Friday, October 30, 2009

Twitter Lists 101: Etiquette & Strategies

Like Twitter itself, there is no right or wrong way to use Twitter Lists. But there are some basic rules of etiquette along with some strategies that I've observed in the week I've been playing around with them.

Parameters of Lists:
Etiquette: Currently, Twitter is allotting users 20 lists with a maximum of 500 persons per LIst. This initially seems like ample space but once you get into the process of creating Lists, you might find yourself hitting the limits. It's unknown whether Twitter will eventually offer users the ability to create more or larger Lists.

Strategy: Play around with Lists. Create some and delete the ones that you find aren't useful. For example, I was initially creating geographic Lists but I found that some Lists only had a dozen or fewer names on them and I wasn't going to be looking at them very often. So, I deleted them and created a few topical lists that would provide more value to me.

Public & Private
Etiquette: You have the option to make your Lists public or private. If you create a Private List, the people who are on it will not be informed or aware of their presence on it. You may want to keep Lists of family, closest friends, or people you despise private if you are concerned with revealing too much about your personal life or offending or embarrassing others.

Strategy: I've started to keep Lists I'm still in the process of building private and when I think they are finished, I've changed their status to public. Remember, through the Edit feature, you can always make a public List, private and vice versa.

Following vs. Lists:
Etiquette: Unlike Following, Twitterers don't assume Lists are reciprocal. Because each user has their own rationale for creating lists (friends, colleagues, news feeds, celebrities, etc.), it's not expected that you will put everyone you follow on a List or that people you put on to a List will somehow have a List that you will be appropriate for.

Strategy: There are always some people who you follow who will never follow you back. They could be celebrities, high profile Twitterers or just be highly selective about who they follow. So, it's impossible to create the kind of reciprocal friendship that many people seek in social networking. I've found one strategy is to stop following those users and put them on a List instead. This lightens the load on my Tweetstream but means I can still click on the List and see what they are up to.

What's in a Name?
Etiquette: You're not allowed many characters when you name a List so you should give your Lists names that concisely sum up the rationale for including people on them. Examples might be Journalists, Friends, Web Designers, Music, Chicago, People I've Met or Conference Presenters. However, putting together a List of celebrities or high profile Twitterers and naming it My Friends will make you look delusional! You can use Lists titled Most Influential or Thought Leaders to flatter popular people but considering the hundreds of Lists some of them are on, your effort is likely to go unnoticed.

Strategy: One way you can make your List memorable is to give it a descriptive but interesting name. List names like Argumentative, People Who Owe Me Money, All the Geeky Ladies, and The South: Tech Scene give you an idea of why individuals are on a List but distinguish your List from the generic titles most Lists are given. Names that are too obscure (People From That Dinner) mean that the List will only be of use to you. Through the Edit option, you can rename your List whenever you choose.

Good Lists & Bad Lists
Etiquette: So far, most Lists I've seen have been complimentary and are composed of people the Twitterer admires or considers friends. But Lists are neutral tools and can be used to highlight enemies as well as friends.

Strategy: If you find yourself on a List with an uncomplimentary name (Douchebags) you can block the List creator and you will find yourself removed from the List. Of course, this only works for Lists that are public as you are not informed of your presence on an individual's private List.

Personal or Shared?
Etiquette: I've seen some speculation that how many Lists an individual is on will be the new sign of popularity rather than how many Followers a user has. However, considering how easily this feature can be manipulated--an Twitterer creating dozens of bogus accounts & Lists that include them--, having a high List count is not necessarily a sign of quality.

Strategy: A better strategy than trying to be placed on a lot of Lists is to create truly memorable Lists and have people follow them. Instead of considering your Lists to be an address book of your friends, create one or two Lists that reveal your deep knowledge of a field. For example, I saw an awesome Music List of 500 Indie musical artists & labels that I could never reproduce myself. Following other people's well-crafted Lists not only exposes you to users you'd never otherwise have heard of but is a compliment to the Twitterer who spend the time & effort putting a dynamic List together.

Reources: If you have an amazing List you've created & want to share or you are looking for other great Lists you want to check out, go to Listorious, a directory of Twitter Lists. There will undoubtedly be other tools that arise in the coming weeks but Listorious does a great job, acting as a WeFollow for Lists and allowing people to check out the most popular lists as well as contribute their own. I highly recommend checking out their tags for Lists that might be of interest to you.

