What's in it for Uber

As crowdsourcing creates new employment relationships, is it a new form of work? David Alan Grier explores this question and how Uber is shaping the answer, in today's podcast.

Grier explores the fact that several years ago many crowdsourcing pioneers thought crowdsourcing was a new form of work. However, we've explored the fact that crowdsourcing as a work process isn't new, only the word is.

Grier also discusses the question, "What are the legal obligations to the kind of relationships, and more importantly, the kinds of transactions we can invent with crowdsourcing technology?"

Learn Why Your Competitors are Crowdsourcing, at Crowdopolis

Crowdopolis is set to be a truly remarkable event in crowdsourcing history. Next week, the biggest pioneers in crowdsourcing will be gathering for 3 days of discussions on the future of work. The conference takes place Oct 6-8, 2015 in San Francisco, and there's still time to register. This 4th annual event is already set to be the best Crowdopolis ever. Join us and learn why your competitors are using crowdsourcing. And if they aren't, learn to harness it yourself to get a huge, and proven, advantage over them.

Here's a snapshot of some of the people you'll be meeting on stage and in the audience:

Speakers Attendees
Facebook NASA Oracle Ford
AstraZeneca Deloitte AARP Expedia (team)
Lockheed Martin Intel Toyota Booz Allen Hamilton (team)
Appirio Lenovo (team) Rust-Oleum (team) Farmers Insurance
Portfolia Accenture (team) eBay (team) NineSigma
Sequence SAP Verizon Clorox (team)
Pillsbury Innocentive JCPenney Johnson & Johnson (team)
Indiegogo Tongal TriNet Walmart
Janssen Applause IBM HP

Over the past 5 years we've helped hundreds of Fortune 500 companies learn how to begin using crowdsourcing to solve their common business problems. And in nearly every case, these enterprises test it out, then pour millions each month into their crowdsourcing endeavors. Why? Because they find out it works! We'd love to add your name to this list.

This 4th Crowdopolis is already set to be amazing, but we still want your energy in the room. Register today before it's too late.

We're Offering a Different Deal Each Day in September on Crowdopolis Tickets

The world's largest crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, & open innovation conference, Crowdopolis, is next month and to continue to build the excitement, we're offering a Deal of the Day for tickets. This will be our 4th, and by far the most exciting conference we've produced. Every year our quality of speakers improves, including at least 14 crowdsourcing leaders this year from brand name companies like AstraZeneca, Facebook, Lenovo, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin and several others. We'll have 26 speakers total spread out over 2 days & now you have a chance to get in with a great deal each day in September.

Bookmark our special Deal of the Day page and be sure to view it each morning to see what unique deal we're offering. Yesterday we gave away 1 free VIP Pass. Today, we're offering a couple 2 packs of tickets for $200. Tomorrow, and every other day in September we'll be offering limited numbers of deals such as discounted tickets, VIP invitations, team rates, and even a few freebies.

If you want to know exactly how amazing Crowdopolis will be, hear from our attendees:

Click here to visit our Deal of the Day page. We hope you'll join us at Crowdopolis, Oct 6-8, 2015 in San Francisco.

The Best Practices eBay Uses with Their Crowdsourcing

When James Rubinstein worked for eBay his job was to research, develop, and manage a crowdsourcing project designed to improve the searching experience on eBay.com. He spoke at our first 2 Crowdopolis conferences and gave a riveting presentation which had a James Bond theme attached to it (very clever). Essentially, Rubinstein gave a list of best practices he's identified during his years of reasearch.

He indicates, "Crowdsourcing has been very effective for eBay in measurement of search results & quality." What has he learned that he can pass on to us? I'm glad you asked:

  1. Why you should make time to experiment, learn, and advance in order to drill down best methods
  2. How vendor relationships are a lot like a marriage
  3. What hurdles, pitfalls, & mistakes you can expect to make (or hopefully avoid)

Crowds can be used very effectively where automation falls short, such as identifying the difference between a jumper & a jumper (???), or a Solex carboreutor and an MP carboreutor (again - ???). When you watch his presentation, you'll understand. 

