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Tony Espinoza (CEO) Discussion - Week 2
Posted March 19th, 2013 - 9:20 am from San Francisco, United States
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 10:04 am by from Brussels, Belgium (Permalink)
Tony,
While I understand that you just want to move on and forget about this episode with Justine and Don, for me it is not that easy.
People here are very sensitive about lack of justice, and ignoring our appeal and kindly asking us to just forget about it won't work. We care about CS in a way you or your employees probably don't, as for us this is not a job. We are here for years, building strong relationships with other members, and we feel like a member of our family has been done injustice. How can we just go over it like nothing happened? You never answered very specific questions about their removal, just repeating mantra, and we do notice when someone ignores our questions.
We are involved in this debate with you because we care about CS, and even though you lost our trust with your actions, we want to try to rebuild it. But it won't happen by ignoring the hard questions, by ignoring our feedback, and by doing wrong to our family members.
Please, reconsider your decision, as it will help restore peace in this community. Don't just say how you care about it, act upon it. It's ok to make a mistake, we're all grown ups and won't hold a grudge against you - quite the opposite, you will gain our respect as a capable leader.
Thanks,
Marko

Posted March 19th, 2013 - 10:15 am from Lima, Peru
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 10:31 am from Saint-Brieuc, France
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 10:52 am by from Sydney, Australia (Permalink)
Tony: "I agree it's unfortunate the CEO feels the need to hide their profile. I am building a new profile to use in April with the new engine and will share that profile when I return. Thanks for keeping the faith. I'm confident we can build an amazing service by working together."


Huh, what? That is not a clear answer, except that it is clearly avoiding answering questions. I'm sorry, but talking about faith and amazing things doesn't really do much.

You haven't said why you feel the need to hde your profile, or why you can have two profiles when no one else can. Just pointing out the obvious.

I'm still glad you are communicating with us at all, but please, let's leave the superlatives out and stick with details.

Dave

Posted March 21st, 2013 - 8:56 am from Los Angeles, United States
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 10:27 am from Lima, Peru
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 10:54 am by from Turin, Italy (Permalink)
Hi Tony, and sorry that we get in contact for the first time in such unpleasant circumstances.

I never wanted to be rude or to lack respect to one of your collaborators and I totally ignored who he really was, and I thought the whole thing was a joke about some guy making some funny face.

I also ignored the history of lack of respect in his person. I am really sorry to hear that.

In my defence, I can point out that what we are talking about is a silly (for how it's gross) thread on Facebook. Facebook is often just a giant trash can and sometimes you get caught in some bad taste.

I would have never written such bestiality in CS as that is the true environment we all care about.

I give my deepest sincerest apologies for the accident looking forward to get it past our shoulders.

All the best,

Alessandro

Posted March 19th, 2013 - 11:00 am by from Melbourne, Australia (Permalink)
Hey Tony, I was asked to past on the message to you, thats it. I hope you're having a great day and looking forward to our skype date soon!

Josh =)

Posted March 19th, 2013 - 11:35 am by from Copenhagen, Denmark (Permalink)
I understand why you critizise the bullying, I also do not find that okay. But asking for peoples respect is something different. I am not able to respect anyone unless I have something to respect them for. As it is now I will not say I have any kind of respect for you, but still I feel you deserve to be treated well.

