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Without Decentralization you Don't Need Community

By 
January 1, 2019
May 19, 2023

There are a lot of companies that don't need to invest in community.Can they? Yes. But whether they should or shouldn't depends on one thing: are they taking a decentralized approach to any part of their business?What does that mean?A decentralized approach means you're empowering people to contribute to something.That something could be marketing, product, support, development... any part of a business can be decentralized.In marketing, a decentralized approach might be empowering ambassadors to promote your brand for you instead of you creating ads and content.In support, a decentralized approach might be to launch a support form for customers to answer each other's questions rather than call your support number.In product, a decentralized approach might be to create an ideas exchange where customers can share and vote on their top feature requests.In development, a decentralized approach might be to open source your software so anyone can build on it rather than your team building everything yourself.Decentralization is not community, but decentralization requires community.Kickstarter needs communities because they have creators.Lyft needs community because they have drivers.Salesforce didn't need community, but saw an opportunity to decentralize marketing and innovation with an MVP program, and so thIf you have a group of people contributing, you want those people to be able to engage with each other so they can share knowledge and feel connected to the mission.This is already true within all businesses. So to some extent, every business that has employees is decentralized. The CEO isn't doing everything, they are distributing autonomy to their team.Of course, they want their team to be happy, engaged, productive and collaborative, so they launch a Slack, invest in project management software, throw company parties and offer benefits.If you decentralize further and offer non-employees the opportunity to contribute, then they are now part of your team. You may not pay them (maybe you should?) but they are still working with you on marketing, product, dev, etc.So there's a good rule of thumb for you.Do you need a community?If decentralized, yes.If centralized, no.

January 1, 2019
May 19, 2023

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