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Archive for December, 2007

Crowdsourcing is not milking the masses for free labour, so put away your teets

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

I read Tara Hunt’s Please Stop Crowdsourcing Me blog post this morning over a holiday-inspired coffee and baileys.

What Tara had to say about crowdsourcing:

“I’ve been a long opponent to the term ‘Crowdsourcing’ as it invokes the image of an unpaid group of volunteers giving ideas for free while a corporation rakes in endless profits from them.”

It made me think about my goals for the year 2008.
At the top of my list now: Educate the world about the true meaning of the word “crowdsource.”

It drives me up the wall when people like Tara blacklist the term as if it’s a naughty word. As if crowdsourcing is when corporations lure consumers into their worlds with promises of better products and more transparency - only to suck consumers’ hearts and minds dry… But that’s not the case.

Crowdsourcing is not about loving you then leaving you.

It’s about making your business practices transparent and the walls of your office porous. It’s about creating ways to engage consumers, listen to them, act on their feedback and reward them with more than a one-time pat on the back. There are loads of fantastic examples of crowdsourcing at its best, which Tara neglects to highlight.

I really respect Tara’s work - but as a community evangelist, I don’t understand why she wouldn’t be helping create a list of crowdsourcing best practices. After all, crowds are communities. They need to be inspired, engaged, educated, entertained… Members need to see value in their contributions. If they feel “used and abused” they won’t return.

Some awesome examples of crowdsourcing:

1. Threadless — crowdsources designs, but the designers gain fame and make cash… sounds like reciprocity to me!
2. InnoCentive — Companies pose problems to the community and members who solve problems earn cash rewards
3. Sell-a-Band — wanna-be rock stars get to source the crowd for funding and votes… they gain fame, cut an album and create a built-in fan base
4. iStockPhoto — iStock sources stock photography from its community members - in return, they network with other photographers and make money off the images they sell
5. Adobe’s developer community — I want to throw this in because there isn’t always a monetary reward, nor do their community members gain fame, but they engage developers in a 24/7 conversation about their products and the entire company listens

Shameless plug: We provide tools for anyone using our crowdsourcing platform to reward contributors who help them polish an idea or build a business using our crowdsourcing model. Over $60,000 has exchanged hands between members in Cambrian House in the past 6 months.

Also, props to Andy Doan, Cambrian House community member who is crowdsourcing his business “FilmRiot.” Thanks to feedback from the crowd and work they’ve done to support him, Andy left his job on an automotive assembly line and has become President of his own company - and is raising his first round of financing. I’m sure the “crowd” feels really good about helping him achieve his goals.

IdeaWarz Weekly Winner - World Guestbook

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Ever woken up in a haze, wondering where the heck you were last night… yesterday… or even last week? Have you ever thought to yourself, “These aren’t my clothes!” or “I’m covered in blood, but I don’t see any cuts on myself?”

Then I’m sorry, I can’t accept your friendship on Facebook.

But Magickaito does have an idea that may help you! World Guestbook - I WAS HERE!

World guest book: A mobile phone application which allows you to leave a message at virtually any corner in the world - depending on where you are currently located! It works just like how lovers carved their names on a tree in a park they met or how backpack travelers painted their names and dates at a corner in a backpackers hostel.

Obviously, Magickaito isn’t focusing so much on people who continually forget where it is they’ve been, but rather people who would use it for sentimental reasons. By targeting the “can-remember” demographic Magickaito is likely to pull in more advertising revenue, and will spend far less time helping members remember their passwords.

Congratulations Magickaito, on submitting this week’s winning idea!

Blue and Gord Pick Their Favorite Ideas

  • Blue likes: What to do tonight? by ooper

    Have you and your significant other, or friends been faced with the question: what do we do tonight that would fit our location, date/time, budget and taste?

  • Gord likes: SocialHeroes by mlimotte

    Create a badge or widget for public profiles like Facebook, personal blogs, etc., to honor every day heroes and thereby encourage additional participation.

Worst Idea of the Week

  • We Make Your Fantasies Come True by nitro

    A social network with anonymous profiles.
    You share your secret wishes, and look at others.
    The power of network helps your fantasies come true.
    Many times you share an idea or an experience with someone so you can help each other.. or there is group that you can join… Life is short, at least give it a try…

Nitro forgot the first unwritten rule of IdeaWarzdon’t post drunk! Which he followed by forgetting the second unwritten rule of IdeaWarzmonitor your ideas for constructive feedback, and get engaged in the discussion.

This was Nitro’s first idea submission, but hopefully not his last.

Gord vs 202.84.X.Y and 203.177.X.Y

This week I purged 55 people from our Community. This action wasn’t performed without careful deliberation of the consequences… Blue and I debated the proper course of action for a minute. Which works out to more than 1 second per boot recipient.