What amazing Lists have you come across that you'd like to recommend?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


To recap, over the past 3 weeks I've introduced you to my 10 HOT TOP PROVEN STRATEGIES & SECRETS HOW TO BE A TWITTER ELITE! ™ system and showed you Step 1 (Never Tweet!) and Step 2 (Follow No One!) that can help you become a hot, top Twitterer.

This is the 3rd of 10 consecutive Tuesdays on which I'm going to release one of the Twitter Strategies & Secrets that the Twitter Elite don't want you to know. I will provide you with some truly profound advice, and also with examples taken from the ranks of the Most Followed Twitter Users to scientifically back up my points.

So, here is the Proven Strategy & Secret to be a Top Twitterer #3

3) Impersonate a celebrity. It helps if they aren't on Twitter but it doesn't really matter if they are or not. You can even impersonate the President.

Now, at first, this might seem counter-intuitive. "What are you talking about, Liz?", you say. "Won't people be able to tell that I'm not a Hollywood or media celebrity? I don't know anything about their lives." How very, very wrong you are.

With a little bit of effort, you can try to capture the "voice" of celebrity but it really doesn't matter. People will follow you because you have a celebrity name on your account, not because you are who you say you are or have anything interesting to say. Or not say...because some people will follow celebrity accounts who don't even Tweet. You don't even have to be able to spell the celebrity's name correctly!
But doesn't Twitter have a policy of suspending accounts that impersonate people," you ask. Policy, schmolicy. Yes, there are accounts that masquerade as celebrities which are suspended but Twitter only investigates these faux accounts if the real person complains about them.

Since there are still some high profile people who don't know or don't care about Twitter (I know, I'm shocked too), it is unlikely that they will ever know you exist or care enough to complain to Twitter. And, as you will see, some of these people who are already on Twitter don't seem to mind if you post under their name!
But, if you are afraid of running afoul of Twitter HQ, you can always go the route of the very popular @NotTinaFey and just openly declare yourself an doesn't always seem to register with people who simply want to believe it is really a celebrity they are following.

Scientific Proof? Look at these very popular, HOT, TOP Twitter accounts who have racked up hundreds, no, thousands of followers:

Real account: @BarackObama 2,522,583 Followers
Fake account: @Barak_Obama 73,342 Followers

Real account: @50Cent 1,857,809 Followers
Fake account: @50_Cent 53,856 Followers

Real account: @StephenAtHome 1,156,189 Followers
Fake account: @StephenColbert 373, 808 Followers
Fake account: @StephenTColbert 94,115 Followers

Real account: @DDLovato 1,073,497 Followers
Fake account: @TheRealDemi 64,650 Followers

Real account: @SevinNyne6126 376,628 Followers
Fake account: @LindsayLohan 95,973 Followers

Real account: @RichardBranson 187,651 Followers
Fake account: @SirDickBranson 47,389 Followers

Real (?) account: @Rihanna 85,784 Followers
Fake account: @Rihanna_ 63,643 Followers

Real (?) account: @DanRadcliffe22 60,266 Followers
Fake account: @DanielRadcliffe 44,598 Followers

Just plain fakes:
@Beyonce 391,624 Followers
@NotTinaFey 388,270 Followers
@AdamSandler 203,128 Followers
@JenifferAniston 117,979 Followers
@RoGiddy 107,515 Followers (Seth Rogan)
@Timbaland 101,621 Followers
@Rachel_Bilson 94,227 Followers
@RealZacEfron 84,840 Followers
@ImMKOlsen 83,647 Followers (Mary-Kate Olsen)
@JohnnyDepp 79,178 Followers
@Beckham 79,043 Followers
@Rupert_Grint 71,737 Followers
@IAmKelis 65,890 Followers
@Michael_Cera 55,432 Followers
@GwenStefani 53,142 Followers

An all too common assumption that newcomers to Twitter have is that people care if a celebrity is real or fake. They don't. They just like to believe they are getting messages from famous people who matter. It's like finding a cupcake in your mailbox.

"But," you ask, "what about my 'personal brand'? What about my own identity?" Well, you can try what others have done and build up a fake account and then change the user account to your own name or company. This happened with mixed results with the following accounts this year:

@Michael_Phelps>@Lysted (suspended)
@Vanessa_Hudgens>@NewYorkCityPR (still active)
@BinboaUSAVodka>@EBayAuctionSave (still active)

Who knows? Your phony @RobertPattinson username could be your ticket to a million follower account!
Keep checking each Tuesday as I continue to reveal one of Hot Top Proven Strategies & Secrets On How To Be A Twitter Elite!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


To recap, last week I introduced you to my 10 HOT TOP PROVEN STRATEGIES & SECRETS HOW TO BE A TWITTER ELITE! ™ system and showed you Step 1 of how you can be a hot, top Twitterer.

