I found yesterday’s discussion on AVC relating to building your own network invaluable and pulled out some nuggets to structure one of the questions that occupies my thinking:
How do you bridge marketplace with community so that a robust network on both the talent and customer side develops.
Some conceptual models from the comments in the discussion jumped out for me. They all suggest, as an answer, dual-use curation, where the user action has some standalone value to the user, but it also sparks some sort of community engagement, as people react, borrow, mix and match, etc. There is a benefit to both the individual and the community, and the community engagement builds out the network.
These are the conceptualizations that popped out to me:
- “Curation networks” – Fred notes, using pinterest and tumblr as examples, that in curation networks people push content to these services and then users engage around it.
- “Bookmarking” — The discussion noted, using pinterest and delicious as examples, that such services are essentially “bookmarking” sites at the core, where people can pin stuff that they find interesting and can go back to, but then a community emerges around it.
- “Single and multi-player mode” – Chris Dixon in the comments, linking back to an old post on his blog, conceptualizes that services can have stand-alone use (single player) and/or multi-player (networked) mode. Having both has particular value.
I am specifically thinking of talent marketplaces. In the talent world, suppliers naturally curate, bookmark, or have single-player mode actions that they rely on. For example, I have a number of models and examples that I have as a go-to file when a new matter comes up. Lawyers, bankers, doctors, engineers, etc. all have analogous actions.
Now to move it online to create a network. The key may be providing a service that allows me to do something useful with this in stand-alone mode , but then also multiplies the value many times by allowing a community to grow up around the standalone action. One does this by allowing both sides of the marketplace to react, remix, or just use the standalone use as a resource. This multi-player mode us can create the community around the marketplace, resulting in greater sign up, stickiness, and participation on both the demand and supply side, increasing the reach and ultimately the power, utility, and efficiency of the marketplace network.
Moreover, where the single-player mode, is also a signal of quality in the marketplace, it can also serve as a signal to customers about the value of the supplier’s ability, while further incenting the supplier to participate actively on the network.