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AlwaysOn: Engaging Contagious Behavior w/Digg Yelp Photobucket CEOs
AlwaysOn is holding a workshop about how to engage contagious behavior. The panel includes Jay Adelson, Digg CEO, Jeremy Stoppleman, Yelp CEO and Alex Welch, CEO Photobucket.
Panel workshop now completed. Comments below from the panel. If there is an interest, I can post audio and video from the session.
Moderator: What is the definition of contagious behaviour?
Jay – engaging consumers is contagious.
Alex – i think of external and internal for contagious behavior. Includes the team – we grew from 1 to 60 pretty quick and how do you gt the culture to come together as a team. And the outbound part with listening to your consumers.
Esther – teaching users how to take control. Esther starts right out by shilling her company.
Moderator: how do you deal with tools?
Jay: for us it is a lot of trial and error. we know some tools only work with 1-15% of our audience. the first step you have to go thru is understanding your audience really well – and then design the tools and ui for them. as for what to create – that depends on the vision and philsophy. it is first that core understanding. the way we are doing segmenting now is we create features that apply to the broad range and then watch the reaction. thats a slow process.
Jeremy: we look at it from 3 segments – users finding businesses, businesses, and users who actively post on the message boards. when we develop features we decide which ones they go to.
Alex: don't overlook the obvious.
Moderator: what about the notion of failure?
Jay: We fail a lot. I feel close to this issue. If you are not failing, then you are not trying enough things. We try experimenting. You have to look at features and tools you develop and be willing to accept what it is telling you. "if we wait longer, it will succeed" it is a way that many silicon valley mantra.
Esther: Keep making new mistakes.
Jeremy: the data rarely lies. We love to experiment. if it is flatlined from the day we put it out there, then we know it wont work.
User: share a personal horror story:
Alex: all of mine are hardware failures.
User: how do you make sure that the next big thing doesnt take your contagious behavior?
Jay: I want to be something that helps with the next contagious behaviour. We want to help with everyone's contagious behavior.
Esther: it is important to be generous. Have a sense of something. Sites need a personality.
Jeremy: it's about network effects. look at flickr – it's where people go.
Alex: it was about taking a good idea and making it better. we did something similar at photobucket. we solved a simple problem and got momentum and built from that.
User: contaigious behavior is mostly anonymous. whats the balance as you want to know everything you can about them.
Jay: there is a difference btw profiling and identity.
Jeremy: you have to get creative.
Esther: Let the user know what you know about them. And let them change it if it is not right.
User: what are the biggest mistakes being made today?
Alex: don't follow the fads
Esther: deliver on the expectations you set.
Moderator: when it sucks, say it sucks.
I thought this session was pretty good. It felt very light on the subject, could have gone much deeper, but 45 minutes including open forum questions is probably not enough time to go deep. After the session ended, many of the attendees flocked to the front to speak with the panelists. Seemed Jay and Esther had the longest lines. I could see a full day workshop about this topic at a future event.