How co-creation can literally create value

Cryptocurrency might be the one example where co-creating meets value creation in the most efficient sense possible, without additional transactions co-creation is turned directly into money. More specifically co-creation means creating money when it comes to cryptocurrencies such as the Bitcoin…


What is cryptocurency and how does it work?
Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency. Nowadays many different types exist of which the Bitcoin is probably the most well known variety. Other popular cryptocurrencies are the Ripple, Litecoin, Peercoin, and Dogecoin. All these currencies have their origin in the 2008 paper by Satoshi Nakamoto. Satoshi Nakamoto is a bit of a myth himself and all sorts of rumors revolve around this person or group. A Bitcoin can be seen as a chain of signatures that are recorded from transaction to transaction. Transactions are recorded digitally in a public ledger. The currency is also decentralized, meaning that the transactions are not checked by one entity but many entities at the same time, and really the network holds ownership of the Bitcoin technology. The payments take place in a peer-to-peer system thereby getting rid of intermediaries such as banks or credit card companies. Requiring a lower fee for the transactions. Furthermore the currency can be anonymous in the sense that, if someone wants to go through a bit of hassle, nobody can see who is behind a certain “digital wallet”. The main advantage is that Bitcoins are easy to trade and a fee for the transaction is only optional (if you want to jump ahead of the cue). The main downside however is the high volatility with the price of the Bitcoin rising steeply around December 2013, to drop almost as steeply as well soon afterwards.


How does co-creation play a role in cryptocurrency?
Continue reading How co-creation can literally create value

Back To the Taco: When Consumers Troll Their Ice Cream Back


Looking backwards, the late ‘90s had quite some powerful stuff for kids: embarrassing boybands (and girlbands), videogames on floppy disks, the first Playstation, Oasis, Blink 182, Yo-Yo, and much more. In particular, in those days, Italian kids were in love with a brand new product: the Winner Taco. Winner Taco was an ice cream produced by Algida (which is how in Italy we call the Unilever brand “Ola”), and there was nothing nearly as cool when it was launched in 1998. Nor as delicious. Then a few years later, in 2001, Winner Taco disappeared from our cafes and supermarkets. End of the story? Not this time. Some 10 years later, those kids have grown into the first generation of social network users. And one day, a group appears on Facebook: “Bring back the Winner Taco.”taco4_jpg_485x0_crop_upscale_q85

 The group quickly becomes a community in which users share jokes, motivational posters, but also memories from the “good old days.”
But the group is not only a gathering place for nostalgic youngsters; it is also very active, and with a clear strategy in mind. Indeed, users start trolling Algida’s official Facebook page. Every time a post, picture, video et cetera is published on that channel, immediately users start to post pictures or jokes with a common denominator: bring Winner Taco back. The phenomenon grows in intensity and continuity, to the point that Algida cannot use its channel anymore. Interestingly, Dutch and Swedish Winner Taco fans put the same pressure on Ola and SB Glace, respectively. Bottom line: on January  2014 the following post appears on Algida’s page:

"There is trace of a great comeback.."
“There is trace of a great comeback..”

Continue reading Back To the Taco: When Consumers Troll Their Ice Cream Back

Foursquare Split: Recommendations vs Check-ins

Would you like to know what your friends do? How they spend their time? Where? With who? What are their favorite places? Where are they are now? Alternatively, did you have this following experience: You meet with your friend and tell what you did some time ago and it appears that you were at the same time at the same place and unfortunately, you did not know that?

Foursquare is an answer to all these questions. Almost everyone heard something about the company as itis one of the biggest startups of Silicon Valley. Now, it exists for more than five years and during this time the company raised around $600 million of investments and increased its users base from 50,000 people to 50,000,000! Moreover, since 2010, April 16 is 4sqDay; this date has a clear link to the company’s name.

Foursquare is a social net where you can “check-in” in any place where you currently are. You can also add comments, photos and people with who you are. For that, you earn badges and points to compete with your friends and other users. When you check-in, your friends will see that. If it close by, then they can join you to have fun together or they can just like, comment on your check-in and look at profile of the place. When you click on a place, you can see general information (e.g. address, open hours), photos and comments made by other users about this place. In addition, Foursquare helps you to find places where to go based on different parameters: distance, previous visits of you and your friends, and rating. Foursquare thus helps you to share your location with your friends and search for new places.

