Here are some thoughts about community & its influence to technology.
“Community power” – this word has stuck in my head for a long time. If every people spend a penny to help a poorest people, he then will becomes richer than 10 richest man of the world. There are many sample for that:
First, the Great Wikipedia. No money for maintainers. No money for contributors. Just a place for people to build their knowledge towers together. The interface of the site is very simple – but refined enough to easily see the structure. Now what? Every year, it brings on hundreds millions of dollars from donators – and even more valuable – the contributions of millions of people, which makes the site in 10th most visited site in the world.
Second, StackOverflow – the place for guru & junior programmers. Its philosophy is simple: if you meet a problem, there’s a good chance that the problem has happened for anothers. So why don’t put all the questions & solutions in a place, so that the others can find them later? The success of StackOverflow also depends much on its community: you won’t easily find a QA site that every question has good answer in a couple of minutes, and often not more than a day. How can the site do that? If not because of a community of active members of programming experts (at least to some extent – everyone is an expert of what he has done). Where are that community come from? It has a good start: lots of beginning members are from the Joel Spolsky blog Coding Horror.
Third, you may count Groupon; Facebook; Quora, GooglePlus. In short, it’s social. You may ask why I put so much big name at the end. Well, I don’t know them as well as two first example, that’s a fact. But there’s another reason: long time has passed since the day we only believe in what the mathematical statistics tell. Even Google indexing algorithm partly based on the selection of majorities to tell which link is good and which is not approriate, for a specific keyword. Now, when the social time has come, we not only want to know what “stranger & general community” tell, which may not be familiar with us. We want to know what our friends, couples, relatives,… - the people in our personal, “selected” community – think and like.
And the only thing that those companies do is making for us a tool to do that.
Believe me, Facebook is nothing without its huge community of user. They just set up a place for people to meet, and they come. Setting up a place like that is not hard – the important point is how to attract people come in. And look at Facebook success, I believe that problem worth solving.
Groupon is another great example. You buy one shirt and I buy one shirt, the price is double. But if I buy 2 for both, I may get a discount. If people with the same needs join to buy the products they need, they give save tons of money – and the producers will save their advertisement, too.
Thanks my good friend Vu Phong. Your enthusiasm about beautiful technologies give me energy to write this post
And thank for my sagisou, too.