Li Jin @ljin18 Consumer investing @a16z. Beijing born + Midwest bred. MBA dropout. Alum: Product @shopkick, stats & English lit @Harvard. Lifelong artist. Loves tech & corgis. Oct. 23, 2019 1 min read

As consumers desire greater control over how they spend their attention, an emerging biz model will be paying for ongoing access to *people*--or what I’ll call “Community-as-a-Service.”

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There's now lots of subscription services for high-quality premium content (Substack for newsletters; Knowable & Luminary for audio, etc).

But for creators who lack the ability to sell something tangible, Community-as-a-Service enables monetizing *time* and *access*.

Examples of Communities-as-a-Service:

- Tools like InviteRobot & LaunchPass enable paid Slack groups
- Knowledge Planet in China allows KOLs to create paid groups & interact w/ subscribers
- Video games: people pay for status & attention in communities like Twitch, Fortnite, etc

The Community-as-a-Service model can combine paid subscriptions for access to the community itself, and tipping to express support/appreciation (including admins tipping community members for valuable contributions!).

Not every community can successfully charge for access.

The paid model works best when there's high intentionality (the community is a destination), desire for recognition within the community, peer-to-peer affinity & interactions, and potential for ongoing exchange of value.

For fans, the value prop is meaningful conversations and connection with each other and deeper engagement w/ someone they have affinity for.

For creators, the benefit is being able to earn money and engage with fans, without having to produce something.

Deeper trends driving this:

- Creators have amassed audiences but lack ways to monetize it in a value-aligned way (not ads)
- Desire for creators to own user relationships directly
- Move towards curated micro-communities
- Value of experience over things


You can follow @ljin18.



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