Sunday, July 15, 2007

Community Next Take-Aways: and Meebo

Keith Rabois, VP Business Development,

  • Was involved with PayPal, Yelp, LinkedIn, and now
  • Common trait: original business model/idea was wrong
  • Yelp: original idea was to spam friends with email on where to go to eat
  • Try something, iterate until it works
  • Start with value proposition, eventually people will find out about it
  • YouTube, for example--didn't set out to be a video sharing site; people watched videos and cut and paste code into their email client (like Outlook); YouTube hit upon a consumer need (an easy way for people to keep in touch was to send something cool and interesting that they watched on YouTube)
  • Most successful companies have an obsession with metrics--you won't be able to find out what's working until you have metrics
  • Viral marketing is a way to hedge against strategy; if you don't know what your revenue model is, you have to acquire users cheaply; if your marginal cost of user acquisition (and user support) is $0.01, you should be able to generate more than $0.01 in revenue
  • Only 3 successful types of Facebook apps: (1) intuitive judgment from recent college grads about product needs (e.g. free gifts), (2) widget makers (Rock You, Slide), (3) convert fully to focus on Facebook (iLike, Flixster)
  • Yelp: paid reviewers in new cities to write reviews; only good if you can get the right people to do it, otherwise you don't inspire the right contributors later
Martin Green, VP Business Development, Meebo
  • There is a difference between recruitment and retention
  • Meebo focused on retention: delight and satisfy people who use the service
  • Company mindset: wiki, forum, customer service--everyone in the company is on those
  • Can't always predict what users want: most popular color was pink
  • Who is the target user--get them in, show them mock-ups
  • How do you get user feedback? Need to be them, or interview them all the time
  • We have a short list of people we show stuff to. Tweak it until they say, "I would use that.
  • Listen to how they describe things: "If you said it like this, I would use that."
  • Get a 16-year-old to look at the product
  • Like MySpace, does not emphasize Meebo marketing itself: "We want someone to send a message out inviting a friend to Meebo. We want this to happen through an actual person, not through our product."

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