About Me

Crowdsourcing: A Definition

  • I like to use two definitions for crowdsourcing:

    The White Paper Version: Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.

    The Soundbyte Version: The application of Open Source principles to fields outside of software.

The Rise of Crowdsourcing

  • Read the original article about crowdsourcing, published in the June, 2006 issue of Wired Magazine.
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January 31, 2007


Jeff Howe

Flickr for data dorks! If anyone has gotten this far without following Alan's link to check out Many Eyes, quit reading and do so. Big Blue has made so many smart moves (like incorporating open source principles into its software development process) in the last several years it's really given the lie to the notion that big companies can't be innovative and nimble.

It's no accident that Many Eyes (which is still in Alpha) is the brainchild of Martin Wattenberg, a bit of a rock star in the interstice between art and technology. If you don't recognize his name, you'll probably remember his most famous creation, the Map of the Market:

I do think Many Eyes could be improved. The toolset to create the visualizations is pretty limited. I'd like to see Wattenberg and the rest of the team at IBM's Visual Communications Lab take a page from Will Wright's Spore and create a massive, flexible toolbox for customization, and then open each graph, chart or map to collaboration a la a Wiki. Maybe that's all in the works, or maybe that's inadvisable given exigencies with which I'm unaware. At any rate, it's as impressive an Alpha launch as I can remember.


Alan, you really get the whole "share" ethos of the web and CS - kudos! I hope your semester is going well, ... mine is a bit rough this year. grumble. grumble. :D
... Shazz

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