I’m really excited about a new name and a new set of Web tools for collecting and mining the collective knowledge and wisdom of the online community – “crowdsourcing.” People were crowdsourcing long before the Web, of course, but only with people they knew or knew of. Now we’re all wired into the conversation, and where cynics might expect 100% Babel we often find flashes of brilliance.
One of the first formal applications of online crowdsourcing – Assignment Zero – is an experiment in journalism. Until the rise of Web 2.0, journalism was a tightly restricted medieval craft guild that monopolized the practice of newsgathering and reporting. Its motto: “And that’s the way it is,” always delivered in the weighty baritone of TV anchor certainty. Assignment Zero, a collaboration between Wired magazine and a New York University journalism professor, Jay Rosen, is smashing the palace gates to let amateurs get their hands on the means of news production & news distribution to see what happens.
You know journalists: the most fascinating stories they encounter are found in the mirror. So it’s not totally surprising that the first crowdsourced story Assignment Zero is tackling is…(wait for it) crowdsourcing.
Assignment Zero has set up a online newsroom where citizen-journalists interested in reporting on crowdsourcing – and several other topics – can get oriented, hear a pep-talk from the editor, and choose an assignment from among the many sub-stories that, put together, make up the whole story. Professional editors will monitor the reporting, then wrap the best material into one large, coherent report. As the metas metastasize, Wired will then run a feature article on the Assignment Zero experiment, using material crowdsourced by the amateur experimenters themselves. Whew.
Here’s why I’m excited about the intersection of Goodstorm and crowdsourcing: as I said in my last post, launching Goodstorm got me thinking a lot about the nature and properties of good. Last time I kicked around some thoughts on the spiritual and metaphysical nature of good, but those aren’t the parts of good that I’m most interested in.
I’m trying to put together an actionable guide to being good that redefines and refreshes “good” the way Goodstorm is redefining and refreshing “capitalism.” We’ve got to take back the power and meaning of our words.
Real capitalism isn’t oligopoly (hear that, Halliburton?), and real good isn’t some watery broth of pop psychology and comfort food for the soul. Real good(ness) has the power to save lives and make a difference in the world. It’s a power that’s re-emerging on a global basis – thank goodness. We are part of that process.
So here’s an invitation to crowdsource the art of good. Help Goodstorm fight for the highest meaning of good with the greatest power of all: ideas that work. I’m looking for the wisdom of our crowd when it comes to active ideas for being a good friend, a good spouse/lover/partner, a good pet owner, a good businessperson, a good investor, a good shopper, a good farmer, a good driver, a good citizen…of a community, a country, the world.
I’ll be posting great ideas I come across, and great ideas and commentary sourced from the wise & generous Goodstorm crowd. As someone said, we are smarter than me.
(In addition to being a great sound bite, We Are Smarter Than Me is a crowdsourced book-in-progress on how the emergence of community and social networks will change the future rules of business.)
Ok... I did not make Rolling Stone Magazine or the Daily Show but I made it to become the cover boy of Venture Capital Journal.
Ok... I never said it was exciting. The story inside just talked about my penchant for investing in consumer product and retail companies. I guess that's why I started GoodStorm with apparel, music, movies, books and games.
I just wish I can do downloadable music so I can give Apple a run for it's money. Hmmm... What do you about that idea? Downloadable music with a Capitalism Done Right backdrop. Inspiring!
I am not a lawyer but having filed numerous patents, trademarks and copyrights with the US Patent and Trademark Office, I have been told that all original written work have implied copyrights, Copyrights are the weakest of all intellectual property protections although if properly executed, they are as powerful as trademarks or patents.
Original work is always copyrighted. I am not sure about derivative works. Maybe a lawyer can comment on this blog about derivative works.
A student who writes an original paper on the impeachment process or genetic mutations has an implied copyright to his work and it cannot be used or exploited for any other purpose other than the student's original intent. In most cases, the purpose is to satisfy the requirements of course work.
In my humble opinion, students do not surrender rights to their copyrighted work to anyone other than the teacher or professor and perhaps the school for the SOLE purpose of satisfying course work. The school has no right to submit the copyrighted work to any another company for such company's archiving and further using the copyrighted works as part of a database which is used for commercial gain.
The only ones arguing that the practice is legal are school administrators who were caught with their pants down and the company who is using the original, copyrighted work of students for commercial gain. In my opinion, no one has the right to appropriate the copyrighted original work of anyone for commercial gain without properly compensating the copyright owner.
