I am a master student with a background in business administration from a respected university. I have worked out an amazing idea to make sure the world is a sustainable place to live and not one person in the world will suffer from hunger. Also, I am well on my way to beat AIDS and infant mortality. This all seems like great news, however there is a downside to it: in order for this project to succeed I do not need funds and therefore I do not need this platform, or you creative input. ‘Why?’ you may wonder. This is because Chris Anderson was right about one thousand years ago. “Every industry that becomes digital, eventually becomes free”. These were his famous words. With everything now being digital, everything is free. So will be my solutions to these global issues. All in all, I want to thank you for your previous commitments but your financial input is no longer necessary. Hakuna Matata.”
This is certainly an extreme outlook on the future but it could possibly be the last post on Kickstarter in the year 3000 if Chris Anderson’s theory proves to be correct. No more expensive investor management, no more creator incompetence and certainly no more failure to facilitate welfare-enhancing transactions by the market (1). Rather a shift in the economy “from a focus on only that which can be quantified in dollars and cents to a more realistic accounting of all the things we truly value today” (2). Continue reading Crowdfunding: only 986 years left?→
This blog has already seen many purposes for the combined skills of many, from disaster relief to technological innovation. But is it also possible to crowdsource scientific advancement? The “Zooniverse” is a group of “citizen science projects”, hosting dozens of projects enabling volunteers to participate in scientific research. It consists of more than 1 million registered volunteers, generally referred to as ‘Zooites’. The data collected from the various projects has already led to the publication of more than 50 scientific papers!
It all started in 2007, when the first Galaxy Zoo project was launched. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey provided Chris Lintott, an astronomer at Oxford, with a dataset of a million galaxies. All these galaxies needed to be sorted according to their shape and features. This proved to be simple in terms of task, but monstrous in terms of scale for just Chris and a single graduate student. It also proved difficult to be done reliably by a computer, as computers could not detect subtle differences and similarities or things that simply looked “interesting.” Soon, they came up with the idea of having volunteers do it. The idea proved more popular than they could have imagined, and the classifications made by the volunteers turned out to be as good as they would’ve been had they been done by professional astronomers. Moreover, as many participants rate the same galaxies, the data is cross-validated on the go: the goal is to have each individual galaxy rated by 30 users.
Yesterday (Tuesday 29th of April) graduated student Frederik Mijnhardt received the Internet Impact Afstudeerprijs (master thesis price) from Google. Google Netherlands decided, for the first time this year, to grant a price to the best master thesis to encourage research on economic effects and possibilities of Internet.
First price went to Mijnhard’s master thesis “Using crowdsourcing for enterprise software localization”. He received out of the hands of Rogier Klimbie, Google’s Policy Manager Benelux, the 5000 euro award winning price.
In his thesis Mijnhardt looked at the possibility of outsourcing work via the internet (crowdsourcing) vs. the tradition outsourcing and hiring of employees. CA Technologies, an international software company, has a translation department at which professional translators from within the company as well as outside the company work. Due to the fact that the workload fluctuates heavily the costs and the time to have a product translated are high. Continue reading We Have a Winner! #InternetImpactAfstudeerprijs→
Looking for a special gift for your mom this coming Mother’s Day? How about a personalized cake of your own?
Something like this, perhaps?
Or.. you think you can do better?
Visit The Icing Room and pour your creativities on the canvas in the form of a plain cream cake! The Icing Room is a first first-ever specialty concept shop that offers Design-It-Yourself (DIY) cake decorative services (The Icing Room, 2014). At The Icing Room, you can turn a simple plain cream cake (in various sizes and flavors) into a special personalized cake created with a touch of love and well wishes made by your own hands. The concept is closely linked to co-creation business strategy where customers are involved in the final products their receiving by physically decorating their own cakes to their styles and likings. Continue reading The Icing Room: Be creative and decorate your own cake!→
We all want to keep up to date about the news of the world. To do this, you might subscribe to a newspaper you appreciate or look online. However, free online news usually isn’t thorough and with a subscription to a newspaper you pay a lot for a lot of articles you might not even read. The latter point was exactly what Marten Blankesteijn thought was wrong with this system and what he sought to change. Blendle was born this way on the 15th of December 2012 and after a silent start, he teamed up with Alexander Klöpping and Blendle truly kicked off.
How does Blendle work? Users simply create a digital wallet and buy the articles they want to read digitally via the site. Whenever they select an article, between the 0.10 and 0.89 cents are deducted from their wallet, of which Blendle as an intermediary receives 30% and the publishers receive the rest. Amongst others, there are Dutch quality news papers such as NRC Handelsblad, nrc.next en de Volkskrant and magazines such as Elsevier available to choose from, and users have to option to like articles and reactions to the articles.
