Value. Unique selling proposition. Community/transparency. I refer to these three concepts as the Three Gems, the pillars on which any business must be built if it hopes to grow and survive.
When most people think of the third gem, the first brands that spring to mind are Twitter and Facebook -- both wonderful tools, but they comprise only two pieces of the social-networking puzzle. Ning brings the picture one step closer to completion, with an affordable solution that has helped millions of small businesses build social networks that are big on community and small on cost. (This interview has been edited for clarity and length.)