Many startups claim to serve the community yet extract the maximum income from each member.
They solicit advice, share information and control with members so long as members participate and buy. They host events and activities to increase loyalty and earn more money in the long-run.
That's usually fine. Members benefit and appreciate the experiences and products.
The problem is the tension
You can always add one more advert, send one more promotional message, respond slightly slower to member complaints…until the community no longer tolerates it and leaves. That departure means loss of a customer.
Now the organisation invests more. This is an optimal investment strategy.
You invest the minimum possible to get the best results. And it's this very strategy that governs almost all branded community efforts we see.
Few organisations are investing everything possible to maximise community happiness, they're investing as little needed to keep the community happy. That means keeping members participating (and buying).
They could choose to be less profitable and do more for the community.
They could hire more staff to be more responsive. They could host super events with the world's top stars performing exclusively for members. They could reduce the price of what they produce to the bare minimum needed to support the organisation.
But they don't. There are many reasons for this. The biggest, ultimately, is they are forced to put profit before the community over the long-term. Most organisations are simply trying to find the optimal balance.