From Blog To Forum

Over the past week, from Feb 9th to Feb 16th, this blog has been more of a forum than a traditional blog. Here's some stats:

Total Posts: 9
Total Comments Received: 672
Avg Comments/Post: 75
Unique Commenters: 314

What's most impressive to me is that these are not silly comments like LOL or you suck. These are well written, articulate, and informative comments. Many could be blog posts in their own right.

Take a look at the comments to my post yesterday on Apple and Flash. I got completely and totally trashed in that discussion and rightly so as I suggested that Flash is open, which it is not, and missed out on the trend toward HTML5 based solutions. But if you want an education on the future of streaming video and audio on the web, you'll get it in that comment thread. You'll also witness commenters calling me stupid and an idiot, which isn't fun to hear. But if you want a community, you have to have tough skin sometimes.

The discussion that ensued regarding my post on patent trolls is equally fascinating. Most of the comments were sympathetic with my views, but as usual, they added a lot to the discussion and I learned a lot from them. If you take the time to read them, you'll hear from the small inventors who would lose out if my suggestions were implemented and the victims of patent trolls who shed even more light on the problems that initiated my post.

But the post that generated the most comments this past week is the one where I outlined the kind of blogroll I'd like for this blog. That got 151 comments and turned into a live discussion of how one could build it and what it should do and how it should work. Even more impressive is I got somwhere around five live working versions of the blogroll that I am now testing.

I believe this community is one of the liveliest blog communities I know of. And it's come about for several reasons. First, being a VC investor is a huge advantage. Entrepreneurs flock here to get a sense of what I am thinking about. If I was just another tech pundit, this blog would not be the same. I realize that. But when you get thousands of web entrepreneurs reading this blog every day, you get magic.

Another reason is the disqus comment system. You all know that our firm is an investor in Disqus and I am biased. But I've used all of the comment systems out there. I leave about five or ten comments a day on blogs other than this one. There is no better system out there. I'll defend that statement until I am blue in the face. And you are seeing the power of the disqus system on this blog. It turns blogs into forums if you use it right.

The final reason is that I engage in the comments. Of those 672 comments, I bet 100 were mine. I don't reply to every comment, but I reply to many. And those replies start threads which are some of the best discussions of all in the comments.

All of this is fantastic for many reasons but there is one that stands out as the most valuable to me. It makes me a better investor. Kontra said this in his comment on the Apple/Flash thing:

Hopefully, you have people advising you on platform choices on a strategic level, going beyond press releases.

I do have people advising me. It's you. And thank you for doing such a damn good job of it.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]