Community 2.0 presentation summary…

March 21, 2007

80+ slide presentation I am making available online regarding the Community 2.0 conference.

You can find it here:


My closing conference remarks…

March 14, 2007

This is my attempt to attach some closing remarks now that the Community 2.0 conference has adjourned. I really hope that over the next few days I can begin drawing cohesive relationships between my thoughts, because at the moment I am drowning in a pool of information. On that note, I related to what Richard McDermott eluded to earlier – we as people engage with more and more connections and share information, but in some ways, our emotional connection to others has weakened. In a new globalised society of information sharing, it is easy to drown in a pool of excess, and one must be careful not to become overwhelmed and bogged down by such. It was a real treat to get to interface with people within the conference community, and to get to know what makes them tick. We’re all in this together, and when you recognize the emotional bond, it makes facing the challenges seem a little less frightening.

I learned something big: communities don’t “grow on trees.” A community without purpose is like a meeting without an agenda. Meetings without an agenda can be wonderful if you want to kill time, get to know one another, and explore the fascinating dynamics of ‘group think’. In a meeting without an agenda, you will walk away with the ideas of a few – especially from those who like to express themselves verbally. Communities require an agenda, they need focus, and this is especially true if you wish to see results. If you work in a corporation, then your number one goal is to seek results, and measure the capacity by which that result feeds into your bottom line. A community with an agenda can do this, because one can measure the result of the outcome. John Hagel, the opening speaker at the Community 2.0 conference, opened up a new world for corporations to measure this type of return by introducing community ROI, ROA and ROS — return in information, return on audience, and return on skill.

I am the community developer for a gaming company based out of Seattle. Technology is my passion, and if I had my way prior to this conference, I’d have introduced blogs, wikis, social networks, and video chat a long time ago. The message from this conference rings clear, community is not about the tools. It takes much more to create a vibrant community that thrives and supports the organization. It takes goals, it takes passion and it takes time. To some degree, you *can* have a community without these components, but that community doesn’t necessarily benefit the organization, because the organization will have no idea how to reap the benefits from its contributors.

I walk away with a real respect for the organizers that make communities work. Without strong community managers, moderators and facilitators, a community is rarely productive. Think of it this way … what if you attended a conference that had a title, but no agenda. What do you think the outcome would be? Sure, it would be a wonderful test, and perhaps it would become the subject of an academic study somewhere. The fact is, companies need to see results, and they need to feel comfortable knowing that there will be a return on their investment. In the end, return on skill should translate into return on sales.

There were representatives here from companies all over the globe. A few that come to mind are, Expedia, Microsoft, PC Magazine, Hewlett Packard, and the Screen Actors Guild. We are now all tasked with taking this information back home (to work), and selling it to our marketing department, comforting our legal representatives, and empowering our communications officers. As always, the IT department will fight over whether Python or dotNet is better (and we all know the answer is Python), and CEOs will wonder how the hell this thing is going to increase revenue, and strengthen stock prices. I would encourage everyone in one of these large organizations to look at how Web 2.0 and Community 2.0 is really forcing the need for an Enterprise 2.0 organizational shift. I hate to use the phrase ‘paradigm shift’, because this is really more than a shift — this is a life or death situation.

The organization of the future will hunker down and involve itself with its admirers and its haters. It is this collective audience that drives – and in Enterprise 2.0, it is these individuals that will make or break your brands. Today we call it ‘viral marketing’, but tomorrow it will just be ‘marketing’. In enterprise 2.0 the company will set the tone by defining an agenda for the organization, but it will be the community that carries the message that needs to be heard.

I’m not a marketer, and I’m certainly not an authoritative voice in this area. However, I know what I am seeing, and I’ve seen the future of technology. The tools are coming, and guess what — the tools empower *people*. As a technologist, I am excited to work on these tools, and I am even excited to see the democratization of information.

Enjoy ~

Community 2.0 Conference Notes: Day 4

March 14, 2007

Community 2.0 Conference

Notes by Boe Miller

WARNING: This is a summary of the content presented at the Community 2.0 conference held in Las Vegas, and the information was filtered through my ears, into my brain, and then out through my fingers to my keyboard. I apologize if I have misrepresented anyones thoughts in any way. Sometimes we hear what we want to believe.

Conference information and details will be streamed to Conference participants are encouraged to blog, tag and links content materials. Please use the tag ‘community2.0’, and the content will be aggregated.

Conference Day 4

The CMMC Update


Rancois Gossieaux: Conference Chair

Talked about creating an industry organization for community. For more information, visit the CMMC website.

Communities as the DNA of the Customer-Centric Business Strategy


Lois Kelly: Foghound
Andy Hessabi: Network Solutions
Lynne Kerger: Chicago Tribune
Tanya Maurer: Hewlett Packard

Each of these members uses communities.

Lois: All in super competitive industries. How do communities work, what is the advice? Why did you start a community, what’s the purpose?

Tanya: 300 digital consumer photographers. They are photography consumers. They launched a community pilot. Now HP has made the pilot community production. It is qualitative, not quantitative — use this information very careful. Just because a customer wants it, doesn’t mean it is a good idea. They brought to market in 6 months, what use to take more than a year.

Andy: Looking for tool to compliment research toolbox. Focus groups are expensive. They don’t provide as much value. New wave of tools for online surveys, etc… when introduced to online communities, Network Solutions felt it would be cool. They use community to test ideas. They have a challenge with language, and NS uses community to test the language of the organization. Are people understanding what they are trying to say? You are trying to communicate a high-tech product to a low-tech audience — so community testing is incredibly important. NS started the community 6 months ago. They are now recruiting more customers, because the project is going very well. Use community for product naming… they use it to gage website pages — and highlight what users don’t understand. Traditional research costs a lot more to do this sort of thing.

Lynne: Had community for 3 years now. When we started out, the newspaper industry was under fire. The challenges are there. Product is unique in the world — as a physical product it changes every day. Tribune wants to understand how people are reacting to these changes. Journalists are to focus on the objective. Tribune needs to get voice of consumer into the newspaper. Need to create product not out of sync with 21st century. They need to shape the product to keep older readers, but also appeal to younger readers. The idea is to focus on new products for the company.

Lois: Why would people want to be in community? What do they get out of it? How much is it you talking to them?

Lynne: People who love your product and understand value, love to give advice.

Andy: Audience … small business owners … all share challenges. Small businesses were talking to one another, and the challenges that they all face. Once members felt comfortable, there was a huge amount of interaction. NS asks a lot from its community members. Members want to learn about challenges — so that they can help one another.

Tanya: Have a very tight social network — it is how they document their lives. They want to document and achieve their end result. It is a supportive organization, and they love the information they get from one another. Giving information in weekly tips, and help them with what they struggle with is huge. They know everything about there lives, because the customers WANT to share the information. When we communicate how the information is helping the company, they can’t believe the corporation is listening to them.

? When you talk about community, what are you using?

Tanya: Private closed community by invitation. They are under non-disclosure. It is a web based access. Community Space is the company that they use.

? Do you find they want to comment on the news, or do you think they want to collaboration of the community?

Lynne: Both. Discussions start organically amongst one another. It is content related for them, but Tribune drives focused groups. Users just can’t believe that the tribune is listening to them. Tribune is trying to break the 3rd wall.

! All of the panel members use Communispace.

? Do you listen to avid readers most, or do you pull from a cross pollination?

Lynn: Panel made up of 1/3, 1/3, 1/3. High, moderate, soft…. this keeps the panel balanced.

? How did you select participants?

Tanya: We used an agency we’ve used in the past.

Andy: Used traditional research segmentation.

Lynn: Ours is life stage based. We used demographics as well.

? Do you have stats on lurkers vs. contributors?

Andy: Get about 1/3 participation rate. They have anywhere from 100-120 people participating on a weekly basis.

Tanya: Our employees can view what is going on in the community. Employees can be observers. They can talk, observe, but they cannot participate. A report is sent out to people in the company based on the results of the research.

Andy: We do a lot of tradition website usability studies. This is testing language, page, etc. They have to put context around the page, to determine what the user thinks. What do you understand about the page, what do you not understand? We test images to see if products are exciting and that they are being received well. Sometimes there is a place for more controlled research, but this has proved really valuable.

Tanya: The community is an awesome reality check. The community is really honest and frank. They can quickly learn the “truth” of how something is being perceived.

? Since you started doing this, how much traditional work has been supplanted?

