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Overconfidence is where market leaders (or online communities!) become complacent and lose touch with customer needs, emerging trends, and competitive dynamics. This mindset can lead to poor decision-making, lack of innovation, and ultimately, a decline in market position.

Over-Confidence: How It Affects An Organization | HBS Online

Many of us who have "successful" communities became successful because we were early adopters of forums.  But how do we keep up with our success?  

  • Continuous Learning: Are we investing in learning and adapting, or are we resting on our laurels?
  • Customer Feedback: How closely are we listening to our users? Is their feedback driving our innovation, or are we assuming we know best?
  • Competitive Awareness: Do we keep a vigilant eye on the competition, learning from their moves and staying ahead of industry trends?

It's a cautionary tale for communities to remain humble, continuously innovate, and stay closely connected with their customers, ensuring they adapt and evolve to maintain their leadership and relevance in the market.

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There is a difference between being confident and over confident. Marketers and online community owners who cannot differentiate these two concepts will fail. Being confident means you are realistic, you know what it takes to become successful and you work hard to overcome your short coming. Over confidence leads to self complacency, which can be very detrimental

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Before I created my community, I had been a member on a lot of forums and had spent many years on various forums. When I decided to create my own community, I though that I had enough knowledge on community management and I would easily run a forum. However, now I understand I was overconfident and was unable to see what it takes to become a successful community manager.

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I was introduced to online communities in 2015. Most of the communities I was active in my early days are already gone. One of the common reasons why they are gone is because of self complacency. I believe the owners could not adapt to the changing time as they were over confident.

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46 minutes ago, Maria said:

I was introduced to online communities in 2015. Most of the communities I was active in my early days are already gone. One of the common reasons why they are gone is because of self complacency. I believe the owners could not adapt to the changing time as they were over confident.

One thing I see among a certain subset of hobbyist forum admins is that they give up, and then they want to restart their forum, and then they give up again.  

I get the feeling none of them really planned out their forum, it was a decision in the moment.  They didn't put together a budget to sustain their forum, they didn't put together an action plan behind their strategy, and they didn't map out a multi-year plan to grow their forum.  

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There is a difference, between forums that make money and that do not.

Also, the cost involved is not meek either. So if you are not good at investing money without returns and begging people to join your forum, the closing and opening thing is going to happen.

Plus, there is more than outsiders could see from running a forum without benefits. You get knowledge unlike any other. Get to know information that is exclusive to webmasters. Which you can use in many other ways.

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19 hours ago, JoelR said:

I get the feeling none of them really planned out their forum, it was a decision in the moment.  They didn't put together a budget to sustain their forum, they didn't put together an action plan behind their strategy, and they didn't map out a multi-year plan to grow their forum.  

This is partly true. But the disparity between various currencies is a factor too. The last forum I visited was running a contest worth $200 every month.

Someone with a weaker currency can never do that. The lack of a level playing field has a big influence in this game.

Dreams and skills are nothing if you are not well-funded.

Edited by Dilip
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2 hours ago, Dilip said:

There is a difference, between forums that make money and that do not.

Also, the cost involved is not meek either. So if you are not good at investing money without returns and begging people to join your forum, the closing and opening thing is going to happen.

Plus, there is more than outsiders could see from running a forum without benefits. You get knowledge unlike any other. Get to know information that is exclusive to webmasters. Which you can use in many other ways.

I believe if your community makes money, at least enough money to pay software subscription fees and domain and hosting renewal, you will be able to run your community for a long time. One of the main reasons why communities are shut down is because the owners can no longer pay from his pockets.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some community leaders can indeed become too over-confident and it has been something I have seen in the past. They become somewhat successful and then forget about the community and the reason they are part of the community in the first place and it is then when you see things start to dip and their success starts to crumble. 

I believe ways to keep up with the success we have achieved so far is to continue to listen to our community as well as continue to learn. 

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