Every Industry Needs Crowdsourcing!

We are starting to see many startups emerge with a crowdsourcing model. Think about the graphic below:cb6fpmgw8aibg4j

These companies grew rapidly in their respective domains. They didn’t need much infrastructure to get going, because the key ingredient that they all needed to become global powerhouses was in place all along. What is that key ingredient? PEOPLE! People that USE and PROVIDE these companies’ great services. Essentially, these platforms have amassed billions of dollars just by connecting people with needs and people that can satisfy those needs. But I think that same principle should be extended to virtually every industry, because crowdsourcing would make entire industries so much more flexible, efficient, and affordable.

Lets look at Uber specifically. As a traditional taxi company, Uber could have invested huge capital into a large fleet of Taxis and trained a fleet of full-time drivers. But all these expenditures and efforts would actually significantly deteriorate the experience Uber delivers today. Lets look at the benefits crowdsourcing enables for providers, users, and enablers (the company itself, such as Uber or Airbnb):

Users:

  1. iStock_000022922690Medium-1024x768A more customized experience
  2. Cheaper services (due to less overhead costs)
  3. Greater access to services

Providers:

  1. Essentially self-employed
  2. More flexible work experience
  3. Greater autonomy, mastery and purpose in work
  4. Freedom to provide various services

Enablers:

  1. Far greater flexibility to innovate
  2. Virtually no physical barriers to growth
  3. Innovation can come from the outside vs. inside
  4. Perfect for diminishing corporate loyalty trends

How can other companies adopt crowdsourcing models, and take advantage of these benefits? The first step would be to verify that providers are certified to complete the service being provided by your company. This might be the hardest step in the entire process, but it is necessary. Uber conducts background checks on its drivers and confirms that they can drive around customers successfully. Airbnb evaluates accommodations before listing them on their platform for rent. airbnb-a8707ed9_originalAlibaba has a thorough feedback process to make sure users are selling authentic products in a reasonable time frame, and Facebook has a similar feedback process to ensure users are not sharing spam and other unwanted content onto news feeds. This can get particularly complicated for more specialized occupations, such as with physicians, but it is nonetheless absolutely possible and extremely profitable. If any person A has a skill that can be utilized by any person B, there should be a platform that connects those two individuals- as soon as it is confirmed that person A can in fact complete the given service needed by person B.

Once a user is certified to complete a task, they can choose when they want to offer their services. And the best part is that they can offer multiple services if they possess the skills or equipment needed for those services. Today, many individuals are selling items on Alibaba, driving around their Ubers during the day and renting out rooms in their homes through Airbnb- all at their own leisure, with virtually complete autonomy. What if they were also a certified plumber? They could turn on the option to be contacted on a new “plumber” platform like Uber whenever they want, and offer their services at a significantly cheaper cost than plumbing companies would. The same thing goes for construction, cooking, and many other services, all of which would collectively enable an open-contract economy. And it is completely possible for specialized tasks as well.Open-Economy

hackers-hackathon-computer-laptop-guys

“Where do you work?” should not be as important as “What are you working on?”

If a person knows multiple programming languages, like Python, Java, and SQL, they can apply to join an elite “Uber” network of programmers, and perhaps also an elite “Uber” network of technology consultants. Google can contractually hire that individual for 2 months to work on an application, after which he can offer his services to Deloitte’s technology consulting practice, all the while driving an Uber at nights to make some extra money on the side. There will be noncompete clauses, confidentiality agreements, and much more to go alongside these crowdsourcing applications. But the potential is absolutely there, especially for more unspecialized tasks, and accountability is already being placed upon the individual more than ever before. Millennials in particular are known for their lack of corporate loyalty, desire to explore, and desire for flexibility. Thus, having multiple employers through crowdsourcing platforms would be extremely appealing to the employee of tomorrow. Companies would not have to worry about the immense recruiting and capital costs associated with employees leaving and having to poach employees from other firms. And all the while, costs would be cut considerably, and users would enjoy much cheaper and more specialized services because of crowdsourcing.

What crowdsourcing opportunities do YOU see available in today’s world?

4 comments

  1. This is an interesting post, Faizan. The fact that these services are people-driven is what makes them great. For example, riding in someone’s car with Uber is a much better experience than taking a taxi. I also see a lot of value in the connections and sense of community they can create between people. I think the verification stage is what separates the companies that are successful from those that aren’t. If people don’t trust the service, they aren’t going to use it. You touch on a great point that the sharing economy feeds into Millenials’ desire to explore and not be tied down to one company or job. This business model will be important in the future, with other companies needing to adapt. Going forward, I think there is potential for widespread use of these services to the point they become ubiquitous. For example, Uber believes its service will eventually become cheap enough that it can replace the need for anyone to own a car. In fact, it already is cheaper in some cities due to parking costs. I also think people will find new ways to gain additional income from underutilized resources and use these services as a collaboration tool.

  2. Very interesting, thanks for sharing @fjaved24. I certainly see the sharing economy as the way of the future and completely agree with on “What are you working on” being more important than “Where do you work”. My husband’s startup has really capitalized on resources made possible by a sharing economy such as O desk and Task Rabbit. Task Rabbits has helped them setup new office spaces, plan parties or even filled in for a sick team member with specific qualifications. I think these will become our new way of becoming a more “optimized” society through these types of trades.

  3. I definitely see a plethora of opportunities for future crowdsourcing platforms. For example, one of my friends recently told me about a site he described as the “AirBnB for outdoor activities” (https://guidehire.co/). You can basically look up an area and find guides for different types of activities within the area.
    The reliance on sharing economy certainly risks the possibility of services provided by unqualified employees. This can result in dangerous situations such as the Uber driver who kidnapped and murdered a passenger right around Boston. However, if the platforms have a successful method of verifying its users, then these instances might just be the result of freak occurrences.

  4. Nice post. I’m not sure I consider Uber “crowdsourcing” as opposed to the sharing economy. Regardless of the labels, however, it is interesting to see these new business models crop up based on mobile/ digital platforms.

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