I wrote this new bio for the upcoming Online Community Summit conference sponsored by the Online Community Report.
I have been creating, developing, and managing online communities since January 1995 when my co-founder and I launched GolfWeb, a dot.com that included a golf course database with reader reviews and a "find a playing partner" service. With a small group of engineers and product managers I added further capabilities including a classifieds section (1995) and the "GolfWeb Players Club" (July, 1997).
The GolfWeb Players Club was a purposeful community application for golfers to use improve their game. It was offered as a subscription service and consisted of a game tracking system (golfers entered their rounds and the community provided the tee lengths for each course), private and public groups (where members could compare themselves to others in 30 different ways), online searchable and browsable profiles (including a reputation system), "invite a friend", and other features which were unique at the time; now standard in successful online communities. GolfWeb was featured in Business Week as one of the "Best Products of the Year" in the January 1997 issue that covered 1996 (click on the image to make it larger). GolfWeb was acquired by CBS Sportsline in early 1998.
Using my experience at GolfWeb as a specific example, I spent the next year exploring the underlying principles of communities by researching sociology and speaking with the leading sociologists involved in online communities (most notable was/is Marc Smith). From that research I developed "The 12 Principles of Civilization", a framework for developing and analyzing online communities (this space is now also called "social software" or "social media").
In 1998 I founded RealCommunities, a software startup that transformed the "12 Principles" into a software platform. We had early success with 3 major customers, then the internet bubble burst and RealCommunities was acquired by Mongoose Technology.
For the last three years I have been consulting and, with colleagues, creating and managing various free services including the Software Product Marketing eGroup (a.k.a. ProfGuilds) and the ResumeBlog.
My areas of passion, expertise and experience are:
- Social Media & Social Software
- Online Career Profiles & Social Networking
- Online Content Business Models
- Software/Internet Marketing & Product Management
- Enterprise Software Product Management & Marketing
- Speaking, Teaching, & Training: Hi-Tech Marketing
- Software Standards
I am particularly interested in how my clients can tap into existing services such as blogs, groups, Amazon (lists, reviews, guides), eBay, Evite, social networking sites, etc. to achieve their online community goals -- either as prototypes or even as the final offerings. I look forward to discussing this and other topics with the rest of the attendees.
I invite all dog-lovers to visit the blog of Sam, my foster German Shepherd dog, who is seeking his forever home.