Turning lead into gold had been the dream of alchemists for over 2,500 years. Today’s science makes it possible to transmute lead to gold, but at a cost greater than the resulting gold itself. How about paying $1/hour for work, yet the worker actually makes $10/hour. Can wages be transmuted?
The technologies behind today’s evolving crowdsourcing tools do enable the effective rates to be transmuted. How? Well, a simple example is the best means of explaining.
The editor of a popular small business blog recently tapped into the “Build My List” feature of this blog to get a full summary of Small Business Accounting Vendors. The list is intended to be a useful reference for small business people to ease their search for accounting related tools.
Getting a long list of accounting software companies and their websites was quite simple. Getting all the data to classify each in a side by side manner, however, was very time consuming. We compared the traditional means and costs of filling out this information matrix with the costs incurred through having it done via Smartsourcing (crowdsourcing).
Here’s how it went :
The In-house Intern: We gave the spreadsheet to our magnificent intern being paid $10/hour. We explained the goal of going to each vendor’s website to find a 10 word description of their accounting product, along with determining which of the 6 product categories they offered and an average price (so, 8 separate pieces of information). All the information was to be filled into the spreadsheet containing the vendor list.
The “Internet Intern”: Separately, we divided the 8 needed pieces of information into 4 task pairs (2 information pieces per task) and submitted very targeted questions via Smartsourcing to the on-demand workers (eg. “Does the accounting product at this weblink provide GL or AR/AP functionality – yes/no?). I offered $0.03 per information pair answer. So each completed company’s information set should cost me 12 cents.
Comparing the two:
|In-Office Intern||“Internet Intern” |
|150||Companies (8 data pts.)||600||Tasks (4 per company)|
|12||hours to complete proj.||10||seconds to complete 1 task|
|$0.03||pay rate per task|
|$10.00||pay rate per hour||$10.80||actual per hour earnings|
|$120.00||Total Cost||$18.00||Total Cost|
By comparing the $18 cost to get the answer through Smartsourcing to the $120 via the conventional intern method, you can see that to me the payer, this is like paying $1.50/hr for work that normally would take 12 person hours to produce.
- $10.80 actual crowdsourced worker pay rate per hour earned
- $1.50 my payer “intern-equivalent” rate per hour
So, my Internet Intern cost me about $1.50 per hour in “conventional intern equivalent dollars”, but got paid $10.80 per hour in actual dollars. Wage Transmutation. Nice.
PS: Expect to see many of the clever technology and process tricks employed in paid crowdsourcing begin to find their way into traditional productivity software to improve the pay rates and productivity of internal employees.