Jane is the inventor and founder of Sugru.
I got in touch with her because I was impressed by the clarity of her website, and I felt her approach might contain lessons for our authors. Sugru.com transmits a strong personality and sense of purpose which magnetically compels you to join in.
We met, at Jane's suggestion, at Look Mum, No Hands in Clerkenwell - a cyclists' cafe (sensible idea). Jane was charming and inspiring. These are my notes from our conversation:
1) She took a while to get her head around blogging, but managed it by studying other peoples' blogs, discovering which ones she naturally gravitated to and admired, then emulating them.
2) ... but she still feels self conscious about blogging, talking about herself, her product. Her solution is to celebrate the work of others, and their great ideas. That way she's promoting Sugru by oblique means.
3) She has no interest in converting unbelievers. Rather, she spends her time interacting with enthusiasts, rewarding their involvement, and in the process making them even more likely to be Sugru advocates. A very natural and organic process.
4) It's imperative to establish the context for the product, and tell its story. You can't just have it sitting on a shelf (unless the shelf is wonky and had been hacked better, arf). Ideally, you have it introduced to you by a user, a believer.
5) She's focused on reaching out to pockets of enthusiasts, and going where like minded people and a sympathetic attitude exist: so not B&Q, but bike specialists, design specialists etc.
6) I think it's sort of conceptually pleasing that the user-empowering, hands-on nature of the product is mirrored in the the user-generated nature of the online community.