Vincent Boon, CEO and Founder Giants Technology (Standing on Giants), was previously giffgaff’s chief of community and a globally renowned expert on community management.
Who is your digital hero?
Lyle Fong, Partner at EQT Ventures.
What has he done to win hero status in your eyes?
Lyle is the founder of Lithium (not the battery), an online community platform that looked to bring the benefits of customer collaboration to enterprise-level companies. In my eyes he was the first person to take online communities really seriously and started the journey to understand the true value of what they could mean for companies.
And it’s because of that we find ourselves at the precipice of a groundswell of adoption when it comes to online communities.
How has their heroism helped drive digital?
I think Lyle has really enabled the concept of an ‘online community’ to be accepted as a genuine asset to a company. His celebration of cases like giffgaff and the Sephora community, to name but a few, showed there is real tangible ROI to be gained from engaging with your customers.
Which in turn has meant many more companies have finally started talking to their customers again, bringing them into the fold. This collaborative approach has meant development cycles are shorter and product and service is much more customer centric.
What are the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?
My view is that the next step in digital is all about how we behave online. We need to start to accept that how people behave in the environments we chose to create online, is something we need to take an ownership in. And creating positive and healthy interactions is going to be the real challenge.
That heady mix of free speech, combined with what behaviours we find acceptable or reprehensible is a tough nut to crack, but one I feel we need to start taking a stance on.
How we deal and speak with each other online and how we safeguard mental health is what the future of the internet is all about for me.
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
It probably has to be the work I did at giffgaff. It was incredibly fulfilling, and it still makes me proud to have been a part of such an amazing movement.
Having seen it grow from its humble beginnings, it’s amazing to see what it has become and that the ‘run by you’ concept is still going strong and remains a leading case study of what is possible to achieve with an online community to this day.