Posted March 19th, 2013 - 12:10 pm from Managua, Nicaragua
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 12:38 pm from Melbourne, Australia
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 1:01 pm from Helsinki, Finland
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 1:09 pm from Karimunjawa, Indonesia
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 2:53 pm from Kowloon West, China
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Posted March 21st, 2013 - 10:16 am from Los Angeles, United States
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Posted March 21st, 2013 - 1:45 pm from Edwardsville, United States
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Posted March 21st, 2013 - 4:15 pm from Dresden, Germany
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Posted March 21st, 2013 - 4:24 pm from Vienna, Austria
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Posted March 21st, 2013 - 4:36 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 3:48 pm from Edwardsville, United States
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 6:43 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 4:09 pm from Edwardsville, United States
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 5:11 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 8:44 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 9:08 pm from San Francisco, United States
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 10:12 pm from Eindhoven, Netherlands
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 10:18 pm from Lima, Peru
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 9:46 pm from Lima, Peru
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 10:02 pm from Lima, Peru
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 10:26 pm from Roseville, Australia
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 10:39 pm from Eindhoven, Netherlands
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 10:51 pm from Liverpool, England
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 11:00 pm from Sevilla, Spain
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 10:56 pm from Sevilla, Spain
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Posted March 19th, 2013 - 11:02 pm from Managua, Nicaragua
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 3:52 am from San Francisco, United States
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 4:46 am from Roseville, Australia
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 7:27 am from Sevilla, Spain
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 10:56 am from Berlin, Germany
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 11:29 am from Liverpool, England
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 12:28 pm from Managua, Nicaragua
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 4:54 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 6:55 pm from Edwardsville, United States
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 8:29 pm by from Groningen, Netherlands (Permalink)
Tony, thanks for taking the time to read and post in this discussion toppic. Two questions I receive from New Members and Members from the ex NMW Team
- posts in Place Pages are not visible for other members. How come?
- "why when I write a message my picture does not show up ? Should I do something in order that everybody can see my picture ?"

kind regards,
Koos R.

Posted March 20th, 2013 - 11:01 pm from San Francisco, United States
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Posted March 21st, 2013 - 12:36 am from Managua, Nicaragua
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Posted March 21st, 2013 - 3:31 am from Burlington, United States
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Posted March 21st, 2013 - 9:28 am from Los Angeles, United States
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Posted March 21st, 2013 - 1:44 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 21st, 2013 - 5:18 pm from Sevilla, Spain
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Posted March 21st, 2013 - 8:09 pm by from Copenhagen, Denmark (Permalink)
Maybe it is because I live in a country where cooperatives are common, but I do not understand why you did not try to get the money you needed for website and salaries from members instead of outside investors. It could have been shares sold for maybe 50 or 100 dollars each and a membership fee. Then it would have been also our company, and not this us-them thing. It would not be neccessary to have a conflict between satisfying both users and investors, because we would be both. And also if you start to sell usability (I do not know what it is called), it will make A and B members, members with basic accounts and members with accounts with more functions. If it was shares sold instead, it could have continued to be equal memberships, no matter if you are a person with money or not.

Posted March 21st, 2013 - 8:29 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 21st, 2013 - 9:02 pm by from Copenhagen, Denmark (Permalink)
:-) Okay I know Juan, but after Casey and Dan was not in charge anymore, they got more fundings? They/Tony could have changed strategies, found other ways to go?

Posted March 21st, 2013 - 9:15 pm by from Copenhagen, Denmark (Permalink)
(And actually I think people that believe millions of dollars are more important than people are really stupid, but I guess you are right most people are that stupid).

Posted March 21st, 2013 - 9:32 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 21st, 2013 - 11:14 pm from San Francisco, United States
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Posted March 21st, 2013 - 11:31 pm from Managua, Nicaragua
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Posted March 22nd, 2013 - 2:08 am from Los Angeles, United States
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Posted March 22nd, 2013 - 3:02 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 22nd, 2013 - 5:40 pm by from Copenhagen, Denmark (Permalink)
Juan, I would be happy to keep all this in Scandinavia. Problem is that many here wants to do it the american way instead.

Posted March 22nd, 2013 - 6:56 pm from Sevilla, Spain
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Posted March 24th, 2013 - 6:35 pm by from Bath, England (Permalink)
The role I perform as an ambassador is that of a facilitator and mentor to the local CS community.

As well as organising monthly meets and other occasional events, I help and advise other CSers on setting up events. Bath is a small city so there are few CS problems but I've given advice to people having problems with their hosts. I also helped others set up a language exchange sub-group which seems to be flourishing without any involvement from me :)

I also send a message to everyone who joins the Bath group with information about the Bath CS community and links to information about the city. Quite a few people have responded favourably to that welcome message (nobody has objected to it).

This last point is something I'm concerned about with the transition to the Places pages. Will there ever be a mechanism to know who has joined the local Place page and hence get in touch to welcome them? Bath seems to be in the odd position of having a place page but with the original group still existing. This means I can still welcome people who join the group.

