Twitch: a part-time job with 2 second shifts

Crowdsourcing has opened a lot of doors to creative minds to come up with all sorts of collaborative projects. It leverages the power in numbers in all sorts of business settings and innovation. When combined with apps, another huge gateway for people to offer services or get a cheap ticket into the business world, doors of unprecedented potential open up. The combination of crowdsourcing and computer apps opened the door for a new app called Twitch. This app was developed by Michael Bernstein and his colleagues. The idea behind it is fairly simple, the app replaces a phone’s unlock screen with an interface for crowdsourcing (Marks, 2014). Swiping to unlock the phone is replaced by carrying out a task. These tasks involve things such as choosing the better of two photos, verifying if a “fact” on a website like Wikipedia or answering single quick survey questions.

To test the viability of the app, 82 people were recruited and the app was installed on their phone. These users went by their daily routines and at the end of 3 weeks, 11,200 tasks were completed (Marks, 2014). Studies were carried out regarding the app functionality, and it was found out that a regular swipe-to-unlock move takes around 1.4 seconds and the quickest task of Twitch takes around 1.6 seconds. Of course other tasks take longer than that but can still completed withing a few seconds. This low cognitive requirement is the strong point of such an app. (Marks, 2014).

Samuel Johnston, spokesman for Open Signal company, stated that “Twitch’s process of solicitation is uniquely mobile in that it allows tasks to be tailored to an individual’s location and ties into the frequent and rapid interactions individuals have with their mobile devices,”. Therefore, there is a huge potential especially in consumer surveys. Continue reading Twitch: a part-time job with 2 second shifts

Why I don’t (completely) believe in online shopping

These days buying almost anything you wish for is just a click away. Online shopping saves time and money, and no one can neglect the amount of things available that otherwise wouldn’t fit in just a single store. But one particular item that came across my mind recently got me to the conclusion that not everything should be sold online. And by this I mean medications.

Nowadays buying prescription drugs from the Internet is easy, and more and more people are turning to the Internet for cheaper medications that are easily reachable. Not to mention the constant spaming of our email inbox with ‘Recover your masculinity’ offers. But is this something people should buy so carelessly? Certainly not when you consider the risk of counterfeit, contaminated or just unsafe drugs. You name it.

In 1999 the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy started continuously reviewing these websites and found that from over 10,700 pages reviewed, 97% fall in the ‘Not recommended’ category because they are in conflict with pharmacy laws and practice standards. Most of them are unlicensed, operating illegally and what is certainly striking: 88% don’t even require a doctor’s prescription! Knowing whether the medicine is contaminated, expired or counterfeit is almost impossible. There are ofcourse online registered pharmacies that require a prescription, but knowing which page is safe and which is not is a definite challenge.

Searching through these websites, I realize that the offer is endless and the prices substantially low. You can find anything from just some ‘innocent’ drugs to the ones that ‘cure cancer’. And a medicine for HIV costs 3 dollars! It seems like a perfect catch for helpless people that tried all the options.

When I imagine how a choice is being made and thinking about filtering and recommendation agents, I just don’t believe there could ever exist such a system that would replace the expertise of a real doctor or pharmacist, weighting pro’s and con’s, explaining side effects and combining therapies. And in this case, memorizing one’s previous purchases would never result in an adequate personalized recommendation because medications are not about the colour and size. Continue reading Why I don’t (completely) believe in online shopping

Yelp me!

You know those nights when you are sitting at home feeling too lazy to cook, thinking of maybe going out to eat but you have no clues regarding where because you’re tired of those two single places you always go to? Or when there’s this new pub open three blocks away but you’re not sure if it has the right vibe or the prices that would deem it interesting for yourself? Well now, in situations like these you clearly need HELP!…and that’s where Yelp! comes in.yelp was founded in 2004 with the sole purpose: “To connect people with great local businesses”[1]. Today, it is one of the biggest city facilities review websites you can find with over 132 million monthly unique visitors in the first quarter of 2014. That number might seem exaggerated but it seems natural when you consider that Yelpers have written 57 million local reviews… On you can find reviews relating to businesses in the area of restaurants, pubs, shopping, home services, medical and healthcare and many more. So, as the platform is so successful, it is obvious that there are many advantages for both businesses and users to take part in the ‘yelp phenomenon’.  Continue reading Yelp me!


