Jeff Howe coined the word 'Crowdsourcing' in a 2006 article for Wired magazine to describe the way in which the Internet has broken down traditional employer/employee relationships to create vibrant new enterprises that are 'staffed' by informal, often large gatherings of enthusiasts. A few weeks before the article hit the newsstands, a Google search for the word 'Crowdsourcing' returned zero results. One month after the article appeared, the same search returned nearly 500,000 hits. These days anyone and everyone can write book reviews on Amazon, post videos on Youtube, come up with new uses for Google maps or design T-shirts for Threadless. What makes this phenomenon so remarkable is that it is starting to transform the way many companies operate and to change their relationship with their customers: iStockPhoto.com has revolutionised the world of digital photography; Cambrian House is having a profound impact on the way films get made; Second Life has created a vast, profitable business with only a few formal employees but thousands of dedicated contributors. Moreover this revolution is rapidly changing our culture, introducing a consumer democracy that has never existed before. Jeff Howe has now followed up his initial, ground-breaking article with months of research, and the result is a book that will define the next stage of the Internet revolution.
The amount of knowledge and talent dispersed among the human race has always outstripped our capacity to harness it. Crowdsourcing corrects thatbut in doing so, it also unleashes the forces of creative destruction. From CrowdsourcingFirst identified by journalist Jeff Howe in a June 2006 Wired article, crowdsourcing describes the process by which the power of the many can be leveraged to accomplish feats that were once the province of the specialized few. Howe reveals that the crowd is more than wiseits talented, creative, and stunningly productive. Crowdsourcing activates the transformative power of todays technology, liberating the latent potential within us all. Its a perfect meritocracy, where age, gender, race, education, and job history no longer matter; the quality of work is all that counts; and every field is open to people of every imaginable background. If you can perform the service, design the product, or solve the problem, youve 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. Jeff Howe delves into both the positive and negative consequences of this intriguing phenomenon. Through extensive reporting from the front lines of this revolution, he employs a brilliant array of stories to look at the economic, cultural, business, and political implications of crowdsourcing. How were a bunch of part-time dabblers in finance able to help an investment company consistently beat the market? 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? The answers lie within these pages. The blueprint for crowdsourcing originated from a handful of computer programmers who showed that a community of like-minded peers could create better products than a corporate behemoth like Microsoft. Jeff Howe tracks the amazing migration of this new model of production, showing the potential of the Internet to create human networks that can divvy up and make quick work of otherwise overwhelming tasks. One of the most intriguing ideas of Crowdsourcing is that the knowledge to solve intractable problemsa cure for cancer, for instancemay already exist within the warp and weave of this infinite and, as yet, largely untapped resource. But first, Howe proposes, we need to banish preconceived notions of how such problems are solved. The very concept of crowdsourcing stands at odds with centuries of practice. Yet, for the digital natives soon to enter the workforce, the technologies and principles behind crowdsourcing are perfectly intuitive. This generation collaborates, shares, remixes, and creates with a fluency and ease the rest of us can hardly understand. Crowdsourcing, just now starting to emerge, will in a short time simply be the way things are done.From the Hardcover edition.
The March of the Turtles finds its theme in death. I had never envisioned doing such a book. I have included death references in some of my prior work, but not to the degree it is written about here. Then again, The March of the Turtles is really a 21-year culmination of my relationship with my wife's father, a man I grew to admire and love as so many around him did. He left us this year, just as I was wondering how to get the book finished. It is dedicated to him: Joe Nanney
A second compilation of Jeff Howe's unique poetry, Falling from a Cloud is a complete work, particularly in that Jeff not only wrote the content for it, but he designed the entire book from cover to cover as well. When you pick up the book to read it, you will hold in your hands an easy-to-navigate and orderly presentation that is Jeff's signature statement to lay out methodologies. His poetry tells stories, sings songs, speaks about people and places that are universal in spirit, if not in actuality. Take the journey - you won't be disappointed!