Lynn: We haven’t really replaced anything. This opens up research, where we never stopped to consumers. People in the organization come to talk to the community manager to run these community efforts at the Tribune. This is a great feedback loop back to the editorial department.

Tanya: A lot of things are falling off the plate.

Andy: Hasn’t changed a lot, but has added a tremendous amount of value. It hasn’t replaced anything quantitative.

? Any problems with group think? How do you handle that?

Tanya: We haven’t really had problems with that. The vendor helps us a lot — they have trained moderators.

? Have you experienced chaos effect — where input makes development crazy?

Tanya: Use honesty when you are communicating back to the community about the progress of something. “We got your feedback, but it isn’t making the cut.”

Tanya: Sometimes you have to address issues. If it throws the schedule into chaos, then perhaps it should! Maybe the product just isn’t that well thought out!

Andy: It could make a big difference. Listen, communicate it to team, and make sure they have all the information.

Lynn: Projects are quick turn, so it doesn’t have that kind of effect.

Tanya: This is qualitative data — it should be accepted as such.

? Resistance from editor team — job ends when job posts — they don’t care about feedback…

Lynn: Keep trying (audience laughs)

Communities of Practice – Can They Really Work?


Richard McDermott: McDermott Consulting Have written more than 30 articles available online.

Richard teaches a Master class on Community. Has published 30 articles on how to build communities in an organization. Today, two purposes: internal communities of practice. Secondly, ask a set of questions to think about: the implications of globalization for customer communities.

Most companies have started communities informally. Many communities started this way have fizzled out.


Oil Company (not named) Case Study: Computerization has increased the complexity of knowledge. It has made the knowledge of information much more complex. Now there are different assumptions, because there is information overload. Work is more complex, and there is a hidden cost. There is a cost associated with connectivity. Meetings take longer, because there is so much information to aggregate. This company has active communities. They needed to globalize communities. Video conferences lead to presentations, and *not* discussions. 2nd cost: connectivity. 3rd: globalization has exploded costs. Now people can collaborate from anywhere. It is irresistible to look at all potentials, which aren’t all necessary appropriate.

Cost of complexity, connecting, and managing.

! Fountain of information has led to re-inventing the wheel over and over!

BPA: Business Process Acceleration

We are far more isolated now that we ever were in the past. We are connected to everyone, and yet connected to nothing. Now it is about information sharing, not necessarily thinking.

Knowledge Innovation Network: studies communities.

a) Many companies have shifted communities to heart of organization. Asked communities to take stewardship of organization. There is a goal setting process from the organization, but company knows communities are the experts.

b) Healthy communities take action: They do things. Neighborhood communities have protests — company communities create guidelines. All in all, progress should be made.

As communities have evolved, they have become another organizational structure.

Internal communities have much better numbers than the 1% contribution rate of external communities. He has found that 15% are active, 15% moderately active, and 70% kind of active. Lurkers are learners. They are incredibly valuable assets.

Leaders manage participation. Amount of time and training leaders have is key for high impact communities.

His study finds that leader spends 17% of time leading the community. Leaders do not run meetings, but they connect people, and get the appropriate people into the community. Leaders see the organization as a network of knowledge, and not just as departments. They manage engagement.

Face to face is key for communities to be effective. What makes it a community is the fact that people are facing one another. They need to learn from each others experiences. It has to be rich stuff, for community members to stay around. Community members need to feel that they are facing each other, and not just facing the company.

Questions for Customer Communities

Are they communities, or are they open networks? Are they market networks? What type of communities are they? Sometimes choosing the right metaphor for the community can really help.

Part of what happened to communities, is that they have been consumed by complexity.

Cost of complexity of knowledge will increase.

Conference Closing Insights…


Conference Participants

Conference Overview:

  • Communities are more complex than some people are eluding to.  There is altruism, but we must get business value from the community.  You have to manage engagement for the community to be successful.
  • You need to have a goal for the community, and why you want to engage with your audience.  Work around what you want to be doing, and set the parameters for your project.  Once you have a goal, configure the appropriate metrics.
  • People are looking for a community cookbook.  At this point, you can’t build a cookbook for communities.  The opportunity is when there is *not* a cookbook.  Now is the time to move fast – and do some really cool cutting edge stuff.  Move quickly — there is a huge advantage to get your stuff on the Internet.  When you are convincing people to do this — show them how others aren’t doing it, and do it before others do it.
  • You may have a community of 5000, but you really have 1000 conversations of 5 people.  What do I do next, what does my company do to be “cool” on the Internet?  Communities are not new — take a look backwards and learn from the accomplishments of other.
  • Give lots of working examples, which were presented at the conference.  Talk about the evolution of it, and how it will tie with the existing communities that exist at your organization.  Continue doing good things in different ways.  There is no ten step list here for communities, but share — and learn!
  • Observations: Most favorite: #1 the people.  #2 community spirit.  Least favorite: More free-form time.  More slides/Less slides.
  • There is no toolbox, so why pay $300k for one?  Giving a collective goal to the community is important.
  • Impressed with amount of interest amongst the people.  There is a lot of passion on this topic.  There is a tremendous amount of distribution amongst the participants.  (Company Size, Company Type, Profit/not, etc)  Sense of limit on the sense of expertise.  There is a huge potential to keep learning about this.  There is an emerging community amongst the participants.  We need to learn how to make this a more sustained community.  Encouraged about talk about metrics.  Community eco-systems — communities do not exist in isolation.  It is important to plug into the community eco-system. 

Thank You, and good night.

I sure as hell didn’t learn this in kindergarten…

March 13, 2007

The community 2.0 conference has been a real mind bending experience for me. I’ve been amazed at the level of participation, and the general notion that this was a kick-ass conference. This conference got off to the right start immediately when I got inside the Las Vegas airport looking for ground 0, attempting to find a shuttle to the Red Rock Resort. I met another co-conferencer that was walking around in circles, also looking for the shuttle. We immediately began chatting, and it didn’t take long to determine we both had a passion for the topic of communities. That’s been true of everyone at the conference – there is just a really great energy in the air, and people are excited about the potential of building strong communities. As humans, it is instinctual for us to collaborate, and the tools that technology is making available to us has introduced a plethora of new communication methods.

I was introduced to a new technology at this conference, and I’m almost embarrassed to admit it. You’d think that as a technologist, and as someone who considers himself tech savvy, that I would have already learned about tagging and tag clouds. The truth is, until now, I never really understood the potential for tags, and how they might change the Internet. Granted, tags are used everywhere – HTML is full of them. Specifically, I’m talking about the content classification and categorization tags that have been implemented on many web 2.0 websites. I fell off of the blogging bandwagon about 2 years ago, after I ran fresh out of ideas. Since then, I haven’t followed the progression of community technologies, and more importantly, I haven’t really taken the time to plug into new social networking sites like MySpace. During my absence from the Internet’s social community, tags were introduced, which allow you to create content, link it together by cross-referencing it with similar tags, and then create spiders that pull like-tagged information together from around the Internet (such as Technorati).

To exercise this new technology, I created this blog at the beginning of the Community2.0 conference to begin ramping up on community technologies. The sponsor of the conference said, “mark all of your uploaded content with ‘community2.0’, and we will aggregate it together, and display it in once place.” I thought to myself, what in the hell is this guy talking about? Tag it — aggregate — pull — consolidate — one place? IMPOSSIBLE. Certainly, the conference will need to run its own website with photo uploading, an editorial uploading capabilities, a linking system, etc. NOPE! TAGS.  Just use the tools on the Internet that already exist.  This need not be hard folks!

Over the coarse of two days, I finally figured out what the sponsor was talking about. It’s amazing what you can learn by visiting your friend — WikiPedia. If I tag my content, then I can create an RSS feed from various sources that pulls ALL of the information together from disconnected websites that are hosted across domains and continents.  I was so excited about this, I almost fell over.

This is exactly why you are seeing a listing of Community2.0 links on the right side of my blog, with links to content that is syndicated from sources all over the Internet. I used the technorati search engine to search the tag ‘community2.0’, and then I created a right-side navigation item that pulls in that feed. This is basically the same principal as reading Associated Press new articles on Google News and Yahoo News. It is generally the same news, it just happens to be syndicated from the same remote source. In this case, I can syndicate text, links, pictures, and anything else my heart desires.

