Use the “Crowd sourcing” in 2010 to Run your Business & Life!

Written by on January 3rd, 2010

Twitter, Facebook and other social media will help you make decisions

Growing up in the 60’s was an incredible time and yet stressful time.  Everything was in flux.  The role of a father was changing from the master and ruler of his domain to one where he shared power with his wife, sex came out in the open, equality finally was put on the front burner and students learned how to collectively band together to change the world!

It was a decade that sought to give “Power to the People”.  A time in which people were actively exercising their right to be involved in decisions.

In the 40 some years since that movement started, I don’t think 16 year olds forgot about the values associated with power to the people.  As they grew up, they changed the world, made it more transparent, worked to provide equality in race, pay and ability, thought more about the environment rights and much more.

Now as we enter the next decade, technology is going to take “power to the people” to a whole NUTHER level.  Technology is giving individuals, corporations and non profits the ability to reach out and use the power of the people to accomplish things that would not have been achievable.  Today we call that “Crowd sourcing”  (…More…)

Wedding Photographers get Disintermediated!

Written by on November 7th, 2009

Crowd sourcing spells trouble for wedding photographers

You might have noticed that I’m writing more articles on crowd sourcing lately.  It’s because I’m beginning to see how fundamentally it will change the way our businesses are structured and our society if functioning.

Web 2.0 tools like Flickr and YouTube started to teach us how we could interact and engage with each other around photos and video.   As our behaviors changed and we understood the value the technology provided us, the next stage of innovation is using Web 2.0 thought processes to develop ways where people can share ideas, concepts and effectively get work done faster with less effort.

Today I ran across a site called Kedai, “smile, snap, share”.  (Would love to know what Kedai means)  Kedai and future incarnations of it creates enormous financial pressure on wedding photographers.

Now a wedding with 100 guests can have the power of 100 cameras snapping away capturing their unique view of the day/night/week for the wedding party, friends and family.  It’s a shared experience.

Here’s how it works. (…More…)

Can you trust social media, PR machines and Lobbyists?

Written by on October 7th, 2009

Who do you believe?

What’s social media, excessive content and entertainment news doing to us?

Martians Invade EarthWhat is the proliferation of news and information doing to us?  What is all this content coming from all different sources, that has been repackaged, regurgitated and driven through wires, microwaves, satellites doing to us?

A new survey by the Pew Research Center show that trust in the news media has reach a new low, with record numbers of American saying it is inaccurate.   This year’s poll suggest 63 percent of the respondents said news articles were often inaccurate. Seventy four percent said news organizations favor one side or another in reporting political news.   News (entertainment) programs are starting to align with party lines.   If you are Republican, your news fix probably comes from Fox.

There’s something happening today that is making a growing majority of us skeptics and not sure what to believe.  The public is starting to lean toward the feelings John Lennon shared in his song “God”.  In it he says:

I don’t believe in magic,
I don’t believe in I-ching,
I don’t believe in bible,
I don’t believe in tarot,
I don’t believe in Hitler,
I don’t believe in Jesus,
I don’t believe in Kennedy,
I don’t believe in Buddha,
I don’t believe in mantra,
I don’t believe in Gita,
I don’t believe in yoga,
I don’t believe in kings,
I don’t believe in Elvis,
I don’t believe in Zimmerman,
I don’t believe in Beatles,
I just believe in me,

While John was working out a painful breakup of the Beatles and trying to move on with his life, my interpretation of the polls are this;  there is so much information available through so many different channels that ALL pose as credible news sources, that it’s hard for anyone to know what to believe. (…More…)

Wisdom of the Crowds on the Street – Picks Stocks!

Written by on September 27th, 2009

Find out what others are saying about your company or product!

Daily I see more products and services that automatically search the web for people talking about products, services, issues and then aggregates this information and delivers it back to me in a variety of methods to help me make decisions.

So what do you do with that information?

Well in the case of the stock market, you can take mentions of companies, analyze the mentions as positive or negative and then graphically display for others to interpret and use to make a better decision.

Interesting way this blog started.

I wrote a blog article about the “wisdom of the crowds” and the next day a tweet showed up in my Twitter account:

@Philabaum Check outhttp://www.piqqem.com for another example of wisdom of crowds.

Wow, pretty smart!  Did the system automatically find me and post that information, or is someone sitting at a computer somewhere in the world being delivered mentions of words, concepts and ideas who then puts a human spin to them and who then sends the message off?

