"A Guide to Curation in Community: Cracking the Chicken-and-Egg Problem and Growing Initial Supply"

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Hatched by Glasp

Sep 16, 2023

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"A Guide to Curation in Community: Cracking the Chicken-and-Egg Problem and Growing Initial Supply"

Curating content in a community is not just about creating a resource for members to access. It is a valuable exercise that benefits both the community builder and the members themselves. When we curate, we not only provide trusted and vetted information to our members, but we also learn and understand the community we serve.

In community curation, the value lies in the act of curation itself. As we curate content, we come across new ideas that pop up and spread. This allows us to stay updated and pass on valuable information to our community. However, it is important to remember that community curation is for the community builder first and the members second. Before saving anything, we must ask ourselves if it is worth saving and if it adds value to the community.

Creating a repository of curated content can be helpful for anyone in a business. However, the true power of curation lies in the ability to connect the dots. In a community, our goal is to help our people, which includes not just the members but potentially every employee in our company.

Now let's shift our focus to cracking the chicken-and-egg problem and growing initial supply in a marketplace business. The best consumer marketplaces often end up supply-constrained because the demand is so strong. The product/market fit is undeniable, putting pressure on the supply side.

To drive initial supply, there are several levers that marketplace businesses can utilize. One of the most significant learnings from research is the importance of direct sales. Around 60% of successful marketplace companies found direct sales to be a crucial lever for getting the first listings on the platform, especially in immature markets without critical mass.

Referrals also play a significant role in growing initial supply. For many marketplaces, referrals accounted for about one-third of the first trips and were often the best drivers. Piggy-backing off an existing network, such as Craigslist, can also be an effective strategy.

Organic word of mouth, while not a growth lever, has been a significant factor in the growth of early supply for many successful marketplaces. Subsidizing the supply side, either through financial incentives or other means, can also help kickstart and scale a marketplace business.

Employees can be a valuable source of early supply. Encouraging them to participate and engage with the platform can help generate initial traction. Offering a "single-player mode," where one side of the marketplace is offered a tool they find useful on its own, has proven successful for marketplaces like OpenTable, Eventbrite, and Patreon.

Performance marketing, loops, events/meetups, SEO/content marketing, and leveraging the community are all additional strategies that can be employed to drive initial supply in a marketplace business.

In conclusion, curating content in a community is a valuable exercise that benefits both the community builder and the members. It allows us to learn and understand the community we serve while providing valuable information to our members. When it comes to cracking the chicken-and-egg problem and growing initial supply in a marketplace business, focusing on a few key levers and strategies is crucial. Here are three actionable pieces of advice to consider:

  • 1. Focus on direct sales and referrals as primary levers for driving initial supply.
  • 2. Consider subsidizing the supply side or offering incentives to encourage participation.
  • 3. Leverage your community, both internally with employees and externally with events and meetups, to generate early traction.

By following these strategies and continuously iterating, marketplace businesses can overcome the challenges of supply constraints and successfully scale their operations.

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