I began documenting the entire conference using (the coolest technology ever), which allows me to publish directly to my blog using back end RPC web-service technology. If that sounds like a bunch of techno junk, and it is, basically it means I can push a document I create in Google docs directly to my blog with the click of a button. I tagged my google docs as ‘community2.0’, and therefore those documents ended up in the collective consciousness that is represented under the community2.0 tag. People, this is drop dead amazing.

This technology is HOT, and it has completely opened up my mind to a world of new ideas. For example … what if a person could create a “social profile” that was represented by the collective data that they have inputted into various systems across the Internet? How, you ask? Lets say that I start tagging my pictures, my ideas, my blogs, and my profiles and OpenIDs as “bmiller”. Then, I use an aggregator, like Technorati, to search on ‘bmiller’, and import that collection of data into a virtual profile page that dynamically adjusts as the data grows and changes from the remote data sources. Suddenly, I have a profile that can span the entire Internet — and collectively represent me, as a digital identity, it my totality.

Why on earth would anyone want to do this? This technology would allow each industry to focus on the tools that are key to that industry. It would allow the user to pick and choose the tools across the entire span of the Internet, and build an identity for themselves that represents a collection of tools and services from a large selection of disconnected data providers. At the same time, companies get free advertisement syndication, because as this data is aggregated and pulled onto sites around the Internet, you are effectively planting billboards, and getting free real-estate. How many times have you seen the fine print ‘flickr’ logo on someones profile page? Isn’t that effectively an online billboard?

Okay, so there are huge holes in the technology as it exists today that would prevent this from happening just yet. Who is to prevent someone else from tagging their content as ‘bmiller’? Nothing — and that would lead to identity pollution. Instead of identity theft, we would have a new model of ‘identity hostile takeover’. There is a huge amount of potential here, and it is only a matter of time before this becomes a very real technology. In the meantime, we can still take away from this, because companies and organizations need to learn how to create tools for the web that will lend to the collective experience as a whole. More on this in another life … perhaps web 2.1

Enjoy ~

Community 2.0 Conference Notes: Day 2

March 13, 2007

Community 2.0 Conference

Notes by Boe Miller

The most up to date version of Day 1 notes are available onGoogle docs here.

WARNING: This is a summary of the content presented at the Community 2.0 conference held in Las Vegas, and the information was filtered through my ears, into my brain, and then out through my fingers to my keyboard.  I apologize if I have misrepresented anyones thoughts in any way.  Sometimes we hear what we want to believe.

Conference information and details will be streamed to Conference participants are encouraged to blog, tag and links content materials. Please use the tag ‘community2.0’, and the content will be aggregated.

Conference Day 2

General Overview: Another information packed day. This was the first official day of the conference, so there were about twice as many people attending. Craig Newmark was a guest speak today — and he’s hillarious. More on that later.

Conference Welcome

Open APIs – People in the community create products that their R&D departments could never create.

Some of the most powerful communities in the world started in Newgroups, Yahoo Groups, etc. You can’t just throw technology at the problem.

Book recommendation: Ambient Findability

Keynote: What’s Possible? – Expanding Markets through Virtual Communities

by: John Hagel, author & Consultant
Full slides from presentation:


Language: What is a virtual community?
It is establishing connections.
Complex weaving of physical and virtual space. Explore how physical and virtual spaces interact. Mindset: Set of assumptions for success. Move from vendor to participant mindset. Move to value creation focus. Long term financial $$$ reward.

How are we going measure this thing? How are we going to improve it?


New long term business trends. ROA: Return on Attention: Scarce resource is the attention of people. How much effort requires & what value is gained. Who are the customers generating the revenue? How can I take less profitable customers & make them more profitable. How do I introduce participants to resources they don’t know about. ‘Serendipity’ 1 to 1 marketing – personalization. 1 vendor delivering to one customer. Virtual communities should connect 1 vendor to many personalities.

ROI: Return on information: Or the profiles of participants. How much info have I provided about myself? How easy was it to give information? What value did I gain? Virtual communities are not leveraging data they collect about customers. We need to make better recommendations to our customers. If customers see value in giving information … they will give.

ROS: Return on Skill: Given amount of effort – how am I able to return value? Am I able to attract and retain customers/talent? Skills in — value out.

As pressure intesifies to develop skills, people do things they are passionate about.

Customers gain more power in the development and release of products. Communities of interest and talkents coming together.

It is not just about find people – but deepening relationships. It is about deepening skillsets.

Keynote: Citizen Marketers – When the People are the Message!

Ben McConnel: Author & Church of the Customer

MTV: Must find a new home in a marketplace where content is driven by the community. Created a new pilot program called ATLAS. MTV is allowing others to create content from their archives. 48 million content users: Create blogs, videos, etc.

There is a democratization of tools. Anyone can create content, but how do we boil up the good content?

(Shows a viral video about McDonalds Chicken McNuggest that was a huge youtube success )

Throws out a buzz word: AMATEUR CULTURE – about creation and connection.

Citizen marketers: Who is creating marketing for you?

55% of kids age 12-17 use social networks. 1 million new broadband customers in the world per year.


Most influential media: Word of mouth.

People are the new message! (collectively)


4 F’s

  • Firecrackers: Quick — poof — gone. ‘Control is out of control’ (see McNugget video above)
  • Filters: Someone who gathers info and shares it. Ex. Starbucks Gossip. This is about what starbucks is doing right/wrong.
  • Fanatics: LOVES what you do. Wants to be you. an example. ‘Citizen Marketing’.
  • Facilitators: Move idea forward.

Productive Leisure: THIS IS FOR FUN! People don’t want to be laborers. Community members that create content don’t necessarily want to be paid. Again, THIS IS FOR FUN. This is not a job.

1% RULE: Total number of people in community that contribute content will be one percent of total population.


Channel9 website and wikipedia both follow 1% rule.

Inequality is the rule: Live on the edge of culture.

Products created by community –> DEMOCRATIZATION

Lessons Learned from Non-Business Environments


Giovanni Rodriguez: Hubbub PR
Scott Meyer:
Craig Newmark: Craigslist
Alexandra Samuel: Social Signal



Craig: Ordinary people. Don’t define community. You don’t have to be a doctorate to build community (even though he is). Treating people like people. Treat people like you want to be treated.

Scott: Acquired NYTimes – Create communities around topics. Aggregate audience. 600 sites. 60,000 sites.

Alex: Grassroots campaigns on the net. Created toolking to mobilize passion. Reflective Glory Marketing: create a community your fans are passionate about.


Craig: We maintain a flat structure. We use internal discussions, and we let ideas live. The lounge in our office is online. You need a way to collaborate in a company.

Alex: Spend the money on people — not technology. It is hard to let go of control! Get ready to do it, or prepare to fail.

Scott: Biggest mistake – trying to use traditional business metrics to measure success. THIS IS NOT A TECHNOLOGY PROBLEM! Do not over engineer a community soluction — IT WILL FAIL!

Alex: Encourage people to link to your site. Create incentives for people to write about your company.

Alex: Community drives direction of growth. Community needs to own the community. You cannot build it for them and expect them to just use it.

Scott: Authenticity rules. You will be found out if you are fake. Be better and people will find you. It is all about self improvement.

The New Technology Toolbox for Community Building


Deborah Schultz: Social Media Strategist
Peter Friedman: LiveWord
Barry Libert: Shared Insights
Rajen Sheth: Google
Mike Walsh: Leverage Software

Deborah: If you are going to start a community tomorrow, what are the three most important things?

Mike: Well defined goals. Make sure good ownership/Make sure there is awareness.

Barry: Figure out what community you are targeting. Start w/ a pilot. Who will own it?

Rajen: What is purpose… who are your end users? … what tools do they use right now? ARE YOU TALKING TO YOUR USERS?

Peter: To generate revenue/profit? If so, figure out how this model is going to work for your org.


20th centures moving as fast as possible. We bought a portal — the platform won’t scale — why would I want to go with a custom portal?

Mike: Use something really open. In fact, just use Open Source, that way you can ensure the product is following the trends. Start with a blog or a wiki. YOUR SOLUTION ABSOLUTELY MUST BE AN OPEN ARCHITECTURE.

Why use open source now?

Mike: If it provides benefit, then why not?

Deborah: We see a lot of clients using Drupal.

Define what the various tools are … what is cool — what does the community really want? Features/tools

Barry: Think about what the community wants to accomplish. Fit the task to the result you want to see. We know for a fact that a wiki is a terrible book publishing tool.

