I’m out in San Francisco at The Future of Web Apps conference – a reasonably priced conference with top name web technology speakers. It’s been enjoyable since I actually know a few people at it. In fact, one of the guys I had the pleasure to meet was Chris Schulz, president of Huckabuck, the meta search engine that was up for sale on eBay and that I wrote about a few weeks back.

I’m not really live-blogging this event, but here is an exerpt from Yahoo’s Tom Coates speach:

2 people and you put software between them, does it improve their communication and add value?

  • An individual should get value from their contribution (individual motives)
  • These contributors should provide value to their community of peers as well (social value)
  • The org that host sthe service should derive value as well. (business / organizational value)

Consensus – Many contributors make one voice
Generates canonical or definitive representations of data (ex: Wikipedia)

Polyphony – Many voices with emergent order
Generates lots of material, makes it comprehensible (ex: flickr)

Rather than thinking about what motivates people to contribute, think about what they’re trying to contribute:

  • Sharing without really knowing it
  • Saving for personal use (ex: delicious) – personal utility
  • Sharing with friends (ex: Digg)
  • Sharing with interest communities
  • Self-expression / showing off (ex: flickr and bloggers)
  • Altruism / good of the world

The motivations change upon the social context (individual vs public).

Tom’s a very smart guy. I ran into him at eTech as well, and was really impressed by this great session. Here’s a link to his blog: Plasticbag.org

I’ll post some more thoughts as I have time.