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Categories: Gamification

The PHPClasses site is launching a new initiative to let every user know in advance about new features that are being implemented.

This article explains how you can keep up with latest features and even influence their implementation.

Loaded Article

- Early announcements for early feedback

- PHPClasses Early Insights on Twitter

- The Purple elePHPant: inspiration from Seth Godin

- Early adopters can influence innovations

- Spread the news to other PHPClasses users

- Early announcements for early feedback

Most of the time that I spend on duties of the PHPClasses site is related with the implementation of new features.

Certain features take a long time to implement before they can be made available to anyone, even partially.

This raises a difficulty because if I implement one thing that needs to be improved, the feedback from the users only comes much later.

By the time I get the user feedback, I may need to perform much more changes to improve the features that were implemented in order to make them usable.

This was the case of the site redesign proposal contest system that was finally announced a couple of weeks ago. ...

It took more than one year to implement and it is still not all completely done.

Despite it was implemented in multiple phases that made available part of the features, each phase took too long. Now I need to get late feedback about something that must be completely ready in about one month.

So I felt the need to find a way to get much earlier feedback from the users about these new features.

- PHPClasses Early Insights on Twitter

To encourage early adopters to provide feedback, starting now I will be posting updated statuses on Twitter about new features or even small improbements that are being implemented.

If you would like to keep up with what is going on, just follow the Twitter account: PHPClassesEarly:

- The Purple elePHPant: inspiration from Seth Godin

As you may notice, the picture in the PHPClassesEarly Twitter account is an elePHPant, but in this case it is purple rather than the PHP blue. There is a reason for that fact.

I have to admit that this idea of keeping the users up to date with latest features even before they are implemented, was inspired by Seth Godin.

For those that do not know him, Seth Godin is a marketing guru that wrote several famous books, like Unleashing the Idea Virus, Permission Marketing, Tribes, Purple Cow, among others.

I already read most of these books, but my inspiration came from watching this video of a presentation that he gave at TED event in 2003. It is mostly about his book The Purple Cow.

The purple cow is a metaphor about something that grabbed our attention. We all know cows, but if we see a lot of normal cows, we will ignore them because they do not represent anyhing new. However, if we see a purple cow, it will catch our attention because it is a remarkable thing.

He also mentions that old marketing techniques no longer work as well in the past. If you want to market something, you should focus on early adopters. These are people interested in things that appear in the market and are remarkable .

I intend to post a full review of the The Purple Cow book soon here. If this subject interests you, I strongly encourage you to buy this book, as well others from Seth Godin, especially the Tribes book. Here you may find more details about those books and where to find them.

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable ...

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us ...

Back to the matter of doing something remarkable, I must clarify that I am not exactly interested in marketing anything here.

I am mostly interested in getting early feedback about new developments implemented in the site. If such developments are not good enough, the sooner I work on improving them, the better.

That is why I want to focus on early adopters. If they do not find the developments remarkable, hardly anybody else will. So, early feedback is important to fix or rethink the way things are done.

- Early adopters can influence innovations

Twitter is an ideal tool for this purpose.

I am not really a Twitter user. I mean, I do not use it for personal purposes.

I just use TwitterFeed to update the main phpclasses account with the latest content published in the site. I also registered a search for messages that mention PHPClasses and keep up with its RSS feed to see if somebody is having a problem with the site, so I can assist them promptly.

But this is only to publish information that is already public.

For the PHPClassesEarly updates I intend to post about new features that are being implemented, even before I start working on them.

I know early adopters are curious and love to know everything before everybody else. So I hope this benefit of posting about stuff before it is implemented makes it very motivating for them to follow the updates and they feel encouraged to provide feedback.

I also intend to post screen shots of new feature pages as they come out. If you do not like something that is being developed, or if you have a better idea, you are strongly encouraged to reply to the updates. I promise I will reply when I notice that you are expecting a response.

- Spread the news to other PHPClasses users

If you liked this idea, please help spreading about it. My purpose is not to get any sort of fame, but rather to get as much as possible the attention of site users that want to help in making this a better site for all of us.

The more feedback I get, greater is the chance of getting good ideas that I can implement. So, please do not hold yourself and tell about this initiative to your colleagues using Twitter, instant messaging programs, social network sites, etc..

I think this is the kind of initiative that eventually may be adopted by other sites with the same mindset of focusing on the innovation driven by the feedback from their users. So, I think if you help spreading the idea, other favorite sites yours may follow adopting it.

If you have further comments or want to ask a question, feel free to post a comment about this article.

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