I'm conscious that we have no way of knowing who is following the Place page conversations. I'm also concerned that 'Follow' isn't as obvious a verb as 'Join' in the case of the Place conversations vs. the old groups.

One thing I'm looking forward to doing less of in the future is listening to complaints about the user experience of the CS website and essentially apologising on behalf of CS. I'm just about optimistic that we're slowly moving in a positive direction on this front.

Thanks

Posted March 20th, 2013 - 9:54 pm from New York, United States
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 12:54 pm from Lima, Peru
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 1:04 pm from Lima, Peru
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 2:29 pm from Lima, Peru
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 3:02 pm from Lima, Peru
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Posted March 22nd, 2013 - 10:02 pm from Los Angeles, United States
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Posted March 23rd, 2013 - 12:35 am from San Francisco, United States
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Posted March 23rd, 2013 - 5:34 am from New York, United States
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Posted March 23rd, 2013 - 11:24 am by from Copenhagen, Denmark (Permalink)
I agree with Juan it is better to have answers here, so everyone can see them. In general, not only Juans questions. There are many unanswered questions, but if they are unanswered because the answers would be inconvenient or lack of time or something else I do not know. But I think if there is time to answer on phone, there should be time to write the answers here too.

Posted March 24th, 2013 - 5:49 pm from Kowloon West, China
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Posted March 24th, 2013 - 7:19 pm from Tokyo, Japan
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Posted March 24th, 2013 - 9:58 pm from Perth, Australia
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Posted March 23rd, 2013 - 12:54 pm from Sevilla, Spain
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Posted March 23rd, 2013 - 4:16 pm from Sevilla, Spain
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Posted March 23rd, 2013 - 8:47 pm by from Copenhagen, Denmark (Permalink)
About the proposal. I am not sure I am going to spend much time on being communication channel between hq and members. There should be ways to provide information directly to memners, and for members to contact hq when needed. But of course I will answer question people ask and things like that.
I am not sure what to think of the idea that people apply for being ambassadors. Personally I like the thought ambassadors are choosen among the most active members and asked if they want to. What criterias will you use to choose between the people who apply? Renewal every year could be okay, but again, what will the criterias be for renewal?

Posted March 24th, 2013 - 9:40 am by from Fairbanks, United States (Permalink)
tony-

i'm a reader not a commenter, and i must say i get more information from reading this exchange than i could get by directly asking a question, as sometimes its hard to know what to ask :)


i found theresa's posts very easy to understand, well thought out and bringing up some VERY good points. points that i, too, would like to hear answers to. i get frustrated when you offer to call her to discuss, because, while i can appreciate the sincerity on your part, i don't get to listen into that conversation and hear answers.


in fact, you have not, at any point in this thread, responded with anything other than condolences for her frustrations. which in turn makes me frustrated, because i'd like to listen in to this discourse.


my request - please respond with the same level of thought and consideration as the people who post to you have done.

Posted March 24th, 2013 - 11:28 pm from Melbourne, Australia
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Posted March 25th, 2013 - 8:41 am from Los Angeles, United States
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 1:39 pm from Tainan, Taiwan
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 1:44 pm from Vienna, Austria
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Posted March 20th, 2013 - 2:44 pm by from Copenhagen, Denmark (Permalink)
I am sure your work will talk for itself after some years, but I am not sure your ambitions will ever connect with my dreams and needs.
For me this was the most unbelievable and fantastic community build around a great tool - the website. Now this tool has been changed to something less useful for many of us, but for me the functionality of the website is not the only important thing. I can not see how a community build around cultural exchange and meeting people, something with a totally different value than money, can ever be connected with making money. Making money is not free exchange, and a focus on making money will disturb the focus on free exchange. Now this is not anymore the communitys tool, but a companys tool, we have become dependent of a company, and have no real influence, only when the company can see an idea in letting us have it. My interest is how this very beloved community can continue to exist and grow in the same great way as it did, and I care if we have good tools to use in making this community existing. If you are able to provide a good tool and your company care hundred percent about being social responsible, ethical and environmentally friendly (means no interest in personal gain out of what is needed to have a good life), then maybe I can accept and even respect this development one day. And even I do not respect it, I will probably continue using this tool, as long as nothing better is around. And why I care so much about that, is because I decided to make only social, democratic and environmentally responsible choices whenever it is possible for me to do so.

