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The Power of Online Communities: Lessons from the Best of the Consumer & Business Community Managers

Marketing and Community
Location: 2009 Level: Novice

What makes Web 2.0 companies different? It’s all about the people. Web 2.0 companies and their technologies lower the barrier to membership, empower and engage community members, and develop a two-way communication channel between the community and the decision makers of the company. Online communities can vary from personal interests and hobbies to businesses building closer relationships with their customers, and even doing good for individuals and communities in need.

This panel will take lessons from the leading Web 2.0 community innovators, including community managers from Yahoo!, Dell IdeaStorm, salesforce.com IdeaExchange, and Kiva.org. What are the best practices for developing and fostering an online community? What can entrepreneurs learn from these pioneers? What beyond individual technologies do communities managers need to know when facilitating constructive communication with members? After you’ve built a successful community, where do you go from there? What challenges do managers face as a community expands internationally and how can these issues best addressed?

Photo of Kingsley Joseph

Kingsley Joseph

salesforce.com, inc.

Kingsley Jegan Joseph is a web strategist at salesforce.com and creator of the IdeaExchange. The recent winner of Forrester’s Groundswell Awards for excellence in business uses of social technologies, IdeaExchange has changed the face of product development by giving the salesforce.com community a voice in shaping future product releases through an ongoing, live public debate. With the goal of harnessing the power of community to drive business innovation, members of the salesforce.com community submit, vote, and comment on everything from new product features and branding to company strategy.

Sam Mankiewicz


Sam leads Kiva’s engineering team and is responsible for the day-to-day operations and ongoing development of the website. He comes to Kiva with almost 10 years of experience working with over a half-dozen technology startups, ranging from self-service kiosks and enterprise systems integration to digital tickets and online video sharing. Sam has traveled extensively through Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America. Sam graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Matt Warburton

Yahoo!, Inc.

Matt is currently Director of Community Management for Yahoo’s Community and Communications Group – supporting products such as Groups, Messenger, Mail, Bix, 360, and Mash. Matt’s team is responsible for community input/advisory panels, product blogs, community events, and engagement programs.

Prior to joining Yahoo!, Matt spent 8 years working for eBay. While at eBay, Matt spent 3 years managing several components of eBay’s Community Managment team – input programs, events, and forums

Heather Champ


As the Director of Community at Flickr, Heather Champ oversees member
activities for one of the world’s largest and most popular photo sharing
communities. She joined the Flickr team in May 2005 and has seen the
community grow to more than 23 million members who have shared more than
2 billion photos.

Heather is very much enamored with personal publishing on the Web,
having launched her first home page in 1994 while working at the School
of Architecture, Princeton University. She is an award-winning Web
designer with more than ten years of experience maintaining her own
site, hchamp.com, as well as the Mirror Project. Prior to joining
Yahoo!, Heather also co-founded JPG Magazine with her husband Derek