Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business

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Three Rivers Press, 2009 - Business & Economics - 311 pages
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Why does Procter & Gamble repeatedly call on enthusiastic amateurs to solve scientific and technical challenges? How can companies as diverse as iStockphoto and Threadless employ just a handful of people, yet generate millions of dollars in revenue every year?

"Crowdsourcing" is how the power of the many can be leveraged to accomplish feats that were once the responsibility of a specialized few. Jeff Howe reveals that the crowd is more than wise–it’s talented, creative, and stunningly productive. It’s also a perfect meritocracy, where age, gender, race, education, and job history no longer matter; the quality of the work is all that counts. If you can perform the service, design the product, or solve the problem, you’ve got the job.

But crowdsourcing has also triggered a dramatic shift in the way work is organized, talent is employed, research is conducted, and products are made and marketed. As the crowd comes to supplant traditional forms of labor, pain and disruption are inevitable, and Howe delves into both the positive and negative consequences of this intriguing phenomenon. Through extensive reporting from the front lines of this workplace revolution, he employs a brilliant array of stories to look at the economic, cultural, business, and political implications of crowdsourcing.
 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
s WHAT THE CROWI KNOWS
6
Fueling the Crowdsourcing Engine
23
FROM SO SIM PLE A BEGINNING
47
e FASTER CHEAPER SMARTER EASIER
71
THE RISE AND FALL OF THE FIRM
98
where we
129
Collective Intelligence in Action
146
a WHAT The CrOWI CREATES
177
e WHAT THE CROWD THINKS
223
e Wii AT THE CROWI FUNDS
247
section in a where were Going
261
e CONCLUSION
278
e THE MOST UNIVERSAL QUALITY
294
Acknowledgments
301
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

JEFF HOWE is a contributing editor at Wired magazine, where he covers the entertainment industry among other subjects. Before coming to Wired he was a senior editor at Inside.com and a writer at the Village Voice. In his fifteen years as a journalist, he has traveled around the world working on stories ranging from the impending water crisis in Central Asia to the implications of gene patenting. He has also written for U.S. News & World Report, Time magazine, the Washington Post, Mother Jones, and numerous other publications. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and children.


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