The transition is complete. Common Craft has become a different company and our first products are coming out in the next two weeks.
A Bit of Background:
In 2003, I started Common Craft to focus on online communities. After being a professional online community manager for a few years (1999-2003) Common Craft gave me a chance to be a consultant for the first time. I loved it - I had a cozy little niche that enabled me to work on fun and interesting projects, like the March of Dimes - Share Your Story community. Even then, part of my services included plain English explanations.
Then Common Craft was essentially out of the market for the entire year of 2006. When we came back, my little niche had changed. It seemed like everywhere I turned there was someone claiming "community" as part of their area of expertise. These weren't just claims - a lot of people with real experience entered the market. From my perspective, Common Craft's blue ocean became red in 2006.
Of course, it was during this time that we began experimenting with online video. Not since discovering online communities had anything excited me so. Our time off in 2006 gave us valuable experience - experience that we used to create the Common Craft Show and the Paperworks format. Much to our surprise, it was the Common Craft Show that created a new business for us.
After we made our second video for the Show, Wikis in Plain English, companies began to ask about custom videos. Thankfully this was an opportunity we were ready to take and since, we've oriented Common Craft's business around our videos and what we call Common Craft Productions.
We see an emerging market for better explanations and Common Craft's future is focused on serving that market. We are an explanation company and our videos are our most popular product.
So, Common Craft is a different company. We have a product instead of a service. We are two people instead of one, and our future is focused not so much on community, but on better communication.
This is a great fit for us, especially considering the origin of the Common Craft name. I've always said that communication is the most common craft there is. Now we're out to prove that our version of that craft can make complex ideas easier to understand.