Continue reading Foursquare Split: Recommendations vs Check-ins

Recommendations better than Oprah or your neighborhood book club

goodreads home page
goodreads home page

Can’t decide what book to read next? Are book recommendations from Amazon not useful? Then go to a free online platform that prides itself in its customized recommendation system to match you with your future favorite book.

it's as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4. 1. find friends 2. select genres 3. rate books 4. view recommendations!
it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.
1. find friends
2. select genres
3. rate books
4. view recommendations!

Goodreads combined several information systems to create an online platform connecting books (and authors) to readers. Goodreads calls itself a “social cataloging” website, which more or less means it’s an online platform co-created using crowdsourcing to build an extensive catalogue and information search system combined with an intricate algorithm to base its recommendation system on.

The platform started from a mission “to help people find and share books they love… [and] to improve the process of reading and learning throughout the world,” ( In order to dare to attempt such a lofty dream the founders turned to crowdsourcing, allowing people to join the community for free and upload books and journals. Users are able to make their own profiles, reading lists, start forums, and discussions, and create their own group of book recommendations; attracting over 20 million users, causing the “net-work effect” and a subsequent library of over ten million books and growing(Eisenmann, 2006).

Choice overload! What to choose!? No fear, the website prides itself in its accurate Recommendation Agent (RA) algorithm. When a user signs up the first thing they do is go through active content-filtering by selecting preferences for book genres. The second step is to review/rate 20 books which the RA uses as collaborative filtering to recommend books based on matching criteria using the opinions of “like minded people”(Xiao, et al., 2007).

Continue reading Recommendations better than Oprah or your neighborhood book club

Angie’s List, When to Stop Following the Crowd(sourcing)

Founder Angie Hicks
Founder Angie Hicks

A common homeowner predicament, Angie found herself in need of in-house repairs but did not know the most reliable contractor. To remedy this situation in 1995 Angie went door-to-door in Columbus, Ohio and collected a list of over 1,000 reviews and ratings of local contractors. Since then “Angie’s List” has grown to provide a include reviews of over 700 different industries, supporting over 2 million users! Now it is an information search website for contract services facilitated through crowd-sourced reviews and ratings, a service platform connecting local business with customers.

It's easy as 1, 2, 3, 4!
It’s easy as 1, 2, 3, 4!

In a world with so much information, and especially in the service industry with information asymmetry between companies (experts) and consumers (usually novices), people are looking for less costly ways to be more informed by delegating the information search to the “Wisdom of the Crowd,” (Surowiecki, 2005). Some companies have designed their entire business models around this idea; crowdsourcing and crowdfunding have shown how to “let the crowd get your work done for you- cheap, perfect and now,”(Malone, et. al., 2010). Some companies (Wikipedia) have successfully harnessed and managed collective intelligence to provide platforms of information(Malone, et. al., 2010). But how can anyone be sure that Angie, or any other platform, is providing us with unbiased information?

Continue reading Angie’s List, When to Stop Following the Crowd(sourcing)

Viva il vino! Exploring wine with Vivino

Today many companies provide options to rate products. Some go a step further and turn user ratings into the service they provide. Vivino is an example of an app that does just that. I have used the app for a while now, mainly to keep track of the wine I drink and thereby increasing my extracurricular learning experience. Now I decided to have another look at the app and see with what kind of suggestions it provided me, something the app is also intended for…

How does it work?

It starts by manually adding a wine (although this function is a bit hidden away) or scanning the label of a wine manually. In case of the latter Vivino generally finds the wine you scanned within seconds, you then need to check whether it scanned the right variety/type, as the vineyard is most of the times properly recognized, the various wines per vineyard can sometimes be a bit more of a hassle. In case it is not directly recognized Vivino’s team will manually match it for you. After you scanned a wine you can rate it (using a 5 star rating system, with half star intervals), add public or private notes or update information about the wine manually, such as the grapes, price et cetera. This seems to be a powerful system. As the database now holds over a million wines and more that 4 million people using the app worldwide.

Based on the users ratings the user will receive recommendations for other wines. In the recommendations tab you see an overview of wines, with a note to it as to how many ratings you have in common with a certain person that likes the suggested wine.

