Soundview Executive Book Summaries


From Crowd surfing to Crowdsourcing
September 26, 2008, 11:26 AM
Filed under: Strategic Management | Tags:

Have you even been to a stadium rock concert, high up in the nosebleeds and able to see all those lucky (or unlucky, depending on how claustrophobic you may be) people down below in what is known as “general admission,” “standing room only,” or what is commonly known to the younger generation as “the pit”? At some of the wilder shows—so I’ve been told—many a zealous music fan will manage to get hoisted above his or her peers’ heads and is passed along from person to person, literally surfing the crowd much the same way you might body surf in the ocean. Sure, it’s not for everybody, but crowd surfing has become something of a regular phenomenon at rock and punk shows, where a band or a musician has a following—a community of devoted fans that all want to participate in the experience.

Is this always safe? No, but it’s for those who enjoy taking a bit of risk, sort of like those folks who get a kick from bungee jumping. But if you want to feel that sense of community, or as a business leader harness that power, then there is another option for you: crowdsourcing.

Lately there have been a handful of popular titles devoted to the way of the crowd: We Are Smarter Than Me, The Wisdom of Crowds, and even Citizen Marketers touches upon it. As of August 26, Crown Business has published another title to add to the growing collection of “crowd” research: Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business by Jeff Howe.

The book touches on companies and communities that we’re familiar with: Google, Threadless, Wikipedia and InnoCentive to mention a few, but the information provided about them is valuable—they truly are working with the power of the crowds devoted to them and their brand.

As a teaser, I leave you with this quote from the book: “The amount of knowledge and talent dispersed among the human race has always outstripped our capacity to harness it. Crowdsourcing corrects that—but in doing so, it also unleashes the forces of creative destruction.” For more info, check out Howe’s blog and pick up a copy of Crowdsourcing. You’re bound to learn something new!

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