Tag Archives: outsourcing

Weekly #8: Are you building a football team or a strip club?

Here’s the whole point of this class- in each class we’re going to take something that you think you know about and blow it to pieces and show you what it’s really about.”

That’s how last class started.

I’d argue, that’s how I’ve felt after each class this semester, as well.

Care to know about the rise of crowd sourcing?  Check the definition here. But, basically, it’s taking something normally done internally and opening it up to the world. Small risk: you don’t know how people will participate or who will participate or what the task will become.

Remember outsourcing? Sending jobs to India and China is so 2003. The new pool of cheap labor: everyday people using their spare cycles to create content, solve problems, even do corporate R & D. We often think of crowd sourcing as “free labor” – if we crowd source everything, we won’t have to do anything.What’s at the heart of crowd souring is that you’re not just looking for labor, you’re looking for wisdom.

So, what defines a crowd?

A group of people united by space- where people are brought together and defined by common purpose or set of emotions. This undefined group prior to that event, and then disperses. We don’t care who’s in or why, and it’s the sense of interpersonal isolation that unites the crowd.

For example, a riot or a political rally come together for an expressed task and disperse afterwards with no lasting effect.

There are big short comings to a crowd: including isolation and the “elevator” feeling- don’t care who’s on here, just get me to my floor so I can get off of it. Kind of like Amish Barn raising – come together once a year and build a barn. Hard to assemble repeat crowds

As Paul Harvey would say, “And now, for the rest of the story…”

Analogy: football teams and strip clubs.

Sorry Jason, time to roll.

A shout out to Jason Campbell. Tear.

(It’s rated PG. Promise.)

Teams grow together because they have a vested interest improving each other’s abilities. Contrast this with a strip club, where there is little incentive to get better at their task, in fact helping someone else can negatively impact you (um, less “sales” let’s say).

A football team is not a crowd, it’s a community. Strip club is a crowd- the “workers” come together, but there is no sense of community or reason to come back again. A group that comes together for a shared purpose is a community.  As with the Shirky example, using the stolen sidekick example- this is a crowd, not a community.

What’s a community? A sustainable, organic, adaptive group.

We talked about Meridian 59 as great example of a community- the community cares so much, that they have outlived the brand- the game doesn’t exist anymore. Selena is a great celebrity example, more popular after her death than before- their community is even stronger


The question: Which does your brand impact crowds or communities?

The point: Wikipedia is both of these at once.

The caveat (and/or “big idea”): The idea of having a culture that honors requests for corrections (this is what gets Wikipedia out of lawsuits) the whole point of Wikipedia is that it’s editable; therefore you have not just the ability but concurrently, the responsibility to fix the content.


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