By Tara Lane, Staff Writer
Technology has been kind to entrepreneurs, especially during a time when startup loans are hard to come by. With just an Internet connection, entrepreneurs have access to a wealth of knowledge. One of the ways they’re using it to their advantage is through crowdsourcing, a new trend taking the Web by storm. Crowdsourcing calls upon the people’s creative ideas and brings them together to form something new. As a form of problem solving, ideas are broadcast to a large group of people who are called upon to solve them. In this week’s top five, we’re exploring five of these emerging crowdsourcing entrepreneurs.
Geared towards artists of all kinds, Kickstarter helps those just starting out receive funding, talk about and collaborate on ideas for new ventures, and sell products they’ve made. Users plug their ideas, such as an independent artists recording an album or a new art project, then ask for funding, or a “kickstart.” Those who pledge money receive special prizes or gifts once the endeavor is completed. Crowdsourcing contributes greatly to Kickstarter by bringing people together from all parts of the world to help one another be successful. In return, people are provided with a unique entrepreneurship opportunity to grow their business.
Just as the name says, Sellaband helps emerging bands and artists through an “alternative to the music industry”—the crowd. Sellaband users can browse bands who are asking for donations and invest as little as $10 towards funds to record their album. Once the album is recorded, those who invested receive a special edition of the CD, and may even benefit from the profits if the album sells well. The crowd in this case decides who they think will be most successful and help those who need it most, solving the band’s problem of funding, and discovering talent.
Media Predict is similar to the stock market, only without any real money. Real companies consult the site’s users to see if they believe their product has the potential to be successful and profitable. Users “buy” into the venture if they think it will succeed; dollar amounts equal the percent change people believe it will be successful. If something starts losing money, users can trade their shares into something else, before it’s too late. Products and ventures on media include TV shows, movies and books. Although real money isn’t traded, if users pick the right product, they receive more “dollars” to invest with in the future.
The Ideas Culture tagline, “Ideas While You Sleep,” is simple, straightforward and entirely true. Businesses or individuals struggling with a problem enlist the help of the company’s Ideas Agents – the crowd part of Ideas Culture’s crowdsourcing – located around the globe, who brainstorm ways to solve the problem. Ideas Culture has helped companies become more productive, create new and innovative ideas for products, and provide better customer satisfaction with the help of the crowd.
You may have heard of the book that was written completely on Twitter. Twitter Opera is using the same idea, but applying crowdsourcing to it. It’s being run by the Royal Opera House in England, with a “mysterious opera director” running the helm. Anyone can tweet story line contributions to @youropera, where they’re compiled and put to use. According to the site, the Twitter Opera is an experiment to “investigate how short, 140-character contributions can build upon each other to create a non-linear narrative – like a Choose Your Own Adventure story or a game of Consequences.” The opera was performed in September at the Deloitte Ignite event held in England. No word yet if another one is on the way, but if the Royal Opera House doesn’t do it, chances are someone else will soon.
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