|By Hollis Tibbetts||
|October 7, 2011 07:00 AM EDT||
Crowdsourcing – Did I get it all wrong? And do you have it all wrong too?
In my last article, I talked about how TopCoder Founder Jack Hughes told me that I missed the point about Crowdsourcing, and that I got it all wrong.
He then challenged me to “come out to TopCoder Open 2011 and see what it's really like - and make up your own mind”. It takes some confidence to make that kind of challenge - it would have been a bit embarrassing had I come to the TopCoder Open, spoken to everyone and then written about how Crowdsourcing software development is a stupid idea that will never go anywhere.
What I Saw and Did
I spent a lot of time observing the competitions at the TopCoder Open 2011. I saw intense, intelligent and creative developers, architects and designers from all over the world compete in a variety of different kinds of software-related contents (design, algorithms, coding, testing, etc.).
I had a chance to observe competitor behavior, speak with participants (i.e. competitors) in the “Open”, with executives from companies that use Crowdsourcing to help them solve problems, and heard from Rock Stars (I can't think of a better word) such as Dean Kamen (DEKA Design), Nick Donofrio (IBM Fellow) and Dr. Karim Lakhani (Harvard Business School), and spoke with TopCoder's Jack Hughes, Jim McKeown and Clinton Bonner at length.
I really felt like I got a 360-degree perspective on things. I definitely learned a lot – not just about Crowdsourcing but also about how innovation and creativity “happen”.
So... did I get it all wrong? Did I miss the point completely?
No. I did not “get it all wrong”.
I got it almost exactly 50% wrong. I'm not terribly proud of that score – a 50% typically gets an a grade of “F”.
But, if I were to grade myself on a curve, that would raise my score to something at least mid-pack and probably better. That shows how grading on a curve can be terribly flawed – for example, what if I were to say “I trust Congressman Smith far more than I trust most politicians”. Seeing as I don't trust politicians or Congresspeople at all, giving Mr. Smith a B+ on the Congressional Trust Scale means very little (if anything).
Did I miss the point completely?
I have to say, I missed the most important points. The ones I didn't miss were the ones that weren't very important.
I'll give myself a 25% on that exam. Again, a mid-pack score if I put it on a curve.
Realistically, I got a LOT wrong. It wasn't simply an issue of facts or concepts – it was one of perspective and frame of reference.
Odds are you've got it wrong too.
How can I say that? Well, my opinions, assumptions and pre-conceptions didn't come out of nowhere. They were drawn from what a lot of “experts” said or wrote, and were based on a lot of “traditional wisdom”.
So, What's It All About?
What is Crowdsourcing all about? What points did I miss completely? Where was I wrong and where was I right?
I anticipated that I would have a simple answer to those questions. That I would be able to attend TCO11 and come away something short and succinct.
Well, that didn't happen. The subject is a lot bigger than I originally realized.
I'm not sure it's possible (or even desirable) to sit down and type 1,024 words (the length of a typical Sys-Con Media article) and answer the questions I sought to answer.
I'll have some “thinking time” today at the airport and on the plane back to Austin, TX. That will give me time to organize my thoughts so I can do this topic justice. Hopefully I have time to write over the weekend so I can get the first article out the door for Monday.
Earlier Articles in This Series
Earlier articles in this series (in order, starting with the first one published) are:
- Crowdsourcing - A Best Practice or a Worst Practice? How to know if crowdsourcing is for you
- Maximizing Crowdsourcing Success - Strategies for minimizing risk and maximizing success with Jack Hughes
- Is Everything I Know About Crowdsourcing Wrong? Is traditional "wisdom" on crowdsourcing missing the point?
- ARM Server to Transform #BigData to #IoT | @CloudExpo #DigitalTransformation
- Software Quality Best Practices: Healthy Software
- Twenty-Thousand Men Pregnant Because of Bad Data
- $3 Trillion Problem: Three Best Practices for Today's Dirty Data Pandemic
- Question: Why Is IT Project Failure Always an Option?
- Why Infrastructure Technology Is Challenging
- Modernization of IT: Solving a Legacy of Business Problems & Applications
- Flourishing ARM Server Market Creates Opportunity – for Software
- Legacy Modernization
- Klout Crisis Leads to Tough Questions for PROskore Founder Bill Jula