Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Simon Hill, Madhavan Krishnan, VP, Cloud Solutions, Virtusa, John Rauser

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Agile Computing

Microservices Expo: Article

Why Crowdsourcing Is Stupid

Category-confusion and the word "Crowdsourcing".

As you might know from some of my previous writing, I've been on a bit of an expedition to uncover the true meaning of "Crowdsourcing".  I'm by no means finished, but I've:

  • Just returned from TopCoder's TCO11 competition, where I spoke with so many people I can't count them all.
  • Read so many web pages, analyst reports, white papers, case studies and PDF documents my eyes hurt.
  • Emailed back and forth with a bunch of people, and worn out more than one battery talking to people over the phone on this topic.

In fact, I just got off the phone not 30 minutes ago with the VP of Marketing at a prominent San Francisco-based "Crowdsourcing" company who gave me an overview of their company, their value proposition, the use cases for their product, etc.

My conclusion: "Crowdsourcing" is stupid.
I don't mean that the ideas are stupid. Or that the business models are stupid. Or what these companies are doing is stupid.

Quite the opposite - I think these companies are on the forefront of some very exciting innovation. Some of the companies that I've spoken with will undoubtedly change the way we do things, and possibly the way we think about things.

What I think is stupid is the term "CROWDSOURCING" - especially as it applies to a category of software products and services.

There is so much confusion surrounding the term "Crowdsourcing". It means completely different things to different people.

If you take a look at all the companies out there that get labelled as "Crowdsourcing" companies, it's really pretty clear that the only similarity these companies have is that there is a "crowd" involved somewhere. Even then, the similarity is pretty tentative as "crowd" means very different things to different companies.

Somehow or another, this category called "Crowdsourcing" got invented, and it's a cool sounding word. How can you not (at least at first glance) like that word?  It is a brilliant word.

As a category though, it's about as useful as the word "food". The word "food" is almost meaningless as a product category:

  • To Gordon Ramsay, something doesn't qualify as "food" unless it hits an exacting level of perfection.
  • To a typical college student, food is entirely different and usually involves pizza, burgers, ramen noodles or cafeteria fare.
  • To a starving child in Bangledesh, food might be anything edible that comes off the U.N. truck.
  • To a "back to the earth Vegan", food might be something that grows in the back yard
  • To the robins that stop by to visit the yard, food means that some unfortunate worm just got eaten.
  • To a fungus, it's dead plants and animals.
  • To a baby, it often comes in a jar and comes from some company like Gerber, and to an infant, it comes from Mommy or from a bottle.
  • I have a pig who hangs out in my back yard - to him, food is pretty much anything including fiberglass insulation, circuit boards and lightbulbs (yes, he's eaten all those things and more to complement his daily regimen of pig chow and vegetables).

So if I decided to form a "food" company, that really wouldn't wouldn't say much about what my company was about, would it?  It would probably just confuse people, and I'd almost be better off not saying anything at all.

So it's no wonder that there is so much confusion about the "Crowdsourcing" market. It's a relatively new space, evolving rapidly, with quite a few vendors who are doing very different things, with totally, even wildly different value propositions.

Hopefully the category-creators out there will start to come up with some labels for what their companies do that stick, so that this category-confusion can subside.

In the meanwhile, I'm working on segmenting this into logical chunks that will (hopefully) make things a bit less confusing - at least for me.  Maybe for you too.

More Stories By Hollis Tibbetts

Hollis Tibbetts, or @SoftwareHollis as his 50,000+ followers know him on Twitter, is listed on various “top 100 expert lists” for a variety of topics – ranging from Cloud to Technology Marketing, Hollis is by day Evangelist & Software Technology Director at Dell Software. By night and weekends he is a commentator, speaker and all-round communicator about Software, Data and Cloud in their myriad aspects. You can also reach Hollis on LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/SoftwareHollis. His latest online venture is OnlineBackupNews - a free reference site to help organizations protect their data, applications and systems from threats. Every year IT Downtime Costs $26.5 Billion In Lost Revenue. Even with such high costs, 56% of enterprises in North America and 30% in Europe don’t have a good disaster recovery plan. Online Backup News aims to make sure you all have the news and tips needed to keep your IT Costs down and your information safe by providing best practices, technology insights, strategies, real-world examples and various tips and techniques from a variety of industry experts.