This is the 2nd of 10 consecutive Tuesdays on which I'm going to release one of the Twitter Strategies & Secrets that the Twitter Elite don't want you to know. I will provide you with some truly profound advice, and also examples from taken from the ranks of the Most Followed Twitter Users to scientifically back up my points.

Last week I showed how you can be popular by creating an account and not sending out any Tweets and how this strategy has worked for some of the most popular users on Twitter. But, most likely, you have already started Tweeting and, unfortunately, can't take advantage of all of the benefits of Step 1 of my program.

No worries! While not every one of the Steps will apply to your situation, I'm kind of fairly sure (well, 50/50) that you'll be able to use at least 1 of the 10 secrets I will reveal over the coming weeks.

So, here is the Proven Strategy & Secret to be a Top Twitterer #2

2) Don't follow anyone. Not your best friend, your mother, your co-workers, your favorite blogger or blog, a celebrity, your fans or customers...FOLLOW NO ONE BACK.

Now, at first, this might seem counter-intuitive. "What are you talking about, Liz?", you say. "Isn't Twitter a social network and isn't the basis of every social network is the ties of relationship you create and maintain?" How very, very wrong you are.

Twitter's founders have repeatedly insisted that Twitter is NOT a social network but a communications platform. And what is more important than telling other people what you are doing and thinking? You are the center of your world and you don't have time to be interrupted by the random thoughts and acts of other people. Who cares what everyone had for lunch when you have your own lunch to talk about?

"But by unfollowing all of the people I know & admire," you ask, "aren't I, in fact, telling them I'm not interested in their lives?" Yes, I suppose that an oversensitive person might take it that way. But true friends know that you don't have time to care about their little problems and if they do get upset--as some people who recently mass-unfollowed people have mentioned--then they really only cared about the influence that you following them lent them. Your following shined light on to their accounts when the spotlight rightly belongs on YOU.

Scientific Proof? Look at these very popular, HOT, TOP Twitter accounts who have racked up hundreds, thousands, in some cases, millions of followers without caring one bit what other people have to say:

@WomensWearDaily 1,340,663 Followers
@YouLookGreat 1,1441,466 Followers
@StephenAtHome 1,133,901 Followers
@ManoMenezes 1,091,765 Followers
@AstrobiologyNAI 840,290 Followers
@Defamer 497,511 Followers
@RevRunWisdom 386,679 Followers
@UWBCI 337,631 Followers
@Eminem 336,518 Followers
@Phillies 313,360 Followers
@Fun140 285,623 Followers
@PigeonPoll 224,152 Followers
@OfficialKathyG 205,516 Followers
@Karl_Lagerfeld 129,933 Followers
@Marcelo_Adnet 124,921 Followers
@CrissAngel 120,376 Followers
@JenifferAniston 117,197 Followers
@GabrielSaporta 94,056 Followers
@Muse 91,141 Followers
@PaniconaTV 89,831 Followers
@_Maxwell_ 86,214 Followers
@RealZacEfron 83,382 Followers
@TomDeLonge 83,227 Followers
@JohnnyDepp 78,382 Followers
@Beckham 78,115 Followers
@VirSanghvi 73,230 Followers
@Barak_Obama 72,764 Followers
@JK_Rowling 71,739 Followers
@Twitition 70,825 Followers
@Rihanna 69,247 Followers
@Rihanna_ 63,216 Followers
@SternShow 61,615 Followers
@ChrisBrownFan 57,339 Followers
@BBCWorld 56,063 Followers
@GwenStefani 52,659 Followers
@Limbaugh 50,584 Followers

As you can see, Step 2 is practiced even more widely than Step 1 and some accounts--like @JenifferAniston, @Barak_Obama, @ChrisBrownFan, and @Limbaugh--smartly combine Steps 1 and 2 to have an account that both says nothing and follows no one! Now, who could resist following an account like that?

An all too common assumption that newcomers to Twitter have is that you are supposed to read other people's messages to you and respond to them. But you, like these other celebrities, celebrity impersonators, agencies, companies & sports teams, are too important to waste time caring what other people, fans, or customers think. And, to be frank, is what they have to say really that interesting? I think not...yawn!

