these fluctuate through life)

As we move into new networks we have actual information needs.

Situational Relevance
Facebook – social need – content niche
The singles bar metaphor – eventually single person finds someone they don’t need to return to the bar; no worry because there will always be more people who are single and looking. ?What do you do when your user is ready to leave?

Social Objects

  1. Friendship (interactions)

  2. Profile

  3. Images


Objects are posted; we have social interactions around them.

Redefining Social Networking

  1. Social networking is not purely people-centric.

  2. Objects we collaborate around provide a shared social experience

  3. What are the limits?

Network Effects and Value Creation

  • Metcalfe’s law – more the people join a network, the more valuable a network becomes. Assumed telephony network – binary choice; you can pick it up or hang up. Social networks more complicated that this single binary choice (member, not member)

  • Social communities offer a rich experience.

What is the initial value of communication?
CORE VALUE hosting
“Multiplicative - Network Value”  rating, sharing, etc
* greater than core value

Tranformative Power of Networks
In the future will all of our interactions be social?


  • understand privacy expectations of users

  • Niche properly into situational relevant areas

  • Leverage social objects

  • Understand the network’s multiplicative effect.

Take things people are already doing and add value to it. ABI example – people are submitting applications to universities, scholarships, etc. Network could add value to this process.