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Screen shot 2010-09-13 at 9.17.45 AMHave you ever typed keyboard characters and had them magically turn into an emoticon?  Like "colon + end parenthesis" turns into ?  It’s one of those little daily miracles that pass by unnoticed---we almost take it for granted now, but 10 years ago, that was pretty cool.  We call those emoticons “Graemlins,” named after the member of our online community who suggested them.  His name is Graeme, and it was his birthday a couple of days ago.    Happy birthday Graeme!

There are lots of buzzwords going around now about Customer Support Communities, Customer Relationship Management, etc., but when it gets down to it, you need to give your community a way of collaborating with you on your product or service.  It could be in the form of feedback, suggestions, complaints (yes, sometimes these result in improvements too), and compliments.  Starbucks does an excellent job of this with their customer community---My Starbucks Idea.

But beyond being good business practice, something magical happens when you allow customers and community members to join your internal development team.  They become personally invested in your success.  As with any relationship, if they feel listened to, included, and “insidery,” (I just made that word up, feel free to use it) then the bond is strengthened in an amazing way.

There’s only one Graeme, but we’re always looking for the next Graeme.  If you have an idea, suggestion, or improvement for us, please come on over to We’re always listening.  No guarantee that the feature will be named after you, but ya never know!

...and if you’d like to have your own customer idea engine, you can have one too.  QuestionShark starts at $9 per month and you can get one up and running in seconds.


I'd love to hear your thoughts here in the comments, or connect with me on Twitter.


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  • Screen shot 2010-09-13 at 9.17.45 AM: Graemlins

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I love this system of being able to give feedback. I love feeling insidery. I've had a couple of sites that have been really important to me and have been wonderful in so many ways, but with both of them I felt like I was shouting into the wind when I wanted to have some input into what I needed. Even though I haven't been here long enough to see a suggestion of mine come to fruition, I'm still getting feedback on whether you guys think it's a good idea, and if so, then at least letting me know when I can expect a change might come about.

Apart from anything else, you guys have made yourselves so accessible to us "mere mortals" that I have a greater faith in you as a result.
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