So the mini-bar in my Las Vegas hotel room is demonic. When I checked in the front desk lady told me that “if you lift something in the refrigerator or the rack your account will be charged automatically.”

Actually, if I lift something for more than 45 seconds my account will get charged. That is sinister.

Like all mini-bars, this one is home to the 6.78 ounce bottle of four-dollar Coke which absolutely-positively cannot be replaced with an off-site, less expensive alternative. It is also home to a $12 box of cashews — which one would need to be … nuts [rimshot] to lift out of the rack.

There is a $15 disposable camera, and a “martini set” for $8 (I imagine you get one olive and a spear), but the winner is …

The $25 “Intimacy Kit.”

I fear the “Intimacy Kit.” It is a white box with three lipstick kisses on it. What lies within? There is no information on the box and I sure as hell am not going to pick it up to trigger the magic sensor that will put a blinking $25 charge on my room bill that I would have to explain to accounting. The $14 first aid kit one can justify on grounds of an emergency: “I cut my jugular shaving and needed to stop myself from desanguinating.”

But a $25 Intimacy Kit? What excuse do you dream up for that one? “I was lonely. I needed a hug…..”

This blogger also got an Intimacy Kit, but it in a clear box with a table of contents. Mine is more mysterious.

Community 2.0 Conference Las Vegas 3.13

Shawn Gold, CMO of MySpace, is on stage talking about the MySpace phenomenon. I go on at 1:45 to talk about “lessons from the trenches” from a corporate point of view.

I can’t put my finger on it, but the term “community” hasn’t sat well for me since a Jerry Michalski retreat in 1995 when one woman said the word made her think of community gardens, hemp clothing, and socialism. Indeed, “social” came along in Web 2.0 and things like MySpace and LinkedIn are cited as embodiments of the concept. I don’t know why it doesn’t sit well. John Bell cites David Weinberger’s redefinition last week in San Francisco: something to the effect that communities are places where people care more than is normal about something. [I need to find the backchannel transcript for the accurate quote, it’s lost somewhere in Google Reader].

Found it thanks to Lee LeFever by way of Chris Heuer’s post at the Future of Communities : Weinberger said: “I want it to mean a group of people who care about one another more than they have to.”

Back to Shawn Gold — basically a history of MySpace — I don’t have an accurate read on the audience as I missed yesterday and have yet to hear any questions, but the participant roster shows a heavy dose of corporate attendees from the likes of Microsoft, Levi Strauss, PetSmart, State Street, etc. etc. and few community vendors — so Shawn is giving a good backgrounder on what is erroneously assumed to be a teenager phenomenon.

“MySpace made it a great time to be lonely on the internet,” Gold.

“Digital cameras changed the face of self-expression on the Internet.” Gold

Chris Heuer — he of the Social Media Club — just introduced himself and asked me to define “community 2.0” into his podcast capture device. I babbled I fear.

This place is packed. I just turned around and nearly every seat is taken. 500 people? I stink at crowd estimates.

Max Kalehoff just nailed it — communities represent the most loyal customers around a brand yet those customers are generally served by service organizations judged on how fast they can spin people “through the revolving door.”

Community ROI track

I am such a metrics geek, therefore I am listening to metrics and roi.
Matthew Lees from the Patricia Seybold Group is presenting on ROI and metrics — topics dear to my heart. Smart presentation where he lays out some good, sensible KPIs to follow. He cites Cingular, which is a case example I am fond of.

Thanks to Lee LeFever for pointing me at the backchannel transcript noted above.

Bill Johnston, from Forum One Communications, is presenting on Autodesk’s approach to community/forum metrics. Interesting hybrid of quantitative and qualitative analysis with moderators tagging and scoring threads and resolution. He is a Hitbox guy. Interesting how he used Hitbox to count stuff like signups, referrals, posts, comments, tagging, networks and tag clouds — all great manifestations of engagement (citing a community site called Area which featured users creative efforts). Zero to 100,000 members (not users) in nine months.

“As we were able to communicate value we were able to convince stakeholders to write us bigger and bigger checks.”

Anders Nancke-Krogh from Nokia is presenting. He heads the online gaming community N-Gage.

Great Q&A on the topic. I am dying to ask a question about blog metrics, most of the discussion has been about forum measurement and business metrics. Looks like I won’t get a shot — want to know what these guys think are the KPIs for blogs.

Size of community and activity of community are key to Anders. I call these “gross tonnage” metrics. Innovation coming from the community — that’s a provocative KPI to say the least.

Customer “Self” Service

An area close to my priorities — Patricia Seybold and Scott Wilder from Intuit talking about the creation of self-service communities.

Intuit has their act together in a major way. I was just on a panel with George Jaquette, and Wilder confirms Intuit is doing customer community the right way with a big commitment.

Have to cut things short to get on the phone with Asia. Good conference.

Xeno is in the comments

Whoa, one of the gods of the single scull, Xeno Mueller, gold medalist in the 1996 Olympic games is in the comments of my erg blogging post.

I actually met him, for about a minute, at the boathouse at Newport Beach, California when I was rowing out of there in the winter of 2003-2004. He runs an erg training service out of a Costa Mesa storefront and is an inspiration to a lot of indoor rowers.

His blog is here.

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