“I predict huge ramp in Crowdsourcing for Biz (100x in next year)-just missing mainstream media hit-TeachStreet now uses daily “ tweeted Dave Schappell, the CEO of TeachSteet. He shot us an email the other day titled “Smartsoucing was amazing”.
“… I wanted to tell you how amazed/impressed I was by the SmartSourcing performance. I sent out some pretty painstaking type tasks (I was crying 2 nights ago when I was thinking that I, or someone on my team, was going to have to do them).
…, I was able to parse my tasks out, and get them done over the course of the last half day -- I invested maybe an hour in total. Once people learn, they are off to the races, like me, now. And, I think they'll become evangelists. But the learning curve is steep.”
And Seth Rosen, the head of Sales for CustomMade sent this:
“After a couple days of Smartsourcing revisions, I think I've hit my stride in terms of getting the Business Names and Website URLs in the format I was looking for. “
Both Seth and Dave are rabid fans of using Paid Crowdsourcing to get work done fast and inexpensively. However, crowdsourcing involves asking hundreds of people to do little pieces of a lot of tasks. That is very different that asking one or two people to do all the pieces of an entire project, so it takes some adjustment in thinking. Getting good at dividing up work into small achievable parts is the secret sauce to achieving 200 miles per hour at 1000 miles per gallon in crowd delivered work.
CustomMade brings custom woodworking artisans together with customers looking for unique specialty wood products and services. Finding the thousands and thousands of woodworking artisans across the country to contact them for inclusion in the CustomMade directory is a perfect candidate for crowdsourcing. TeachStreet brings people that want to learn new things together with teachers and classes. Finding details about teachers and classes for more than 100,000 offerings is another good candidate for crowdsourding.
So what did Seth and Dave have to say about the Learning Curve?
“Best advice to learn Crowdsourcing is have someone walk you through a SIMPLE data gathering exercise-see it once, it's like magic”. - Dave Schappell
“I don't think you can avoid it, honestly. But you wouldn't want to. You need to recognize the frictions to leverage it well. Crowdsourcing is iterative (and needs to be) if you want it to be effective. As you learn what doesn't work you refine... it's not a "hands-off" solution. But it IS a very effective medium when you learn to use it ‘hands-on’". - Seth Rosen
Here’s the full text of the TweetChat we conducted to pick these executives’ brains on including paid crowdsourcing in their daily operations:
Q1 - Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your business.
Dave Schappell Q1 - I'm Dave Schappell - founder&CEO TeachStreet - we help people find great classes and schools (online and off)
Seth Rosen Q1 - CustomMade.com is the largest online marketplace for anyone who makes anything custom from woo
Seth Rosen Q1 - I head our sales and outreach efforts, and use crowdsourcing through Smartsheet to do so!
Q2 - What major problem/hurdle caused you to look at crowdsourcing as a possible solution?
Dave Schappell Q2 - lots of data gathering tasks (getting creative commons photos, data collection, etc) - crowdsourcing is faster & cheaper
Seth Rosen Q2 - organizing our prospecting efforts to eliminate duplicate efforts (paying for leads twice)
Q3 - Before trying Smartsourcing for crowdsourcing - had you ever crowdsourced work before?
Teachstreet Q3 - Yes used Amazon's Mechanical Turk before, but needed engineers to help-with SmartSheet we're able to have non-tech staff do it
Seth Rosen Q3 - No, I considered it in this context after reading Brent Frei's blog posts - I thought it might be applicable and it was!
Q4 - How much time would it have taken you to manually find the information you got via crowdsourcing?
Teachstreet Q4 - Seriously Crowdsourcing saves us 10x on time&cost-ease of posting tasks&getting data is amazing (we're submitting more 2day)
Teachstreet Q4 - Plus I like that I can chunk out the tasks a little at a time, continually adding more data/results
Seth Rosen Q4 - Substantially more time but the larger benefit is the ability to take a structured approach to acquiring info...
Seth Rosen Q4 - it allows you to organize and coordinate many tasks efficiently.
Q5 - Characterize your initial + eventual experience with crowdsourcing. Tough to figure out at first but easy now?
Teachstreet Q5 - Smartsourcing Videos or webinars would help first-time users @yush can also help those with questions - he's an expert
Teachstreet Q5 - Smartsourcing was difficult at first - a friend @yush taught us the basics; after first handholding we're off to races
Seth Rosen Q5 - it's challenging at first! But it can be mastered and the time investment is worth it!
Q6 - What's your best advice for others on how to avoid the crowdsourcing learning curve?
Dave Schappell Q6 Best advice to learn Crowdsourcing is have someone walk u thru a SIMPLE data gathering exercise-see it once, it's like magic
Seth Rosen Q6 - I don't think you can avoid it, honestly. But you wouldn't want to. U need to recognize the frictions to leverage it well
Seth Rosen Q6 - crowdsourcing is iterative (and needs to be) if you want it to be effective. As you learn what doesn't work you refine...
Seth Rosen Q6 - it's not a "hands-off" solution. But it IS a very effective medium when you learn to use it "hands-on"
Crowdwork Q6 cont. - What advice would you give on ensuring accuracy? We all know accuracy is a big issue with crowdsourcing.
Dave Schappell Q6 Accuracy hasn't been issue-we give simple/clear instructions with non-mission-critical tasks & prob get 95% great data
Seth Rosen Q6 - you can leverage crowdsourcing to do QA on the information - you factor it into your total cost on the info
Brent Frei Q6 - Good ideas on what's possible with Crowdsourcing on my blog: www.brentfrei.typepad.com
Q7 - What is your prediction on the future of crowdsourcing as a business tool? Mainstream use? Fade away?
Seth Rosen Q7 - I frankly hope it doesn't pick up steam... the firms that use it have such a large competitive edge, including ours.
Dave Schappell Q7 - I predict huge ramp in Crowdsourcing for Biz (100x in next year)-just missing mainstream media hit-TeachStreet now uses daily
Seth Rosen Q7 - Huge. btw - is SmartSheet looking for investors :-) I think it's unbelievable if you really learn how to leverage it.
Q8 - Pitch time! Tell us the one thing that makes your company unique (or whatever you want to say about your company).
Seth Rosen Q8 - CustomMade.com is really on a mission to prove that a consumer's proclivity is shifting towards buying custom.
twchat Find #crowdwork and 80 other Twitter Chats at http://bit.ly/oXBBu