Great post and thanks for highlighting something that I’d guess most of us know nothing about. This is an enlightening use case that I haven’t really thought of before – using crowdsourcing within highly bureaucratic or regulated organizations to break through the high cost or lengthy delays of developing services. One question that would fall out of this, however, is whether these services are harmed by not going through a more rigorous process. While I definitely agree that many organizations have way too much bureaucracy and some industries are overburdened by regulation, presumably there was some reason for this development. With the case of the US military, are you at all concerned that using external, crowdsourced developers could cut corners in unknown ways and potentially become a liability?
Thanks again, great post.
Interesting post. I definitely believe that Snapchat remains one of the most interesting, innovative, perplexing and divisive companies out there today. Since I’m not a core user of their product I definitely have “dumb” questions about the app’s value beyond a messaging platform, but most of that is likely because I was simply too old for the networking effects to really take hold with my group of friends.
One question with relation to the live events – do you know if there is any data on how long someone watches the stream of live events? Generally when I pull open a stream that the Snapchat team has curated from an event (like a concert or the Super Bowl) I find the stream entertaining for a couple of posts before getting bored and moving on. Again, that could just be because I’m not a core user, I just wonder how valuable this feature is if people don’t really continue to watch it beyond a couple a seconds.
Thanks for your post! I think you’re right that trying to craft a script or film a movie by crowdsourcing is almost always destined to fail for all the reasons you mentioned. That said, it is interesting that most major films are still pre-screened to audiences in order to get audience feedback that is then utilized during the editing process. While this is certainly not crowdsourcing as it takes place in a very select and controlled environment, it is still trying to harness the wisdom of the consumer through a survey. Wonder if you have any thoughts.
Quirky was responsible for ushering the inventions through the patent application process as well. Generally this happened as the product itself was being developed. It’s not clear how effective they were at keeping large companies from simply copying their designs through the use of patents, but my guess is that they generally were attacking such niche goods (which was part of the problem) that they never really ran into this issue.
This is really interesting. I’m definitely guilty of calling SoulCycle a cult but hadn’t put in enough thought to recognize that its cult status leads to both positive and negative direct network effects.
Good write-up. One thing I’m worried about is the degree that Pinterest users multihome. Mostly I’m concerned that while Pinterest has a substantial user base, most users may not be all that engaged and could ultimately abandon Pinterest as Facebook and other social networks that users use more frequently continue to build out their offerings.
I agree that Napster was incredibly innovative in its approach and that it clearly reaped direct network benefits. But ultimately I wonder how much of Napster’s true appeal was just that it provided a somewhat socially acceptable way to steal. I don’t necessarily say this in moral judgement of the company or its users at the time, its just that I think the fact that they effectively started distributing a product for free (the music) that previously cost around ~$15 a CD had a lot to do with the service’s ability to attract the critical mass necessary to establish the direct network in the first place. Said another way, it is always easier to win the game when you decide you no longer have to abide by the rules. That said, there is no question that Napster was a precursor to the digital marketplaces (like the app store) that have come to dominate over the past decade.