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July 01, 2005


Dave Jilk

Hi Usher!

We call our customers and talk to them directly to get their feedback and share best practices. They like this.

And why exactly do Jabber customers want to hear about the CTO's new hat?

Early stage companies trying to do what you describe risk the "small party in a big room" syndrome. Because there is not that much to say, and very few customers to say it, what it communicates to the world is "this company doesn't have much going on."



Remember when you asked about companies that allow comments?

Tip of the cap to Andy Lark for th elink. PS - no they are not one of my clients.

Usher Lieberman

Hey Dave, thanks for the thoughtful reply.

In the case of Joe's blog, most of the content is about Jabber news or it is code/protocol related. The Jabber community is rather sizable, owing to a big customer base and even bigger base of open source developers and users (a lot of overlap in there too.) The hat is somewhat of an inside joke within the community. So to answer the question about the hat, probably quite a few people in the community found it amusing, those that didn't probably ignored the post. You may not agree, but I think Joe's done a nice job of balancing his blog between personal and professional, exactly the type of relationship I like to maintain with my customers and something that isn't always easy when you have several hundred customers and several million users.

On the more substantive points you make, I think you raise an excellent issue: If I build it, will they come, and come to think of it that's a great starting point for another post.

That said, I think a static web site also communicates that not much is going on. If the customer base isn't talking use the blog as a platform to stake an industry leadership position.

I think Jim is doing just that in the car industry. He is right now a somewhat lone public voice, but that doesn't mean it is a bad idea.

When it comes to staking a position of thought leadership, being the company executive quoted in the story, being the person invited to speak at industry events there is an inherent advantage to being first, being loud, and being provocative.

Existing products solve today's needs. Thought leadership tells the entire market that you are also leading the curve, you understand how the problems you solve are evolving as your customers markets change, rapidly. If you're not a thought leader you likely are soon a commodity.

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