Grab a Free Ticket to the Crowdsourcing Event of the Year

Crowdopolis is just around the corner so it's time for some great promos. Our first one up is a FREE ticket giveaway. This being our 4th conference, we're excited about how amazing it's going to be. Over 200 of the world's top pioneers will descend into San Francisco to learn and discuss ways to improve their crowdsourcing efforts for the next 3 years.

It's our goal to help you learn how to use crowdsourcing & we've seen there's no better way to get started, than at Crowdopolis. If you're interested in attending, but want to take a shot at a FREE ticket, then click here to enter your name in our drawing for FREE tickets. We'll give out 1 FREE ticket to 2 random winners. We'll announce the winners in our next newsletter.

Here are just 12 of the crowdsourcing pioneers you'll hear speak at Crowdopolis

crowdopolis xv speakers

Presentations Include
Here are just a handful of the presentations you'll hear

  • How to work with the right crowds
  • Overcoming Organizational Resistance to Crowdsourcing: Lessons from NASA's Open Innovation Program
  • Making Markets with A Crowdsourced Approach
  • Why the User's Voice counts!

Combined, these companies have spent millions on testing, breaking, fixing, & pioneering crowdsourcing initiatives. Their lessons are priceless. And, if you enter our drawing for a FREE Crowdopolis ticket, that price could be FREE.

How to Deal with the Onslaught of Incoming Data from Crowdsourcing

The Technical Strategy Director for AT&T spends his days meeting with clients like Coca-Cola and Time Warner discussing challenges such as big data and crowdsourcing. Now, of anyone who could struggle with an onslaught of incoming data, these companies would be at the top of the list. How do you deal with all the data coming in? How does AT&T or Coca-Cola manipulate and make sense of what they collect? Can automation or human labor manage the process? At what level does human labor become too costly to be useful?

Clint Cetti, Technical Strategy Director for AT&T, shares his experiences in the following YouTube video from a previous Crowdopolis Conference. He explains 

  1. How to use the crowds as sensors in a supply chain.
  2. What do do with data that's not text, but rather video or audio.
  3. The values in keeping the big data collected from the crowds as opposed to throwing it out.

His presentation is based on what he's doing with AT&T, Coca-Cola and other large corporations, yet the principles hold true for anyone unsure of how crowdsourcing can categorize your incoming data.

Household Brands that Crowdsource at the 4th Annual Enterprise Conference

Household Brands that Crowdsource at the 4th Annual Enterprise Conference

Crowdopolis XV is returning to San Francisco October 6-8, 2015, and tickets are now on sale. This being our 4th year, we're really excited about how far this conference has come. Nearly all of our 22 speakers are from household brands including Lockheed Martin, Intel, Lenovo, & Accenture - Just to name a few.

You can view full details by clicking here.

Today marks the start of publicly available ticket. You can now register by clicking here. If you work for a large corporation and are considering how crowds could help you solve your existing business problems, Crowdopolis will be the perfect setting to figure it out. Tickets were already presold to our newsletter subscribers, so get your tickets early.

We're bringing back our favorite events including

  • VIP Invitation-Only Preparty takes place Oct 6
  • Speakers will be serving drinks at our World Famous Afterparty Oct 7
  • A 2-day theme designed to articulate how you could run a crowdsourcing project from start to finish

2-for-1 Tickets

Every year we try a few new things to see what sticks. This year, we want to see the impact of offering 2-for-1 tickets. We feel crowdsourcing is easier to adopt when a colleague can help. If you'd like to get a 2-for-1 voucher, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

First 8 Speakers

We have an amazing lineup. But to get your beak wet, here are the first 8:

first 8 crowdopolis xv speakers 750x604

It's our own little Brady Bunch of crowdsourcing Pioneers.

I hope you'll join us at Crowdopolis.

Hear the Marketing Leaders of Crowdsourcing in Our Webinar Based Summit

If you're dying to know how the world's biggest marketers are using crowdsourcing to increase their bottom line but haven't been able to attend Crowdopolis... then you're in luck. Our second Summit is focused on crowdsourcing within marketing. Crowd Powered Marketing Summit takes place March 11 - 13, 2015, and it's all-online.

It's our goal to help the world learn how to use crowdsourcing, and for this Summit it's all about how crowdsourcing is disrupting marketing...

