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Second annual Lithium customer conference

May 13, 2009

I’m all packed and ready to spend much of tomorrow crammed into baggage coach class as I travel to San Francisco to attend the second annual Lithium customer conference.   Lithium is a company I was introduced to back in January 2007, and after about nine months of competitive analysis, due diligence,  and presentations to multiple executives, we successfully launched our community on their SaaS platform.   

Nine months was an ironically appropriate amount of time because the launch was a lot like giving birth to a new entity that had been incubating for some time.   I remember the Saturday morning we took down the firewall and I paced around in anxious circles in my home office worrying needlessly over whether our customers would find us, join, and begin constructively participating.

Over thirty-eight thousand customers  later, I’m not worrying about people joining, nor am I worrying about participation with upwards of six figures worth of message posts and tens of millions of page views.     No, these days I’m concerned with keeping it running smoothly, on budget, and delivering value to both my employer and our customer base, our community members.

The Lithium technology is very solid, and I’m personally excited about the new version 9.X code and where the product and services road-map is headed.   In managing our community, I’ve been blessed with help from an exceptionally loyal and talented group of super users who moderate our community, and collectively provide about 30% of the solutions found in it.    This group of experienced professionals – many who moderate other communities for hobby or professionally have been a defining factor in our success.

Last year’s conference was eye opening for me – seeing presentations by my peers in many leading companies.  By mid morning of the first day, I learned I had a lot to learn.   I knew we had just scratched the surface, implementing perhaps 30% of the capabilities of the platform, and had yet to leverage any of the features to integrate with our other social and web properties.   Several clients showcased some uber slick integrations with sales site ratings,  videos and even an AI that parsed customer text questions and guided them around the community.  This year’s conference promises to be better still, with more clients, more successful strategies, and a technology road-map that is now demonstrable and open to exploration.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 13, 2009 11:27 am

    Enjoy yourself in San Francisco and congratulations on your second year running the Lenovo forum. It’s a massive success in my eyes.

  2. May 13, 2009 12:26 pm

    Thanks for the nice comments about the mod team, and enjoy the conference! Take good notes… 😉

  3. vijay permalink
    May 13, 2009 3:18 pm

    Interesting post….please post some photos of the meeting if you can in your blog 🙂

  4. May 13, 2009 5:06 pm

    Mark, we’re looking forward to seeing you and showing you some of our upcoming stuff. I hope you’ll see some of your influence in the designs!

  5. May 16, 2009 2:36 am

    This would have been an interesting conference to attend — almost a real-life Lithosphere of sorts. 😉

    Giving the forum an overhaul with Li9 should be a fun project.   I’m looking forward to pushing some pixels and hacking some style soon.

    Thanks for the kind words about the forum staff.   Jane definitely deserves a lot of credit here. 😀

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