Building a People-powered Company
The internet exploded with new technologies and business models that enabled people to have their very own product lines without ever setting up shop in the traditional way. This new industrial DIY revolution means people can truly unleash their creativity and produce things without any of the financial risks associated with old school manufacturing or distribution chains.
First we saw product personalization in the form of creating one’s own Levi’s or sneakers. This was nice, but it was primarily for one person. Then came user-to-user marketplaces like eBay, that introduced new ways to connect buyers and sellers. Finally we see the power of online communities, social networks, and brand evangelists as an enabler to market, distribute, and mash-up the products.
The intersection of product personalization, community, and the online marketplace has created something new: people making –- and selling –- their own products. More than a YouTube video, these are actual artifacts. Learn what makes a successful people-powered company.
A panel of leaders from people-powered companies such as Blurb, Moo, Etsy, Threadless, StyleShake, and others will discuss what makes a successful people-powered company. Discussion topics include the following:
How is what we’re doing different from other models?
What are the challenges companies will face in building people-powered products across operations, customer service, copyright and material, etc.?
Tools for creation, and the pros and cons (closed, controlled infrastructure (Blurb) versus letting anyone upload whatever they want (Threadless))
Why retail quality is critical to this model
Community as a long-term differentiator –- everyone has access to the same equipment, so as the products get commoditized, companies will win on communities or the tools they build around them; successful companies win because they innovate on community and enabling the community (e.g., Moo, Etsy, Blurb)
What’s Next for people-powered products? Additional discussion topics if time allows:
Copyright and the many legal unknowns inherent in these models
Community-created goods (multiple contributors and authors)
How do you integrate further distribution of marketplace; how do you integrate with social networks, etc.?