After the success of our last Summit, we're increasing to 9 of the best marketing speakers to present.

We'll teach you:

  1. The basic fundamentals of crowdsourcing
  2. How to use Brand Lurkers to your advantage
  3. What legal challenges to be aware of
  4. A marketing approach where crowds enrich & deliver customized data to your consumers
  5. What Growth Hacking means for your future
  6. How the CMO can open up more power & budgets in 2015 with crowdsourcing

Our 9 presentations will give you a well rounded set of skills to get you started implementing a crowdsourcing project right away.

Speakers Include:

  1. Stephen Paljieg (Kimberly-Clark)
  2. Christian Salaman (Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP)
  3. Bryan Saftler (Microsoft)
  4. Stephen Shapiro (Best Selling Author)
  5. Timothy Li (Accenture)
  6. John Hauer (3DLT)
  7. Nick Kellet (Listly)
  8. Clinton Bonner (TopCoder)
  9. David Bratvold (Daily Crowdsource)

Register Today

Tickets are on sale now. Want to receive a half-priced or even FREE ticket? Fill in the form below to join our Summit Interest List & we'll email 5 lucky people a free voucher, and 20 lucky people a 50% off voucher:

Winners will be chosen at random & emailed March 4, 2015.

We get a ton of requests for online access to our physical conference, so let me know what you think about this concept. Click here to learn more about the Crowd Powered Marketing Summit.

Call for Crowdsourcing Speakers is Now Open

Looking forward to 2015 & our calendar of crowdsourcing events, we wanted to do something different this year in how we invite speakers. All our speakers are by invitation-only (to ensure we only have the most influential & intelligent voices occupying your time), but lately we've seen an increase of people offering to speak. To ensure we're not missing anyone this year we're putting out our first Call For Speakers.

If you're extremely knowledgeable on crowdsourcing & you're interested in speaking at any of the following:

  • Crowdopolis - Our flagship physical conference
  • Online Summits (Several focuses including marketing, innovation, data, etc...)
  • 1-off Webinar (any topics)

Please click here to let us know you're interested. Or tell a friend. Let's push how wide we can cast this net!

At our most recent Summit we had attendees from over 21 countries - So we'd like to increase the scope of our speakers, too!

Deadline: December 12, 2014.

We're only keeping the open call up until December 12th. Our next Summit is February 10 & Crowdopolis 15 will be not far after that.

What Happens When Crowdsourcing and Social Media Merge

It takes a village to raise a child. This profound piece of West African wisdom has stood the test of time and geographies when it comes to childrearing.

Businesses are not very different.

While there are businesses that do well with just one great manager / owner / entrepreneur running the entire show, the vast majority of successful businesses that have been able to achieve scale and grow over the years are ones that have had the active contribution of a whole network of individuals.

Smart entrepreneurs have picked on this fact and put it to action with technology on their side in the form of crowdsourcing. From movies, to plays to 3D-printers to smart watches, crowdsourcing has proven its worth in innumerable ways.

Don't confuse crowdsourcing with crowdfunding. Crowdfunding, for all practical purposes is a sub-set of crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is a much wider concept that entails combining the contributions of a multitude of people (crowds!) to create a totally new entity. These contributions from the crowd could be in the form of ideas, funds and word-of-mouth publicity – anything that helps build a completely new entity from scratch.

Does this 'people coming together to contribute ideas and more' remind you of something else that has revolutionized the way we live? Doesn't it sound a lot like social media?

Crowdsourcing and Social Media – siblings separated at birth?

To me, and to a bunch of brands that are benefitting from putting two and two together; crowdsourcing and social media go hand in hand. They have uncanny similarities. They share similar growth trajectories. Best of all, they reinforce each other's presence.

1. Built on People Power
Both crowdsourcing and social media owe their existence to the power of connections. When people come together to work towards a common cause, great things are born. Crowdsourcing taps into this groundswell of creativity, empathy and financial support that each one of us has, buried deep inside of us and draws it out to build new ventures and fund radical ideas.

Social media acts as a relaxed meeting ground, a soapbox for airing views, a platform to raise support. From cementing relationships to creating new careers, social media manages to create value, thanks to the zealous participation of its users – people power, in other words.

