Joel Spolosky from Stackoverflow Sticks it to Jason | Summary and Q&A

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January 4, 2011
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This Week in Startups
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Joel Spolosky from Stackoverflow Sticks it to Jason

TL;DR

Mahalo is a Q&A platform that is innovating in an area where there is limited competition, particularly from Yahoo Answers. The strategy includes paying users for asking quality questions and building vertical Q&A sites according to the community's interests.

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Key Insights

  • 👾 Yahoo Answers is the main competition in the Q&A space, but it lacks monetization potential and quality answers.
  • 😷 Mahalo differentiates itself by actively innovating, paying users for asking good questions, and focusing on vertical Q&A sites.
  • 👶 Mahalo's strategy involves community involvement in deciding the topics for new Q&A sites.
  • 🙃 The white label model of Q&A sites did not work well for Mahalo, leading to the current strategy of vertical sites owned by the community.

Questions & Answers

Q: What makes Mahalo different from other Q&A platforms?

Mahalo differentiates itself by actively innovating in the Q&A space and focusing on quality answers rather than turning into a chat room like Yahoo Answers. Additionally, Mahalo is paying users for asking good questions, which encourages them to engage more.

Q: How does Mahalo plan to compete with other Q&A platforms?

Mahalo believes in building vertical Q&A sites based on users' interests, which allows for more specialized and detailed conversations among experts. By paying users for quality questions, Mahalo aims to attract more active and knowledgeable users.

Q: What is the current state of Q&A platforms like Yahoo Answers?

Yahoo Answers is considered a chat room for teenage girls, lacking monetization potential due to its chat-like nature. It hasn't seen much product innovation in years and does not offer quality answers. It has a significant user base but monetizes poorly.

Q: How is Mahalo involving the community in its strategy?

Mahalo aims to let the community decide what topics they want to have Q&A sites about. Through a democratic and automated process, users can propose and discuss potential topics. The sites that generate traction will be created and owned by the community.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Mahalo recognizes the need for innovation in the Q&A space and aims to fill the gap left by platforms like Yahoo Answers.

  • Yahoo Answers is more of a chat room for teenagers rather than a monetizable Q&A platform.

  • Mahalo is actively paying users for asking good questions and plans to build vertical Q&A sites based on users' interests.

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