Building for a Highly Opinionated User Base: Lessons from Reddit and Miles


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 01, 2023

3 min read


Building for a Highly Opinionated User Base: Lessons from Reddit and Miles


Building a product or service for a highly opinionated user base can be challenging. Two examples that offer valuable insights are Reddit, a social media platform, and Miles, a universal transportation rewards program. Both companies have faced unique challenges in understanding and meeting the needs of their users. By examining their experiences, we can uncover strategies for building trust, identifying the right customer voices, fostering meaningful discussions, and leveraging predictive AI technology. Let's dive into these key lessons.

  • 1. Building Trust: The Importance of the Trust Vault

When users have a strong sense of ownership, building trust becomes crucial. At Reddit, the concept of the Trust Vault was introduced to measure the level of trust the customer base had in the company. This included company-level Trust Vaults and individual Trust Vaults for teams or product managers. Measuring trust can be done through surveys like the Edelman Trust Barometer, which asks questions about trust in the company and its staff. Adjusting launch schedules or delaying product launches based on trust scores can help maintain trust and avoid backlash.

Actionable Advice:

  • Measure trust using surveys like the Edelman Trust Barometer.
  • Prioritize launch schedules based on trust scores.
  • Delay launches if necessary to build trust through Mod Experience Oriented Wins (MEOWs).
  • 2. Identifying the Right Customer Voices

Understanding user feedback is essential, but it's important to identify the voices that truly represent your user base. At Reddit, the loudest users often didn't reflect the general user base or the ideal customer profile. Negative feedback may not always represent the attitudes of most users, especially when it comes to features they consider essential and don't comment on.

Actionable Advice:

  • Consider whether feedback represents a significant portion (10% or more) of the user base.
  • Assess if the users providing feedback can influence the opinions of others.
  • Communicate with users whose feedback is deprioritized to help them understand why.
  • 3. Fostering Meaningful Discussions in a Private Space

Public platforms may not be the best place for nuanced product discussions. Reddit learned that forming an advisory council, consisting of passionate community representatives, can provide a safe and private space for discussion and ideation. This allows for more clarity, alignment, and constructive conversations.

Actionable Advice:

  • Create a culture in the council that rewards candid feedback and thoughtfulness.
  • Consider using forums or chat rooms for ongoing discussions.
  • Consult the advisory council early and frequently to ensure relevant feedback and build trust.
  • 4. Leveraging Predictive AI Technology for Personalized Rewards

Miles, a universal transportation rewards program, leverages predictive AI technology to deliver value and relevant rewards to users. By analyzing data, brands and local merchants can tailor personalized reward offerings for their target audience, enhancing engagement and loyalty.

Actionable Advice:

  • Utilize predictive AI technology to analyze user data and identify personalized reward opportunities.
  • Offer relevant rewards in the moment, increasing engagement and lifetime value.
  • Use anonymous data to understand customer needs and preferences.


Building for a highly opinionated user base requires a deep understanding of trust, the right customer voices, meaningful discussions, and personalized experiences. By incorporating these lessons from Reddit and Miles, you can navigate the challenges and create products that resonate with your users. Remember to measure and prioritize trust, identify representative voices, foster private discussions, and leverage predictive AI technology for personalized rewards. By doing so, you can build a loyal user base and drive long-term success.

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