Continue reading Viva il vino! Exploring wine with Vivino


groupongroupon 1

Group buying is not new for online buyers anymore. Sometimes, with certain amount of people buying certain products, online seller will offer discount or eliminate the shipping fees. While the concept of group buying applied on the intangible goods, such as service, the idea of group coupon came up. Sellers, such as restaurants, beauty salons, hotels, exhibitions, trips, will offer certain amount of group coupons in limited time, and consumers will collect money for the coupons. For instance, my friend and I collected ten people in total within a week to get 30% discount for an art exhibition.

Groupon is an online platform gathering all these group coupons. It was found at 2008 in Chicago and soon enlarged its business territory into 49 countries. Groupon offer APP for consumers to update latest discount and download these coupons on phone. With high mobility, Groupon is creating a new marketing strategy. Many startup stores offer coupons to increase customers and fames. Some sellers offer coupons to gain customers in three weeks beforehand, gaining steady amount of customers, while other sellers offer last minute coupons to earn maximum profit.

Continue reading Groupon – Still alive and kicking (?)

Already early in the adoption of the Internet, Durk Jan de Bruin started thinking about a remote control for the overload of webpages on the Internet. In this process, he imagined his father being an inexperienced Internet user as the target audience of such a website. His idea was to provide a webpage which contains a collection of links within a certain area of interest. On 15 September 1998, was launched. It provided an overview of all the most important websites on the Internet, grouped per type. During its first years, the number of visitors boomed from 40,000 page views per day in the first days, to 1 million in 2000 and 4 million in 2009 [1].

Equally remarkable however is the growth of the number of daughter pages. The first daughter page ‘’, was launched in February 1999, and only contained links that were related to vacations. After a while, visitors were invited and encouraged to begin their own daughter page, about topics of their interest. The number of daughter pages increased rapidly: 800 in September 2000, and 5,700 in 2009 [1]. The last couple of years the growth has stabilized, resulting in the current number of daughter pages of 6,049 [2].

Image’s daughter site on sailing, only providing useful links on this topic.

Because Durk Jan de Bruin made it seem like he was running the website from his attic, he was able to attract so many other people believing in the cause. Throughout the years, the 1,700 individual administrators of these pages form a community that even organizes a ‘daughterday’ each year. The administrators are independent, and their pages are kept up-to-date through feedback, tips and suggestions from visitors. In addition to suggesting new links to the page’s administrator, visitors can add personal links in a separate section on the page and if some sections don’t apply to the visitor’s area of interest, they can be removed from the page. Another way how visitors are actively involved in the page are the message boards or fora behind each daughter page, where visitors can exchange ideas and opinions about their field of interest.

Continue reading – Still alive and kicking (?)

Hitchhiking 2.0: See You On the Road

“Damn,” said I, “I’ll just hitchhike on that highway . . .”
Jack Kerouac, “Good Blonde”

“I hitchhiked to New York. Please, do not put me in any category with fucking Kerouac.”     Dan Fante, Interview

 hitchhiker-88746-530-644When talking about hitchhiking, some of us think about summer holidays, travelling with a backpack, a few friends, little money, hitting the road and living an adventure. Others might recall Jack Kerouac, and his bohemian lifestyle, in which hitchhiking was part of his rebellion against society. For the more mundane ones, hitchhiking is a last resort when things go wrong and a lift is desperately needed. To sum up, unless you are Kerouac, probably hitchhiking is not something you do systematically. Rather, it is either a backup plan, or the main plan, but only for a circumscribed period.

This changes with Letzgo, a brand new Italian app for hitchhikers 2.0. Letzgo was launched a few weeks ago, and is currently operative only in Milan. If things go well, the developers want to extend it to other Italian cities and also internationally. How does it work? Conceptually, Letzgo is similar to BlaBlaCar. Indeed, users carpool, i.e. travel together sharing a car. The difference with BlaBlaCar is the kind of trip users do. Ideally, Letzgo users will carpool to travel short distances, within the city, while generally carpooling is for longer distances. To put it differently, while BlaBlaCar competes against trains, planes and “traditional” cars, Letzgo competes against urban public transportation, like buses, metros and trams.

