Crowdsourcing

I was reading yesterday about a new business model called crowdsourcing. It’s a supposedly democratic form of research and development used for everything from science problems to t-shirts. It intrigues me yet I feel way cynical about it too.

I’m reminded of Lynne Truss’ book Talk to the Hand where she relates service charges to self-serve options. Banking is a big example of that – we pay for every transaction we do and yet we’re expected to do all our own customer service (internet/phone banking, ATMs).

Crowdsourcing seems the next logical step for companies wishing to lower costs. At one time R&D was done in house, then it was outsourced to save money. Now it’s crowdsourced, taking advantage of people’s wish to be creative and gain recognition while the company gets to pay as little as possible for the outcome.

On the other hand, I’m totally fascinated by the concept. It’s next to impossible to crowdsource writing or any other solely intellectual activity. The results of crowdsourcing need to be physical. Plus the participants need to gain some benefit, be it recognition, money or bartered goods and services.

Despite all that, I want to figure out a way I could crowdsource something related to Someday Syndrome. Google does it to improve its services, Threadless with t-shirts, InnoCentive does it with scientific research. There’s a sense of adventure inherent in crowdsourcing.

I envision it as almost being (on a personal level) a sort of performance art piece. A crowdsourced life. A version of The Truman Show where the viewers vote decide on then vote for what happens next.

Basically crowdsourcing is outsourcing meets reality TV meets the democratic web.

How this all relates to Someday Syndrome I’m not sure, but my intuition tells me to do some more digging.

I’ll let you know where I end up.

Someday Lessons:

  • Don’t let life stagnate – periodically explore new ideas.
  • Listen for signals from your intuition to further explore these new ideas.

Lunch Today:
Carrot-Ginger Purée with paté & crackers

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