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09/02/2010

Hindsight 09/02/10 - Understanding Community

I've been in an ongoing discussion with Nate from itstartswith.us and Patty who heads Groupon/The Point's community engagement about how to quantify the value of community within a company. Through our totally casual emailing back and forth, lots of interesting ideas have sprung up. Here's a sample of the last email exchange I had with them...

"As a consumer, my loyalty is pretty low, for a company (especially a leader like Groupon) that's a problem because other [deal sites] just need to syphon your customers with a better deal. Customers that Groupon worked hard to get in the first place. So now Groupon has to not only find new customers, but they also have to raise the barriers of entry so they don't loose current customers. This is where community comes in. Community becomes the competitive advantage that, I think, will keep a customer with Groupon vs going to another site. I'm willing to stick with Groupon because they don't just deliver a product, I also plug into a community.

To use a dance floor theory analogy, Groupon is selling a great dance floor with great music, lighting, drinks, etc. Those can all be easily repeatable by other sites (which is what they are doing now, literally down to the layout of the website). But what's going to keep me dancing on Groupon's DF vs hopping over to the one right next to it with the same great music, lighting etc, is the people on the DF, the relationships I have with them, the collection of shared experiences we've built up over time."

It's fun to have a network I can engage in these type of conversations. And I feel like I'm just starting to build out my network. 

Today I found out I was officially accepted into the Entrepreneurs Organization of NYC. It's based on revenue and company size. We just missed the mark to be in the $1M plus network so I have to start in the Accelerator Program which is $250K-$1M in revenue. I'm excited to network with other entrepreneurs in NYC who are already successful, and I get mentored by someone who has been there done that. I crave good coaching right now, so this is a big win for me!

Side Note - I played soccer tonight for the first time in a few weeks because of my rib injury. I probably shouldn't have played, but it was such a great game and I just couldn't sit out. I know tomorrow I'm going to pay for it when my ribs are hurting, but it was still worth it.

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