Rajen: Seperate requirements from tools. Wiki gravitates torwards tech savy … is that what you want?

Peter: STOP — SLOW DOWN — EXPERIMENT — DO TRIALS: Use technorati to determine what other people are doing in your area.

Peter: Don’t home grow your own community tools if they already exist. LEVERAGE WHAT IS ALREADY OUT THERE! Companies cannot stay current with web trends… it just isn’t possible. Focus on what you do best — your product. If you want to be a software company, then sure — reinvent the wheel, but be willing to throw everything including the kitchen sink into the process.

How do you make sense of what people are into?

Deborah: Don’t be afraid of your customers. TALK TO THEM! See what your customers want.

Peter: Browse around and see what people are saying. Have a moderator team that reports on what is going on. Use buzzmetrics to measure the ‘buzz’ around your business,

We have everything — all the tools — how do you take the tools and use them together?

Deborah: Create a landing page that ties it all together.

Barry: Single Sign On (SSO) is imperative. If you have 12 different logins, don’t expect people to use your site. How is your company going to offer single sign on? Are you looking at OpenID?

Where do I even start?

Deborah: If you want to get started, then start playing around. Ask your community what they want! Find out where they are going, and what they are using.

Peter: If you want a strong community — you better offer Single Sign On (SSO). No one wants to use your website with a dozen logins.

Rajen: Search is really key. Must be able to find content quickly.

Community-Based Innovation


Gwen Ishmael: Decision Analyst
Sean Belka: Fidelity Investments
Richard Gotham: Boston Celtics
Jake McKee: Lead Samurai (Lego Corp)

Jake: Had users sitting next to product designers during developement. People were excited to have their name associated with the product when it was done. It was their claim to fame. We announced a beta of the product for 100 people, and got 10,000+ people who registered.

Richard: COO of Boston Celtics – w/ Lycos orginally. We have people who say they “bleed green”. We have trusted relationships w/ our clients. People want to hand over information.
Challenge: Info not in organized places/databases. We built analytics capabilities. User info = target marketing. We can now market to families going to the game versus business clients entertaining guests. These are different markets. WE STARTED USING THE INFORMATION!

Sometimes community can tell you a lot. What do you listen to, and what do you gather?

Richard: Get feedback from everywhere. Public opinion can’t run a business, but it should guide it. This is an emotional business, and you have to be ready to absorb the pain. Be a listner, but use the information wisely.

Sean: We developed an online comment system internally so that our employees could comment on developments. This information is aggregated and made available to R&D.

Jake: Who here is in a relationship? (Most people raise hands) What is the most difficult part of a relationship? COMMUNICATION! When you interact w/ a community, you are engaging in a relationship. Who are the 1% of contributors? Are the strong voice representative of the entire community, or do you need to do outreach?

How do you measure success?

Richard: Ticket sales/Tv Ratings

Sean: People want to get something done. How good of a job are we doing at helping our customers reach their goals? This is how we do it.

Jake: Lego has a strong system of beliefs. Everyone believes in what they are doing. They would measure vibe internally through questionaires.

How do you reward your community?

Sean: Pay attention to them as people. Don’t buy them a diamond when they just want you to clean the kitchen.

Jake: We didn’t make changes to corporate site — instead, we fueled passion out on the internet.

Sean: 60 year old company: Online made it easier for us to gather feedback.

Reframing Community – How Customers Perceive Different Forms of Community & What’s Missing


John Winsor: Radar Communications
Michael Perman: Levi Strauss

What’s the difference from physical and virtual communities?

You have to be able to ask yourself, “what’s happening in the future.”

Content Mirotacracy: Ideas win

Michael: Embark upon what is the best of the virtual space.

John: 8 Things my presentation is based on.

1) Loging to belong: ‘Community is an extended family’
Community is often a substitute for family. Community is ‘roots’.

2) Reframing Community: Thinking of community in new ways.
Going w/ emotional flow.
Concious flow of events.
Virtual communities not a substitute for physical.

3) The martini Effect: Life Support Mindscape
Living is active, we need each other.
Life support: Exploring universe

4) Recontextualizing Language: Virtual metaphores – It is a place. It isn’t firm.
Meritocracy built on nodes. Hubs and links. The evolution of metaphores —– conencting deeper ——— spanning communities. Connecting w/ each other ——– it doesn’t matter about car/shoes/clothes — meeting of the minds.

5) Leadership = Catalyst: A leader sets the scene (director)
Someone has to get everyone in room.
Must have ‘fresh’
Democracy of ananymity: There is no true leadership. Structure disolves everyday in community. Every day is a new day.
It is about having a provacative idea.

6) Grounded Transformation: You can ‘edit’ yourself and your presentation to others. People rallying around a common cause.
Costs little to have deep relations online.
It’s easy to quit.

7) Temporal Schizophrenia: Contradictory existance.
Being in multiple places at once.
Virtual community something you choose.

8) Collective Conscience: An awareness to do the right thing.
Book Recommendation: The World is Flat.
Passion and compasion 4 what u are doing.
The power of a million voices.
Community = Common identity.

Levi Stauss Notes:

1) Best of both worlds: blend the physical and the digital.
2) Provide the ride: enable consumers a ride on your brand authentic assets w/ constant entertainment. “Mindscape” fashion.
3) Let go on the steering wheel. Enable customers the opportunity to shape, express, voice, contribute to something real.
4) Enable leadership: Find the emerging citizens of greatness & connect.
5) Break the third wall: Pierce the veil of anonymity that is prevalent in digital communities.


Community 2.0 Conference Notes: Day 3

March 13, 2007

Community 2.0 Conference

Notes by Boe Miller

The most up to date version of day 3 notes are available on Google docs here.

WARNING: This is a summary of the content presented at the Community 2.0 conference held in Las Vegas, and the information was filtered through my ears, into my brain, and then out through my fingers to my keyboard.  I apologize if I have misrepresented anyones thoughts in any way.  Sometimes we hear what we want to believe.

Conference information and details will be streamed to Conference participants are encouraged to blog, tag and links content materials. Please use the tag ‘community2.0’, and the content will be aggregated.

Conference Day 3

General Overview: Another information packed day. This was the first official day of the conference, so there were about twice as many people attending. Craig Newmark was a guest speak today — and he’s hillarious. More on that later.

Before Engaging a Community – Know what motivates the members to be there

by: Elizabeth Churchhill (a), Yahoo! Research & Shawn Gold (b), MySpace

Shawn GolBill Schreiner: How many people use myspace? (Almost everyone in the room raises their hands)

Elizabeth Churchhill: What was the first vision for myspace? Did it morph?

Shawn GolBill Schreiner: The vision is kind of unsexy. Friendster taking off. Lets copy it. They are doing stuff wrong. Lets do it better. Friendster SLOW! Audience improvements. Myspace listened to the audience. People got kicked off on friendster for having friends that were dogs, cats, bands, etc. They saw bands as a cultural hub. They created a toolset to execute small business on myspace. It was an empowering platform.

Elizabeth Churchhill: Changed indie music. Cultural shift.

Shawn GolBill Schreiner: Myspace had to master plan to change the music industry. Tom a musician. Myspace empowered the artist. It led them to success. Democratized access to talent. Music industry does A&R on myspace.

Elizabeth Churchhill: Authenticity — Myspace has authenticity. If you want to be successful is myspace an example?

Shawn GolBill Schreiner: You need to empower the user. Intersection with commerce and virtue. Empower the individual — path to great advertising revenue.

Elizabeth Churchhill: How have you managed ettiquette? What are examples of places where you’ve needed to corral behaviors? Moderation…

Shawn GolBill Schreiner: New ettiquette needs to be taught by parents. Safe behavior online. They have terms of service. They support them w/ people/technology & education. 6 million images uploaded every day. EVERY IMAGE VERIFIED! Users given the ability to flag “bad” content. Every video (40,000 per day) is reviewed. They take a 15 frame snapshot. They use technology that look for kids that are under age. About 5000 underage kinds kicked off every day. Only long term solution is education. Parents need to talk to kids. Every criminal case was put on national news — so it isn’t really fair. Myspace is relatively safe considering its size.

Elizabeth Churchhill: How do you judge your success? What is the metrics? How do you make money? What about the early days? How do people see a return?

