How important is community to you?

On February 23, 2009, in news, by

The other day Eric Ligman posted this to his blog and I waited a few days to see what the responses would be.  In my opinion, not enough comments have been made.  The biggest problem I see with community these days is that sometimes the loudest voices (including mine at times) are too negative.  Sometimes I worry that because only the loudest voices carry, that the real community, that of the quiet ones that don’t speak up, aren’t being properly heard.

Even if you think you aren’t impacted by community, if you read only this blog, you are.  I’m impacted by community and thus so are you.

So do me a favor, and let Eric know how you’ve been impacted by community.

“Community” is one of those interesting words that gets used in many different places and many different ways. When you look at your business, how important is “Community” to you and your business? Also, how do you define “Community?”

For instance, there is the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC). This is a “community” setup by Microsoft for Partners focusing on SMB around the world. Also, many of you belong to SMB, Partner, or SBS Groups in your areas. Those too are types of “Communities,” would you agree? Or how about the online “Communities” I see so many of you in where you go for information, support, or to converse with your peers? Then there are the social networking types of “Communities” as well.

When you look at the world of business, most every business exists to make money in some way (even non-profits “make” money, they just spend what the make and break even, ideally). The concept of “Community” does not often have that direct correlation to revenue generation though, yet it shows up in so many different business models and environments and there are so many differing opinions on it.

So what I would be very interested in hearing from you is, how do you define “Community,” and how important has “Community” been to your business so far (in any regard, whether growth, startup, revenue, people, etc.) and how important do you see “Community” being to your business today and in the future? For those of you who know me, I am sure you know my take on this; however, this is about your input and thoughts.


3 Responses to How important is community to you?

  1. Vlad Mazek says:

    I think it’s a really good time for Eric to learn a painful lesson most of us who have lead community projects have learned… and a good time for Microsoft to stop pretending too.

    Technical newsgroups work because they are based on kindness of people who love to solve problems.

    Business newsgroups don’t work because they are riding on the back of one or two individuals who put in all their time, money and passion into something, until their back is broken under constant nagging and criticism. Then they fold or at best continue mediocre existence.

    The reason your take seems negative is because you, as the leader of an army of lemmings, get the complaints while most people just can’t be bothered to do anything but bitch.


  2. Susan – I just posted this to Eric’s blog:
    Eric – perfect timing. I have just written an article and blogged it on my site about “Multi-Community” wherein I highlight players such as EMC, XTuple and others that cross Microsoft community boundaries to play in a larger community. Call it cross-cultural, multi-community, whatever. This article is on my blog at => BLOG and it will be in my magazine early next month.

    Again – fantastic topic!

    Harry Brelsford
    CEO, SMB Nation

  3. Eric Ligman says:

    Thanks for the reference, Susan! Really appreciate it.