Are there better models for building online communities than those provided by the big, dominant social networks?
Gina Bianchini is convinced that there are and she’s doing something about it.
Gina is CEO & Co-Founder at Mighty Networks, a company working to provide creators, community members, and the world at large with a qualitatively better experience than can be provided by todays ad-supported social networks. Gina is no stranger to developing alternative social networks: in 2005, she, with Netscape Founder Mark Andreeson, created Ning, an open-source social network that was later acquired by Glam Media for $150 million.
Her current venture currently hosts more than 10,000 paying creators and recently received $50 million in Series B funding led by Owl Ventures.
I recently had a lengthy chat with Gina about her new venture and also about the nature of successful online communities, which many believe must be driven by “passion” to thrive. Gina’s conception is quite different. While “passion” is ephemeral and transient, communities driven by pragmatic purpose — especially for people whose personal and professional lives are in transition, provide much more value for those involved in them.
In the complete interview below, we discuss Mighty Networks’ origin story, explore Gina’s philosophy toward community-building, talk about how Mighty Networks’ organizing principle, business model, and execution differs profoundly from Facebook and other ad-supported social networks, and also about how creators and entrepreneurs can use the many community-building tools provided by Mighty Networks to create robust, enduring, authentic online communities.