Doing it for the pleasure and fun of it

Nick talks about why an economist stopped comments on his blog and makes the argument that if the # of users drops off, most “prominent” bloggers will stop blogging since their time is better spent elsewhere.

“If blogging is a successful means of establishing underappreciated
credentials – of remedying a failure in the idea market – then
ultimately the talent will be noticed and the talented economics
bloggers will move into positions in which their time will be better
applied to other pursuits, such as research or executive decision
making, in which they have greater advantage than they have in
blogging. Ultimately, you want the smartest economists to devote
themselves to something other than blogging, even if blogging may serve
a temporary role in helping those people move into positions in which
the value of their intellect can be fully exploited.”

Not sure I agree and will quote another very good blogger on what he learned on his “10 year anniversary” of cartoons drawn on the back of business cards:

“One of the smartest moves I ever made was to figure out that making money indirectly off the cartoons was far easier than trying to make the money directly. If I could teach gapingvoid readers just one thing, that would be it.”

What does this have to do with communities?

1. Most community members join and promote a cause not for the monetary benefit. Sure they have other things to do with their time and its probably better spent elsewhere, but this is what they would “really” like to do.

2. There are more indirect benefits of participating in the community than just the monetary ones that economists seem to care about.

3. Your early adopters and selfless promoters of the community are the ones to nurture always even though after a certain tipping point (in terms of # of people in the community) their influence starts to wane.