Wednesday Buzz: Slack as a Member Benefit? Maybe

How one podcast network juiced engagement with its most die-hard users through Slack. Also: Why you should consider what might happen if you fail.

Getting people sucked into the conversation around your organization can be tough.

But Gimlet Media, a startup focused on podcasts (including a personal favorite of mine, Reply All), appears to have figured it out—some of its most loyal listeners, who pay the company a $60 annual membership fee, are going so far as to send Gimlet employees cookies out of sheer appreciation.

How does one build such appreciation? Well, in Gimlet’s case, one factor is Slack. The company, which also offers up early access to its newest shows, “weird audio surprises,” and a T-shirt, has recently decided to open its Slack channel to paying members, according to Poynter.

Sound risky? Sure. But it worked for them.

“It started out as an experiment — we didn’t know what the hell was going to happen with this,” Gimlet Chief of Staff Chris Giliberti told the website. “This could be a great idea, an awful idea, something we need to cancel right away. We were nervous about it in the beginning. But it’s been our most successful member benefit to date in terms of engagement.”

Making it so that members can directly chat with podcast creators—especially when it’s done on a platform better known for intra-work chatter—is not something that will work everywhere, but you have to appreciate the thinking.

Think About the End

As I pointed out in my blog post yesterday, associations have a lot of parallels with startups, in terms of how they function, so their strategies can be borrowed from with ease.

The latest example of this in action comes from Harry Alford, managing director of the venture capital firm Humble Ventures, who argues that startups should write a “premortem,” basically laying out what would happen if they fail.

“Although there are a lot of methods to access risk, a premortem might be the best way for a startup to connect the dots going forward,” Alford writes in MAQTOOB For Entrepreneurs.

Other Links of Note

Working in the public interest sphere and eyeing a shift to the association space? Make that change sooner rather than later, argues Association Executive Management’s David M. Patt.

We’re living in the future. Proof: Aloft has a new system in its hotel rooms that is voice-activated.

Still struggling to figure out your HTML after all these years? Mozilla’s Belén Albeza has some basic recommendations to ensure your website’s code is on point.

(Slack press photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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