CNET has a great interview with Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake, in which she discusses how big companies like Yahoo – her new boss – can innovate and develop great products, in the same way as a small start-up.
Of interest is Fake’s comments on what it takes to build an online community.
We very carefully built the community on Flickr, person by person. The team and I greeted every single person who arrived, introduced them around, hung out in the chatrooms.
It was a very hands-on process, building the community. And in the beginning Flickr was built side-by-side with feedback from the community: We were posting over 50 times a day in the forums. After you hit, say 10,000 members, or so, hopefully you’ve created a strong enough culture that people are greeting each other. It really is kind of like building a civilization.
You need to have a culture and mores and a sense of this is “what people do here.” If people greet each other and are helpful, and stomp on trolls immediately and keep the trash in the trash cans, that becomes what the culture of the place is. And that scales.