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Rise of the Micro-Medici

Rise of the Micro-Medici

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Published by Crowdsourcing.org

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Published by: Crowdsourcing.org on Dec 29, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Posted 12.23.10
Rise of the Micro-Medici
crowdfunding is superior to crowdsourcing?
Maria Popova
Photo:Sten Porse. Source: Wikimedia   It's been a polarized year for crowdsourcing. Ever sinceJeff Howe coined the term in a 2006
 article,cultural buzz about the practice of doling out tasks tolarge groups of contributors has been on therise. But aswith any new technology ² a wordKevin Kelly definesas
anything useful the human mind makes ² we've beenfeeling our collective way around the concept, empiricallyhoning what it is ² and isn¶t ² good for. Or, as Kellyputs it, we¶ve been enlisting a "pro-action approach" thatdeems the actual use of a technology the only validlitmus test for its worth. Crowdsourcing has proven itsutilitarian value in mechanical, information-based jobslike aggregatingcrisis informationduring the Haitiearthquake, pointing local government toneighborhoodconcernsthat need addressing, or organizing the world'sknowledge on Wikipedia. But it's becoming increasingly evident that whatcrowdsourcing is not good for is evaluating, or worse yet,generating, creative value. This, of course, is no grand revelation. Most of thecreative community seems to concur. Look no furtherthan the recent Gap logo, the tragicomic crowdsourcingdebacle that may just be theNew Cokeof our time.Beaten down by public mockery ² which ranged from asnarktasticTwitter feedto aDIY Gap logo makerthat
went viral ² the iconic retailer retired the offender. There's a reason why the term "creative vision" is used todescribe artistic and conceptual inventiveness. Creativity,particularly as it applies to innovation, requires a point of view. Crowdsourcing, by definition, springs from multipleviewpoints. This fundamental disconnect makescrowdsourcing an absurd tool for producing anything thataims to be original. (Something wryly and humorouslyaddressed by one designer'sopen letterto Gap.) It's a little bit like building a matchstick house ± youcertainly need all the matchsticks, but without ablueprint, you'd just end up with a pile of incendiarywood. Crowdsourcing, however, has become valuable forcreative projects in a different way. While efforts to tapthe wisdom of crowds may fall flat in bringing creativevisions to life, tapping the wallets of crowds has beenincredibly successful. Microfunding platformslikeKickstarter, alongside a handful of copycats and

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