2. Common Beliefs at Their Core
For crowdsourcing to work, enough number of people with the same interests and convictions need to come together at the same place, at the same time. Crowdsourcing's short history is littered with failed projects.

Social media is all about common ground. People connect with likeminded individuals, brands and not-for-profit organizations based on the values that they share with them. The millions of fans that leading brands and prominent public figures boast of on Facebook or Twitter stand testimony to the support that their ideas enjoy from the public at large.

3. Game Changers
A brilliant business idea need not languish in the dark anymore in the absence of an angel investor or a bank loan. Crowdsourcing encourages out-of-the-box thinking by democratizing the process of starting and running a business.

Marketing was essentially a one-way process until social media made its grand entry. Gone were the days of ads that told people what to buy. Social media ushered in the age of consumers telling brands what THEY wanted to buy.

4. Great for small businesses, startups
Crowdsourcing helps the smallest spark of an idea to get the support it needs to blossom into a full-fledged reality. As an investment avenue or ideas hotbed, crowdsourcing is the perfect and easiest way for a small business to get the support it needs. Startups don't have to worry about how ambitious their concept may be, the power of the crowds makes it possible to achieve heights that were nearly impossible in the past.

Social media is the first stop for every small business and startup marketer for two reasons a. it helps them connect straight with their audience on a one on one basis b. it is free!

The gigantic marketing advantage that large, established brands used to have is moot when it comes to the creative use of social media that allows small businesses to gain similar results at zero or near zero costs. Smart social media marketing makes all the difference - humungous budgets can take the bench for now.

5. Mutually Reinforcing Forces
Social media and crowdsourcing do not operate in isolation from each other. Owing to their strong similarities, they often cross paths, with fantastic results to show for it.

Social media helps spread the word about crowdsourcing projects and reaches out to users who might be able to contribute meaningfully to a new project. It also helps build a positive image for the project and encourages action on part of the user, making the crowd sourced project more robust.

On the other hand, marketers often use crowdsourcing as a means of engaging their fans actively on social media. From crowdsourcing their opinions on a potential product idea to building contests that invites users' thoughts, social media uses crowdsourcing as an invaluable tool more often than we realize.

What Crowdsourcing & Social Media Can Pull Off Together

We agree that crowdsourcing and social media are two great developments that had the opportunity of gaining traction around the same time. We also know that individually each one of them has the power to change lives and build fortunes.

Let's take a look at what happens when crowdsourcing and social media join forces and come together as a unit for the same project.

1. New Product Ideas
It's not just the startups and small businesses that can benefit from crowdsourcing as Frito-Lay proved in its smash hit 'Do Us a Flavor' campaign.

In 2013, Frito-Lay found itself in a little bit of a mess as far as market share and growth among the Millennial segment was concerned, in the United States. They needed to win over the 18-34 year old demographic, ASAP!

Enter the 'Do Us a Flavor' campaign, where Frito-Lay created a Facebook app that allowed users to create their very own flavor combinations for Lays chips and win a cash prize of $1 million dollars in the bargain. The campaign has celebrity restaurateur Eva Longoria and celebrity chef Michael Symon as its brand ambassadors and was promoted heavily on television, outdoor media and of course Facebook. The results were unprecedented, even for a storied brand like Frito-Lays.


The campaign resulted in 3.8 million flavors submitted by users around the United States, which was over three times the original goal of 1 million flavor submissions. Over 2.7 million users installed the Lays app on their phones and the campaign added 2.2 million new Facebook fans for Frito Lays. Most tellingly, year on year sales for Frito-Lays grew by 12% instead of the targeted 3% during the campaign period.

2. Free Content Marketing
If Frito-Lays used the combination of crowdsourcing product ideas and social media for promoting its brand and growing sales, luxury brand Coach went a step ahead and asked users to CREATE their marketing campaign for them!

Luxury brands are often guilty of losing touch with their audience in their attempt to create a sense of exclusivity around their brand. Coach decided to build a connection with users in a way that they enjoy expressing themselves the most – the good old selfie.