“Music is all around us, al you have to do is listen” .
This quote from the movie August Rush pretty much sums up the music industry nowadays. The media through which we can listen to our favorite songs and newly released albums are ubiquitous. There’s the radio, television music channels, and digital services such as Spotify, iTunes store, and Youtube channels. In case these options do not satisfy the music listener there is always the cheaper option to download it, which happens to be illegal.
However, many services in the music industry seem to suffer from declining profitability. People do not listen to the radio anymore and even iTunes is experiencing falling sales because people prefer streaming services over ownership . Pirate bay has been banned. This means that people need to find other sources for satisfying their hunger for (new) music.
Luckily, there is 8tracks. This online music platform is growing rapidly since David Porter launched it in 2008 . It was featured as one of the best websites in 2011 by TIME  and is ranked number 32 globally in StartupRanking based on internal and external links, estimated audience factors and mentioning in social media . The graph below gives an indication of the speed with which 8track’s social influence is spreading.
What does it take to create the smallest pieces you can find on this earth? Either you can jump in your self-made time machine and travel to the birth of our universe or, for the pocket money of 6.4 billion Euro, you can purchase 27 kilometers of tunnel underneath the Jura mountains in Switzerland and France, buy 9593 magnets, 1232 dipoles and 392 quadropels (1). Now you only have to find a smart brain and you will get yourself a private science lab, similar to the CERN in Geneve, right?
Wrong! It was not the billions of tax money or the finesse of one Harvard student, which makes the ‘world’s most ambitious scientific experiment’ a successful story (2). It is the fact that more than ten thousand qualified researchers from all over the world have collaborated in the experiments conducted at that giant laboratory (3), most of them physicist and engineers. Solely the largest experiment, ALICE, involves a scientific community, which, in my opinion, could refer to itself as the world’s smartest melting pot. 1200 researchers from 131 different institutes out of 36 countries make it possible to crash two tiny little substances with immense speed into each other, just to make them break apart further and to tell the physicists something about the history and future of the world (4).
Being the son of one of the Netherland’s most famous auctioneers, Pieter Jan Glerum has never been a stranger to fine art and its inherent elitism. However, it was exactly this inaccessibility to the masses that made Glerum come up with a website that would allow anyone to anonymously send in his/her artwork, and the masses to show their support for the work through social media. In short, Anoniem Anno Nu (AAN) brings democracy to the world of art.
AAN is a wonderful example of co-creation through crowdsourcing – as anyone can sell their art and, equally, anyone can vote and buy the art – and the two-sided market (or platform) – as it brings together artists and art enthusiasts. The difference between the two-sided-market and the traditional value chain is that the prior allows networks of users that are attracted to each other come together. As such, the more users the platform attract, the more revenue it can generate. Here lies the crux: AAN currently has nearly 1.300 likes (or followers), which hardly makes it profitable.
What to do to increase the amount of users and profitability of this platform? The answer can be found in Eisenmann, Parker & Geoffrey’s (2006) article ‘Strategies for Two-Sided-Markets’ that was published in the Harvard Business Review: a business model suggestion, if you will.
Forget Spotify, SoundCloud, or listening to old-fashioned radio. With Grooveshark, you can upload your own music, listen to your friends’ uploads, or listen to other’s broadcasts. While reading the blog below, why not start listening to one of my personal favorites right away?
Not only a great platform for launching your own garage-based heavy metal band, but also a nice way to listen to the same music as your friends, no matter where you are. Founded in 2006 by Sam Tarantino, a student and musician, and the more technical Josh Greenberg, Groovehark states to be an online ecosystem, bringing together fans, bands, labels and brands. It currently has over 30 millions users world-wide, and over 15 millions songs available .
So, what’s new in Grooveshark in comparison to all others? Grooveshark offers a range of possibilities, extending beyond most online streaming music services. First of all, the music that is available ranges from the current most popular songs (a top 500 is provided conveniently under ‘Popular’) to your personal band, looking for a broader fanbase. All available music is uploaded by the users, opening possibilities for bands with established fanbases and newly started musicians. Second of all, every user has the possiblity to create playlists, broadcasts or share music with your online community. Continue reading Grooveshark – Search. Play. Discover.→
In the backpacking world Hostelworld has become a household name, which makes sense considering the fact that www.hostelworld.com is the world’s number one hostel booking website, and “the leading provider of online reservations for the budget, independent and youth travel market.” With the mission: “to become the fastest-growing online provider of great value accommodation, using innovative technology to inspire independently minded travellers everywhere,” the company has certainly done just that, now listing over 35,000 properties in 180 countries, with over 3.5 million guest reviews.