Shawn GolBill Schreiner: Myspace profitable early on. Tools easy to build. Scaling has been really really difficult. There are 60 billion page views per merge. TONS OF MONEY ON ADS. Potential to make money is huge. eCommerce on myspace is in its infancy. Myspace really needs to scale it out. 165 million profiles on myspace. 230,000 new profiles are created per day!

Elizabeth Churchhill: Did the acquistion change a lot?

Shawn GolBill Schreiner: We expected it to be painful. Expected Newscorp to be slow. Peter Turning did not want to “screw it up”. Myspace needed newscorps systems to scale the platform. They are now in 8 countries — looking to be in 20 before the end of the year. Having Tom helps them be euntreprenurial. Lots of advertisers are other movie studios — most of the advertisers were worried. They are in a good place now.

Elizabeth Churchhill: What differences do you see in the uptake of myspace from people around the world?

Shawn GolBill Schreiner: The toolset is the same for a global basis. All about self expression / human connection. Self expression changes. The tools remain the same. The species ‘humans’ want to connect. People on the ground localize the site. Social causes are a HUGE issue in Japan. Youth cultures are bringing ’causes’ onto myspace. Causes not as big in the US. Australia — isolated from rest of the world — they LOVE global culture. Biggest difference is cultural differences.

Elizabeth Churchhill: Self expression: uptake of youth was because of self expression. Do you think youth…

Shawn GolBill Schreiner: Youth culture: every teenager creates their own identity. Tools offer an empowering toolset to do that. Kids use blogs, music, video — they get immediate feedback. The process is really efficient for evolution of self. Kids able to make meaningful connections with people: on how they think — now how they look. More meaningful connections …. controlled spaces: kids in really controlled spaces — safety and security. Myspace offers an officient way for them to conenct w/ friends. They can break the barriers.

Elizabeth Churchhill: Is myspace fueled by narcism….

Shawn GolBill Schreiner: Our self image is supported by a self newreal. If people think we are funny and attractive, we tend to like those people. Myspace takes that a lot further. Culture today: people are known for their well known-ness. Celebrity culture. Everyone wants to be famous for 15 minutes.

Elizabeth Churchhill: I am a packrat. Very sentimental. What will happen to all the stuff flowing onto myspace? Where will all this creativity go?

Shawn GolBill Schreiner: Who gets your property in your will? Who gets your personal database? Myspace just increased to 300 photos. Adding more and more tools. Users own content. Who knows what is next. They store it because it is part of the human connection. They share it.


How do you look at the gap between linkedin and MySpace?

Shawn GolBill Schreiner: We are focusing on consumer culture. We can’t build tools for everything. Execute 10% of ideas… There are clubs, DJ’s, restaurants on MySpace. SPAM is a huge issue on MySpace.

What are your weaknesses? What needs to be improved?

Shawn GolBill Schreiner: Six steps for evolution of platform. MUST EVOLVE PLATFORM. Everyone stopped evolving the platform — friendsters — geospace — they fail. THey’ve been really good at combining a lot of featuresets. Other blogging tools are much better than MySpace. Expand to mobile — improve IM. Need to improve content aggregation… EVERYONE IS A PRODUCER. EVERYONE IS A DISTRIBUTOR. Now we need to connect supply and demand. MySpace is creating channels. They are creating tools to organize information — and subscribe people to channels. They need to evolve their marketing tools. They need better CRM tools — where people live, how to market to them, etc. THey need to improve safety and education — they need the educate the young folks. Its like rock and roll — their is a learning curve. Newcorp has a lot of money to evolve the platform. THey need to improve the international platform. THey need to pick the right countries.

Building upon mobile — are you planning to replicate the internet experience? Do you need a different platform for mobile?

Shawn GolBill Schreiner: Yes, speed is not the same. Screen small. THey are restructuring the database to upstream only the most important features. Video/Photos are very important. In Asia and Europe — the mobile platform is much more mature. It is more of a competetive issue. It is a different platform with different constraints.

Do you build with free toools, or do you use an existing platform… What should we ask to determine if we build our own communities, or use existing communities?

Shawn GolBill Schreiner: It is difficult to compete with myspace. It is more efficient to tap into a community. There is opportunity in the space. Build niche market networks — geographic and niche behaviors. Like linkedin or second life.

The Importance of Consumer Generated Content in Community Management

by: Jeff Ubois, UC Berkeley (a)
Jay Bryant: TV Guide (b)
Max Kalehoff: Nielson BuzzMetrics (c)
Bill Schreiner: AOL (d)

Jeff Ubois: I am struck by how much people are talking about archiving at this conference.

Jay Bryant: (Showing a video of TV guide.) I am director of Products. My challenge is living with our legacy. We are known as an authoritative voice. They went through a complete site redesign. They now have call to action areas on the website. They’ve allowed their internal talent to interact with their audiences. Blogs have been a huge success at TV guide. They have someone who pulls web content into TV guide every day. They started JumpTheShark — which is a living wiki. People can give their opinions in near real time. THey are moving into video blogging. (Showing metrics for tv guide) 5 million page views per month last year — now at 18 million now that they are offering communities. More than a 3 fold growth.

Bill Schreiner: He runs traditional community products — message boards, chats, wikis, etc. He started a user generated movie site called uncut video. Opening a new marketplace for video.

Max Kalehoff: Help brands and media companies understand media expression. Communities one of the most disruptive things they’ve seen in marketing. They are working to udnerstand it, and help their customers understand it better. Advent of video in the last year is very important.

Jeff Ubois: Exciting to hear everyone talking about archiving. People are looking at federation — people want a distributed network of archiving.

Jeff Ubois: 50 years worth of data online?

Jay Bryant: TV guide is attempting to add the reference to the content. They associate the data with the structure that they have designed.

Bill Schreiner: Video search is still in the early stages. It is the metadata around the video that is the primary path for searching it. Video is much more challenging to search. AOL has made a big investment in video search. They own the largest video search available today. They’ve made it a distributed model so others can access it. Opening it has been key for AOL.

Max Kalehoff: Video expression is really signifiant. It is a whole new level of emotion / consumer expression. Video has a higher potential to be viral. Consumer generated video is really raising the eyebrowse of marketers.

Bill Schreiner: AOL stuck by passion of community with Dove campaign. The outcome was fame — that moment of “celebrity status”.

Jay Bryant: People want to connect with others with similar issues. TV is something most people share in common.

Max Kalehoff: Their is a fundamental need for human expression.

Jeff Ubois: How do you verify quality of data?

Max Kalehoff: Online communities police themselves very well.

Jay Bryant: I agree — our communities do a very good job of policing themselves.

Jeff Ubois: How do you navigate between corporate requirements, and user requirements?

Jay Bryant: We are there for our users — we bring in our users and work with them. We don’t police what our users say just because our advertisers don’t like it. What our users say is gold.

Bill Schreiner: Marketing side and legal side get VERY WORRIED. It is a new society — they have to learn to live in the new market.

Jeff Ubois: How do you measure a community?

Max Kalehoff: What is the perception of the market? Online communities are making in an undeniable fact — what you see is really what you have. Reality is that communities allow companies to passively observe what is driving the consumer. Unprompted insites are HUGE. Accountability frameworks are driven by attention.

Bill Schreiner: Mentions Something that marketers probably hate — but is a huge success!

Max Kalehoff: Customer service is becoming the new marketing department. Who are the most influential customers? All of that data can be gathered from your website. USE THE DATA!

Bill Schreiner: They have globalized user generated site. THey are *not* going to China first. There are way to many barriers in China. Video is really hard to localize.


TVGuide: What platforms are you using for message boards etc?

Jay Bryant: They use liveword. THey don’t have expertise, and liveworld really had the technology.

How do you encourage participation if fame isn’t associated?

Bill Schreiner: Give people great tools. The desire to share is not new. Build it, and people will share. The real issue is get people to do it around a campaign. Great tools have something to do with getting it started.

Anyone dealt with who own generated content?

Bill Schreiner: Great question — we have no idea who owns it.

If you could boil it down, what was the secret to success?

Jay Bryant: We launched out the gate w/ 60 blogs. IT WAS AN AMAZING SUCCESS. Our community wanted to hear what we had to say. People *want* to talk about TV. TV is how people connect. We had the audience — so they added the tools — and BAMM!

I’m technology overloaded. I am a marketer. What do I do?

Jay Bryant: Learn. Figure out what the tools are. Learn how to use the tools. You don’t have to build all the communities. They are there. Use them.

