ted rheingold
dogster and catster

no more shrinkwrap software
have changes live within a day
customers know it – you know it


Josh Schacter
founder of Del.ici.ous – Yahoo, dir of engineering

Biz Stone – founder of Obvious Corp (twitter) – odeo, blogger, xanga

Stewart Butterfield – founder of flickr, ludicorp

roles that customers can play in dev of software
beta testing
software dev with apis
graphic and creative design
writing and uploading and submitting content – participatory web
product roadmap
where to go – what do you want
customer service
talent pools
vounteers, guardians, evangelists
USers want to help and make it better

why do they want to do this? how to get them started

How do you know customers want to be inv. – how do you let them know? community or prod first? chicken and egg

BS – need product first, how do you let cust know you are available
twitter.com – has phone number on contact us page – wont scale but really works
always out there – reading and commenting – emailing, have a prod and excited – the enthusiasm – they cansee it and get in touch

JS – second version of single user system
wanted it for himself
useful to him
wrote it – was the first customer as well
people started showing – not just a product, but the prod was the marketing
useful – connect to other places and systems

SB – no predetermined plan to list users in feedback loops – think that the way the team wanted to operate
building ways to let users part.
flickr has open forum
craigslist is bigger ex
a lot of big websites get too big to have some open space for people to comm stuff
what would it be like if amazon did

big obsessions at flickr – how do we keep same level of interaction and openness and keep scaling

some people wont shut up if they care

venue to tell AT&T what you think of their service… ha ha

must be places for people to talk about amazon

ebay has a number of place

bustling communities around

JS – when peopel say something in public they are afraid other cust will see it – need to deal more quickly – transparency

no forums on delicious – mailing list and blog

partially for design considerations

TR – will people use the service? will they use it if i made the API first
early on you need to decide – work or not? – people say lots of feedback is the key indicator it weall work?

JS – cant build without being in constant connect with the user
a lot of the direction is guided by what do I want
how do I use as a product

still has incoming email copied to bberry

BS – feedback reinforces what you do

TR – no users helped him write it – werent that geeky but were willin to help with beta and finding spelling areas and other features

JS – why you have the APIs – build the features you think are great but cant prioritize
lot of things wouldnt make his list
APIs let those capable try it out and you can seeit and sometimes work better than you could expect

TR – what motivates people to contribute
increasing and working on bottom line
what motivates them?

SB – recognition and acknowledgement – beliefs, and aesthetic, they have them
people who write and on some topic – getting some reco back is always key
getitng comments back – to favorites
social activity – the bigges tthing overall – ops at different levels

use API, cool idea, make it public, others see it – validate

people dev off thr flickr api can be compensated

what else motivates peopple – others helpful and ernest – spend their own time helping for helpings sake – not about gold star ack

BS – doing it for val of co. – disappointed – why arent you paying me for this
comes down for social interaction

dogster and catster – nothing like it on the planet

TR – do you feel beholden to the users? let them down or make company or biz decisions that include what they have done for you

JS – pos value for you, the users? must eval each step
many times had to watch the right thing to do for each
would like to have all the data there
old days – nice to be free and open but then there is reality (scraping and crashing servers)
Delicious between pubs and users
seen delicious button on newspapers – pubs want to presupply tags – makes it harder for users to remember stuff but makes for better prod serv for the user
aggregate behavior is better for all – hard to tell users you are doing something they dont want if it is better in the aggregate

SB – people like to contribute

when considering an acq before it happened – the acq companies respect for the users and the place they hold for the users

SB – corp development – sometimes strat, sometimes just M&A – couple of diff groups interested in flickr – search, photos
no one wanted to screw it up
badass former banker didnt want it screwed up “you have 200k users – possibly the most important 200k on the internet”

sometuimes there is a concern from Yahoo that goes beyond callous approach

BS – blogger getting acq by google – stepped up comm with users
was there concern beforehand that wouldnt be the case?

small team – workign hard – even afterwards a struggle to switch over
allowing him to join team opened dialog
knew why features were coming and when
meant a lot to the users – to help them

Kaliya – who are you when you show up and who are you when things change

flickr cutover highlited – engineers and companies saw registration and authent as authent – and people see it as identity

ID is tied to authentication

in deliciious your login is your ID (bad design decision from a number of standpoints – way off in the future

TR – do you have cust part of a special group to go to ?