“What does it cost to sit there for a day?” “Nothing.” “Why? Do you pay for the Wi-Fi then?” “No, Wi-Fi is for free.” “Then you’ll definitely pay too much for the coffee?” “No, you pay nothing. Even a full lunch is included.” “What? How do they earn their money then? There is nothing free in this world!”

This is the kind of the conversation I had with a friend of mine, that tried to explain the concept of Seats2Meet. Of course, Seats2Meet is not really a concept for poor students looking for a free lunch, but what is then?


The concept of seats2Meet is actually not about money, but about social capital.The idea revolves around the growing group of self-employed professionals that still want to work with you, but not for you. Seats2Meet calls them ‘Knowmads’, being people that are no longer bound to traditional organizations, but organized their professional careers around a (virtual) social network. These people want to engage with potential stakeholders, for exchanging information and knowledge, which eventually could lead to doing business together. These contemporary networks, are called ‘Mesh-Networks’ and to create these networks, virtual and physical locations are required. Seets2Meat facilitates these physical and virtual locations and here professionals can work, meet, exchange information, create new products and services and add value to each other’s work (Saarijärvi et al., 2013). Of course money needs to be earned to keep the story of Seats2Meet going, and therefore people have to pay for hiring meeting rooms. However, this is also being done differently, since you do not pay for the room, but for the number of seats you need.

The reason behind these ‘Mesh-Networks’ facilitated by Seats2Meet and, is the creation of a social community (Batemen et al., 2011). Continue reading Seats2Meet

Conscious Me

Were you ever looking for this great fair trade sweetshop in Amsterdam? Conscious Me is a new social platform that lets its members share tips about greening your life and post new ideas that matter to a more sustainable world.

The term crowdsourcing first mentioned by Jeff Howe (2006), is based on the notion of institutions using collective intelligence of a large network of people to create value and develop new products and services. However, some people believed that crowdsourcing can also have another dimension and can be used in the sense of harnessing the collective knowledge or ‘consciousness’ of people, to create a better world.

sharing what matters for a more sustainble world

This has recently led to the creation of the online community Conscious Me (Bateman et al., 2011). The founders of this community shared the idea that people should have a place where they could inspire each other for a more conscious way of living. The Conscious Me community is based on the existance of information asymmetry, where the party that is in need for information should be combined with the people that have the required problem-solving capabilities (Hippel, 2005). To this end, a social platform and virtual pinbord was created that allows members to share conscious products, places, people, technologies, etc.

show people you think it mattersHow the platform works is that if you have a cool idea ‘that matters’ you go to the website, write a description of what you want to share and you upload it to the platform. Other members can find your post, by searching the list of posts or by using a map that helps you to find local tips. The community is based on voting by using the ‘IT MATTERS’ button, which members can use to show they believe that someone’s contribution to the platform is important (Malone, 2010). So, next time if you’re looking for greening-up your life, you type in your location and ideas should immediately pop-up in your screen! Continue reading Conscious Me

Athletes crowdfunding their way to the Olympics


Making your way to the Olympic Games as an amateur athlete requires talent, hard work, dedication and discipline. But not only! Training sessions, coach, equipment, flight tickets, hotel rooms… the life of an athlete comes with a considerable cost. While professional athletes are sponsored by various brands and potentially collect money by winning competitions, amateur athletes must rely on alternative sources of revenue to fund their sporting career.

Having faced the dilemma of choosing between an athlete career and a more conventional path, two Canadian former amateur athletes founded the website This non-profit crowdfunding platform is run by volunteers and designed to help amateur athletes of any country to gather funding in order to reach one specific goal in their athletic careers such as making the podium, getting to the next competitive event, or making the national team.


Pursuit uses reward-based crowdfunding, meaning that contributors are promised varying levels of rewards depending on the amounts pledged. The usual rewards include signed equipment, lessons and personal phone calls. As described by co-founder Leah Skerry, the givebacks are personal items and real “bragging-right pieces”. The main incentives for contributors are thus clearly the access to exclusive products, the belonging to a community of close fans and philanthropy. (Agrawal et al., 2010)

Continue reading Athletes crowdfunding their way to the Olympics