Posted March 21st, 2013 - 12:06 pm from Melbourne, Australia
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Posted March 21st, 2013 - 1:28 pm by from Copenhagen, Denmark (Permalink)
Thank you for your answer Tony, it actually makes me feel less angry, and more like "Ok, I will wait and see if he is right". But still I think you and your team have handled both the process of changing the organisation to a company, and the tecnical changes of the website really bad, making so many of us angry and frustrated. I hope you will be better at it.

Posted March 21st, 2013 - 1:37 pm from Burlington, United States
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Posted March 22nd, 2013 - 6:13 am from Kolkata, India
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Posted March 22nd, 2013 - 7:35 am from Hannover, Germany
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Posted March 22nd, 2013 - 8:12 am by from Moscow, Russia (Permalink)
Tony,

first of all thank you very much for setting this Group public (I will leave aside questions why/who set it private earlier). I think that was a great progress.

Now, obvious next question - Group Guidelines.
- Are Guidelines, which were written single-handly by one of your staff, Collen Solars are in effect?

If yes, then most of the people who do participate can be removed from their ambassadorship or even couchsurfing site. Those guidelines can be viewed as a tool of censorship...

and besides everything else (correct me if I am wrong:) - strictly leaglly speaking they are null: these guidelines mention Couchsurfing Staff, and there is no such legal entetity. The company you and Colleen are employed by called "Better World Through Travel Inc." as far as I recall :)

If these Guidelines are not in effect - why we still see them? Shall they be removed? or edited, maybe?

Posted March 22nd, 2013 - 10:43 am by from Brussels, Belgium (Permalink)
Tony,

You started with us on the wrong foot - you ruined site functionality, ignored feedback, promoted censorship, and removed vocal members of the community who dared to speak up.

Then you continued on the wrong foot. You write a lot here, but you don't say anything. You never answed any specific question (it's a shame how you answered to Juan with the latest answer, don't think we didn't notice how you tried to spin it), and you refuse to repair the damage to the community you have caused. You're clearly just a businessman, and no matter what you write, you're just that - a hired professional trying to figure out how to cash this idea.

The future of this community with you and your staff looks very gloomy to me. As far as I can see, you goal is make the numbers, make the money, quality of the community and it's members does not concern you, inspite of your words - your actions speak for themselves.

Current situation on Places looks like a good insight into what the future of CS will be like, where there will be millions of members, but there will be no couchsurfing [spirit].

Your strategy of repeating empty words seems to work though, people get tired, and slowly this thread is becoming a feedback for the latest broken "features", so now we are getting events feedback in this thread (which you don't listen anyway, as pointed out here previously). Btw, maybe you should put "beta" next to CS logo, the same way Google did with their products for a long time, since that is the state of CS at the moment... though "alpha" may be more appropriate.

It's sad for me... I guess I am making peace with the fact that CS as it was is dead.

Since I refuse to be bossed and censored, I am hanging my flag. I don't want to be your brand Ambassador, I was ambassador of an idea, idea which you don't understand and are killing on this site.

Regards,
Marko

* when I write we, I don't mean I represent all the ambassadors, but I know many who agree with these lines

Posted March 25th, 2013 - 8:55 am by from Playa del Carmen, Mexico (Permalink)
Hello Tony.
I would like to contact you on Skype and book an appointment if possible.
I do NOT wish to complain (I guess you get enough of that already) but to speak about the future and the direction we are going.
I wrote an email already to your address tony@couchsurfing.com but never got a reply.
My skype is oliver_luni
Thank you
massimo

Posted March 25th, 2013 - 10:21 pm from Breda, Netherlands
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Posted March 25th, 2013 - 10:35 pm from Liverpool, England
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Posted March 25th, 2013 - 10:40 pm from Helsinki, Finland
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