Bill Schreiner: COmmunities are individuals. You need to get crisp about identifying the benefits. If you could put your finger on the benefits, then you can start asking yourself if someone is doing it better. You can start changing the benefit, and scoping it. The community will drive the development. Community is about tools — the community will bastardize the tools. Don’t try to control — the community will drive.

The New Frontier of Community Solutions

Rob Leavitt: ITSMA (a)
Dianne Divets: Webex (b)
Aaron Fulkerson: MindTouch, Inc. (c)
David Hersh: Jive Software (d)
Jenna Woodul: Live World (e)

a: He is demonstrating topics that we might want to cover. What are tools that we might want to use? What are some of the management issues? What are the success factors in communities? From a vendor selection, what makes a good client? We will now do panel introductions…

d: CEO of Jive Software. Been in business since 2001. Just launched ClearSpace <– a new product. The new frontier is organic intellegince. The community systems need to develop with the communities. MUST HAVE TAGS AND RSS. Find ways to make communities really smart. Make it work for occassional users. Incentive systems are absolutely #1…. MUST HAVE THEM. 4 fold improvement for people that implement them.

b: THey are a platform provider. They intergrate live interaction w/ customers as well as written interaction. They want to drop sessions into ipod videos, and wrap it w/ discussion boards. Right now podcasts are HOT. THey are interesting. If you can get something down to 5-7 minutes, then it is a really cool thing. CIO today’s learn by downloading to their ipods, and listen to it when they are running, excercising, etc.

c: Co-Founder on mindtouch. He works w/ engineers. Community software based on wikis. They offer enterprise solutions. Our approach is a presentation tools to aggregate content. They’ve engineered it so each page is its own XML webservice. Being able to enable media companies to take programming content and weave it into static content is next. People will have distributed social networks across the Internet.

e: Chief community officer of liveworld. Lots of big companies doing different things. They develop on top of Jive. You have to take a cultural perspective on the social venue. Lots of customers coming … we have fantastic boards — should we add social networking? If we do, what will happen? What will the difference in the usage pattern be? You go from content to community … content from community. You should be interacting with the community, and not even know it. Video and mobile are HUGE! HUGE! That is going to be big.

a: (Opening to audience for questions)

— If someone has contributed to a wiki, and then they want to publish a book — someone is going to make money. How will that be resolved?

c: People will have to re-think copyright.

— Any tools that have value to members, that would make them move to a premium level?

d: A lot of people are doing that. For media companies, you give access to people behind the curtains. The trend is for people to monetize on community features.

b: Some of our webex communities will require special id’s, and may be pay. Some people will have access to private info.

— Special guidelines on healthcare — are there any forms of medical communities out there today?

e: A lot of companies are talking — but the toolset is limited. You can do ‘condition’ based chats, etc. A lot of people are linking on common symptoms. Professional organizations are looking at the linking of doctors.

— Wanting to move R&D outside. How do you segment that?

b: Discussion forums are great. You could let anyone participate. You could have a trusted group of people to engage. A wiki is a great idea for R&D. They have a fabulous roll, and great for developing whitepapers.

c: Wikis can stimulate ideas — very collaborative.

— Fear in choosing a solution is being locked into a solution. Do you license code and schema? Which open source offering is most competetive.

c: Launched open source community last year. Last 7 months, they’ve had significant contribution. If mind touch was gone tomorrow, the code will live on. Open source is the way to go for open standards.

d: It is a fair question — do an escrow agreement. Make sure they do XML output.

— We have a lot fo content generated on … have any of you seen examples of really good integration of community and static content?

e: Searching across content is a smart way to go. You could help pinpoint the right door to go into.

c: Talk to MSR about XML maps … get your data in order!

d: A lot of customers are implementing workflow — this has worked well for enterprise companies.

— Self-service: How can you have an organization collaborate around an issue?

d: We’ve done a lot of escalation type jobs. Reward on time — is very visionary.

c: <– good community site.

— Mentioned rating systems — wisdom of the self selected few — people safisticated at hacking rating systems — is there math behind trying to prevent people from hacking the ratings?

d: This happens a lot in really large communities. COmmunities are really self policing. You need to put tools out there to let the community police the system. Once you have incentives — people try really hard to abuse the system.

— Moderation tools: Live humans look through 6 million photos on myspace! How do you manage this stuff? Are there new tools to help moderate this stuff?

e: People who want to make trouble — will. Make tools available to escalate content up to review. Some companies do 24/7 moderation. The question of tools becomes a question of expense. You need tools that allow your moderators to work FAST! You need an optimized interface for your moderators.

— What do you look for in a client?

e: WE WANT COMITMENT. You have a mountain in front of you, and a teaspoon in hand. GET GOING!

c: We want to potential for page views. They charge by page views. It is based on page views.

b: Strong appreciation for fact that we can’t do this SUPER FAST! You can’t get a solution tomorrow. Comes down to individual company — can you put things together yourself? Do you really even need a vendor?

d: We look for intelligence and passion. We want people that will help us develop the product.

Report from the Trenches – Discussions on Community Best Practices


Lee LeFever: Common Craft

David Churbuck: Lenovo

George Jaquette: Intuit

Michael Prosceno, SAP


David: If our customers take the time to find us, then we respond. It has created moral in the service organization.

? Can you comment on policy to respond on blogs?

David: Don’t do anything that affects the stock price. Tracking 50 internal blogs. They manage it through corporate communications group. They are really careful about what they say carefully.

Michael: I wrote our blog policy. Conversations are technical — and the policy just sets basic guidelines.

How many people in the room have blogs? (Most everyone raises hands) How many are connected to the company you work for? (25% raises hands)

Michael: It is about finding the authentic voices in the company — and letting that content boil up. Let them be spokes people for the company.

George: All of the executives are afraid of what the employees are going to say. You have to trust the employees that want to talk to the customers. You should trust the people that pick up the phone and talk to customers, to also blog.

? How do you decide what to respond to, and what not to respond to?

George: We still have PR department, a designated spokes person — they are the official ‘piniatta’. 🙂

David: If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything. Don’t let stuff sit unanswered for to long. They are watching stuff happen on communities external to Lenovo.

Michael: Each topic has a different threshold. If it affects corporate reputation, it is escalated. Sometimes it is the external community answering it for you.

? How do you encourage positive feedback, without damaging authenticity?

George: The community is generally self correcting. The community polices itself.

David: People sometimes complain off topic. They will generally help that person. Generally it takes a lot of effort. “Will you go back and leave positive feedback if we help you?”

? How do you reward people to be productive?

George: People that are most visible, generally get jobs cause they are seen as experts. Intuit doesn’t monetize it directly. Everyone is a volunteer on the site.

David: They do not offer forums. They feel committed users are your best ‘promotion’ targets. Perhaps they give them a status upgrade, etc. Sometimes they bring people into the design lab. it drives passion.

Michael: Offer badges, t-shirts — it goes a long ways. They comp some registrations.

? Services and support forums… is there an issue about compliance – if they post something, and something bad happens, who is responsible?

David: Not something I have analyzed. Probably covered by terms of service.

George: Haven’t found any danger from it.

? Conflict within the community, how do you manage it? How do you deal with bad behavior….

George: When you register –> you click terms of service. When people are ugly — they are banned. The community will shout them down. The community will self police. “Take out the trash, and take down the billboards.”

David: There are nightmares that keep us awake. Most blog comments they just don’t answer, cause then it just gives them attention. Most topics will die on their own. Sometimes they just give the money back when something goes really bad. Can’t please everyone 100%.

Michael: When someone has a problem, sometimes it is a valid problem. Participate — learn — use your communities wisely. The community often knows more about what is going on than people in the company. Learn from the perspective.

? How defensive does a comment have to be before it is pulled down?

George: It takes profanity. Personal attacks must go. People will generally calm down. Show them you care, and they will calm down.

? What about posts that are off topic?

George: Move the post.

? How much thought went into the buildup of leadership.

David: They monitor using BuzzLogic. They read LOTS of RSS. They put people into formal product reform. They do elevate certain voices. They have people with threatening blogs — and they don’t respond well.

George: We don’t give cash or trincates.

? How is direct communication changing public communications. Do you need as many people?

Michael: He focuses on blogger relations. He seeks out those that are influencial in the market. The landscape absolutely is changing.

? Where do communities report to in organzations?