The website was created by a hostel owner and IT entrepreneur who realized that at that time, 1999, there was no way to book and pay hostel reservation deposits online. The company started out as a platform connecting backpackers in need of cheap accommodation with budget hostel owners but has the platform has grown to include other types of accommodation including campsites, self catering accommodations, B&B’s and budget hotels.
Hostelworld created “the network effect, with value growing as the platform matched demand from both sides…increasing returns to scale,” (Eisenmann, 2006). One of the ways the website attracted so many users was through their affiliate program with over 3,500 distribution partners, including big names in the travel industry such as Lonely Planet and Ryanair.com.
Nowadays world becomes more and more international. People travel more, have more international colleagues, even international families became more common. Therefore, being able to speak many languages is more important than ever.
In 2006, the educational platform Italki that helps people to learn foreign languages was introduced. The educational platform solves many of the most common problems that arise during language learning. The post will analyze problems, which may occur on each step of learning language road starting from picking a language to lessons themselves, and how Italki deals with them.
Firstly, a person chooses a language that she wants to learn. However, it is very hard to find teachers of languages that are not very common. As Italki works as a platform, which connects teachers and students, it has a huge pull of teachers. Therefore, it is possible to find native speakers of any language.
Being a student is the best time of your life. You don’t have to follow your parents orders, you can decide whatever you want to eat and you can party all night long, everyday of the week. However, all this fun isn’t for free. Especially not if your student association wants to organize the most awesome events and parties. In order to be able to pay all those amazing events and parties, student associations try to acquire sponsors. Nowadays, student associations face the problem of low acquisition levels because companies cut back on their sponsor expenses due to the economic crisis. How can student associations (but also other kind of associations and clubs) still gather all the money they need for their events and parties?
Inspired by the topics of crowfunding, I began to wonder: Is this pure science fiction for companies in Croatia or could this actually lead to some results? The current economic situation is not in favour of entrepeneures and searching for a project funder is like finding a needle in a haystack. But does it have to be like this?
I certainly tried to search for some existing platforms, but all I could find is one named ‘Doniralica’ (in rough translation this is a derivative from the verb donate) which currently has only the main page with no signs of projects of any kind. I tried to understand why this is the case, as crowdfunding has been proven to be an extremely helpul way of financing throughout the world. Skimming through some related posts, I ran into the fact that in the surrounding region, Slovenia is the leader by the amount of money raised through crowdfunding and it got me thinking: Is it because they are more multidisciplinary or they exchange more experiences? And why can’t we do the same? Continue reading Crowdfunding in Croatia: a dream or a possible reality?→
Internet is changing the way economic actors perceive themselves. Nowadays, the web allows people to be less and less passive consumers, and to become active ones. Even more interestingly, sometimes people can cross the bridge and become themselves producers of goods. An example of this is ITASA.
ITASA is a web community which produces and publishes Italian translations of foreign TV-Series. These translations can be paired to video files which can be downloaded from the web (illegally, unfortunately, and so you guys shouldn’t try this at home). In this way, ITASA allows many Italian users to enjoy Tv-Series months before they are dubbed and broadcasted on Italian television.
Interestingly enough, ITASA is an entity operating on the market, but not playing according to the traditional market rules. Indeed, its products (subtitles) are not sold, but donated. This means, in the first place, that translators will not get a single cent for their work. They have to regularly dedicate their spare time to translate subtitles, and on top of that do it quickly (nerds are indeed ravenous when it comes to their beloved TV-series). In addition, there is no monetary (or even non-monetary) exchange between the producers and the consumers. ITASA offers to its users the possibility to donate an amount of money of their choice to contribute to the survival of the community, but this is contribution is non-mandatory.
Nowadays, human life mainly relies on electronic devices, including computer, cellphone, and television. Internet plays a role of catalysis of increasing connection between people and electronic devices. Because of this, more and more brick-and-mortar stores/services are gradually digitalized or replaced by on-line store/service, karaoke industry is not an exception. iKala, an online karaoke service provider, develops new way for people singing the song with low cost and convenience. It operates at multiple platform- cellphone, computer, and television- that connected by internet.
On the night of 4 October 2013, SK Telecom T1 completed a rout of analyst’s favorites Chinese Royal Club to take home the whooping prize money of 1 million $ net, but more importantly the title and bragging rights of being the world champions 2013 of the multiplayer online game League of Legends. It was a night in which SKT1’s Lee Sang-Hyeok, better known as “Faker”, produced a performance of a lifetime that assures his position in the Hall of Fame of LoL with other midlaner greats such as former Taipei Assasin’s Toys. His expert Gragas play that helped secure the first Dragon in every game, coupled with excellent lane control and mind games lead the team to victory in the sold-out Staples Center Arena (Los Angeles Lakers NBA team Arena): “We put in so much work, and we really trained well […] We expected to win.” Faker said at the end of the match. 
