Over the last month I have reassumed the role of CEO at Stocktwits.
As an active Chairman, I was working closely with our former CEO, John Melloy, but not so much the team. It has been fun and exciting getting back into the mix. We have so many veterans on the product, community, content and curation side with Justin, Sean, Daniel and Stefan that we have not missed a beat.
I love this Harvard Business piece on community and networks. The title is ‘You Need a Community, Not a Network’:
The internet is great for spreading information and rallying crowds, but you can’t mobilize people to collaborate and create something of lasting value simply by connecting them via the web. To get serious results from a network, you need commitment and a continuity of relationships among the participants.
To borrow language from the philosopher Avishai Margalit, the web is a “thin we” type of network. Participants tend to belong for individualistic reasons. They have little in common with other members, and they’re reluctant to do much for the network. A big goal requires a “thick we” network — a community of people who feel responsible for collaborating toward a shared purpose that they see as superseding their individual needs. Members of a community — as opposed to a simple network — expect relationships within the group to continue, and they even hold one another accountable for effort and performance.
When networks develop into communities, the results can be powerful. Look at the accomplishments of Wikipedia contributors, open-source software developers who find and fix bugs in Linux, or doctors who help each another with difficult diagnoses as part of the Sermo social network.
At StockTwits, my vision has been to build a community of stock and market fanatics using the modern tools of the web. I knew it would take time, patience and relentless curation. The organic growth is the reward after all this time, but the curation and commitment to the ‘house rules’, community and the technology can’t stop. Yesterday, a few of our community members contributed some ‘Google Trend’ charts to the stream. They are proud of our community and growth. Take a look:
These charts are just part of a big picture (our profitability is most important and we are very close), but I am really proud of our trends and we are proving out a key thesis of mine while my investors still are willing to talk to me.