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Community Next

an10na

“Design in art, is a recognition of the relation between various things, various elements in the creative flux. You can't invent a design. You recognize it, in the fourth dimension. That is, with your blood and your bones, as well as with your eyes.” - David Herbert Lawrence

Community Next

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A great experience. I should than my clinet Jangl for hooking me up with the opportunity to attend, thank you.

This was my first confrence since TypeCon in San Francisco in 2005. The conference focused on how successful online communities and social networks build, grow and monotize.

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Summary from Wired: Monkey Bites
by Michael Calore, with Scott Gilbertson (After all i have a have my own job too.)

The single most important ingredient to the Threadless model is “fun.”

SkinnyCorp president and CEO Jake Nickell and chief creative officer Jeffrey Kalmikoff swear that they only start new projects if they think the idea is going to be fun. And not just fun to them, but fun to the members of their community.

“Nintey percent of the projects we’ve undertaken make zero money,” says Kalmikoff. “They’re just things we do to give back to the communitiy of people that hangs out on our sites.”

Speaking at the CommunityNext conference, the SkinnyCorp guys gave an entertaining and instructional presentation on how to harness community to make your business “more awesome.” (view slideshow here)

All of the company’s projects use community involvement in some way, and the Threadless model is its exemplar. Threadless.com is one of the best and most successful t-shirt shops on the web, and it has a thiriving community made up of artists, collectors and casual customers. Artists submit their ideas for t-shirt designs they think would be cool, community members vote on the designs and the highest-scoring designs get printed into shirts that are sold on the site.

The company has two other successful online community sites: Naked & Angry, which prints products made from tiled patterns created and selected by the users, and Extra Tasty, a user-generated library of drink recipes.

Threadless1Some of SkinnyCorp’s other community ventures include iparklikeanidiot, Lunchtime Photo Safari, Me Everyday, and Poopface. Some of those sites aren’t around anymore, like poopface.com, which was a freeform image uploader. Any image uploaded to the site would be displayed until the next one was uploaded — each uploaded image over-wrote the one before it. It was a total mess but it was fun, so that made it worth it.

“Involving the community like this makes your customers feel like they’re making a difference,” Jeffrey says, “and it keeps them coming back.”

SkinnyCorp has a single guiding mantra: Your project is not good enough.

The team keeps this in mind not only when preparing for a site launch, but also when the site has already met success.

“Always think of ways to make your project better,” says Kalmikoff. “If you’re ruling in a particular area, you can always assume that some other site out there is trying to make something better.”

About

Born in Africa, raised in North Carolina, and of Indian decent, I am a cultural smorgasbord. For the last 7 years, I have worked in San Francisco at agencies that focus on user centered design such as Hot Studio, Creative B'stro and Noise 13 and have had the privilege of working with clients such as eBay, NEC, Johson & Johnson, Symantec, Roku, Zone Alarm, SOMA Magazine and Mezzanine.

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