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Aug 11, 2020

Vincent Boon is a giant in the community space. A natural community leader, Vincent initially saw the power of community when hundreds of people began to show up to learn to play poker at his meetup.

From there Vince went on to build pioneering communities in the gaming space, and create a fundamentally new model of community-powered business at GiffGaff. 

In this episode, Vince talks about his early days in the community space, what it was like to develop the GiffGaff model and his work as Co-Founder of Standing on Giants. We learn about Vincen't new company, Giants Technology. The second half of the podcast is devoted to a discussion about his recent article "Six Key Principles to Building Healthy & Positive Communities" 

Key Quotes:

Learning About Virtual Communities from In-Person Communities
"In my spare time, I set up the London poker meetup. That was to basically teach people the basics of playing poker. It started off with three other guys and eventually had about a hundred thousand people joining it. We were taking over complete pubs in London. Literally incredible and it was really fun.

As I was doing this I was also the working on a (video) game. I said to the team "look guys, we have a whole bunch of fans out there that I'm sure would be love to see early versions of our games. It was so long ago that they'd never done this before. So I convinced the team to say look, let's just do a closed beta. Test and get our customers to test the games. We started off with a couple of hundred people eventually that grew to about 20,000 people testing this one game. We started a bit of a community as well.

And these guys started building a lot off the leagues and the letters and newsletters and, you know, newspaper articles that could all be used within the game. So all of a sudden the game became a lot richer than it originally was intended. And, you know, when it launched, it was obviously an instant success because it already had a user base."

Building GiffGaff With the Customer Community
"We announced to the world "We're setting up this little MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator)and here is an idea of what we want to do. We want to run it with a community. We want to hear from people. We want to see what you guys have to say about what we're doing. And it started super simple.

We were also being very open about the fact that it's just a couple of people here and we're just setting up this service. If you've got any ideas, let us know obviously. When we were launching, as we were starting and plenty of things went wrong and we would just talk about that and you put that out there.

My view was always like, look, it's infinitely interesting.  Whatever it is that we're doing. That's why they're showing up."

The Current View of Customer Experience
At the moment I think customer experience is incredibly flat. I don't have any experience with a website and how I go through that. I understand the whole route and the need to make it easier for me to buy stuff. But it's not really an experience with the company. It's an experience of how I experienced that product. That's cool, but it's not an emotional experience. For me, an emotional experience happens on a basis where I actually am in contact with the company. And that's not at the moment I have a problem."

Resources From This Episode

Find Vincent online:
Vincent Boon on LinkedIn
@VincentBoon on Twitter
Giants Technology

Six Key Principles to Building Healthy & Positive Communities