In my case this really worked.

Not only was I intrigued, I followed the link to the product piqqem and signed up!

Think about how you could use Twitter to watch for mentions of terms and keywords that might identify who you are, what your customers like, attitudes and or locations.    You too could have a business process that would deliver frightenly  fast and relevant information to people who are out there talking about services they like or need.

I’m just starting to get a handle on this.  Would love to know your take!

Millsap College Uses “Wisdom of the Crowds” to Select President

Written by on September 25th, 2009

Life is too complicated. No one person or group has the answers!

You know how-  from time to time – you get a song stuck in your head, and it just keeps playing over and over and over!  I’ve never looked at it too seriously, occasionally I have wondered if the content of the song was something my psyche or soul needed to help it adjust to a situation or to get an “attitude” adjustment.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve noticed that I’m stuck in a rut writing more and more about the “wisdom of the crowds” or as some refer to as “crowd sourcing”.

I’ve been greatly influenced by Don Tapscott’s book, Wikinomics, (not just because he’s also named Don) because it really awakened the reality of how the Internet has changed the way we run our lives, businesses and organizations.

In the past, the person at the top of the organization had a phone to the outside world, a very small group of advisors and his or her gut to make decisions.  Today, that same person at the top has a Twitter account,  Facebook account, etc,  which provides them a million points of view on a subject or feedback on a proposed idea or new product. (…More…)

Netflix uses Crowd Sourcing to Increase Revenue

Written by on September 22nd, 2009

Over the past year I’ve been watching the drama unfold in the  Netflix one million dollar contest.

Netflix spent millions writing software code that would analyze their customer interests and likes and then use that information to recommend movies they would like.  If I give a thumbs up to the movie The Terminator, along with a number of sci-fi movies, the program will present me with additional movies that match what I am interested in..

The Netflix philosophy is simple.  The more movies I see that I like, the more I will order.

In October of 2006, Netflix caught onto the “wisdom of the crowds” thing and developed a contest that offered a million dollar prize for the individual or group that could improve the inhouse software they had developed.  (called Cinematch).

The winner would design a software program that would be 10 percent more effective and take away a million dollar prize.

The three year event has kept many in suspense, received a great deal of publicity and attention and has gone a long way to help their customers understand their passion to better serve them.  As a Netflix user, it caught my attention!  And to the participants who put hundreds of hours into the project, they just couldn’t let go.

The program started out with individuals around the world working on the problem on their own.  Then an interesting thing happened.  Individuals’ realized they didn’t have the expertise in areas that others who were actively working toward the solution had.  They realized they needed to merge or they were out of the race.  And as time continued, after one or two people came together, groups started coming together.   A group that realized they were slightly behind another team, then merged with a team that had code that would give them another 2 percent advantage.   And so it went until on Monday a seven person team of statisticians, machine -learning experts and computer engineers which called themselves the BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos was announced the winner of the one million dollar prize. (…More…)

Wisdom of the Crowds – Concept will Change Your Business

Written by on June 28th, 2009

The first business I started while in college, I called Aardvark Studios.

I’ve never been very creative when it comes to naming a business so after days of searching for the right name, Aardvark stuck.   We took pictures of graduates when they received their diplomas on graduation day, and then mailed a free proof to each graduate, giving them an opportunity to order enlargements.  By the time I sold the business, 25 years later, we were photographing about 200,000 graduates each year.

So I had to laugh when I saw a story in the New York Times about a company founded in 2007 called Aardvark.    The firm was jumping into the online advice business, the same business that Microsoft’s new Bing has entered, Hunch and Yahoo’s Answers.  Aardvark’s twist however is it’s among the first that provides an intelligent way to reach out to authorities on subjects within your circle of friends.

The second thing that makes Aardvark different from others is the answers are created real time and specific to your question only.   When you pose a question like:

  1. What wine goes good with chicken?
  2. What’s the best grad school for someone interested in marketing?
  3. What’s the best computer for my 15 year old daughter?
  4. Where do I go when I visit Italy this year?
  5. Which mower should I get to mow an acre of fairly flat land?
  6. What do I have to look out for when I buy a new car?

Aardvark fires out the question through your Facebook friends and their friends and then delivers the response to you through your IM.

What it tries to do is target those with the best chance of answering the question.   Instead of blasting the question to everyone you know, it sends a limited number at a time so not to over burden the entire system.   It also utilizes information from other social networking profiles to match interests, demographics characteristics and other factors.

