How do you honor your users?

Yesterday I saw this great Steve Jobs quote over on MG’s Tumblr:

“Nike sells a commodity, they sell shoes. And yet when you think of Nike you feel something different than a shoe company. In their ads, as you know, they don’t ever talk about the product, they don’t ever talk about their air soles, how they’re better than Reebok’s air soles. What’s Nike do in their advertising? They honor great athletes and they honor great athletics. That’s who they are. That is what they are about”

It got me thinking about the importance of celebrating your users, developers and customers. Not merely for a simple ad campaign or marketing slogans but as a reflection of who you are, what you care about and your relationship with your users.

I’ve often loved the way David Karp and the Tumblr team honor the creative community since the very beginning. They treat them with respect, they stand up for them, allow them to freely express themselves and they shine a bright light on their wonderful contributions in places like the staff blog, Tumblr Radar and Spotlight

I’d love to see more startups make this part of their company culture. Ideally it’s there from day one. But it’s never too late. Just take a step back and consider why you are doing what you are doing? What is your relationship with your users all about. 

The thing about honoring your users is that it isn’t a one shot, silver bullet deal. It’s a commitment you make and a promise you need to keep.