The positives and negatives outlined here are really well put. I’ve been experimenting with community driven online hangouts, and right off the bat the community voted on a theme for the second hangout that was off-topic as far as I was concerned (as you indicate, you lose some control). Our community is built around the question, how can we better sell the change we want to see in the world, and the topic suggested was how do I prototype my idea for change. I was afraid that our community would get diluted or off topic, towards how you build the actual social business (on which there are many other communities already). However, it was a great indication of what the needs of the community were, and we found a great way to speak about both by discussing how you can prototype your idea, and use the process to attract like minded people, partners or investors, and build your brand.

Working to see the day when organisations with positive social and environmental impact outperform traditional ventures. Weapon of choice: branding.