Michael: Reports to product management. It reduces support costs. It is not used for marketing. It doesn’t slash over to corporate PR.

David: Driven out of marketing — it is a gorilla effort. Marketing started it. It may be a corporate communications job. In the long run, community will affect every department. Every org will have to manage their community communications.

George: The community will establish itself. It is multi-faceted.

Michael: It often is *NOT* marketing.

? How do you recruit community managers?

David: We recruit journalists. We want people who can get into the heads of our customers. We want controlled passion.

? How can you be more successful.

Michael: Dive in, learn from your customers.

David: beg for forgiveness, don’t ask for permission.

George: Conversations are happening. Don’t ignore. DO!

Community Customer “Self” Service


Patricia Seybold: Patricia Seybold Group
Paul Dholakia: Rice University
Scott Wilder: Intuit

Scott: 7 million businesses using the product. Online team trying to found resources from a mountain of data.

Can you create self service communities?

Scott: Yes, in fact, we’ve done it.

Patricia: What is the sense of volume. How many questions/users/etc.

Scott: 5 million page views a month. 500,000 unique users.

? What is the ratio of online versus people calling in.

Scott: Less than 10% of customers calling call center. Intuit has well more than 1% of community contributing.

? What kind of staff do you have?

Scott: Less than 10 moderators. Intuit only has 1 develop. WebCrossing does the development work on their site.

? Where in the org are the less than 10 people?

Scott: Customer Service or marketing group. They wanted them to be in the product group. That didn’t happen. The 10 people actually sit amongst the devlopers.

Patricia: Do developers participate?

Scott: Product managers participate w/ users. They also lurk and see what users are saying. Let users know they are interacting with an Intuit employee.

Scott: We don’t offer any incentives to use site. Instead, Intuit extracts information and publishes it. This gives users a sense of purpose.

? Can you get users involved in your new product development process?

Scott: Yes, we do. When we do, we show the users how we did it.

? Did you develop everything yourself? Did WebCrossing provide it?

Scott: We’ve done a lot of customization on the Web Crossing platform. We wanted flexibility — and we built that in. This enables us to be as flexible as possible.

Scott: Helping accountants can add content to the site.

? Do you have single sign on?

Scott: Absolutely. We have SSO across all of the components of our sites.

? What about video?

Scott: We are a little late to get into video. Our users are further behind — so therefore we made a strategic decision not to use video. You need to match the technology w/ the users. Our users are most comfortable with message boards.

? Do we have any info on whether users go to call center or to sites first?

Scott: We did survey — users said, yes we go to the website. They did the survey online — and of coarse they use the website. Now they are questioning their call center folks.

Scott: Moderators do look at what is going on in other websites, such as yahoo groups, etc. In terms of google, the traffic from google is very high. We maximized traffic.

? Does our search crawl the KB.

Scott: No it doesn’t. That is something we are working on. Nirvana: get in product search integrated with community, integrated with knowledge base.

? Do you have any way to tie into call center metrics? Are calls going down due to online offering?

Scott: We know the common topics and volumes — but we can’t quantitatively analyze the time issue. We tried to hire people who moderate. This is specialized, so therefore they had to hire in. They hired people with lots of customer service/product people.

? Is call center staff using the communities?

Scott: Answer is yes. You can have private forums, and the call center folks do that.

Patricia: Does customer service have a better relationship with product development?

Scott: I sit with them all, it is a good relationship… but I really don’t know. You have to figure out how to quantify the information. You have so much information, and it is just really hard to manage it all.

? How quickly can we react to something when we have a cust service issue?

Scott: Everyone sits together, so things happen SUPER fast. If you have a major change it takes time.

Scott: We are no longer attempting to push sales through our website. We are the highest cost provider of our software. We want people to purchase it through our channels.

? Do you see communities evolving into user group conferences?

Scott: Mentions company “MeetUp”. We are using website to facilitate user groups. Take feed, and mash it up with google maps, and then you can see who is meeting near you.

? Assisted help channels: How is communities layering in?

Scott: It is really hard to quantify. They do lots of online surveys. Work with beta testers, etc. They are encouraging users to do user groups.

? Is there a workflow between these models? Can you go from forums to call center… through self workflow.

Scott: On commerce, yes. With other products, no.

Trying to understand users. Trying to figure out how to get bookkeepers accounts, developers involved. Don’t develop anything in a vacuum. All features are ran by all-star users.

How do you get users involved in product development?

Change mindset — “Their contributions are valuable”
Have a structured approach
Recruit users to be part of team
Co-author requirements and share user-case scenarios

37Signals – develops software for small businesses. They have developed add-ons for quickbooks. Untuit will give them a platform to show their products.

? Are you finding community helps you deal with more complex issues?

Scott: Yes! We use info from our community to improve our documentation. We did this by setting people next to one another. There is a completely different discussion to have about organization structure.

Partnered with a company called Simple Feed for RSS syndication.

Lessons Learned from We are Smarter than Me


Barry Libert: Shared Insights
Tim Moore: Pearson & Jon Spector

Me”>We > Me

Book: The Wisdom of Crowds

Book about ‘we are smarter than me’. Had an idea — lets have a crowd write a book. (Wikipedia has tried this, and it didn’t work)

They started an experiment to allow a community to write a book. Plans…
TOPIC: How to leverage the power of communities. (the crowd would be the beneficiary)
Platform: “Wiki plus…” <– social networking / forums / wikis / and other tools.
Business: Traditional mode, but authors share royalties. (Eventually, this book would be published.)
Why: To see what happens!

No agenda, but to realize what could be learned from the process. Wanted to prove if crowds could do something collectively.
The journey itself is more exciting than what happens.
The Dean of Morton and MIT loved it, but wanted to risk NOTHING.

3000+ members
130+ unique contributors to the wiki
650+ individual wiki contributors
650+ posts to the discussion forums

Tim: Why did we do this? 3-4 reasons. If in content business, then you want to understand content trends. 80% Pearson comes from Tech books. Computer books were a lot larger in 2001. It is now 50% smaller. There were new incentives to innovate. It seemed like a fun thing to do. If you do something to have fun, it is generally pretty cool. Perhaps you could be closer to your customers with ‘community’. The entire business is down to Amazon, Borders and B&N. Consolidation happening around the world. There is now a desire to get closer to customers, and perhaps, sell directly to them.

Barry: Intellectual property is a big deal. Modified intellectual property copyright law.


Couldn’t negotiate contract with Pearson. They took the risk, because they believed in the community. Pearson found a solution – they said … community — go communitize. From the community, you will create a manuscript — therefore we won’t have the legal issues.

Problems with engagement: When they invited authors to party — 0 authors showed up. why? By giving away their knowledge, it would give away their power at the University. The were threatened that students might know more than professors. Also, their identity is wrapped up in the belief that they are experts. They were frightened. They already have a name brand, so they don’t need to participate. This might break down their barrier. They relish the idea of an open community. People will disagree with them — this scares the crap out of them. It was clear the faculty was worried of getting in debates. They are okay with communities in their peers. They think the rest of us don’t know anything.

They went outside of the university to find contributors, and they started to get participants. Soon, they had 3000+ contributors.

They started getting calls from Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, etc.


  • Touch people’s core passion
  • Define what’s in it for them
  • Its about self-improvement
  • Brand matters
  • Be sure you have all the skills
  • Surrender control

The community began to gain control. The engineer went out of his way to re-write the entire wiki platform. They didn’t know how to deal with the fact that the community was gaining momentum and control. The community desperately desperately desperately wanted people out of their way on the project.

They went into the project knowing they needed to surrender control, but it became a different story once they became passionate about it. Eventually they let go… by the time they let go, they lost momentum.

Should I post a blog, should I post a wiki? NOT WITHOUT BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE! You need intelligence to measure the momentum.

Key Lesson: Once they let go — passion began to rise again, and it started to grow. Momentum returned. Collaboration on a website — is best done when the goals are kept short. The result wasn’t really that cohesive.

Eventually — they will make a narrative of the information.


? How much real collaboration has there been versus aggregation?

— The bulk of collaboration was happening through discussion boards. Contributions to wiki were much smaller. They began “chunking” the info, so they could get more collaboration around a specific topic.

Audience Panel – What Have We Learned So Far?


Atendees of the conference

Discuss the bits and nuggets of information that is floating around the conference.

? What are the things that surprised you about this conference?