Hopefully this will improve the signal to noise ratio on our site!

2 Weeks

Due to our Christmas holiday we’re going to run the next IdeaWarz round for 2 weeks. Cambrian House staff wishes everyone in our community a safe and happy holiday. Don’t drink and drive… don’t Blackberry and drive… drinking and Blackberrying is allowed but not recommended.

If you have time between family and friends over the next two weeks: Share your ideas. Rate this week’s ideas…

And… May the Best Idea… WIN!

IdeaWarz Weekly Winner - Android Themes - Canadian DMCA

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Does your Android handset look drab and boring? Wouldn’t you rather choose from a catalog of exciting themes, instead of the two supplied by Google?

What’s that? You don’t own an Android handset? No one does? There is no demand, what-so-ever?

Well excuuuuuuuuuse us for looking ahead!

One day soon there’ll be a plethora of Androids, all looking drab and theme-less. Those new owners will be Googling for new themes… and Ccozad will be ready. Congratulations Ccozad on being the weekly IdeaWarz winner!

Canadian DMCA

This week I had a bit of an adventure, as about 40 fair-use activists stopped by The Honorable Jim Prentice’s constituency office… he’s the Canadian Federal Industry Minister, and seems to be in charge of copyright reform since the previous Director General of Copyright Policy stepped down for personal reasons.

What would happen? Would he talk to us? Would he release the hounds? Did he own hounds? If he owned hounds, wouldn’t they be kept at his home, and not at his constituency office? Maybe he owned multiple sets of hounds!?!

In fact we didn’t get much face-time with Prentice, but he did make it clear to us that he’d heard from CEOs in the entertainment industry, and felt pressure from our “trading partners”. And that broader public input would be welcome once the bill was tabled in parliament.

“The intent is to put a bill forward and then to get into a constructive process, a parliamentary committee to examine the issues, to hear from people. Anyone here who is interested in speaking to the committee, there is a process where you will be heard.” -Jim Prentice 2007-12-08

I’d prefer to see a bill tabled which guarantees consumer and educational fair-use rights. That solves the problem of orphaned works. And perhaps shortens copyright terms towards the optimal 14 year duration.

Then, after that bill was tabled, a committee could be formed where citizens, fair-use advocates and anti-DRM activists could be heard. What the heck… we could also hear from our trading partners, record labels and copyright lobbyists!

It might still happen, as the bill has now been put on hold, at least until late January. If Jim Prentice is looking for a good example of copyright reform, there’s always Israel. Israeli copyright law has a similar lineage as Canadian copyright law. Yet, when Israel felt pressure from their trading partners to tighten copyright laws, they instead added fair-use provisions, allowed backups and let educational institutions to go nuts with copyrighted materials! American DMCA is not the best lead to follow.

If you’re Canadian (and especially if you are a Canadian named Jim), Michael Geist is a good source for copyright news and learning materials. For Americans of Jim and non-Jim variety, Lawrence Lessig has made very creative recommendations how USA’s copyright laws can be improved.

But I digress!

Blue and Gord Pick Their Favorite Ideas

  • Blue likes: Play For Profit Competitive Sports Video Gaming by VizionQuest

    Gamers challenge one another on a given competitive sports game and play for money. A social network for professional gamers and a neutral third party that distributes the winnings.

  • Gord likes: HyperJot - Crowdsourcing Interactive Videos by ooper

    With reusable scenes you can create a story dynamically. Consider a game with squares, each being a scene with characters. As you make decisions, characters respond and you move to different squares.

  • Blue likes: Social Decisions by ooper

    net version of asking people for personal opinions, with the added feature of weighing pros and cons with a quick way to get real numbers without the noise.

Gord Goes ADHD on Android’s Ass

I couldn’t effectively drive Android idea consolidation or investigate the friend-finder Kevin_Cox pointed out. The CH2 WOC mods need to be completed and checked in first.

If you have any thoughts how my attempts at consolidating overlapping Android ideas can be handed off to the community, fire away! I’ll be more than eager to join in as soon as CH2 has some improvements in the pipeline.

Gmail vs Todd

Many of us at Cambrian House have turned to web clients for our email. And it was hard to miss Google’s “Share your Gmail Story” option which suddenly appeared on our Gmail screens. This not only reminded us how much power Google wields… but how much we like Gmail. So random CH staffers helped us illustrate the magic which is gmail

…and also Blue talks about Paisley. So between Canadian DMCA, Ccozad kicking ass, a goose, a golden egg and a couple blue balls… We have something for everyone in this week’s IdeaWarz video!

Until next Wednesday: Share your ideas. Rate this week’s ideas…

And… May the Best Idea… WIN!