Speed Kills: Bootstrapping Activity in Your Network

The other day, a guy I met was raving about the idea behind Loosecubes. He's always looking for random desks and conference rooms and so booking them on the fly like AirBnB seemed like a great idea to him. He put in a request for a space but didn't hear back right away. This wasn't all that surprising, because it's a relatively new community and I'm sure people aren't getting requests everyday from it yet. The slow response caused him to look elsewhere. I talked to Campbell, the founder, about it and she was open to thinking about solutions--because while the concept is awesome, its obvious that the experience would be more awesome if you requested a spot and heard within minutes. I thought it might even pay, as a marketing expense, to just outsource automated phone calls to space owners to ensure they know about requests right away--at least until the requests came in often enough that you had to check them everyday.

The same thing happened last night when Tara Hunt demoed Buyosphere at the NY Tech Meetup. She asked for fashion advice, but didn't get it in time to show the full circle demo. She mentioned that she had asked friends to jump on her question for the demo, but perhaps this should be an actual position in the short term. Its probably worth spending dollars to make sure the experience of your first users is amazing--that people are answering questions right away. It makes the experience better, and certainly more comment worthy...and that will help grow the network.

If you're suffering from a chicken and egg scenario, where one side wants service right away, paying people to make sure they get an extremely high level of service right upfront can really pay off over the long run. This is where effective community management is actually effective customer service--because your service IS the community.

I once heard that the number one way to improve conversion and traffic on your site is to make it lightning fast. Sometimes you do this with server architecture, and other times you do it with community architecture.