Friday, February 24, 2006

The Creator Pyramid

Bradley Horowitz came out of the box strong with his "Creators, Synthesizers and Consumers" post.

From the post:

"The levels in the pyramid represent phases of value creation. As an example take Yahoo! Groups.
  • 1% of the user population might start a group (or a thread within a group)
  • 10% of the user population might participate actively, and actually author content whether starting a thread or responding to a thread-in-progress
  • 100% of the user population benefits from the activities of the above groups (lurkers)
The first is that we don’t need to convert 100% of the audience into “active” participants to have a thriving product that benefits tens of millions of users. In fact, there are many reasons why you wouldn’t want to do this. The hurdles that users cross as they transition from lurkers to synthesizers to creators are also filters that can eliminate noise from signal. Another point is that the levels of the pyramid are containing - the creators are also consumers."

And now for the smackdown from Greg Yardley:

"I think it’s a good reason to short Yahoo - that pyramid’s a .44 caliber shot in the foot. Once you start believing 90% of your audience is passive you can’t help but shape your existing communities and design new ones with the passive consumers in mind. Talk all you want about making it easy to create - if you expect the bulk of your users to be passive gawkers your thinking’s never going to stray from CPM ad space. How disappointing - since it is possible to design a service that demands creation, and such services are far stickier than ones built around showing ads to passive surfers. To compete, Yahoo’s new services need 90% creators, not 1% or 10%.

It’s telling that the social media Yahoo’s bought doesn’t fit Horowitz’s own pyramid - and Flickr don’t demand that participants create, but they’re designed to encourage creation at rates far higher than one in one hundred or even one in ten."


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