Wisdom of Communities

Jim Coudal, Liz Danzico, Jane Mount & Derek Powazek

Communities are growing up all around us. As the concepts of “crowdsourcing” and “curating” become part of our vocabulary, how must designers thoughtfully consider their communities? Communities could once be defined by recognizable boundaries such as affiliations and locations, but what happens when a group grows up organically around something else? Jim Coudal leads a panel of online community veterans about curating for the wisdom of many inspiring communities, and how these communities parallel and challenge our notion of how groups and relationships form.

Jim Coudal is president of Coudal Partners, an advertising, design and interactive firm located in Chicago.

Liz Danzico is equal parts designer, educator and editor. She has organized information across a variety of industries, including retail, publishing, entertainment, nonprofit and financial services. She co-founded (with Steven Heller) and is chair of the MFA in Interaction Design Program at the School of Visual Arts. She is an independent consultant in New York and user experience consultant for Happy Cog, on the editorial board for Rosenfeld Media, and columnist for Interactions Magazine. Danzico has been managing editor for AIGA Voice, editor-in-chief for A Brief Message, editor-in-chief for Boxes and Arrows, board member of AIGA/NY, and an advisory board member of the Information Architecture Institute. In the past, Danzico directed experience strategy for AIGA, where she was responsible for the web presence and AIGA Press publications. She has directed the information architecture teams at Barnes & Noble.com and Razorfish New York.

Jane Mount is a product strategist, designer, entrepreneur and artist. She has co-founded several companies, exhibited work in various U.S. cities and been a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show. In 1995 Mount was the design director for the first advertising-supported webzine ever, Word.com, and in 1996 she co-founded two Internet start-ups, Concrete Media and Bolt.com. From 1997-2003 she served as the executive vice president of product development for Bolt.com, the first social networking site for teenagers. Mount oversaw the strategy, content, design, technology and community teams, and a vibrant community of over 9 million 15–24 year old members. Since then she has helped launch several other community-oriented internet start-ups, most recently Trusty's, where users can find and rate service providers, and SuperGlued, the place to share experiences after shows and concerts. Mount currently oversees user experience at 20x200, a Jen Bekman Project offering limited edition photography and fine art prints at ridiculously affordable prices. The 20x200 mission is “art for everyone,” and it benefits collectors both new and experienced as well as the artists whose work is offered.

Named one of the top 40 “Industry Influencers” of 2007 by Folio magazine, Derek Powazek has worked the web since 1995, at pioneering sites such as HotWired, Blogger and Technorati. He is the author of the book Design for Community: The Art of Connecting Real People in Virtual Places. He is the co-founder of JPG, the community-created photography magazine, and co-founder of 8020 Publishing, the company that grew out of that publication’s success. Powazek now splits his time between working as a consultant for HP Labs on MagCloud and editing Fray, the quarterly book of true stories and original art. Powazek lives in San Francisco with his wife, their two nutty Chihuahuas, a grumpy cat and a house full of plants named Fred.