As a matter of conjecture and personal opinion: If it is true that 60% of student works are plagiarized, then 40% of content of turnitin.com's database could be students' copyrighted works. I can guess that copyrighted works have no releases from their authors and are being used for commercial gain without paying the students/authors/copyright owners. This could be one of the biggest breaches of copyright law in history.
I am not sure who is cheating in this controversy. I am on the students side!
GoodStorm is hosting a cocktail tomorrow to kick off the Bandwidth Conference. It will be very cool to see folks we hung out with during SXSW. We have a surprise to show folks... time to find out what the buzz is!
Point of impulse first came out as a concept as early as 2001 except no one really paid attention. Most Internet companies have innovated and programmed thousands of lines of computer code to get a transaction closer to the impulse point but only if it happens on their respective sites. The impulse point is relevant if it happens in their site otherwise, they're not interested as it may even benefit a potential competitor. The interesting perspective is that point of impulse can only controlled by a customer not by a site operator. Certainly, one can build enticements for customers to impulsively buy, register or act in some other fashion but the final decision always belongs to the customer, a human being.
In lemming-like fashion, everyone’s model of Internet prosperity is based on the accumulation of traffic and page views at some centralized destination website. The model is certainly valid and has lead to the creation of affiliate or click-through models wherein a usually larger web site pays some other sites some amount of monies to direct traffic back in order to consolidate traffic. It has also spawned annoying pop-up advertising and even more nefarious, spyware.
The first real challenge to this model was the development of the social networking sites wherein people can maintain unique identities, look and feel in some controlled environment. Social networking sites find that by nurturing many small sites which individually attract meaningless traffic, they build massive destination sites that consolidate eyeballs. However, we think that the irrelevant or contextual advertising flood will eventually destroy customer base it seeks to exploit. Simply put irrelevant advertising is annoying.
The latest phenomenon is hyper-fast growth of individual blogging and converting blogs from exercises in pure self expression to viable enterprises and in some cases big businesses in their own right. Less than 1% will become really big and 3% will build business around themselves. The DailyKos, TechCrunch and the Huffington Post are just the first emergent models of big success.
There will be more blogs and the vast majority of them will be small to medium traffic sites. But we cannot ignore their numbers and growth. More important, we cannot ignore the voices they represent. They are also very intimate with their readers. These blogs are the first democratic voices of the individual in the information age. These smaller sites are the sweet spot for GoodStorm.
GoodStorm’s business model thrives on the opposite of the consolidated traffic-aggregating model. To us, it’s about pushing the experience and value creation opportunities to the end nodes: blogs, non-profits, individual and small company websites. J. D. Davidson and L. M. Rees-Mogg had some interesting observations in their book, The Sovereign Individual. They predict that the information age will eventually liberate themselves from the notions of government.
While I don’t believe that we will achieve the realization of the sovereign individual any time soon (or necessarily at all), the rapid growth of the blogosphere presages the weakening of larger Internet players. Traffic becomes more dispersed and commerce itself will move to the end points of the Internet rather than the inflexible centers of power. GoodStorm will move rapidly to try and provide the diverse products, services and tools of commerce to empower and reward the end nodes: the blogger and smaller web sites.
MeCommerce™ is only our opening salvo. It is the beginning of our 96% doctrine.
My personal mission and GoodStorm’s mission are aligned and we intend to hack capitalism itself. We will force equity and fairness in the transaction chain so everyone makes a decent cut while still delivering value for the customer. Our beta program has been a phenomenal success and our beta testers continue to devise new ways to upset the status quo by their innovative feature requests and bug hunting. At the end of our beta, we can convincingly say that MeCommerce™ was truly the result community collaboration.
Just finished doing a brief demo of GoodStorm MeCommerce. There were about 30 people packed into a really tiny room but the mood was certainly friendly despite the heat.
I did not get in initially because MashUp Camp got spam-filtered by my acm.org Postini filter. I guess folks liked my brief demo so one of participants, a lovely lady named Benay Dara-Abrams lobbied David Berlind to consider allowing me in. I think GoodKarma is paying off.
Two winters ago, I paid a visit to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. It was midnight. I came with 2 friends and it was an inspiring moment in my life. I knew that no matter what trials and tribulations we have as a people and nation, we will get overcome.
A picture of that night with 2 friends, Janet and Chris.