September 4, 2008

News & Opinion: The power of crowdsourcing.

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 7:24 PM – Filed under: Innovation & Creativity

Jeff Howe's Crowdsourcing is now out. I planned on starting this post with an F. A. Hayek quote on a community's ability to bring widely dispersed knowledge together; then I realized I had already posted it here. And so I'll go a different route.
Earlier this summer, I had a chance to talk about Crowdsourcing with Jeff. That is, using the power of crowds to do work. Wikipedia is a good example. Or Threadless, the t-shirt company that's raking in over $10 million every year.
What fascinates me about crowdsourcing is the level of passion. People (consumers) don't want to stand by on the sidelines and passively consume. People want to be involved. They/we want to share what we know.
Crowdsourcing creates what Jeff calls, the perfect meritocracy. If you go back to F. A. Hayek's idea, it's impossible for each one of us to amass unlimited amounts of knowledge. In crowdsourcing, it matters not whether you are a rocket scientist or a high school dropout. What matters is what you know and how that knowledge is applied.
That's the story shared in Jeff's book. It was just released last week. Here's a trailer for the book. If you're interested, check out our conversation.

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.