For most people, all of the above still sound like an excerpt from a SF novel, but professional video-games streamed live for an extensive audience are gaining momentum and this is mostly due to Twitch.tv.
Twitch.tv is an active co-creation platform where amateur and professional video-gamers can stream the games they are playing live and interact with viewers. According to Qwilt (a broadband measuring tool), Twitch.tv “is driving more Web traffic than live videos from Major League Baseball, WWE’s popular wrestling matches, or even the news.”  What’s more, Twitch.tv attracts over 45 million unique visitors a month who watch an average of 100 minutes of livestream a day , numbers that seem unexplainable when we imagine the target is a niche. Beside individual broadcasters, the website has also made partnerships with Riot Games to stream the trending eSports championships and with Sony and Microsoft to bring Twitch.tv’s facilities to consoles, thus increasing their reach. The company earns money through personalized ads on the website and through add-free ‘partner program’ subscriptions. Through Twitch.tv, gamers also receive income through donations from their followers or brand sponsorships. The website provides the basis for what seems to be a future valuable area of business – the growing eSports scene. Through its innovative concept, the website created a new business world where passionate people without a traditional career path in sight can now have a proper ‘job’ by being professional gamers or eSports commentators. Continue reading Sports for the New Generation→
Watch out, Generation X, Y and Z – a powerful new force in culture and commerce is emerging: Generation C. User generated “Content”, “Community”, “Creation”, “Connection” and “Curation” are its defining features. Spanning the generations its members are digital natives and exceptionally tech-adept, using the web to search for and create new content across all platforms – everywhere, everyday.
Within Generation C everyone is a blogger, everyone is an artist and everyone can be a designer. This phenomenon leads to an increasing dilution of the distinction between audience and speaker, consumer and creator. Therefore the desire for personalized products and services has never been greater. Tapping into this trend companies like M&M or Nike provide their customers with the opportunity to adjust designs and colors to their individual needs and thereby create their own personalized product versions within a given framework. Meanwhile mass customization is commonplace.
The need to express individuality particularly applies to high-involvement products like art or design. Many trends, such as the DIY (“Do-It-Yourself”) movement, also build on this phenomenon. DIY communities provide inspirations, guidelines and advice to create individual items, without any commercial intermediaries involved. But even if the creativity of Generation C members seems to be endless, their skills and also their time are finite. Productivity is restricted by the technical skills of the creator.
Kickstarter is a website that helps developers of a wide range of products get their project up and running. Whereas normally the producer would have to find (expensive) outside funding, by using Kickstarter the producer can reach out to its audience. Kickstarter provides a platform where producers can present their ideas and initial models to a large audience, providing them with a chance to ask people for a pledge of X amount of dollars to further develop their product. Popular products include documentaries, videogames, clothing, and tabletop boardgames, like one of the Kickstarter’s most popular projects, Dogs of War;
Those that pledge an amount of 50$ (or 45$ for those that acted quickly) get access to the game when it is fully developed and ready to be shipped. Mass market versions availabe in retail would cost more, in this case 60$, so there is a monetary incentive to pledge. Those that advertise their project on Kickstarter often include different amounts of money the consumer can pledge, which accordingly yield different exclusive extras that would not be made available to the public. Another feature on Kickstarter is that of “stretch goals”, these are added features of the product delivered only when the funds reach a particular level, in the case of Dogs of War the stretch goal is $50,000, at which point an additional character would be added. Continue reading Kickstarter; a better, more efficient way to fund projects→
During my last job, one of the most useful tools I found was 104 Human Resource banks. 104 Human Resource Banks is the top online platform to search for job or talent in Taiwan, depending in which side of the coin you are. This website has 310,000 daily active users and a market share of 85.5%. The human resource department in my company works in close relation with 104 and recently became the main labor force searching source for the company. Whenever there was job vacancy, a job offer is posted in 104. The results are outstanding: in just one week, there will be around 10 to 20 applicants asking for this job. Posting a job offer is not the only way to look for talent in 104, the platform also offers the possibility of proactively contact the talents you interested in by searching the skills or qualities you are interested in. Continue reading 104 Human Resource Banks→
Our houses are full of perfectly functioning objects that we do not use, cannot resell or give away as gifts. When something is not used and left in the basement or the storage closet it is automatically losing its value and will probably be thrown away. Of course there are many second-hand/swap stores and online platforms, but sometimes it might be difficult to place and sell an object and assess its market value.
Reoose is trying to solve these problems. This Italian online “eco-store” is based on what the funders call “asynchronic barter” to promote sustainable consumption and avoid waste. On this website it is possible to exchange items that have no value for the owner, even if new, and give them a “second life”, all without the use of money.
But what does “asynchronic barter” actually mean? And what is the difference with other second-hand websites?