My New Gig: Head of Community At Sidecar

My New Gig: Head of Community At Sidecar

I posted my final pic of the Ferry Building from the Salesforce office yesterday – and people have been wondering where I’m going. You don’t have to wait too much longer!

Today I’m announcing that I’m joining Sidecar, (peer-to-peer ridesharing company, if you aren’t familiar) as Head of Community, where my mission will be to facilitate the awesomest community and the most engaging experience for Sidecar drivers. As with all community jobs, I’ll be there making sure that drivers feel supported and resourced, and are working with each other and with us to build a brighter future. But this particular opportunity is even more exciting: I’ll be working in a space that’s new to a lot of people – myself included. I’ll be one of the community practitioners that will define what community means in the peer-to-peer marketplace — where your community is your product, and your product is your community. Mind = blown!

Here are some reasons why I fell in love with this opportunity, and I’m literally on the edge of my seat until I officially start on Monday.

 

The Collaborative Economy is a movement
I believe that we are in the middle of a movement. Whether you define it as the Sharing Movement, Collaborative Consumption, or the larger Collaborative Economy, or in any other way — a couple of things are clear. People are sharing skills and assets, creating new things, learning from each other and financially benefitting from excess capacity and the shrinking world that puts anyone and anything at our fingertips. New business models are afoot that can benefit individuals and businesses that know what to do with it. Individuals are no longer waiting for governments and corporations to give them permission to create their financial circumstances. And people all over the world are becoming better and less wasteful consumers – because, let’s face it, we’ve only got this one planet. This is a movement – and a movement I want to be a part of.

 

It’s the natural evolution for community management
Using the words of John Hagel, some communities are Communities of Interest, and some are Communities of Action. All of this sharing, making and learning action needs a solid community platform – and a community manager to facilitate and make sure that the conditions are there for participants to trust each other and thrive. Jeremiah Owyang talks about “Motivate a marketplace” and “Provide a platform” as key imperatives for businesses in the Collaborative Economy – and I think the role of a community manager is evolving to accommodate these new models. And of course, I want to be at the forefront of that.

When your community is so deeply built into your product and your company’s DNA that it can’t exist without it – that’s the highest expression of community management as a discipline. This excites me terribly.

 

Sidecar embodies the principles of a community marketplace
When I was exploring companies in the space, I was really impressed by the vision Sidecar shared with me. Yesterday, the company launched its new marketplace that helps riders choose the car they want to ride, and drivers create the right experience at the corresponding price. This is a really important shift that takes peer-to-peer ridesharing from a commodity service to a true community-driven marketplace.

Fred Wilson blogged yesterday about his investment in Sidecar: “The human touch means not turning car owners who want to make a bit more money into limousine drivers. The human touch means allowing a driver to choose when and where they drive. The human touch means allowing drivers to market themselves in the app with a picture and a little bit about them and their car. The human touch means allowing the drivers to change their pricing whenever they feel like it.”

He nailed it – and I agree wholeheartedly. Where both sides of the marketplace get to choose, everybody wins.

Some companies are sales-driven, some are driven by product, and some are driven by community. These are the companies that motivate marketplaces. It is every community manager’s dream to work for a company for whom community is not just a silo on the side. Among its peer group, Sidecar is the one that demonstrates this commitment by building it into the product itself – and I’m thrilled to work for a company that “gets it.”

 

Slagle

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