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Community-driven Growth

For Consumer Apps

Your chance to learn live with Stanford Associate Professor Michael Bernstein and a cohort of driven industry professionals

5 x 2 hr sessions (+ recordings of each live session)

4pm PST; March 15, 16, 21, 22 and 24

Price: $750 per seat (expense through L&D‍)

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Key Learning Outcomes

Product Specialists:

Product Managers

UX Researchers

Key Learning Objectives:

How to design social experiences that drive user engagement

Techniques for rapidly prototyping and testing new social experiences

Working with your community team to identify measurements that matter (and don’t) when building social apps

Community Specialists:

Community Managers

Key Learning Objectives:

How to overcome the cold start problem when building new communities

The fundamentals of how virality and viral content work

The challenges that accompany community growth, and frameworks for overcoming them

Meet Your

Instructor Dr. Michael Bernstein

Dr. Michael Bernstein designs social systems. From social media to crowdsourcing to remote work collaboration platforms to AI-human collaboration, Michael has close to 15 years of experience envisioning the future of social design.

Michael is also an Associate Professor of Computer Science and STMicroelectronics Faculty Scholar at Stanford University. He has received awards for both his teaching and his research, he has over 45,000 citations and his work has been reported in venues such as The New York Times, New Scientist, Wired, and The Guardian.

He has been recognized with an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, UIST Lasting Impact Award, and the Patrick J. McGovern Tech for Humanity Prize. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University, as well as a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT.

Recommended by

Silicon Valley’s Best

Mike Krieger

Co-Founder & CTO @  Instagram

“Michael's course teaches the fundamentals of social design. Take it to kickstart your own adventure!”

Tulsee Doshi

Head of Product - Responsible AI @ Google

“I still leverage concepts I learned in Michael's classes in my work. Working with Michael is a total highlight -- I encourage you to take this chance to get to know him!”

Hayden Brown

CEO @  Upwork

“Michael's insights have influenced our visions of the future. Come learn from him!”

Want to get to know Professor Bernstein?

You’re invited to our live course information session

Professor Berstein is hosting a live 30 minute session free to attend for all. He will be giving a breif introduction to the his upcoming course and then answering audience questions.

4:00-4:30pm PST; March 15

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About Michael's

Live Cohort

The last decade has led to nearly every consumer product integrating social connections one way or another. Some of these efforts catalyze major success by creating meaningful opportunities for connection, and others have crumbled due to poor design, or worse, created substantial harm to the community and to the product. What separates the failures from the successes? How do we design social spaces effectively and responsibly?
This course teaches frameworks for designing and understanding online social applications:

How do we design spaces that are bustling spaces and avoid creating empty ghost towns?

How do we get a new social app off the ground, and then what must we change as it grows?

What really makes something go viral, and what can (and can’t) a product do to harness virality?

How do we foresee the inevitable harassment and anti-social behaviors that will arise in advance, and what techniques help us manage them?

What might the future of social technologies look like?

This course will introduce frameworks, case studies, design techniques, and fundamental social science principles that will equip professionals across many roles: product managers who are responsible for crafting social spaces, marketing and growth professionals who engage with social media and their products’ communities, and entrepreneurs who are creating new social environments. Guest visitors from industry will join to anchor the course lessons in their experiences.

Session 1 - Visions of Virality: Creating Bustling Spaces Rather Than Ghost Towns

15 March
8am PST / 4pm GMT

The participation pyramid: designing contributions that scale

Design decisions that result in bustling or empty communities: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, gamification, channel factors, social loafing, reciprocity

Virality: surface features, network diffusion patterns, predictability vs. randomness in virality, social proof, cultural violations and virality

Session 2 - Overcoming the Cold Start Problem: Kickstarting a New Social App

16 March
8am PST / 4pm GMT

The cold start problem and achieving critical mass

Strategies for overcoming the cold start: seeding, identity, lead users

Techniques for prototyping community features and social apps, e.g., social bricolage

Session 3 - Growth: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

21 March
8am PST / 4pm GMT

The challenges of growth: case studies, newcomer enculturation, threats to pro-social norms

The role of algorithms: ranking, recommendation, moderation, and others

Techniques for scaling culture and norms

Session 4 - Antisocial Behavior: Dealing with Harassment, Trolling, and Harm

22 March
8am PST / 4pm GMT

Anti-social behavior—including trolling, flaming, political hostility, bullying, IPV—and their underlying causes

Design and community leadership techniques to mitigate these behaviors: community feedback, moderation, minimizing design micro-aggression, algorithmic supports and early detection

Misinformation: how to detect it, how to mitigate it

Session 5 - Promise and Peril: The Bleeding Edge of Social Technologies

24 March
8am PST / 4pm GMT

How will emerging technologies transform the future of social interaction online? What will change, and what will likely fail?

Artificial intelligence in social bots

Collaborative virtual reality and the metaverse

Techniques for predicting the influence of emerging technologies: “beyond being there”, social translucence

Still have questions?

We’re here to help!

Do I have to attend all of the sessions live in real-time?

You don’t! We record every live session in the cohort and make each recording and the session slides available on our portal for you to access anytime.

Will I receive a certificate upon completion?

Each learner receives a certificate of completion, which is sent to you upon completion of the cohort (along with access to our Alumni portal!). Additionally, Sphere is listed as a school on LinkedIn so you can display your certificate in the Education section of your profile.!

Is there homework?

Throughout the cohort, there may be take-home questions that pertain to subsequent sessions. These are optional, but allow you to engage more with the instructor and other cohort members!

Can I get the course fee reimbursed by my company?

While we cannot guarantee that your company will cover the cost of the cohort, we are accredited by the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Standards Office, meaning many of our learners are able to expense the course via their company or team’s L&D budget. We even provide an email template you can use to request approval.

I have more questions, how can I get in touch?

Please reach out to us via our Contact Form with any questions. We’re here to help!

Book a time to talk with the Sphere team

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Be part of the future of online learning

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