InsightaaS: Regular readers of Across the Net will have seen us highlight a number of posts by Jeremiah Owyang, the pioneering social media analyst who built a career at Forrester as a leading social media expert, and who now provides a “must read” perspective on the Collaborative Economy movement. The post featured today, which first appeared on the Wall Street Journal’s ‘The Accelerators‘ site, offers a really nice perspective on the use of crowd-based services. Owyang begins by listing some of the sites that he uses within his own business, noting that “while we have full-time employees, often our independent, on-demand folks become core parts of our team.” He then provides a balanced assessment of the crowdsourced services approach: he lists three ‘positives’ (on-demand and cost effective, access to global, specialized talent and less administrative overhead), and goes on to cite three negatives as well: working through new challenges that attend use of crowd-based services, the potential for sub-par quality, and “debate over treatment of workers and globalization,” something that we touched on at ATN when we featured Nicholas Carr’s “The other dude in the car” post. Our ‘bottom line’ assumption is that the collaborative economy is going to rapidly expand, and that understanding its directions and implications is important – and that as a result, staying abreast of what Owyang (the leading analyst in this space) thinks about developments in this area is also important.
The Ups and Downs of Crowd-Based Resources
Entrepreneurs today have no shortage of crowd-based services to augment their business models. Most people are probably familiar with Lyft and Uber, the ridesharing transportation services, but a large and dynamic industry of crowdsourced tools has emerged to help manage many aspects of running a business.
I’m currently experimenting with, adopting and using a number of shared services for all areas of my business. My company logo and design work, for instance, was mostly crowdsourced, using services such as crowdSPRING. Our research and content efforts are often augmented using companies like Elance-oDesk to hire experts on demand.
Our company’s social media accounts are handled by community managers from CloudPeeps. Prior, I’ve hosted company events at an Airbnb property, crowdsourced food from Feastly chefs and used photographers from TaskRabbit.
For company operations, rather than having a typically expensive long-term lease in San Francisco, we utilize co-working spots at the Impact Hub, LiquidSpace and Breather. I coordinate my schedule and events using virtual assistants from Zirtual. I depend on Shyp for shipping items on demand.
While we have full-time employees, often our independent, on-demand folks become core parts of our team…