So, first of all, I took a general poll to ask 25 people I know, who are online and enjoy the social networking space (i.e. Web 2.0) "Which Companies/Apps have Mojo?" I got back a solid list of 10 (in no particular order):
There were tonnes more mentioned, but those came up the most of all of the companies and people said they, basically, use them everyday. The funniest thing is that I didn't have to 'qualify' mojo to anyone. I just said, Mojo and they understood what I meant. When I asked what they think of mojo, everyone had a different idea of what that means, but the most oft quoted statement was, "You just know it when you see it."
Of course, this is not a scientific study and I wouldn't ever assert that it is, but there were some trends here that made me start thinking that I should dig down a little more into what was going on...trying to get to the bottom of what this mojo thing is...
[Ironically, Chris was writing a post on Microsoft losing it's mojo over at the CA blog at the same time.]
So, I decided to gather all of the articles and interviews about the companies and some blog posts and anecdotes by and about the founders of these companies to find some common themes. Here is what I could deduce:
Mojo = Having Fun
Almost every single company had the following qualities:
- Their websites used 'fun' and casual language all over the place. To explain the product, to show error messages (my favourite being the Twitter cats), to welcome you, etc. It surprises you, and, I think, really sets the stage for the community members to have fun on the site.
- Their founders repeatedly talk about having fun and doing what they love and that many of these companies started out as a side-project.
- They enjoy using their own products. I get my twitters from Ev & Biz, Caterina comments on my photos, the Threadless team actually participates in the forums, Matt throws meetups and blogs regularly, Kevin reports his activity through Diggnation, the YouTube guys actually post amateur videos and comment on others, and Leonard attends many of the events posted on Upcoming (especially now that he's moved back to SF).
They may be totally pulling a fast one, but knowing many of these people personally, I don't think so. Sure, they have stressful days and get concerned over making the wrong decisions, but first and foremost, even after many of them have seen loads of success, they continue to really love what they are doing. And, let me tell you, when they stop loving it...when they see they've lost their mojo...they'll leave. I bet they'd walk away in a second.
And...when I started thinking about not long ago, when I felt I was losing my own mojo, that's exactly what it was for me. It was all work and worry and stress and very little fun and interaction and all of the things I am passionate about.
:: addendum...by "fun", I don't mean a rowdy, crazy, fratboy culture. That's counterproductive and I've seen that happen more than once. When I think of fun, I think of it in >Ev's terms:
Fun in work to me means a lot of freedom, and ton of creativity, working with people I respect and like, and pursuing ideas that are just crazy enough to work.
So, is the root of Mojo in fun? What do you think? Any other companies/examples you would see as having mojo over the list here?