Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo, Liz McMillan

RSS Feed Item

[berkman] Jeff Howe on crowd sourcing

Jeff Howe of Wired is giving a Berkman lunchtime talk on his book Crowd Sourcing. (He coined the term in 2006.) [Note: I'm live blogging, making mistakes, missing stuff, paraphrasing inappropriately, etc.]

From the beginning, he says, he’s been ambivalent about crowd sourcing. His book is a series of stories showing crowdsourcing’s promise and perils. The book is short on quantitative data, he says. As he was finishing up the edits, he came across a survey of 650 iStockPhoto.com photo contributors. iStock was one of Jeff’s main examples, a stock photo agency that undercut competitors by 99%. They were able to do this because amateur photographers were willing to upload entire libraries of their photos. iStock culled them. iStock runs its corporate decisions past the community. The survey showed that contributors had a rich mix of motivations. He’d like to revisit this question.

Jeff gives his 45 minute book talk in 20 mins: He got interested in crowdsourcing by watching Myspace. “User generated content” doesn’t begin to tap the change that’s taking place. (Plus, he adds, he hates the phrase.) He spent a night searching for user-generated anything to show that it was about more than teenagers making “content.” E.g., John Fluevog Open Source Shoeware names shoes after designs contributed by users. He wrote an article for Wired in June 2006. The term took off.

As an example, he tells the story of the Two Jakes who created a crowdsourced t-shirt company, threadless.com. It created a community of designers and people who like to vote on designs. Revenues in 2007 topped $30M. The community provides the designs, does the marketingt, and Threadless has a mechanism that lets them gauge how much they need quite accurately.

iStockPhoto was bought by Getty, and revenues have continued to climb…over $100M in 2008, with 50% profit margin.

Another example: The way amateur ornithologists have transformed the way ornithology works, Current.tv, the Elements restaurant in DC…

Why did crowdsourcing happen? Lots of amateurs, open source, tools, online communities. The cardinal rule of crowdsourcing: “Ask not what your community can do for you, etc.”

Jeff ends by asking about the study of iStock contributions’ motivations. 80% of iStockers religiously visit the site. The study shows the primacy of the financial motivation. Only 4% of the contributors make their primary living off of photography. The forum gets 37 posts per minute. 80% consider their work profitable, and 20% consider it extremely profitable. iStockers are largely not out to make friends or to network with others. iStockers are unsure that other iStockers can be trusted. This runs counter to how the company portrays them.

Q: I just had a logo made for $250 through LogoTournament. 30-40 designers worked on it from all over the world. The contestants all see one another’s designs.
A: Anectodotally, people seem to love it. There’s also CrowdSpring and 99Designs.

I used worth1000 for cover design. The Berkman folk loved it, but when I posted about it, I got flamed.
A: I understand that crowdsourcing is disruptive. It’s an emotional subject. Creatives can shape the transformation by embracing it.

Q: Your examples largely focused on highly creative forms of work. People do these things on their own as hobbies. How about crowdsourcing that has people transcribing podcasts via MechanicalTurk. Are these two types of crowdsourcing the same phenomenon?
A: MechanicalTurk is for repetitive, boring tasks. I don’t know how to encompass this. This makes the motivation for crowdsourcing more complex. That doesn’t dismay me.

Q: Is the difference about passion?
A: My catchphrase is that passion is the currency of the 21st century.

Q: [me] You position this as a contradiction. But it’s not if you define crowdsourcing as the action of a crowd, etc., and stir in economics: Those with leisure will do it for passion, while the rest will do more boring tasks for money. Unless what matters to you, and to the media that took it up, is that it’s a statement about human motivation.

Q:[eszter] You’re putting too much faith in the study. It’s only 1% of users and the methodology isn’t necessarily rock solid.
A: I called iStock’s founder and he has the same problems with the study.

Q: When I got the book, what was exciting was the possibility of solving altruistic problems. Do you have any examples?
A: GlobalVoices. Transcription services from a mobile phone for nonprofits.

Q: ReCaptcha is a great example. Also, spamornot.org.

Some of the crowdsourced stock photo sites are scams.

Q: Is crowdsourcing exploitative?
A: Sure could be. Professional stock photographers certainly think so. [Tags: ]

Read the original blog entry...

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...