If no one answers a question, Aardvark continues to broaden the group of people until it gets an answer for you.  If you are like me a response usually invokes additional questions so Aardvark enables the person asking the question to respond to the person who answered it with additional questions.

Like any other tool, the more people that use it the more powerful it will become.  When you sign up,  you will be asked to share 3 areas you are knowledgeable  on.  This helps the system know which type of questions to send to you.

So how will this change your business?

This kind of tool will affect how your products and services are sold.  Consumers will still be influenced by advertising but they will learn to go to their network for advice on which product to buy.  It will help your staff find quick answers from others within your company.   The world is getting increasingly more complex.  A tool like this will help your staff reach out to others in and outside your business to gain quick answers to problems they are facing.

And if you are looking for a job, it will instantly put you in touch with the right people who can help you!

The end result is, decisions will be made faster, based on more experience.

So I have one question to ask Aardvark.   When I owned my photography business, nearly every week, someone asked me, “Why did you name your company Aardvark?”

So Aardvark, “Why did you name your business Aardvark?”

Got a Speeding Ticket? Get Advice Online!~

Written by on May 30th, 2009

Speed Trap is beat by the “wisdom of the crowds”

Police CarMy wife shared with me an article the other day that appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal that had gotten a great deal of comments.

Apparently a group of 8 motorcycle officers were dispatched from the Columbus State Highway patrol and assigned to conduct a massive ticketing campaign on a stretch of Interstate 77 near where I live in the Bath, Ohio.   While I’m not sure why they were assigned from Columbus, the fact that they were could become a problem for the state in making the tickets stick.

The four day campaign was very successful and resulted with over 800 tickets issued to motorists. (I’m glad I was working on a update to a new Webinar because I didn’t leave my office for nearly a week and if I had, I’m sure I would be one of the 800).

The comments to the article ranged from individuals chastising the state for creating a situation where 800 families in these hard economic times are now going to be forced to pay a $150 to $250 fine.   Other comments from the reporters indicated a near majority of the tickets were issued for going less than 10 miles over the speed limit. (…More…)

“Facebook is like God!”

Written by on May 25th, 2009

What does Facebook mean to you?

And what does it mean to your college or organization?

About 4 years ago I was conducting a focus group at a New York state college.

Apparently the yearbook was no longer produced at their college. (A combination of cost and lack of interest Image of Godamong graduating seniors.) The alumni director was concerned because she found herself ever more dependent on yearbooks to find out which alumni were in groups and organizations so she could hold campus reunion events around their participation. In phone conversations I had with her, I suggested she consider taking the yearbook online. As more students spend more time online and share more content, I suggested, all we need to do is organize the data and she would have instantaneous access to al l the data she needed.

There were 20 people in the room, faculty, students and administrators. When the discussion came to Facebook, one of the students said, “Facebook is like God to me”. I learned later that she came from a small town that graduated less than 100 students each year and didn’t appear to be the type of person that fit into the most popular click at the school. She went on to say she had over 600 friends on Facebook that she was able to connect and engage with at anytime. (Keep in mind this was in the spring of 2005 and Facebook had only been out of the gate for about a year.) (…More…)

25 Reasons -WHY- You need a Facebook Strategy

Written by on May 12th, 2009

Facebook 101 executive suiteEveryone benefits, a pizza shop, candy store, small business and large corporation

Over the weekend I wrote a 30 page white paper called, Facebook 101 for the Executive Suite.  A friend and a CIO I’ve been working with the last couple of months thought the “executive suite”  would benefit from having a overview of how Facebook could be used in their firm.

After reflecting on how to present the opportunities to VP’s, Presidents and the C level administrators, I came up with:

  • 4 fundamental changes in consumer behaviors they need to be aware of
  • 4 ways a firm can tap into an anticipated 300 million user base
  • 5 ways an organization will benefit by developing a Facebook strategy
  • 12 best practices and proven Internet strategies
  • How various departments in your firm can benefit by participating in Facebook

As usual, for me, it’s hard to write a 8 page whitepaper.  This baby came in at 30 plus pages.  At any rate, over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing this information with you.

I’ll start by explaining the 4 behavior changes that will drive how you lead and manage your business in the coming decade.  We’ll first examine Community, then follow up with looks at Content, Collaboration and Communication.  The four C’s!

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