If it's really important, they can email or call you. As Twitter's Biz Stone himself said, "I don’t think of Twitter as a social network. I think of it as a messaging system that has a lot of social components to it." Twitter exists for you send messages to other people, receiving messages from other people just slows the entire system down. Think about it.
Keep checking each Tuesday as I continue to reveal one of 10 Hot Top Proven Strategies & Secrets On How To Be A Twitter Elite!™ I welcome your comments about the success these strategies have brought you although I may not have the time to read them.

P.S. My original version of Step 2 included the @JonasBrothers but 11 hours ago, they added their very 1st follower, @HHMasterMinds. After this misstep, I expect their Follower number to plummet.

It doesn't matter that it is a second account they created for themselves after creating a spectacularly lame video called "Bounce". They should have follow my win-win program and kept their career going strong. We can only wonder how big their Following might have been if they had exercised a bit more self-control. Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


You know, gentle readers, I've been working with the Top 1000 Twitter lists on & off for six months now, charting growth rates, looking at who's in and who's out, finding out who bought their Twitter account from who, examining all sorts of parameters on what it takes to be in the top ranks of Twitter users.

But aside from a few public presentations, what has come of all of this time & effort? I've selfishly been merely satisfying my curiosity on how social networks evolve & grow. But now the time has come to respond to the annoying and persistent pleas of my fans and share from the vast fount of knowledge which is my brain. Time to crack open my skull and accept that I am a Twitter Social Analysis Gurina™ (April-October 2009 limited) & tell you what I've learned.

I could charge as much as $1249 for this information but, for a limited amount of time, I'm giving these strategies & secrets away, that's 100% FREE! The "catch" is you can only read each blog entry up to 26 times before you'll be prevented from reading it. So, take lots of notes before your access to this blog expires.

Today and each of the next nine Tuesdays, I'm going to release one of the Twitter Strategies & Secrets that the Twitter Elite don't want you to know, how they got to be in the ranks of the Top 1000 Twitter Users and how you can be, too.

you ask, "why don't you tell me them all 10 secrets & strategies right now?" Well, that is simply is because I only have 6 secrets at the moment and people are more interested in lists of 10. The other 4 secrets will occur to me by mid-November. But I promise you, as an acknowledged expert in Twitterology™, along with some truly profound advice, I will provide you with examples to scientifically back up my points.

The most obvious way to be a Top Twitterer is to be on the Twitter Suggested User list but we've already talked about that in other posts on this blog so considered that a bonus (no charge).

Here is the Proven Strategy & Secret to be a Top Twitterer #1

1) Don't Tweet. Ever. Not even once.

Now, at first, this might seem counter-intuitive. "What are you talking about, Liz?", you say. "How can anyone know how smart, sexy & charismatic I am if I don't tell them?" How very, very wrong you are.

Instead of telling people what you're thinking & doing, work on cultivating a sense of mystery about yourself by revealing nothing at all. People will be drawn to you and will follow you, waiting with anticipation for the moment when you talk and tell them who the hell you are.

This endless waiting period will be delightfully excruciating for your followers and for most of you because you like to talk about yourselves, but it is important that you don't ever Tweet--not about your day, your recent engagement, your accomplishments at work, how AT&T sucks, how much you want the Jonas Brothers to tour Brazil--or the mystery surrounding you will be shattered and you will be immediately unfollowed.

Scientific Proof? Look at these very popular, HOT, TOP Twitter accounts who have racked up followers without speaking one word:

@Beyonce 372,837 Followers
@JenifferAniston 115,431 Followers
@Rachel_Bilson 93,201 Followers
@TomHanks 80,665 Followers
@Besserwerber 76,719 Followers
@Barak_Obama 71504 Followers
@ChrisBrownFan 55,163 Followers
@Limbaugh 49,592 Followers

An all too common assumption that newcomers to Twitter have is that people want to hear what you think. They don't. They just like to follow as many people as possible. And, as you see above, it doesn't even matter if you don't know how to spell your name.
This strategy, along with the BONUS tip of getting yourself on Twitter's Suggested User List (it helps to ask nicely and send Twitter staff regular Tweet requests, say, hourly), will help you get your start to amassing tons & tons of Twitter followers.

