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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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July 30, 2007

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Comments

Mathew Ingram

Great post, Jeff.

As for the difference between Series A and Series B financing, that's easy -- Series A comes first and Series B comes second. Assignment completed :-)

alan

I read Scott’s post yesterday and re-read it and came away from it with a little voice saying; yea right of course, common sense prevails.

As much as Scott’s common sense/striped down approach appeals to the practical in me I still think that the process part has some variables that suggest a complexity and profundity not present in pre-“citizen journalism” or “crowdsourcing” days.

The community/collaboration part of the process takes the negative connotation of “crowd” to a more positive place. The community/process has changed and is a lot less loosely connected than to-fore. One clue might be a generation of individuals who are at-one with the technology that’s being utilized. The process has more to do with the marriage and transformation of community and culture through individualized yet combined participation.

Great use of the George Orwell piece. Just as 1984, as a term, had little impact and no broader connotation in 1949 it did carry within it the seeds for a shift of personal consciousness regarding evolving cultural changes as they impacted individual lives. Today those four numbers bring to mind scenarios that fleshed out could fill any of the great newspapers many times over.

Language “is” the precursor of consciousness and to that-end the myriad elements connected to the process of crowdsourcing; cultural, social, economic, biographical and the list goes on, and how they are going to be fully manifest is still unclear. The language has yet to be clearly defined.

Here is the rub! We can see what social networking is doing to the landscape. We are experiencing the impact that access to, in this case journalism, is having upon traditional forms.

Scott is right and wrong! Right with journalism is journalism regardless of the surrounding noise and that “the words we use to describe things can have a powerful effect on how we perceive them.” His lens might have to be adjusted to catch the larger battle rather than the fight upon his home turf. CS is taking hold upon a much broader swath of the landscape and is going to be very broad and deep in its reach.

“Crowdsourcing as a process, a means to an end,” catches just a fraction of the manifest reality.

This unfolding impulse will need no pedestal. It is forming the ground for architraves intimating a new order, technologically and economically supported collective individualism.
An order that dispenses with the old Marxian connotations and replaces them with a wisdom gleaned from virtual collaboration and enlightenment gained from personal participation.


Cheers, Alan.

tish grier

Hi Jeff...I always take Scott with a grain of salt...

but, in all seriousness, I think the labels are there mostly to make a distinction between who gets paid, if they're going to get paid, and how much (as well as what rights they lose over their content.) If you read the various Terms of Service at many of the "citizen journalism" portals, you'll get my drift...

and I like your distinction on the two parts of being a journalist. I err on the inquisitive/talkative side myself. The writing's always been a total chore!


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heh, pretty nice :)

Ethan Bauley

Check out Scott's brainchild/startup...Digg by people who know what they're talking about on a broad array of topics:

"Publish2 is a social network and 2.0 platform for journalists (and independent “news bloggers,” “citizen” journalists, student journalists, i.e. ALL journalists, BROADLY defined), which aims to put journalists at the center of news on the web by creating a journalist-powered news aggregator."

Check out the rest of it here:

http://blog.publish2.com/2007/08/14/introducing-publish2-networked-news/

I think it's brilliant. Probably the smartest "Web 2" model I've seen in a while [well, besides kiva, AWS, etc]

catererdude

This is the first time I have come across this blog (on stumbleupon) however it is a very good analysis. A bit of "news blogging" you might want to check out is on http://www.secretarialblog.co.uk. The blog reports on a demonstration that secretaries and PAs had in central london. Cool stuff and crowd powered?

Ansel

Re: venture financing and Series A versus series B.

Series B investment means they recevied a 2nd amount of funding ($$$ or capital) from professional investors to fund the growth of their stratup, an unproven, or sepeculative venture. The inital investment from professionals is called the A round (or series A) and is made by venture capitalists (VC). The B round can be from the same investors as the A round or may include new investors.

Startups typically follow a pattern for funding their growth, starting with money from angel investors (friends, family, empoyers, wealthy individuals in the community,etc), and then a succession of investmens (series A,B,C,...) from VC's. All investors receive shares in the company, which are not avalable to the general public. For the investor the payoff typically comes from an initial public offer (IPO). This when the comany has grown large enough to be listed on a stock exchange and makes it possible for the general public to then invest in the firm (buy shares) and the original investors to sell their shares to the public for a profit. Alternatively the firm may be acquired pre-IPO and the general public does not have the opportunity to invest.

As a reader the fact that a firm has received a B round suggests 3 key things:
1 The category in which the firm particiaptes (e.g. social networking, or blogging, or search, etc) is attracting serious attention, which can be good for all firms in that category and suggests that some smart people are willing put money down that the category will do well in the long run.
2 The firm has made meaningul progress using the A round and convinced professional investors that there is a solid investment opportunity (not as easy as during the .com boom)
3. Using the firm's servcies is less risky than before the B round; they now have more money to keep the lights on and grow the value of the offering (more features, more users, etc.)

A great deal more can be said but those are the highlighs; hope that helps,

Ansel

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