The Wired magazine article "The Rise of Crowdsourcing" reads, "Remember outsourcing? Sending jobs to India and China is so 2003. The new pool of cheap labor: everyday people using their spare cycles to create content, solve problems, even do corporate R & D."
The internet, low cost equipment and access to information, and professional and hobbyists who have extra 'cycles' to burn have become low cost resources for corporations big and small. Here are some crowdsourcing examples (from Wired magazine):
The beloved toy company encourages its fanatical customers to design everything from robot operating systems to Lego sets.
Last summer, the sports media company made blogs and social networking the foundation of its Web relaunch. Traffic and ad revenue soared.
Residents of this popular online world put in more than 22,500 hours of “work” each day, stocking the virtual world with everything from ninja armor to giant tree houses.
This hipster company prints T-shirts with designs submitted to its Web site. It expects to earn $20 million in revenue this year.
What are the rules of Crowdsourcing? Here are 5:
1. The crowd is dispersed
People spread around the world can perform a range of tasks – from the most rote to the highly specialized – but this would-be workforce needs to be able to complete the job remotely.
2. The crowd has a short attention span
These new workers find time after dinner and on weekends. So jobs need to be broken into “micro-chunks.” Most tasks on Amazon Mechanical Turk, for example, take less than 30 minutes to complete.
3. The crowd is full of specialists
For Procter & Gamble, the crowd is the world’s scientific community; for VH1 it’s any ham with a camcorder; for iConclude it’s the handful of professionals with experience troubleshooting Microsoft’s server software.
4. The crowd produces mostly crap
Networks like InnoCentive, Mechanical Turk, and iStockphoto don’t increase the amount of talent – they make it possible to find and leverage that talent. Any open call for submissions – whether for scientific solutions, new product designs, or funny home videos – will elicit mostly junk. Smart companies install cheap, effective filters to separate the wheat from the chaff.
5. The crowd finds the best stuff
Even as a networked community produces tons of crap, it ferrets out the best material and corrects errors. Wikipedia enthusiasts quickly fix inaccuracies in the online encyclopedia. Viewers of Web site YouTube find the one tastelessly funny amateur video from the 10 that are merely tasteless.
The Rise of Crowdsourcing. [Wired Magazine - Jeff Howe]
5 Rules of the New Labor Pool. [Wired Magazine - Jeff Howe]
Look Who's Crowdsourcing. [Wired Magazine - Jeff Howe]
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