The Sharing Economy
One of Clinton Bonner’s biggest priorities is helping the market understand what is achievable through crowdsourcing. Topcoder is a community of designers, developers, and data scientists who specialize in design and technology. This community develops enterprise-level work for some of the biggest companies in the world.
As such, Clinton’s job is to serve two masters: the community of designers and developers as well as the clients signing up to tap this community. In order to reach both of these audiences, he describes a system with a Phil Jackson approach.
Each team member may be focused on a role or different personas, but with a bridge between them, ensuring that everyone is aware of the content being produced by other parts of the team. This makes it far easier to re-purpose content for the other side of the aisle, with something like 75 to 80 per cent of content able to be used as such.
Through working in such a collaboration-heavy environment, Clinton has great wisdom relating to creative teamwork, nurturing communities through listening and asking questions, and creatively stretching your content to serve many masters.
In This Episode:
- How to serve two audiences at once
- Identifying and nurturing your “innovation rockstars”
- How to use your content as “growth indicators”
- Why FAQs can be your most effective piece of content
- Streamlining the content creation process
- The value of transparency and the tactics to achieve it
- Why listening skills are crucial to effective communication with your audience
- How to effectively build and nurture a community
Quotes From This Episode
“I don’t think that reaching your audience effectively is anything revolutionary. I think it’s just listening, making decisions as quickly as you can, and then showcasing the change. And then making sure that people understand, ‘It was your suggestions that brought us here, so please go use this tool.'” —@clintonbon
“When you’re trying to permeate your content and your messaging into these large organizations, there are tracks already built. So how can we hitch our car to their tracks? The most effective way to do that is to find the engineer. I don’t mean the CEO, but typically there’s somebody that owns or wants to own or be known for being the innovation rockstar. Someone who it behooves them to get around ideas like crowdsourcing and being the champion inside their organization. Making really fast friends with those people, identifying who they and who they are not, and also who they’re connected to; how much can they help? Because it’s really mutually beneficial.” —@clintonbon
“Topcoder was always community first. If we have a happy community, if we have an engaged community, if we’re providing our community with really good cutting edge work and cutting edge technologies then we’re going to grow rapidly. That means that really cool work is there and the coders and designers really want to get around really cool work.” —@clintonbon
“A lot of people put up their FAQs but I don’t think they think through the permutations of them and the logic behind them and making them as robust as possible, making them as easy to consume as possible. When you’re on a self-service side, you really have to put an emphasis on that kind of content. The nice part about FAQs is the questions they’re asking identify what stage they’re in. Cherish them, do them right. They provide so much bang for their buck. They’re not that hard, just listen to what people are asking.” —@clintonbon
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Unlike those kids who wanted to go to the moon, Clinton wasn’t thinking on a large scale while growing up. “I loved the idea of being a taxicab driver. I was attracted to bringing people around and being part of their journey. I just thought it was a fun gig from the mental standpoint of it never gets old; the next conversation is just a door opening away.”
Despite working at Topcoder, there was never an emphasis on technology, which Clinton feels is what makes Topcoder so special. “That’s kind of the beauty of the whole thing is: I’m not a technologist, I’m not a designer. I, as an individual on my small team, can get so much done faster by using our community. By using Topcoder, we can amplify our ideas, which is a really cool place to be right now; access to geniuses across the globe is now there. If you’ve got ideas you want to bring to market, you absolutely can. You just tap a community, like Topcoder, and you start to flesh out your ideas, and you let the world help you co-create it together.”
If your childhood aspirations were related to innovation, seems like Topcoder is where you should be!