Keep checking each Tuesday as I continue to reveal one of 10 Hot Top Proven Strategies & Secrets On How To Be A Twitter Elite!
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Friday, October 09, 2009

Clay Shirky Yahoo! Open Hack NYC 2009 Keynote

I have to preface these notes by saying two things:

1) 75% of this content is from Clay Shirky, 5% is from Tweets by other listeners, and 20% is my contribution, smoothing out sentence fragments and organizing comments into paragraphs. None of these comments should be quoted as coming directly from Mr. Shirky as I'm sure, as all presentations do, his verbal presentation veered away from what the thoughts he'd choose to distribute in writing. Make sense?

2) I got the narrative gist of his presentation but I missed a lot of coding language and proper names of people who are connected to the projects mentioned. Maybe you can supply the pertinent names (with accurate spellings) in the comments. Thanks!


CS shows Wikipedia's Dr. Who page. It has 8851 edits by 3311 contributors which should work out to about 2.67 edits/person. But, no! 2200 people made one edit (long tail) while one person, khaosworks made 965 edits. Wikis aren't just about attracting the obsessives (like khaosworks) and aggregating small contributors but getting the "actives" & long flat tail working together.

Communication networks have changed the ecosystem. Old communication networks had center/ "management" surrounded by correspondents (like a clock face or hub). People have relationships from periphery to the center. Now, people can talk to each other without going through a hub/center.There are a lot more interconnecting lines between people than lines to hub (Me: What does this mean for education?)

Question: When & who gets to speak in public? The only thing that holds participation together is culture (big circle encompassing entire network). You can't extend management to the edge of the periphery any more.

Example: A user named "GnarlyKitty" with a blog ( CS talked about mundane nature of some of her posts (fishing, fashion, etc.). Why would anyone bother to publish this blog? Answer: It's not for YOU, it's for HER network. Another example, teenage cliques at the mall. What they doing there? It doesn't matter if it makes sense to you, you're the outsider to the group.

Now, sharing in a friendship circle has gone public, is online. There is a low entry cost. There is some generational confusion: we're not used to seeing items IN public but not FOR public. Previously, personal things were private (among friends, family). Public stage was for extrinsic motivation (for money, politics, the state, etc.). The cost of making things public was so high, it kept things extrinsic. Now the personal can have a public action.

Development on GnarlyKitty's blog: Thai coup happens. GK takes photos. Government shuts down traditional media. GK posts photos and Global Voices picks them up & reposts them. Lots of comments made to her blog and GK. GK is not a journalist but "has committed an act of journalism."

Then GK posts a blog entry on a Hello Kitty phone she wanted. Readers complained, "What about the coup?!" In entry called "Life like this" (Sept. 24, 2006), GK stated, "This is MY blog. If you don't want to read it, leave." No traditional media outlet would ask readers to leave. But GK doesn't have to serve all possible readers. However if she was a professional, the photos would never have been posted in the first place!

We are used to clear division between important/trivial, politics/personal stuff. Divisions are not as clear cut any more. The ability to play around with categories and make use of them when the time has come is a huge shift. We can see amateurs creating things in public. But WHY are people doing this though, why are they sharing all of this information and opinions? This is a harder question to answer.

Example: A photo of a model Taj Mahal...rebuilt four times in Lego. All by the same guy, a math teacher from Cleveland. First he built his own house from some architectural plans then took on reproducing the Taj Mahal. He even added the reflecting pool, an image of Taj Mahal as reflected by water.

What's going on here? People have had hobbies for years. When you have a hobby you can do it on your own. There are personal, intrinsic, internal motivations. The appeal? Autonomy. Competence ("I nailed it!")

Something is different now. People have always had hobbies but they are now more visible. What changed for this user? Website MOCPages (My Own Creation,, a place to show off your Lego creations ("the Lego community"). Social motivations become important. "I'm not alone, there are others with the same interest." There is a feeling of membership, as a social motivation, across many more types of groups now.

They allow for sharing & generosity. It's not just, "I'm good, I'm better than you!" But, "Here's what I did and this is how you can do it!" We start to learn from each other, combine each other's work. A group will create better products than individuals working alone.

There's a risk though. You think, "I can get this all for free!" But this isn't techno-determinism. You don't just get the culture because you have the tools, sometimes you get the culture totally wrong.

