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Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years, 1 month ago

Designing for Community with Zero Advertising




How do you create and manage a global community-centric business where the line between customers and content producers has been completely erased? How do you ensure growth based upon community/customer support without advertising? This is a peek into a few businesses that do just that.


Moderator: Maggie Mason , Adaptive Path


Jeffrey Kalmikoff Creative Dir, skinnyCorp

Jake Nickell Pres, skinnyCorp

Maggie Mason Adaptive Path




The wireless mics from next door are bleeding into the speakers here, i'm having a little trouble hearing.


Skinnycorp model: allow users to present a design, they vote on it, sc creates and sells choices.


Threadless, naked and angry, 15 megs of fame, extra tasty


15megs is for the unsigned band - 15 megs of space for songs which gets voted on by the public, prizes and whatnot. Evolved quite a bit from its original idea. Original idea was hotornot for music. "it would be cool if..." is said a lot at their company. The biggest challenge to do was deciding what *not* to do with it.


Extratasty is a "web 2.0 (gah) mixology site" Tags! Facilitating conversations! Bizmodel: when ppl submit recipies it's generic, people say "vodka" not "absolut", they want to rent out the rights to having those keywords there, other advertising, etc.


yayhooray is their sns.


##Do they have an active role in business growth or do they set it up to grow virally?


Threadless was originally set up as a side project in college. They just didn't have any money for ads there. It took a long time for them to gain momentum - it was all word of mouth, bc they had no choice. There was no planning ahead, no bizmodel. They just made common sense decisions. Their "growth strategies" are just like their new businesses "it would be cool if..." "people would love it if..."


At threadless, they are getting about 150 submissions a day. They vet all of them, but they don't screen them for design quality or content, but they only really screen out the really obvious copyright or gross/explicit, let the community do the work for them.


Slide I can't quite read: Letting Users In On Your Business


q: Have you ever done anything that made the community rise up in anger?


the "what kind of tshirts should be print on?" topic is pretty sensitive. You can't even bring it up without 1500 post long fights. That's good - people feel ownership and loyalty about threadless.


The challenges they face include every time they do something new they have no idea what they are doing.


How do they choose between good and bad ideas? "I used to work at an agency so i like to think that there are no bad ideas, just ones that aren't applicable."


4 themes for new projects:


  • Allow your content to be created by its community
  • Putting your projects in the hands of your community - responding to feedback and considering it seriously
  • let your community grow itself (zero advertising) - if ppl aren't going to takl about it, it's not good enough for them to do
  • reward the community that makes your product possible


They turned down being on shelves in target. They turned this down because they knew that after they made their money their community would toss them over for selling out. Also, then they're just another tshirt on a wall full of cool tshirts. "Everything special about it is taken away, and it's just cloth and ink. That's not why we do it."


They aren't going to sell a brand tshirt, the "i heart threadless" or whatever.


When they say zero advertising, does that mean no viral no anything? They do toss some stickers in with their orders, but "these things aren't from us sittingi n a conference room thinking 'how can we make more money', it's 'let's give people stickers because that would be *awesome*"


They are looking into fabbing their own brand of tshirts to settle the fruit of the loom vs. american apparel battle. Neat.


These guys are so enthusiastic and earnest and nice/friendly-seeming.


The audience is turning this Q&A into "will you have kids sizes" "tell us about the AA vs FotL battle" threadless lovefest.


"If you cede control to your community, don't you also put your employee's jobs at risk in the hands of the community?" Yes, but that's the way we do business.


Everything on the company blog is very candid and zero moderation. They don't want it to feel like a business or have them "exist within a brand-world's walls".


I Park Like An Idiot dot com.


big theme this wkd is starting slow and staying dedicated and long years of work paying off.s


cross pollination? do threadless luvas go jump on the next skinnycorp site or is it all new word of mouth? no cross promotion, some cross pollination. you can login to omg, threadless, and nakedandangry with the same id.


What is your typical workday like? "our lunch breaks go on way too long" they have videos of them throwing boxes at things and tapdancing near dumpsters


someone just asked about getting hired. networking 2d maxx

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