View Full Version : Is the Coachella MB "crowdsourcing"?

09-26-2008, 10:56 AM


A people business
Sep 25th 2008
From The Economist print edition

Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business
By Jeff Howe

Crown Business; 320 pages; $26.95. Random House; £17.99

Buy it at

ONLY one reader’s letter appeared in the first issue of The Economist in 1843. Even today, readers contribute no more than one, or sometimes two pages to the newspaper. But at Economist.com, through comments and debates, they discuss everything from American politics to particle physics.

This is just a small example of what Jeff Howe calls “crowdsourcing”: using an enthusiastic community to provide material for websites or solve problems. Mr Howe aims to show that groups of amateurs can often produce better results and do so far more cheaply than professionals. Mr Howe cites numerous crowdsourcing examples: for instance, Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia written by its users; Procter & Gamble asking amateur scientists for a detergent dye whose colour changes when enough has been added to dishwater; and iStockphoto allowing amateur photographers to earn money selling their pictures. Each one combines cheap and widely available tools, the internet for distribution and talented people with time to spare. Participants are generally not in it for the money, but rather to pursue a hobby and achieve recognition by their peers.

Mr Howe’s book grew out of a 2006 article for Wired magazine. The author presented crowdsourcing as straight-forward—almost something for nothing. He remains excited by the trend, but is more open about its limitations, quoting Theodore Sturgeon, a science-fiction writer, who asserts that “90% of everything is crap”. Crowdsourcing is like panning for gold. Indeed, Jimmy Wales, one of Wikipedia’s co-founders, dislikes the word and has said: “Any company that thinks it’s going to build a site by outsourcing all the work to its users completely misunderstands what it should be doing. Your job is to provide a structure for your users to collaborate, and that takes a lot of work.” Not providing sufficient structure is the reason why an experiment Wired carried out into crowdsourced journalism last year ended in failure, argues Mr Howe.

Crowdsourcing is changing some industries: the phenomenon is a threat to organisations that sell what the crowd will do much more cheaply. Open-source software is disrupting the IT industry, for instance. Getty Images, the world’s largest provider of stock photographs, responded to the threat of iStockphoto by buying the company. Despite Mr Howe’s spirited advocacy of the crowd, however, most companies will not be swept away.

Earlier this year, a Dutch teacher, Hanny Van Arkel, discovered a new type of blob in space, now called Hanny’s voorwerp (the Dutch for “object”). She was participating in Galaxy Zoo, a crowdsourcing project to classify galaxies in telescope images. So, even if crowdsourcing does not change the world, it may achieve for some a kind of immortality.
Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business.
By Jeff Howe.
Crown Business; 320 pages; $26.95. Random House; £17.99

Copyright © 2008 The Economist Newspaper and The Economist Group. All rights reserved.

09-26-2008, 12:23 PM
“90% of everything is crap”.


09-26-2008, 02:23 PM
Not an uncommon thing. Most application manufacturers have some type of user group forum. One, because they would rather have users help themselves than taking incoming non-revenue calls on an 800 number. Two, most user groups have some type council that reports to the company's developers who work at making future enhancements. Some companies benefit by obtaining free or lower cost upgrades for participating.

The June issue of HBR has a great article on how Toyota communicates with its dealers and customers in a similar way.

psychic friend
09-26-2008, 02:24 PM
I thought this was about crowd surfing overseas.

09-27-2008, 07:33 AM
So my question remains unanswered.

09-27-2008, 07:51 AM
I'm not reading that article :/

09-27-2008, 07:52 AM
figures that serious threads get ignored.

09-27-2008, 08:08 AM
So my question remains unanswered.

well, if goldenvoice really want to know about how to not get acid, our intestinal problems, who can argue the longest that their favorite band is better, announcements about shows/venues they have organized, the last song radiohead played, beck blowing goats, and our wailing contest when tags are removed, then sure maybe they're crowdsourcing.

09-27-2008, 08:09 AM
finally a serious answer...

09-30-2008, 07:58 AM
And now they know where the best place to buy WoW gold is, too!

09-30-2008, 08:03 AM
Wait. Power leveling? Like, with a Caterpillar? Can you use your heavy-equipment pixels to smash other peoples' pixels? Because if so I might be underestimating this whole World of Warcraft thing.

09-30-2008, 08:17 AM
I don't know if they have Caterpillars, but essentially, yes. Last time I played was like, 96.

09-30-2008, 08:22 AM
I'm not reading that article :/

I would be suprising if you did, cause this is way above your head anyway.

Yeah this board does that, how else does %90 of the line up get figured out?

09-30-2008, 08:59 AM
Well, on the one hand, I feel degraded and used, but on the other hand, I also feel giddy with power.

bug on your lip
10-01-2008, 06:22 AM

By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. Thank you, thank you. Just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day they'll take root. I don't know. You try. You do what you can. Kill yourselves. Seriously though, if you are, do. No really, there's no rationalisation for what you do, and you are Satan's little helpers, OK? Kill yourselves, seriously. You're the ruiner of all things good. Seriously, no, this is not a joke. "There's gonna be a joke coming..." There's no fucking joke coming, you are Satan's spawn, filling the world with bile and garbage, you are fucked and you are fucking us, kill yourselves, it's the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show.

10-01-2008, 06:26 AM
Based on last year's attendance, crowdsourcing should be considered for the Gay Orgy '09

10-01-2008, 06:28 AM
well...if Bowie IS the headliner...

10-01-2008, 06:30 AM
I thought he was bisexual - so the Straight Orgy '09 should crowdsource too

bug on your lip
10-01-2008, 06:32 AM
have you ever seen his "Dancing in the streets" video?

hez the ghey..... big time

10-01-2008, 06:35 AM
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/7y-x2fWKbmo&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/7y-x2fWKbmo&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

10-01-2008, 07:03 AM
He's butches it up around the holidays...