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Growing a Community 1 Person to 13 million Martin Ferro-Thomsen Co-Founder, Community Manager of Issuu w: b: t: @ferrogate

This is Issuu . Simply upload your document to get your digital edition, ready to embed on your website.

The Issuu Reader. Just like having the magazine in your hand.

And we’re on mobile too

The community Internal community People who signed up for or use your service

External community Potential users Skeptics Blogs Press I use the word ‘community’ in the widest definition possible, but obviously there are a lot of levels at play

Before you start a community you need to know... I’m going to start with the high-level stuff and then get more practical later on.

Features don't make communities. People do. Startups always talk about features. But it’s not the best feature-set that wins: It’s the product with the strongest community. Perception = Reality.

But the biggest pain 2.0 is signing up

The strongest user base in your community is the signed-up users. But signing up is the biggest “pain�, people hate doing it and it can limit your growth.

From email signup to third party login

There’s a relatively new trend emerging: Thirdparty signup that limits the hassle of signing up. It provides users with faster access to your service. is a great service, here implemented on Get Satisfaction.

RPX is implemented on 200,000 sites worldwide. But where is OpenId? It’s a sad day for open?

Microsoft’s launched with Facebook authentication from the get-go. Microsoft! A strong indication of the power of Facebook and the leading social net works.

But there’s still hope for “open”. Oauth is coming out in a version 2. Will the major providers adopt it?

Must you own the social graph of your users to succeed? New startups must ask themselves if they really need to own the social graph. Or is it enough to use third party login and just focus on their product?

From smart community features to smart community mashups It’s hard for a startup to do something new feature-wise in the community space. But we do see interesting mashups using APIs of the leading providers.

Here’s a typical postmodern example:

Your community becomes your product No matter what, the community challenge is very real. Especially if you rely on userengagement and submissions. “You are what you eat�.

Building a community is like raising a baby tiger That’s the way I think about community building: If you don’t take constant care the community can own you.

Digg is a very interesting example. They’ve gone to extremes to please their community, and yet this article argues that the community is the problem...

Now let’s get more practical and hands on

To build a community you need ▫ A great idea ▫ A great product ▫ A great personality

If you don’t have any of these, people won’t care about your enough to form a community.

Example: A good idea. Diaspora is an open alternative to Facebook. Note that they’re funded BY their community using

Example: A good product. It just works and I use it several hours each day.

Example: A personality. Another example that community is not necessarily about features - he’s using a simple email-list!

Choose your niche carefully. Own it. Expand from there. Choosing the right niche for launch is as important as choosing business partners. Choose a niche that can take you to the next stage of where you want to be.

You need to consider ▫ Language ▫ Location ▫ Level of quality

“The three Ls”. Think long and hard about these before you launch and open the ‘floodgates’.

Retention is crucial ▫ Email / RSS ▫ Be on all platforms ▫ Fake it ‘till you make it Are you ready to get TechCrunched? Or will the attention just wash over with you without trace? You need a community setup that can retain attention that comes your way...

And then... you launch!

Constant caring ▫ Feature good examples ▫ Reward role models ▫ Connect with skeptics Managing the community is not rocketscience. But it needs to be done - every day, every hour. Try to turn haters into lovers and you might get the best ambassadors imaginable.

Issuu today ▫ 13M visitors / mo. ▫ 800M page views / mo. ▫ 40M pages published A few recent stats about Issuu.

Why? ~ $ 0 on conventional marketing We’ve virtually spent no money on marketing. If you have a great product/idea and get the community challenge right - you don’t need marketing. And you’ll be rewarded tenfold.

About me Martin Ferro-Thomsen Co-Founder, Community Manager of Issuu MA Culture and Communication w: b: t: @ferrogate I’ll be posting more about the tool si use to manage Issuu’s community on my blog. Thanks for listening (reading).

Growing a community from 1 people to 13 million  

Here's an annotated version of the presentation given at TC Nordic May 26 2010.