Crowd sourcing works, here's some examples

Ever use a crowd to learn something? I have. Here’s some of my favorite ones:

1. What Netbook would you recommend?

2. Examples of “now” marketing.

3. Teaching me about microformats.

4. Top apps to load on your new iPhone 3GS.

5. Favorite Twitter app for iPhone.

6. A bunch of people’s favorite web sites.

7. Tools people use to build 2010 websites.

8. Hundreds of people teach me about “leadership.”

9. What apps/services people think should be included in a list of 2010 web ones.

10. What to do if you see FriendFeed spam.

11. What to use instead of PowerPoint to give presentations.

12. What should CIOs consider about the 2010 web?

13. Interesting groups of Twitterers.

14. Should you use Disqus, Intense Debate, BackType on your blog’s commenting system?

15. What kind of mountain bike do you recommend for $1000-$1,500?

There are plenty of other examples too, but most of these have very good answers and are participated in by dozens if not hundreds of people each.

Have you found other examples of where crowds were used to answer questions and where the answers that came back are better than what you can find elsewhere?

Published by

Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

Comments

  1. I will leave heart surgery to the doctors. Could a crowd fly your plane to London?

    A mish-mash of inside-baseballish likes and dislikes, that ain't wisdom, that's a unscientific and wholly unrepresentative limited-scope survey, best of luck with that.

  2. Have you ever tried getting advice when you are a nobody, rather than a Scoble?
    Try it with an account with no followers, then see what you think about the usefulness of crowdsourcing for normal people.

  3. Hi Robert! I have a good example for you, Timo and Paul (because I don't have a big community around me:)

    I used Smartsourcing (Smartsheet + Mechanical Turk) to help me find a list of small business/technology reporters' Twitter aliases at the 50 major metro daily papers. Here's the blog post from yesterday and the list is embedded inside.

    http://brentfrei.typepad.com/blog/2009/06/why-s

    In this scenario, I did pay the Turkers for the information, but it saved me hours and hours of time and only cost $68!

    Thanks for the post,
    Maria

  4. As an alternative to PowerPoint, you should also consider using an overhead projector. Old fashioned, but also dynamic in that you can draw/write on the slides as you go.

  5. Crowd scouring is just big egos (with lots of followers) using other people to do their legwork for them, lazy self-appointed aristocracy bidding the “help” to perform simple tasks, that they cannot be bothered to trifle with, as they are above such rudimentary stuff as research.

    Honestly, all those questions could be answered with 5 to 10 minutes of research, and a few with a single Google Search. Try asking really complicated questions, that need direct answers and not opinions, verified by real experiments, and see how well it works then.

  6. While many questions can be answered with 5 to 10 minutes of research, there still exist some time consuming tasks that simply cannot be done that way. For example, if your boss asked for a list of all the insurance agents in New York, would you really spend the 3+ days doing the research?

    Or conversely, if you were that boss and you are paying the interns by the hour, why wouldn't you want to save some money by having the crowd do it?

    At the same time, the people who do engage in the actual tasks are neither slaves nor grunts. Here is an example of a study done on this:

    http://datadiscoverers.com/research/?p=3

  7. Great! This is really informative and close to what I'm looking for. I'm looking for a mobile or PDA-based business and property inventory software and I came across The Inventory Manager. Ever since using the software, we've had faster turnaround of reports without sacrificing the consistency and quality of reports. I hope that you will feature more business softwares. Thanks a lot!!!
    Kudos! :)

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