Hollis is a regularly featured blogger at ebizQ, a venue focused on enterprise technologies, with over 100,000 subscribers. He is also an author on Social Media Today "The World's Best Thinkers on Social Media", and maintains a blog focused on protecting data: Online Backup News.
He tweets actively as @SoftwareHollis

Additional information is available at HollisTibbetts.com

All opinions expressed in the author's articles are his own personal opinions vs. those of his employer.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
Cavirin Systems has just announced C2, a SaaS offering designed to bring continuous security assessment and remediation to hybrid environments, containers, and data centers. Cavirin C2 is deployed within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a flexible licensing model for easy scalability and clear pay-as-you-go pricing. Although native to AWS, it also supports assessment and remediation of virtual or container instances within Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or on-premise. By dr...
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
While we understand Agile as a means to accelerate innovation, manage uncertainty and cope with ambiguity, many are inclined to think that it conflicts with the objectives of traditional engineering projects, such as building a highway, skyscraper or power plant. These are plan-driven and predictive projects that seek to avoid any uncertainty. This type of thinking, however, is short-sighted. Agile approaches are valuable in controlling uncertainty because they constrain the complexity that ste...
identify the sources of event storms and performance anomalies will require automated, real-time root-cause analysis. I think Enterprise Management Associates said it well: “The data and metrics collected at instrumentation points across the application ecosystem are essential to performance monitoring and root cause analysis. However, analytics capable of transforming data and metrics into an application-focused report or dashboards are what separates actual application monitoring from relat...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Many enterprise and government IT organizations are realizing the benefits of cloud computing by extending IT delivery and management processes across private and public cloud services. But they are often challenged with balancing the need for centralized cloud governance without stifling user-driven innovation. This strategy requires an approach that fundamentally reshapes how IT is delivered today, shifting the focus from infrastructure to services aggregation, and mixing and matching the bes...
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to close th...
We just came off of a review of a product that handles both containers and virtual machines in the same interface. Under the covers, implementation of containers defaults to LXC, though recently Docker support was added. When reading online, or searching for information, increasingly we see “Container Management” products listed as competitors to Docker, when in reality things like Rocket, LXC/LXD, and Virtualization are Dockers competitors. After doing some looking around, we have decided tha...
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for t...
DevOps teams have more on their plate than ever. As infrastructure needs grow, so does the time required to ensure that everything's running smoothly. This makes automation crucial - especially in the server and network monitoring world. Server monitoring tools can save teams time by automating server management and providing real-time performance updates. As budgets reset for the New Year, there is no better time to implement a new server monitoring tool (or re-evaluate your current solution)....
The benefits of automation are well documented; it increases productivity, cuts cost and minimizes errors. It eliminates repetitive manual tasks, freeing us up to be more innovative. By that logic, surely, we should automate everything possible, right? So, is attempting to automate everything a sensible - even feasible - goal? In a word: no. Consider this your short guide as to what to automate and what not to automate.
"We are an integrator of carrier ethernet and bandwidth to get people to connect to the cloud, to the SaaS providers, and the IaaS providers all on ethernet," explained Paul Mako, CEO & CTO of Massive Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
From our perspective as consumers, perhaps the best thing about digital transformation is how consumerization is making technology so much easier to use. Sure, our television remote controls still have too many buttons, and I have yet to figure out the digital display in my Honda, but all in all, tech is getting easier for everybody. Within companies – even very large ones – the consumerization of technology is gradually taking hold as well. There are now simple mobile apps for a wide range of ...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.