Monday, December 17, 2007

luck or genius

There's a line in "Handmade 2.0," Rob Walker's excellent article in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine about the online craft business/community that hits the nail on the head for me, primarily because it gets at my frustration with what so many marketers are setting out to do within social media.

"I was (more) interested in what made Etsy seem different from so many current efforts to 'build community' online: the luck or genius of the site is that Kalin and the other founders encountered in the D.I.Y./craft scene something that was already social, community-minded, supportive and aggressively using the Web. It seemed to me that the company's future would depend not only on the success of its sellers but also on its reputation among them."

Find a community, provide a service to that community that actually creates added value, and listen to the community so that you are sure that the service remains valuable to them. Don't create community because you want to access a large pool of people who have no reason or desire to spend time with each other and are sure to see through your self interests. It may seem like a smart solution to your business objective, but you're destined to fail.

Update: Orli Sharaby at PSFK thought this section of the article was worth noting as well.

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