“There is a career here, and now is our time! Community is a business driver!” proclaims Shira Levine. Shira should know; she’s proven this at eBay and at Zynga, and is now doing the same at San Francisco-based startup, Yerdle.

Shira describes Yerdle as a “people-powered store,” explaining that, “All the inventory and buyers come from the community.” She goes on, “People used to have to travel thru time and space to talk about their passions. Then the Internet happened.”

She wagers that eBay was first online community at scale — long after the transaction, it enabled the conversation to continue.

The 80/20 Rule

Shira advises that it is within a company’s best interest to figure out what is working for the small percent of your audience that drives the majority of your engagement/revenue. She calls this 80/20 rule — 80% of engagement/revenue comes from 20% of your audience. She clarified that the web collapses the 80/20 rule: now 1% of customers drive 99% of business.

At eBay, for example, Shira ranked and located these users by the metrics of overall contribution to supply side and revenue generated.  To add some perspective, Shira disclosed that at eBay (circa 2005) 1,300 customers drove 92% of sales at eBay.

The Shiramyd

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What was done with this information? The “Shiramyd” was built. The Shiramyd segments customers by ROI and inspires everybody else to be like the 1%. She outlines three key steps to deeper engagement along the shiramyd.

  1. Love and maintain the 1%: “Keep them happy and your business model is secure”. 
  2. Engage everybody along all paths of the Shiramyd. Tell them all how awesome the next level is. Encourage THEM to level up!
  3. And of course, grow your community. There must be “fresh meat” to push to the top.

With this framework, you can really nurture those top people, ask them to give back, and create a sustaining community.

Measure the community in the currency that your business cares about and values success across the board. Your job is to find an analyst who will give you 3 hours to prove your value in whatever currency your company is measured in.”

“Big data is the new oil,” says Shira. “You are the future of the Internet.”

She signs off with an offer of support and alignment: “Send your CEO to me if they need convincing that a community manager is essential to success.”

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Sabrina Bruning

Sabrina is a community builder who focuses on scaling communities and the sharing economy. She is also a Peep for CloudPeeps.