Wow, interesting things from community people are just rolling off the presses lately. Derek Powazek is leaving JPG Magazine and 8020 Publishing (the companies he founded) - due to a disagreement with the partners. It's so sad to see someone work so hard and be so passionate about a community project only to see it controlled by someone else. His passion made it successful, just like Matt Haughey at MetaFilter.
JPG Magazine is one of the community-based businesses that I cite most. It's a real-world photography magazine that is made of contributions from the community. The community creates the photos and votes for them to appear in the magazine. A well crafted community mobilization strategy if there ever was one.
Derek's explanation of the situation is a case study in how partnerships can go wrong - and serves as his way of saying goodbye to the community he developed over three years. If you're an entrepenuer, go read it now.
If itâ€™s any help to other entrepreneurs, hereâ€™s what Iâ€™ve learned.
- Make no assumptions when it comes to roles and responsibilities. Like my dad says: â€œSomeoneâ€™s gotta call quittinâ€™ time.â€??
- Communication between partners is mandatory. And you cannot communicate with someone who is not communicating with you.
- Decisions arenâ€™t decisions if you have to keep making them. Set on the course and stick to it. If you keep talking about things that have already been decided, nothing will ever get done.
- When someone says one thing, but acts in a contradictory way, you have a choice between believing their words or believing their deeds. Believe their deeds.
- Never let anyone tell you what you want. When someone says, â€œYou donâ€™t want that,â€?? what they really mean is, â€œI donâ€™t want you to have that.â€??
- Donâ€™t stay where youâ€™re not wanted, respected, or happy. Even if itâ€™s your company.
Derek is a long-time community professional - he wrote a book called Design for Community in 2001 and has been a champion in the community world for longer than that. His wife, Heather Champ is the community manager at Flickr and collaborator on JPG too. I wish them both the best as I'm sure this is not the best of their days. I'm sure they will be on to greener pasture soon enough.