JS – yahoo group where people sign up and they talk to them – will toss out stuff, ideas, very user facing – try to get diff viewpoints
pretty helpful

active when he was runngn things alone

couple people good thermometers
some who use flickr as utility – will use as blogs – serious amateurs or hobbyist photogs
def certain people to go to
common pattern where people sign up and add a photo or two and dont come back for months
some learn to love it – where the bumps are on that path – take analytic approaches for state of users, 2x week or once every 3 months
really really hard

listening solely to the people who love it

weird or confusing – flickr terminology
ones who are willing to speak already love it

BS – do the analytics too
do a friends of twitter group – who can release a halfbaked feature on for feedback
have an non trad feedback loop

TR – early on would you release half baked b/c you had so few users or was it always bulletproof from the get-go

JS – do it, feel the effects quickly – 3 releases a week – to push every fix – more on scalabilty side than UI side – new UI will be very painful
originally – code on the live site

difficult to make change in dir – everything we do we do very fast – must make it go fast – could be a couple of weeks for db or hardware
becomes difficult to maintain pace of iteration and scale at the same time
in Yahoo – there is res for QA and stuff – do test before they go out the door
difficult to get coverage and stuff

BS – when he said half baked – meant really 1/2 baked. the stuff is always breaking – this blogger is labs

still does 1/2 baked stuff – launched 3 yrs ago – nothing in common with flickr today
very very rapid interation
partly 1/2 b/c new cat features – ABC – super urgent priorities – huge queue of stuff
fastest turnaround – 2 yrs ago
screwed up childhood – doesnt adjust well to change – put it back – heard a hundred times now

reacing out to users – all at blogger – on their chatting with caterina

interaction pays off

social feedback to become a user – early on caterina and other founders welcomed everyone – each you could get over a threshold is someone who could be pushed further

people who signed in first foour months – when all new everyone else – 90% were still around

BS – when using blogger and pyra
setup and started using it
Ev linked to it – people really linked to it
turned xanga into a weblogging community
reading twittershuge influence on him

TR – do all expect no matter how big will keep involved with comm with customers?

BS – if you love your job, yes

API alleviate a great deal
delivious not about the code but the scale

not hard to build features but make it go fdast – what is the way to do this thing fast
alot of the way was doing things in mysql well – stuff people ask for – not that they cant do it – things that are in their lexicon or expect -can we sort things alpha – we provide way to do it – need to help them use it
people ask for stars – why bookmark something that is only one star
ask for things they expect – even though it works fine without them
have to force or cram down the engineers throats – letting people hack and add lots of stuff could be weakness and not strenghts
soemtimes see stuff that is way better – can i use this? sure.
way to explore territory in feature space that lets you avoid some exploratory groping that doesnt work out
people ask for stuff – have prob, dont know solution, but ask for somethign weird or nearby
cant verbalize what they really meant
pretty sure flickr and twitter is simple
succeed by getting users to the door – which things to add and not add
about scale – number 1 req on agg data – what are the most bookmarked sites
1. – not surprising
2 – someoen will try to get on that list

not missing b/c they dont wan tthem to do it, but dont want to reinforce bad behavior

BS – twitter fan wiki
twitter- purposefully simple
APIs – seen a lot of activity – if new to API, easy to build
twitter fan wiki – people who like twitter – org cool api projects
get ideas, contact people
having them build those things helps immensely
not on them to help
keep our core service running and point them

question – how did you spread word early?

JS – delicious could post to blogs
found rss is hugely useful API and marketing way to continue to give someone a way to be updated – anything that can does use rss
1/2 of traffic is RSS

BS – 1/2 of traffic is api

SB – a platform is easy to get with photos
easy to get in and outhost from flickr to the blog
doesnt know the current ratio outside flickr – over 1 bil served/day massive source of traffic

TR – Hiring expensive – do you hire from your communtiy?

SB – hired many from the community
tech support specialist qa guy – looked at the forum and found someone good
preference is to always hire from within the community
engineering team – higher than avg sensitivity to good software design and usability
attuned to the needs of the community

BS – everyone hired has been a user
hasnt seen them as a superuser
all be users – def red flag if they never signed up
10 or 20 hr project first to see if they like them

JS – consult for a month and if we like we will hire you
one guy write a book on delicious before he was hired

first job was changing the api so his book was no longer correct

BS – hired at blogger because he was a user

Question – at what point do you ask – should i be exposing the future plan/roadmap?

JS – doesnt think that far in advance
a lot is how he feels about feature – is excited, will fit, easy to do, least implementation, lazy
struggle with scale and # of transactions
firefox extension who hit sys every few seconds
stuff like yahoos expertise cam in handy
all about what scales
more about working towards each diff thing
features easy once you have the underlying technology
tries to be communicative
will tell why things wont happen
1 emails a day saying how people shoudld vote on how others get to use tags
difficult to reply to – against wha tthey are trying to do

Posted in: Web2.0.
Last Modified: April 17, 2007

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