What Percentage of Resources Should be Expended on Members vs. Outsiders?
I'd say 95%/5% (for members vs. outsiders) of planned expenditures should be focused on improving things for your members following my earlier stated top 4 business priorities. Without Member Satisfaction you don't have a business, plain and simple. Your business will be based upon providing value to your members which include:
- employees (they define the body of your business)
- best/super customers (make purchases and give friendly feedback)
- fans (they market your biz)
Employees make everything happen, they should feel connected to the vision for your company while being in charge of responsibilities that best suit their passions and strengths. Don't forget corporate culture isn't something you invent after doing business for 5 years, it's something that is planned for from the very beginning and takes diligence to maintain (thanks to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, and Rackspace chairman Graham Weston for teaching me this lesson via building43).
Why spend 5% of available resources on folks outside of the business? Your company doesn't exist in a vacuum. Take 5% of what you would normally funnel into creating member satisfaction/value and look to your members to find a needy source. Try and find folks doing the right thing in related areas and support them with manpower, resources, etc. The feeling of community and leadership provided by your company will not soon be forgotten.
Some background for this post:
Fred Wilson has spent some time discussing this issue on his blog.
I responded to the second post with:
Fred your example is applicable to any community building web site/business. Creating a space for folks to interact and build their own value on top of one's business is a great way to engender trust in a company.
I've been using gmail for free for years (thanks Paul Buchheit and Google) and like to support google search (there's always a chance a search of mine will turn into revenue for the big G) and now friendfeed (can't accurately describe how cool this social interface is becoming).
I get so much incredible info from Twitter and friendfeed that I'm determined to help find ways to support these businesses (by dreaming up tools to cache (cash ;) in on social media).
The social sites/tools these companies produce and inspire have been incredibly fertile for layered Internet innovation. Some of the augmented reality apps for iPhone & competing smart phones are mind boggling (see through walls and pavement by tracking subways using Twitter).
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