Coach's campaign on Instagram invites users to upload selfies of themselves wearing Coach shoes on Instagram and Facebook with a hashtag #CoachFromAbove. It also built a dedicated website where users could choose to upload their selfies. The best submissions got a chance to be featured on the homepage gallery that Coach From Above boasts. No fancy prizes, no cash reward; just the thrill of being associated with their favorite luxury brand.


The resulting collection of selfies ended up as a free of cost, near professional product photo-shoot for Coach, offering new users style inspiration and a degree of credibility that a professionally shot photo-shoot can never aspire to. I mean, if an average guy on the street could make a shoe look so hot, I definitely can right? The numbers speak for themselves, with a 2% boost in average order value and 5 to 7% growth in conversions attributed to this campaign alone.

3. Promoting Independent Art
As we discussed earlier, crowdsourcing and social media are standard bearers for the small guy, the lone independent voice. And they have managed to make a real difference by promoting the arts in a way that was never possible before.

Threadless, the iconic clothing e-tailer that gave individual designers a platform to share and sell their designs is a prime example of blending art and commerce effectively. This is how simple the Threadless model is:


Once designers submit their t-shirt designs on Threadless, they canvass for support from friends, family and others who love their creativity by promoting their designs on social media. The designs that get the maximum number of votes wins the design challenge and gets added to Threadless' giant pool of unique, user-generated designs that are its calling card.

Don't think that it is just Threadless that gains from this process. The winning designer gets a fat cash prize + royalties each time their design gets reprinted on Threadless. Threadless of course makes money from apparel sales. The model has proven its worth with revenues soaring from $6 million in 2005 to over $30 million in 2012.

Independent artists don't just make money in trickles through crowdsourcing. In early 2013, the Kickstarter campaign for launching the upcoming Veronica Mars movie broke all records, by raising $2 million in just 10 hours.

Feeding the curiosity of the existing fan base for the Veronica Mars character on social media, asking for their inputs and ideas all went into building up to the mega-funding campaign on social media.

The campaign eventually raised over $5 million dollars for the Hollywood version of the much loved TV series centered on girl detective Veronica Mars.

4. Political Revolutions
Why focus on just the commercial power that crowdsourcing and social media wield? We have all been witness to a once-in-a-lifetime series of political upheavals that swept the Middle East starting 2011. Dubbed the 'Arab Spring' these revolutions changed political and social landscapes in a slew of Arab nations forever.

The coming together of revolutionary ideas with social media as the sole platform that carried these voices out to the world, the Arab Spring demonstrated the real-world impact that these two mighty forces can leave behind. From YouTube videos and blog posts to Twitter feeds that fanned the flames of change, social media in every avatar contributed to the overthrow of totalitarian governments in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. The University of Washington dug deeper into the real numbers and found the direct co-relation between social media, the voice of millions of people and political upheavals.

Catherine O'Donnell reports, "During the week before Egyptian president Hosni Mubaraks resignation, for example, the total rate of tweets from Egypt — and around the world — about political change in that country ballooned from 2,300 a day to 230,000 a day. Videos featuring protest and political commentary went viral – the top 23 videos received nearly 5.5 million views. The amount of content produced online by opposition groups, in Facebook and political blogs, increased dramatically."


A less heated, but equally exciting political development that crowdsourcing and social media brought about was the crowdsourced Constitution of Iceland.

In a 10 month long process, 25 representatives (elected from the masses of Iceland) who formed the Constitutional Advisory Council sought inputs the citizens of Iceland on how they want to be governed and what their vision for Iceland was –all via social media. Hailed as a landmark in democratic processes anywhere on the planet, tragically this constitution met its end at the hands of vested political interests when the time came to implement the newly drafted document.

However, that has not been a deterrent to others' countries, like the United Kingdom, who are currently in the process of creating their own crowdsourced constitution.

Final Thoughts

Obviously, the scope and reach of crowdsourcing and social media extends beyond the four use-cases illustrated here. From supporting cutting edge technology like the Oculus Rift to preserving history and science through the crowdfunded Tesla Museum to even doing a good deed for a bullied old lady on a school bus through the 'Let's Give Karen a Vacation' campaign, these two forces combined have the potential to do a world of good.

Question is, how creative will we be in drawing out the best from each platform?