Joel Spolsky webcast on creating Stack Overflow (with the goal of providing answers to professional programmers) using ideas from anthropology. Once again he provides great information. This is particularly interesting for software development but also just a good presentation for understanding the importance of customer focus and systems thinking.
What they focused on and did:
- Voting – Reddit… (see our management Reddit)
- Tags – lets you see what you want and to block tags you don’t want to see.
- Editing – letting users edit the questions and responses. For a technical question and answer system this is very useful (based on my experience).
- Badges – people like to earn “credit” (psychology)
- Karma – “people are willing to do for free what people are not willing to do for small amounts of money” (psychology)
- Pre-search – provide quick view of previously answered questions
- Google is UI – Assumption: “the front page is Google search” – build based on the idea people will search via Google
- Performance – 16 million pages a month with 2 web servers. They are using the Microsoft stack, not open source.
- Critical mass – they focused on getting a large user base on day one of the beta site