A new crowdsourcing company, called Cambrian House, launched this week. The idea is pretty straightforward – open source software development minus the free labor. It's a little hard to evaluate whether Cambrian House can develop competitive applications in an increasingly crowded market, but I'm impressed with the degree to which they've thought out the model. I also like that they intend to put the crowd to work at three separate tasks: 1) originating the ideas; 2) evaluating the ideas; and 3) developing the code itself. A lot of the discussion in the media and the blogosphere since my original article came out has focused on the last of these functions -- I suppose because it's easiest to get one's head around--when in fact the crowd's ability to distinguish between fodder and folderol is, to my way of thinking anyway, the most fascinating and perhaps useful aspect of the crowdsourcing model (as well as being one of the only areas in which crowdsourcing does in fact overlap with peer production, in that the labor can only be performed by the collective.) It's also hard not to be won over by the egalitarian spirit that seems to animate Cambrian House, even if it's a little eerily reminiscent of the It's-Good-to-be-Good-Especially-if-We-Can-Make-Gobs-of-Cash-in-the-Process zeitgeist of the late '90s. At any rate, I look forward to following Cambrian House's development, and wish them the best of luck. One question guys: Will the source code created by the crowd remain open to the crowd after it's launched, or is that contingent on the client?
Postscript: I hope my regular readers will forgive the lapse between posts. My goal is to never let more than a week elapse and, if significant or interesting developments occur, post in as reactive a manner possible. I appreciate your continued readership and, this especially, contributions.