In thinking about interviews I've done in the past year or so, one that consistently comes to mind as a favorite was with Vida Killian, manager of Dell's IdeaStorm network. Vida was exceptionally generous with her time and insights, perhaps not too surprising for someone whose job is all about facilitating conversation.
Among the information about IdeaStorm she shared: It falls under the purview of a 40-person team called Communities and Conversations, with members from varied backgrounds including tech support, customer support, marketing, communications and engineering. Managing the flood of ideas generated on the site is Dell's biggest challenge. Dell doesn't demand a hard ROI for the site. Instead, Vida told me: "It's the right thing to do, we want to listen to our customers, so let's do it."
I also find the concept of customer communities endlessly fascinating. So I was quite taken with a post by Jeremiah Owyang on his Web Strategy blog, listing ways to jump start an online community. I especially like how he refers to it as "an ongoing list," since new best practices are emerging all the time. In fact, some readers chimed in with great ideas of their own in a lengthy message string following Jeremiah's post.
I won't try to reproduce all of the suggestions here, but I will highlight some of my faves. If you like these, you might want to go back and read my post from last August, with some similar terrific thoughts on communities from Dion Hinchcliffe, ZDNet blogger and founder of the Enterprise Web 2.0 advisory and consulting firm Hinchcliffe & Company.
More from his readers: