CommunityNext: A report back

Cross-posted from the Online Community Report blog:

CommunityNext Conference I attended the CommunityNext conference at Stanford yesterday, hosted by the kinetic Noah Kagan. My only disappointment was that I never found out if Noah actually does still live with his Mother. And the fact that there was no wifi.

You can see a copy of the day’s agenda here,

With 1 day conferences I usually expect to take away 2-3 interesting ideas, and if I walk away with anything beyond that I am pleasantly surprised. I got (at least) 7, and I will be mulling over the content and interactions for the next few days.

My Observations:

1. Online Community = Lot’s of buzz. We are quickly reaching the fever-pitch interest and attention level with “online community”. The term “community” is hitting buzzword status (again). The usual debates on definition, value, ethics and legitimacy have begun among the “community” of practitioners and proponents. That is a good thing (i think) as we all try to make sense of what it really means this time around.
2. Brand Utopia – Josh Spear and Aaron Dignan presented the “brand utopia”, a mystical state where companies engage and delight customers, have purpose beyond commerce, and generally make the world a better place.
3. Advertising & Community– Heather Luttrell of 3jane and indieclick showed how Advertisers and Communities are (sorta) living in harmony. The key is tailoring messages and ad products to the community, and community hosts working with advertisers and agencies to educate on the idiosyncracies of their communities.
4. skinnyCorp – Do what you love / love what you do. Awesomely. I was really prepared to tune these guys out before their presentation even started. I have to say, Jeffrey and Jake won me over quickly with their un-powerpoint approach. It’s obvious that these guys are serious about creating a killer product (never good enough), nurturing their community, and most importantly, having fun. And saying awesome.
5. Mobile is coming. I saw several m-community solutions demoed, the most impressive being Loopt.
6. Kiva is just incredible. This microlending service is an awesome example of the possible social good that can come from online community.
7. James Hong and Drew Curtis , of Hot or Not and Fark fame, are as funny as you would expect them to be.

Overall, the event was very fun. I ran in to several friends and acquaintances from the Online Community Roundtable, as well as a few folks that I haven’t seen for years. The sessions were fairly short (usually 45 minutes), so there wasn’t a lot of time for deep dives on topics, or for Q&A in most sessions. All in all, well worth the drive down to Palo Alto.

A lot of the attendees blogged or are blogging about their experiences. I found Rohit’s summary to be particularly good”

You can find other entries by searching Technorati with the tag communitynext.


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