I participate in the Online Community Roundtable that Bill Johnston & George run every so often and have met with and spoken to Tim the community guy at Apple. Its a great event that comprises mostly of practioners, who meet and discuss the ins and outs of running business communities.
Tim (last name withheld by request) has a great job according to all of us who are struggling to get community traction and keep the ball moving forward each day. Their communities are full of passionate, happy (mostly) and smart folks that care deeply about Apple products. I know Jake personally as a good friend and this is pretty amazing. He’s going all the way to provide phone numbers and email addresses for NBC execs to tell them how they feel about their decision to not put their shows on Apple ITunes.
So I asked a few Apple fans about the top 3 things they like about the Apple community:
1. Great products drive passionate usage (& users): This one was obvious. I personally own 3 ipods, an iphone (but not a Powerbook yet). These products rock. If you see the most powerful communities they do have this common trait.
2. Give your community a sense of empowerment: The community feels they have a HUGE say in all matters related to Apple products.
3. Ability to make one-one connections with individuals that are like you in the community. The sense of discovery is amazing. Since I assume that most people that like Apple products love good design (I know this is judgemental) I tend to like most other Apple users. There are more meaningful conversations with these users.
Let me know if you have any questions for Tim and I’ll make sure to ask him.