Value of Community

The members of the Million Dollar Club, which I host, have come up with an “accelerant curve” (presented by Mark Smith), which we’ve embraced and expanded upon to demonstrate the connection among products and services ranging from ease of entry/low fee, to high intimacy/high fee. But it’s a two dimensional model, basically, and I’ve also tended to think in terms of a “web” of interaction among members of a community. (My value proposition is that “I create community,” and “The Architect of Professional Communities®” is a registered trademark.)

Anyway, I got to thinking on the beach (always dangerous) and I realized that there is an exponential and reciprocating value growth in communities. So as to appear scholarly, academic, and “deep,” I’ve decided to call this REV: reciprocating, exponential value.

What the kid from Union City actually means is this: The more valuable a community becomes—because of intellectual property, resources, networking, interactions, speed of response, status, peer reinforcement, etc.—the more valuable it becomes to be a member of that community. As the fee increases for being a part of a constantly, increasingly valuable community, more and more people are drawn to it (as many of you have seen in my process visual where fee follows value until the lines cross, and value actually then follows fee, because people expect to get what they pay for—this is the very essence of a strong brand).

This community “engine” becomes self-reinforcing—reciprocating. The more people entering at increasingly high levels, the more value THEY bring to the community, making it still MORE valuable. And people are apt to ensure that the quality they perceived or desired is indeed delivered, and those responsible for the community are motivated to not only meet, but exceed those expectations.

You can create community with your clients; your prospects; your members; your audience; your suppliers; and so on. Too many professional associations falter because the don’t have REV. Instead, they just have people bragging to each other, or taking while not giving, or just putting initials after their names.

I’m sure some of you in this community will find ways to use this for your own growth and prosperity. And so I mention it here, as my thoughts continue to formulate about REV.

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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4 Responses to Value of Community

  1. Alan,

    Longtime reader of your blog and owner of a couple of your books. Thank you for your results – they serve as a strong anchor for my efforts to grow in the face of the absurd (at times.)

    When I read this post I felt inclined to share a telecom axiom from my work history in telecommunications (about 15 years).

    You are describing Metcalfe’s law (researcher at Xerox and co-inventor of ethernet)

    the value of the network increases by the square of the number of users. (albeit high quality users)

    the example I used to use in executive presentations is the fax machine (or internet, iphone etc. these days.) One fax machine is inherently useless. A second fax machine is more useful. The person that bought a fax machine in the late 80′s was not only buying a piece of hardware but frankly access to all of the fax machines.

    Essentially, the REV follows Metcalfe’s law and stays useful only so long as the riff raff doesn’t get in. Besides technology changing, the fax machine lost its luster as well when people started sending advertisements to them at the receivers expense.

    Best regards,
    Chris

    (As a railroad history buff it has been very interesting to see (and live through) telecomunication follow almost the same exact path of boom to bust as the railroads. I look for there to be an Amtrak formed soon to take care of the wireline residential business. A terrible business to be in – declining customers, outdated technology and no incentive to invest capital.)

  2. Alan Weiss says:

    Great comment. I’ve never heard of this axiom, but I did think of the iPhone as an analogy, in that the iPhone enabled apps, and the more quality apps the more useful the iPhone, and the more useful the iPhone….

    We’re all talking about information exchange, which is why I think the computer is merely an extension of Guttenberg and movable type. In Roman times, the “Internet” was a guy moving to share information (ergo, the letters of Paul), and that guy was as fast as his mode of transportation, usually a horse or mule. But if you hand copies of the letter to four people, and they each take it to four people….

    As for railroads, they all became property management firms because the real wealth turned out to be the 100-mile right-of-way on each side of the tracks, hence, Penn Central became a real estate business.

  3. Wayne Botha says:

    Alan,

    Are the boundaries and constraints to the REV provided by the web?

    What is the effect of multiple communities interacting?

    For example, what is the effect if a community of high-achieving consultants interact with a community of “in the trenches” IT project managers?

    Do both comunities gain additional value? Or will the existence of multiple communities dilute the focus and value of each community?

  4. bill lee says:

    “You can create community with your clients; your prospects; your members; your audience; your suppliers; and so on”

    This would make a great workshop.

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