I have been talking to many of you / looked at data and here is what I see when it comes to building this community.
1. There are two distinct types of discussions happening: Long form (20%) and short form conversations (80%).
Long form discussions are great and there are many takers for that – right from nextbigwhat’s new homepage to Medium/linkedin.
What I am personally keen is on short form discussions/debates which need a different format.
They need immediate attention / are quick to consume – which means they need a very strong mobile interface (native). Read the next point on mobile :)
2. It’s all about mobile.
~75% of NextBigWhat’s traffic is from mobile!
While the community mobile site was nicely designed for consumption, creation/participation was a huge challenge.
Right now, we need to scale for 10,000+ concurrent users and Discourse setup wasn’t able to scale for this.
3. Our ambition.
We aim to create a very vibrant and helpful community. We have lotsa plans around that, but frankly speaking – Discourse doesn’t work out for us in the long run.
We tried making it work, but we need a more robust solution – which is under control / scales up without question and is a great place to hand out with junta!
Our intent remains as strong as ever (i.e. building a very strong **productGeeks** community), but the discussion format needs to evolve with the changing behavior of the audience.
(I really don’t think people want to create a ‘new topic / add discussion body’ etc – they just wanna talk FB style and need instant solution/answer. The world has changed. Drastically.
And that’s where we decided to move the community to Slack. We would have loved to build something of this on our own (especially realtime messaging across desktop and apps) – but then, Slack pretty much offers what we need.
Slack is beautiful. Scalable and offers multiple integration that help us meet our goal of scaling this community.
Agree that we are gonna miss out on SEO/ web discovery a LOT, but the slack community isn’t going to be a stand alone – it will be integrated with the main site (you will appreciate this over a due course of time).
I do know that this is going to lead to skepticism – which is fine and fair.
All I can tell you is that you can trust us on the intent.
Like I have said earlier, the community continues to be our first priority and we are taking this call inspite of knowing that a community on Slack translates to zero monetization (Z.E.R.O).
Having said that, we do know one thing – moving this community to Slack gives us a great opportunity to have more focused conversations and involve a lot many folks who have stayed away as content in a public forum is up for judgement (especially by our friends from media).
Plus, the good part about outsourcing tech and infra to a credible platform is that it frees the team from tech challenges and helps us focused on growing this community. This is my call as a product manager – that is to focus on what’s important and let go of what’s not working.
By this weekend, we will move the community to Slack. We’d love to have you guys over there (you will receive the email invite on Sat).
The Discourse install will move to we.nextbigwhat.com (we will be disabling new topic creation starting Monday).
Slack is where all the action will shift – do join the community (note: first 500 users are free). The Slack community, if you notice is called prodgeeks.slack and not NextBigWhat – largely because that’s what we are going to talk about at Slack.
Products / product management tools/processes, opportunities in SAAS/Bharat and several spaces.
Free for first 500 members.
The Slack community will be free for the first 500 members. We will be running exclusive conversations / private groups and lot more over here.
Come over and join the ride (we aren’t allowing journos here).
Look forward to interacting with you over at the Slack app.
Qn: What’s gonna happen @NextBigWhat now?
Wait for the announcement on Monday ! :)