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On Responding Quickly To Customers

When I wrote my last post, which hit the front page of HackerNews, I wanted to see what the HNers would see. So I cleared my cookies, logged out, and navigated over to IllestRhyme. When I got there, something caught my eye:

{% img http://www.illestrhyme.com:8080/images/chat.jpg %}

It's normal for me to be talking to users, and normal for me to be responding to requests from users. If this isn't normal for you, it should be. Part of the reason IllestRhyme has a community feel is that the users get the sense that their requests don't go off into the ether. I'm hanging around, reading their emails, forum posts, and chat transcripts. If they suggest something, I almost always implement it. What's more, they are rewarded for their suggestion through Rep points, which tracks reputation on the site.

I love the size of the site as it is right now. Sure, I want the number of users to explode, but with about 150 users, I know all of them, talk to them frequently, and have a general idea of the type of user they are (power, casual, etc).

The number of users on the site may go up, but my interaction with them won't end. My first hire would ideally be a community rep. I can take care of the programming and marketing, but I never want my users to feel like they don't have my ear.

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