Example: Deterrence theory. The idea is, if you attach a punishment to a behavior the behavior will decrease. Remove the punishment, behavior increases. Situation: A child care center and tension centering around late-coming parents and pick-up times. Center: "We're going to add a fine if you're late picking up child." Effect of fine? Late pick-ups skyrocket! Parent:"It only costs $ to be able to pick up my kid late? That's great!"

Previously, there was an incomplete contract, the agreement between the two parties wasn't specified. There were no well-known sanction for breaking rules. A few late pickups were acceptable. By moving to a specified contact (market motivations), it creates a different culture.

"Making explicit the incomplete contract destroys the pre-existing cultural contract." Financial transactions are different kinds of transactions. You send flowers to your girlfriend, not the money that the flowers cost you!

So after a few months, the experiment is over. The center removed fines. But the culture didn't change back. You can alter a culture by changing the way individuals think about each other. Unspecified rules worked better in this situation than an entirely rule-bound culture. Once it switched, it didn't switch back even when deterrents were removed.

Example: Photo of enormous first model of Xerox laser printer which went to MIT. Unfortunately, they wanted but couldn't change the source code on the computer. MIT philosophy: Why solve a problem in 2 days when you can take 20 years and solve a whole class of problems? This lead to the GPL (General Public License):

Four freedoms every user should have, the freedom

  • 0) use the software for any purpose,
  • 1) change the software to suit your needs,
  • 2) share the software with your friends and neighbors, and,
  • 3) share the changes you make

This didn't work at first. Not much came out of it, program-wise, except a change in the way people thought about software development.

Linux proved that you can be a tiny (12 programmers) communication network and be global at the same time. The way the project originally managed the kernel, they'd mail changes to each other. Then they switched to Bit Keeper, the first version control system that mapped well to open source culture. Now, everyone can have everything all of the time and integration can be dealt with later.

A tiny downside: BitKeeper itself wasn't open source. One member engineered a work around and was called a hacker. The system was taken away.

Members looked around at options. Nothing suited them. They went back to mailing around each change. They decided they'd rather have good community and crappy technology than the other way around. Later, Git Data Transport Commands was created. Technology needs to be built from the ground up, beginning with the community's needs.

Culture is a huge thing to be worried about. What do you need for a healthy community? Many definitions and guides to what is necessary for a healthy community but no list covers all cases. For every rule, there are exceptions.

CS's classroom experience: Current students think were some technology was inevitable (open source, the web) when they actually were contingent, people were not sure they'd work out.

Messages sent out by creators when systems were being created:

Linux: "I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby)..I'd like to know what features most people would want." He didn't think it would work on any computer but his own.

Wikipedia: "Humor me. Go there and add a little article. It will take all of five or ten minutes."

Only one universal about kind of environment that promote community:

Rule: Start small. Any participatory community started small & good rather than aiming for large & lousy. It is much easier to grow big than to get better. All of these examples were trivial for a long time. By the time people began to take them seriously and their value becomes apparent, their cultural history has a solidity.

Twitter: "I want to have a dispatch service that connects on our phones using text."

Create a simple social model & let it spread. Twitter didn't start, "I want to influence the Iranian election." No, it was "let's try this and see what happens." This is hack culture.

Hack culture: Work on intrinsic motivations which are great & necessary. But now the social motivations, membership & sharing, have accelerated what is possible. A communications landscape allows you to start small and eventually become big. And we're still figuring it out.

The invitation has to be there. How will I invite people to participate? Raise the stakes of the promise, a visible next step in the process keeps things moving forward. "Make plausible promises in a culture of generosity." A participatory culture.

It's important to scale organically and not too fast. The more important the connections are, the more you have to slow down growth and have to manage rates of growth. Starting small and later getting bigger doesn't run into any limits to eventually becoming global.

Question & Answer:
Mine: How do you convert a dominating person in a group into a collaborative leader?

The people in control of the important choices have to be concerned with the success of the overall idea. Sometimes you have to protect yourself (when you're small) from overbearing voices. Examples: Popular blog was getting over run with blog comments. Shut down comments and slowly grew to the size where they could hire comment managers once they were bigger.

You can't rely on the domineering personality to change. You need to start with a small group of collaborators at the center (the core) and integrate the dominating personality. It is fatal if that person is in control because they don't listen to others or pay attention to a changing marketplace. Their competition will step in and scoop up their growth.

Example: Death of Friendster is an example. People were playing around with the system but the company chair couldn't divorce what he wanted the culture to be & manage his own desires to adapt to where the users wanted to go.

That's it!