I’m not gonna beat around the bush with this one, kids. The ad-production company GeniusRocket claims to be a crowdsourcing agency, but they suck and you shouldn’t use them. Today’s lesson is about what crowdsourcing isn’t.
Cruise on up to that “What Is Crowdsourcing” tab at the top of the page, and scope the second paragraph. “Crowdsourcing involves taking a task that would ordinarily be completed by a hired individual or group, and instead hosting an open call for whoever wants to work on the task to do so.” GeniusRocket drops the ball right off the bat by using a “curated crowd“. From the site’s Community page:
“Every member of our community is vetted for their experience and expertise. As a result you won’t find amateurs or students. In other words, you won’t find people in our community that are trying break into the business by working on a client’s project.”
Red flags right there. By having such a stringent process for being a part of their crowd, GeniusRocket essentially takes away everything that makes a crowd a useful thing. This is a difficult concept to wrap one’s head around, but it’s called the Diversity Trumps Ability Theorem and it basically states that a varied group will outperform a group of experts every time. Mark Twain explained it best, if you’re willing to accept metaphor:
“The best swordsman in the world doesn’t need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn’t do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert isn’t prepared for him.”
A group of experts, with the same talents, same education, and similar backgrounds, will always come up with the same ideas that they’ve been coming up with forever. A diverse crowd will offer a multitude of perspectives, which more often than not leads to breakthroughs and inspiration you simply won’t get from a homogenized group of professionals that have done the same thing, the same way, for their whole lives.
As a result, you’ve got a company that wants to have the advantages of crowdsourcing but is afraid of the risks, so the service they offer is simply the illusion of crowdsourcing. You’ll get varied ideas from different perspectives, if your definition of “varied” and “different” is actually “same as it’s always been”. And you don’t have to take my word for it; watch some of their ads. They’re terrible, pointless, or disturbing at worse and average at best.
Now, the platform is salvageable, but they need to make some big changes. Namely, they need to realize that by definition of both terms, there can be no such thing as a “crowdsourcing agency”. So hey, GeniusRocket execs, if you’re reading this: shoot me an email. Something has to change at your company and I’d like to help you with it instead of bitching about it on the Internet.