Conventional thinking is that customer communities are put in place to help users of a product share ideas and support each other. Smart businesses are realizing that communities can be a powerful competitive advantage, and in some cases even more valuable than the product itself.
I recently spoke to a startup founder who told me that his first hire was not going be a developer or salesperson but a community manager. He felt that if he could build a community before launching his product, he would have i) a captive group of enthusiastic potential customers and ii) a defensible competitive advantage if competitors launched a similar product. Continue reading →