Position premium membership as an investment

“While Quartz now has a traditional metered paywall, its membership offering is pitched differently than most outlets’ — more as an investment in the reader’s career, almost an educational product.”

How Quartz is rethinking its membership offerings (Nieman Lab)

This piece from Nieman Lab focuses on membership from a news media perspective, but the takeaways are applicable to any organization trying to sell community membership at a premium.

An infinity of subcultures coming together, online to offline

An infinity of subcultures outside the mainstream now blossoms on the Internet – vegans, body modifiers, CrossFitters, Wiccans, DIYers, Pinners, and support groups of all forms. Millions of people are finding their true peers in the cloud, a remedy for the isolation imposed by the anonymous apartment complex or the remote rural location.

“This is why location is becoming so much less important: technology is enabling us to access everything we need from our mobile phone, to find our true communities in the cloud, and to easily travel to assemble these communities in person. Taken together, we are rapidly approaching a future characterized by a totally new phenomenon, the reverse diaspora: one that starts out internationally distributed, finds each other online, and ends up physically concentrated.

Software Is Reorganizing the World (WIRED)

This WIRED article is from 2013, envisioning a future that started to take shape over the last decade. Think techies congregating in Silicon Valley to work on the next big startup, or YouTubers congregating in LA, forming creator communes, sharing real estate and resources while collaborating on content.

But as the cost of living spirals out of control in metropolitan areas, our attention turns back to the upsides of distributed networks, punctuated by in-person gatherings like conventions and conferences.

Twitchcon brings streamers together. Vidcon brings YouTubers together. Dreamforce brings Salesforce users together. CMX brings community managers together. WordCamps bring WordPress users together.

…you get the idea.

My point is: we’re finding each other through social media and open networks, we’re sliding into DMs and email to build 1:1 relationships, and then we show up at in-person events to build the face-to-face rapport.

150k botanical images enter the public domain

“Had he lived in our time, Thoreau would’ve been thrilled to know that the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), the world’s largest open-access digital archive dedicated to the natural world, is now offering more than 150,000 high-resolution illustrations for copyright-free download.”

Over 150,000 Botanical Illustrations Enter the Public Domain (Hyperallergic)

The public domain is a blessing for students and artists. The freedom to remix and reinterpret the work of those who came before us is an integral part of our cultural evolution. Thanks to the web, the public domain is more accessible than ever.

Digital campfires

“It is neither simple nor straightforward to reach audiences gathered around digital campfires. But as traditional social platforms grow, they become more crowded, and it becomes more difficult and expensive to reach people there anyway. In light of this, digital campfires become a much more attractive alternative — one that requires more groundwork and more careful tending, but one that could potentially have big payoffs for brands in terms of loyalty, retention, and long-term love.

The Era of Antisocial Social Media (Harvard Business Review)

Community Marketing is less “build something” and more “grow something”. Lots of tending and care over a longer period of time, with cyclical phases. It’s like working in agriculture versus working in manufacturing.

Strong marketing starts with a strong product.

In a PLG business, the product is front and center in how you acquire, convert and expand your users. Your product managers are the equivalent of your great sales rep. Yet research shows that most PMs don’t own the metrics they’re measured against.”

The SaaS Trends You Need to Know for 2020 (OpenView)

PLG stands for product-led growth, by the way. I dig the sentiment. Strong marketing starts with a strong product.

Newsletters: Too much of a good thing?

“A funny thing happened in our current Newsletter Renaissance: inundation. Much like the television streaming era which is now in full-swing, we’re learning that there can, in fact, be too much of a good thing. At least for those of us who are completists. Which is to say: there are too many newsletters that I now subscribe to and want to read, but often cannot. Because, well, time.”

Newsletters as Newspapers (M.G. Siegler

Time is a finite resource, as is our attention. I’m adapting by skimming headlines more often, and saving my deep-reading moments for books and my Pocket list.