Caption: Elana Berkowitz (former Advisor to Obama Administration); Justin Ginsburg (Citibikes); Josh Mohrer (Uber): Milicent Johnson (Peers). Thanks to our partners, Suits to Silicon Alley and AlleyNYC.
See the full article below on Shareable.
Sharing economy enthusiasts gathered together to talk about the growth of collaborative consumption and the subsequent implications with government. Many peer-to-peer platforms face problems with outdated government laws designed for more traditional B2C industries or face no laws at all.
Milicent Johnson from Peers said, “The reality is, we do need regulation” but need to work together with various stakeholders to create laws that both protect citizens and lets innovation thrive. However, the legal landscape for collaborative consumption is currently confusing—”You want to comply with the rules but you don’t know what the rules are.” A recent example highlights this confusion where an Airbnb host got fined $40,000 but the fine was then removed—”Even the government seems confused what the rules are.”
When discussing best practices, Josh Mohrer from Uber advised to take an “Act first, and then ask questions later” approach to get the product in the hands of consumers first and to deal with issues with government when they arise. The alternative—to consult a new concept with the government before it has even launched—could mean years of discussions or even worse, your product will never launch.
In the case where there are no laws such as the absence of mandatory helmet law when biking in NY, there are other ways to encourage citizens to protect themselves. Justin Ginsburg from Citibike mentioned doing helmet giveaways (over 100,000 helmets have been given away in the past few years) and discount coupons for helmets. Regulation is not the only way to encourage helmet-use, and other tactics can be used instead.
Milicent Johnson caused laughter when she stated, “Cities are the OG (original) sharing platform” to illustrate libraries, universities, and schools all promote sharing. There is no doubt sharing economy platforms are creating positive impacts in our cities—we need to educate the government and public on the sharing economy and work together to make laws clearer. Organizations like Bayshare in San Francisco and co:NYC in New York are taking steps to do this.
The rise of the sharing economy has spawned a number of fast-growing organizations and this rapid growth has given savvy individuals an opportunity to build meaningful and rewarding careers in the field. We asked employees from ZipCar, the Collaborative Fund, and Skillshare what it’s really like to work in the sharing economy. Click here to see photos from the event!
An amazing evening with Fast Company, Kitchensurfing, SideTour, and Etsy exploring the impact of these peer-to-peer marketplaces on micro-entrepreneurship. Click here to see photos!
For more details and to register, click here.
Earth Day Clothes Swap with Let’s Collaborate! and Closetdash
Let’s Collaborate! introduced sharing platform yerdle to the NYC collaborative consumption community with guests Summer Rayne Oakes, Reverend Billy, and Colin Beavan.
Original post on Shareable written by Francesca Pick.
Whether it’s a tech company seeking to turn its customers into “brand advocates” or a not-for profit group organizing an online campaign, building an active user community is now on the agenda of many organizations.
But what exactly is involved in building a sustainable community? That was the topic addressed last week at Let’s Collaborate NYC, hosted by coworking space Projective Space and sponsored by TrustCloud, a provider of online trust solutions, and Shareable.
Let’s Collaborate, an event series developed to inspire and connect the collaborative consumption community in NYC, was launched in 2012 by Melissa O’Young, marketing manager at Futurethink and former advisor of the UK Government on collaborative consumption.
At a panel discussion attended by over 100 people, Airbnb NYC community manager Sheila Karaszewski, director and editor in chief of Krrb Andrew Wagner, as well as Tony Bacigalupo, co-founder of NewWorkCity, and James Wahba, co-founder of Projective Space talked about the basics of successful community management. Here are some of the main points discussed.
Communities grow organically
Even though there is no single recipe for community-building, the panelists at the event agreed that communities thrive most when they are based on offline interactions. Companies need to ask themselves: how can my customers use the internet to get off the internet and enable real live connections? At Airbnb, for instance, community starts with the host-guest interaction.
However, communities cannot simply be “built” or planned on the basis of market research, but must grow organically, according to Tony Bacigalupo, the founder of coworking space NewWorkCity. “Communities often happen by accident,” he noted. “They don’t emerge from a vacuum.” Such communities spring up around shared convictions, activities or interests. So if you’re looking to build a community, it is smart to tap into existing networks with highly engaged members instead of starting from scratch.
Be empathetic, listen, and never stop
Listen, listen, listen. This is one of the most important things to remember when building a community, the panelists said. “Be empathetic, authentic and educate your community members. This will help them create meaningful experiences with your brand and each other,” was Airbnb community manager Karaszewski’s advice. If a user comes to you with an idea, he said, encourage and support them.
Using the internet to connect with your users and learn firsthand what they think is crucial to understanding them and what they want, the panelists agreed. But don’t think this is just a one-time effort. Listening is a long-term activity that is never finished.
“Have the courage to give up control without losing sight of your own vision,” added Wagner from Krrb. “Then you may see your service being used in ways you never imagined.”
Another challenge of community management is maintaining that special feeling that arose when the community was small and intimate even as the community begins to grow. Projective Space, for instance, has potential new members go through a selection process. “The purpose of this process is not to make it hard to become a member. We want to give people time to get acquainted with our space and find out whether it’s a cultural fit,” said James Wahba.
Community manager: an emerging profession
Panelists also discussed what it takes to be a community manager, a position that is growing in significance for companies in the peer-to-peer and sharing space. What does the ideal community manager look like? If you take a look at most startups, community managers are often online marketers and Generation Y-ers, who are savvy about social media and blogging.
Community managers should of course be passionate about their product and understand it thoroughly. Yet in Bacigalupo’s opinion, the scope of such a position reaches far beyond online marketing. “Community management is an upper management position that requires you to be a leader,” he said. To help community managers acquire these skills, he and his partners Alex Hillman and Adam Teterus have developed a Community Builder Masterclass that teaches students how to develop an organization and lead a community.