It wasn’t surprising, but reaffirming. How do we make this thing work? This isn’t just about padding the bottom line. I am encouraged by the experience.

Wish I had brought more people from the audience. In product development we always say the product is important. We always say it is about the customer, but this conference has shown me that this isn’t necessarily true for our organization. We need to connect with our customers better.

I’ve been living and breathing communities — there are 600 people in my division working on communities. There are a lot of people of there talking about communities, and just getting started. We need to think more about best practices.

I was really suprised to see Microsoft talk about communities 🙂 I have gotten more value out of talking to everyone at the conference. I think we all agree the communities are cool.

I think the conference has been fabulous and thought provoking. Couple of tensions came out…. “It is all about them, and not about us.” <– that can’t be 100% true for business. There is this tension between altruism. We aren’t doing this for free …. There is live and virtual. Most conversation about virtual. There is a lot of work to be done to invigorate and enrich a physical world. There is the old and the new — this is the new way. You can’t just stop everything you’ve been doing. Therefore, how do you change your companies practices? How do we balance and make the transition?

Microsoft Speaking: We see what is happening with the open source community — and we are playing catchup. We are beginning to see what is happening with communities, and we are developing on that. There is a new thing called “MindCamps” — this is the future of the conference. You have to think carefully about the business side of communities. We understand how we measure that — but we are in the community for the people. We think the community members should get something from it.

It is all about them and not about us. <– this is just a test — a way to think about it. It is a way to augment new ways into your organization.

Craig Newmark comment: we are community servants. this says it all.

There aren’t a lot of tools out there unless you want to spend tons of money. <– Audience: USE OPEN SOURCE

Microsoft uses Community Server for all of its outside facing blogs. They host approximately 2,500 outside facing blogs.



Community 2.0 Conference Notes: Day 1

March 11, 2007

Community 2.0 Conference

Notes by Boe Miller

The most up to date version of Day 1 notes are available onGoogle docs here.

Conference information and details will be streamed to Conference participants are encouraged to blog, tag and links content materials. Please use the tag ‘community2.0’, and the content will be aggregated.

WARNING: This is a summary of the content presented at the Community 2.0 conference held in Las Vegas, and the information was filtered through my ears, into my brain, and then out through my fingers to my keyboard.  I apologize if I have misrepresented anyones thoughts in any way.  Sometimes we hear what we want to believe.

Conference Day 1

General Overview: This conference has been absolutely eye opening. I am delighted an amazed to see everything that is going on in near real-time at this conference. This has been the most engaging conference that I’ve ever attended to date, and I am blown away by the potential I see with Community2.0. I have prepared these notes, first for myself, and secondly, for others who care to have an overview for what went on during day 1. I encourage anyone reading over this material to look at the links, and also to review the materials associated with the tag ‘community2.0’. The potential here is vast, and I will be writing more opinion peices regarding this content in the near future.

C2.0 Bootcamp: An overview of the business, social and technology infrastructure needed to manage successful communities


  • Kathleen Gilroy: Otter Group
  • Tara Hunt: Citizen Agency
  • Deborah Schultz: Social Media Strategist

Group Activity: Define Community

The first activity of the day was to divide up into groups — and brainstorm about communities, and to write down all the qualities that make up a community.

Our group came up with some of the following core concepts:

  • Commonality
  • Interaction: must be easy
  • Sharing: knowledge / dynamic collaboration
  • Knowledge transfer / creative knowledge
  • FUN

After analysis and reviewing contributions as a whole, we determined that communities are made up of the following:

  • Collaborative sharing
  • Common shared purpose
  • Interaction, participation
  • Self organization
  • Common goals / membership
  • Emergant behaviors
  • Authenticity – intimacy
  • a shared passion

Communities are:

  • Messy
  • Different
  • Organic
  • Utility
  • Emerging
  • Changing
  • Every day is a new start

Communities are never about the tools, but about the passion and the shared interest between the participants. A successful community is first and foremost about a passion — tools are only a means to communicate amongst a virtual space. You can have all the tools in the world, but without passion you don’t have a community.

Communities are not about increasing sales. An organization that looks at communities as strictly a means to increase ROI, ROS or ROA are not likely to find success.

Presentation – Building Communities with Web 2.0 by Kathleen Gilroy

Kathleen’s presentation is made available online:

Building a community is about enabling an existing community (whether physical or virtual) to make content.

Kathleen presented <– a tool that allows one to search the blogsphere.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture by John Battelle.

Kathleen makes mention of a new paradigm in publishing and syndication.

Definition of Web 2.0: The web is the platform — but the value is driven by user generated content. (USERS NOT PRODUCERS!) The goal is network effects created by an architecture of participation. More people in the network means more people drawn into the network.

Instead of a client/server model of yesterday, the web is going to a web services model which allows for syndication of content to anywhere. In this new web services model, the community determines what is important, and syndicates that content out for others to read/see.

Kathleen talks extensively about a project where she took 50 librarians and set them up with the capabilities to create podcasts, and gave each of them blogs. Within no time, most all of the librarians had created ‘digital identities’, by putting custom banners on their blogs. This differentiated them from one another. Each of the librarians started with a shared vision that was given to them. The vision appealed to the librarians, and therefore they were passionate about the project.

An aggregator was created that pulled the best of the best from the blogs — and dumped the content into a blog pool.

The librarians quickly ‘bucked the system’ and went out on their own and began discovering new technologies (such as blog platforms, photo publishing sites, etc) — and using them to syndicate information. This really threw the Otter Group off, because they wanted to control the technology, but the librarians wanted to organically grow the community — and each began to use tools that were most satifying to them. What is really cool is that in Web 2.0, all of these new technologies “talk”, and so therefore it is not necessary to have everyone all on the same platform. If it supports syndication (RSS/ATOMZ, etc), then the information can be pushed anywhere. The possibilities are endless.

Kathleen makes mention of RSS, and points out a couple of wonderful products:

  • Google Reader: Allows users to pull together syndicated content, and begin to create a web experience that is their own.
  • Adobe Connect: A wonderful tool that allows companies to communicate w/ a large audience across many distribution channels including video.

Kathleen feels that all the following attributes are vital for a thriving community 2.0 environment:

  • Provide documentation and support. Teach people how to use the plethora of tools that are available.
  • Create training podcasts that show users what cool things can be done.
  • Offer consistent evaluation
  • Create a badge for members — so that when they learn how to become better community participants, they can show off their badge/certificate.

Kathleen strongly suggested ‘creating certified community members’. This is powerful, because this gives you the ability to teach others how to use existing resources to build really strong social networks. This empowers users to teach others, and gives them a sense of identity.

A 2.0 community facilitates discovery and connection with others. All of the following are vital for a community 2.0 website:

  • Start page should facilitate discovery
  • Private communities should ‘authenticate’.
  • You absolutely have to have tag clouds and directories

Kathleen makes mention of Web/Community 2.0 Enterprise solutions. Some of the providers she mentions are:

Wonderful example of a Community 2.0 website:

Getting into the community shouldn’t take much. It should have a ‘low cost of entry’.

A Community 2.0 website should have RSS/syndication for EVERYTHING. No syndication –> then not Community 2.0.
On a Community 2.0 website, you should be able to personalize EVERYTHING

YOU MUST GET OTHER PEOPLE TO TAKE OVER YOUR DISTRIBUTION! Distributing your content on your website alone is anti-2.0. The Internet is a web — content is everywhere — nothing has a “home” anymore.

Communities are made up of different people with diverse skills, and if we all do what we are good at, then collectively we can achieve great things. this new website capitalizes on that idea:

How does a company measure their community success?

  • Don’t lock in predefined community notions
  • Engage, engage, engage customers.
  • You exist FOR the community.
  • Throw out the API to let other people develop stuff. Don’t dare try to do all this yourself. YOU WILL BE SQUASHED!

Presentation – Community 2.0 Tools by Tara Hunt

This presentation was late in the afternoon, and Tara was *incredibly* pressed for time. She gave her presentation in lighting speed, and honestly there was so much information that I didn’t even write notes. I have emailed Tara and requested a link to her presentation slides, which were incredibly rich and full of content.

Tara’s presentation was incredibly impressive and completely opened my eyes to a new world of opportunity. Tara threw out dozens and dozens of links during her presentation, and I did start a delicious link list.

You can visit it here:

One of the most fascinating new developments was the concept of micro-blogging, or “blogging on crack”. Check out for more info.