Maximize the value of the network.

Feed the web first. Networks are nurtured by making it as easy as possible to participate. The more diverse the players in your network--competitors, customers, associations, and critics--the better. Becoming a member should be a breeze. You want to know who your customers are, but you don't want to make it hard for them to get to you (IDs, yes; passwords, no). You want to make it easy for your competitors to join too (all their customers could potentially be yours as well). Be open to the power of network effects: Relationships are more powerful than technical quality. Especially beware of the "not-invented-here" syndrome. The surest sign of a great network player is its willingness to let go of its own standard (especially if it is "superior") and adopt someone's else's to leverage the network's effect.



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This is a blog version of a book of mine first published in 1998. I am re-issuing it (two posts per week) unaltered on its 10th anniversary. Comments welcomed. More details here.
-- KK