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Hey Rich

Great points - I think that pretty much covers it. Interestingly I've just been watching a TED talk on motivation by Dan Pink - it's more about motivation in business rather than community specific but he talks about Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose as being the main motivators for more creative, problem solving jobs and I think those three points sit nicely with online communities too.


All are accurate except for "Technology Luddites". That one is baseless.

Doug Mazanec

Great points .. and right, not luddites .. as much as embracers of what works 'now', the SM path of least resistance


Agreed...even worse if you work for a company that wants to have a community, hires a community manager, but has no respect or understanding for/of what that person does or the "human" side of community. It is not all in the numbers.

mark tilbury

Hi Rich,

I love this stuff and totally agree. We have a number of active communities and all have the same model - built, run, led and governed by members of that community. More 'slicker' areas have been built for staff but few attract engagement as they don't have the bodies 'on the ground' or an adoption approach. When asked why these expensive areas are never used I mention that its a typical 'launch and leave' approach. The active communities 'launch and seed'.


Your arguments are strong but not totaly convincing. Amateurs have no goal, so they can't fail...

Rolando Peralta

excellent post, Richard! creativity is usually a good input in their projects.


I think a lot of these ideas point to the concept of authenticity and sincerity which aren't components that can be installed with the deployment of a community management system.

Sonia Simone

@Eric, you say that like it's a bad thing. I think it's one of the strengths of the amateur. They can discover what's amazing, rather than trying to pour a community into a mold that may or may not be viable.


Hmmm. Not sure I agree with the idea that amateurs have no goal and therefore can't fail. The goal is to 1) share knowledge and 2) have fun. I think amateur communities succeed admirably by those criteria.

It is true, however, that if you view goals through, say, the SMART system, then "share knowledge" and "have fun" don't fit the Measurable or Time-based criteria so are therefore not goals.


@Eric, The goal of the amatures communitunity is still to foster relationships between members.. And that can fail as I understand.


Good post. But the question then is: how long will amateurs be amateurs... Companies would love to absorb these amateurs.

Peter Vesterbacka

Great post, couldn't agree more. Doing exactly that with and have tons of examples of your points in action. Star Wreck, the crowdsourced movie that started it all for us, got a distribution deal with Universal. They wanted to do the subtitles in Norwegian "properly", ie pay some professional to do the job, The community had already done the job, but of course couldn't go with what a bunch of amateurs had done... End result was that the version the amateurs had done was far superior. The had done it out of love and passion for the movie, as fans. The professionals just did it for money, and not even enough money, so they didn't care too much about the result. Just another job...
Anyway, amateurs on will wreck Hollywood for the reasons you list. Same thing kind of happened to software thru open source. We live in exciting times!

C Yates

I think this is a great post and brings up some very good points for those who are attempting to represent a business in an online community. After all, once it becomes a job, the tone often changes without intent; but perhaps with intent it can change back?

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