Anyone who’s ever been involved in an online company, product, or service knows that community is vital to the success of your endeavor. You can just throw your work out there and hope that people will appreciate it – and some likely will – but when you involve your users and allow them to communicate with each other in a nice environment, then you’re creating relationships that will carry your brainchild forward for many years to come. The unfortunate thing is that while a lot of smaller companies are remembering who pays their bills, the leaders in the industry have a nasty habit of only thinking about the money that these people bring in. I’ll admit that it is easy to take cheap shots at Microsoft in a lot of ways, but the work that they’re doing to involve their users is no laughing matter. All you have to do is buzz into The Hive to see what I’m talking about.
This is a great place to have open conversations with both community leaders and Microsoft. All of this is done with the focus of generating new ideas and improving existing products. After all, they’re not going to know what to fix if we don’t tell them what’s broken, right? The typical community features are here, including forums, blogs, and galleries. Another huge plus to visiting The Hive is that you can now find videos of the action that took place at the last Gnomedex. If you weren’t able to go, these videos will give you a great look into what the conference is like, and will hopefully encourage you to jet out and join us at the next one.