Why You Should Befriend Your Competitors

In May of 2001, I launched a martial arts community with a focus on respectful discussion and a generally family friendly atmosphere. The very next month, Bob Hubbard did the exact same thing. From an outward perspective, you might label us competitors and expect us to dislike each other.

But we developed a friendship based upon mutual respect, which allowed us to compare notes and share knowledge around common challenges. On this episode, we discuss the benefits of being friendly with those managing “competing” communities. Plus:

  • Community “brigading,” or coordinated attacks meant to disrupt an online community
  • The threats that we received running communities where, more often than not, the members have been taught a form of physical combat
  • How Bob approached selling his forum

Big Quotes

“If you make people choose, they won’t choose you. That’s always been my thought process. For instance, with my moderators and staff members, there’s no loyalty pledge – to borrow a phrase that’s really out there right now thanks to our president. There’s no loyalty pledge for joining my staff as a moderator.” -@patrickokeefe

“I always tried to put MartialTalk on the mindset of you’ve just had a really good seminar, now you’re in the lobby of the school. You’re putting your gear away, and you’re shooting the breeze with everybody about what went on and what you’re going to do next. As opposed to some forums that had the attitude of no chit chat, just keep it right on topic. You couldn’t deviate.” -Bob Hubbard

“My own instructor got suspended [from my community] once or twice. It’s like, ‘Just because he’s the guy holding a belt rank in front of me doesn’t mean we’re going to give him a pass on behavior.'” -Bob Hubbard

About Bob Hubbard

Bob Hubbard is a photographer in Buffalo, New York. A native of Western New York, he speaks fluent chicken wing, beef on weck and sponge candy. He has a background is game development, programming and BBSs. Bob started moderating dial up BBSs in the late 80s and writing war games and RPG’s on the Commodore 64. In the late 90s, he transitioned to web design and launched his first web forum in 2000. A small locally-focused martial arts community on a hosted platform, it failed due in part to bad software and poor promotion. In the summer of 2001, he launched MartialTalk.com, and so began a 13 year journey in community building and forum management.

Related Links

This is a partial list of links from the show. This list will be updated to be complete once we have completed our transcript.


Your Thoughts

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