I'd love to share what I learned in growing the Meteor community to 63 active meetup groups around the world (in the past 1.5-2 years). (I recently gave a talk about this elsewhere, centering around identifying and empowering leaders within a community. I hope it's not a faux pas to recycle/refocus a talk I gave elsewhere.)
While I was speaking to a group of startups of developer-facing products, I was making the case that they should apply the power law to prioritizing which community leaders to empower more. For us, it was rather like the YC model, that is, the goal is not to make every startup (or in our case potential community leader) a little bit more successful. The goal is to create an opportunity-rich space where it becomes easier to identify really promising community leaders and make them go really far. To find and invest in leadership, not just participation, because a small number of people rise dramatically higher from the same nudge and create dramatically more value.
Or more concretely, one person who builds a business on Meteor is far more valuable to me than 100 passive listeners in an audience somewhere. A handful of organizers running Devshop London (part of our monthly mini-conference program) is worth dozens of other meetup groups in smaller cities combined.
I'd love have a discussion around (1) community growth strategies that other folks have focused on in your own communities, and (2) where do you put the slider between more centralized control and real empowerment of leaders within the community.