Let’s see the app more closely: in the first place, users have to register on the platform, specifying if they are interested in being just passengers or drivers as well. Continue reading Hitchhiking 2.0: See You On the Road

Designcrowd: Crowdsource your graphic design projects is a platform where graphic designers can compete with each other for projects posted by individuals or companies. How it works? Pretty easy, business post a briefing with the description of what they want and their budget and hundreds of graphic designers from around the world send them their proposes within days. Then, the company chooses its favorite ones and gives feedback to the designers for minor changes till get the perfect design for its needs. Of course, the company pays the designer and the designer sends all the copyrights and the files to the company. If you don’t find the design you are looking for, the webpage gives you your money back. One of the differences between Designcrowd and its competitors is that Designcrowd pays also for participation to the finalist designs, attracting more designers than any other design crowdsource webpage.  This has made the company grow faster in the last years and even get involved in some acquisitions of other crowd design companies. The platform covers any kind of creative project, from web design to logos.

The system has clear advantages for companies: they have more options to choose from than a traditional graphic design company can offer, it´s possible to benefit from the creative diversity around the world and even cheaper than normal graphic designers.  In the other hand, the system has been criticized for diminishing the quality of the designs, since there’s no certainty of getting paid, artist have less incentive to put extra effort on the designs and prefer to apply to several projects than work hard in one. Another detrimental point is the possibility of recycling ideas for several projects, compromising the singularity of the design. Continue reading Designcrowd: Crowdsource your graphic design projects

Crowdupping: Crowdfunding skills and resources

You are sure you have that million-dollar idea that will change the world. Or you want to produce that product that will attract thousands of customers. But you don’t even know where to start… you have the idea but lack the practical expertise.

Why not crowdfund your start up?

Crowdupping is a portal where you can share your start up project and look for a team or material resources, in exchange for a share of the future profits. The idea is quite different from the classical notion of crowdfunding. Normally, if you try to create a project through word of mouth on the net, you can ask users only monetary contributions, ranging from a few cents to millions, and give in exchange a product or service. There exist also equity based crowdfunding platforms, so nothing new in giving some shares to funders.

So, why is crowdupping different? The platform will actually help you search for the skills or the necessary non-monetary resources you would need for the project.


After registration, the user can upload a sketch of the idea, attaching photos or videos describing the project. Subsequently, the creator indicates the skills he needs (e.g. mobile app programming, visual designing) or the resources (e.g. an office or a computer). In return, he may offer part of the shares or profits that will derive from the project. Other users will then be able to apply and supply the needed means. At this point, the founder of the project can choose the co-workers, after controlling the curriculum or materials offered by the applicants.

The platform’s risks are very similar to the challenges of traditional crowdfunding: Continue reading Crowdupping: Crowdfunding skills and resources

Part 2 Anoniem Anno Nu: value co-creation

An artwork from Anoniem Anno Nu

In the last post I discussed how Pieter Jan Glerum could make Anoniem Anno Nu (AAN) commercially more attractive through different pricing strategies. Today, however, I want to reflect on the different ways AAN facilitates value co-creation through collective intelligence and suggest some room for improvement.

In post-modern theoretical works on value co-creation, the term has been characterized by consumer’s ability to craft personal consumption experiences through the offering of more customized goods or services. However, for a deeper understanding of the underlying frictions between the three terms (value, co, and creation) need to be dismantled and separately evaluated according to their meaning. In the case of AAN, value is generated for the artists who get to send in their artworks for a potential sale and for Glerum who gets a 10-15% mark-up over all sales. ‘Co’ refers to the resources that are used by the consumers when creating value. In this case, it is the artists who use their artistic talents to create works to be sold through AAN. Lastly, creation refers to the mechanisms that are used by artists and art patrons to change roles that were traditionally taken on by firms. At AAN, co-creation and voting are used by the consumers and integrate with the firm’s own resources.

However, though we now know what is being done at AAN – creating artworks and making decisions around the quality of these works – and by whom it is being done – artists and art enthusiasts on both crowd and individual level –, we can ask ourselves why it is being done (i.e., why would one partake in the website’s objectives?).

Continue reading Part 2 Anoniem Anno Nu: value co-creation

TicketZen – a new way of paying your parking ticket(s)

Imagine you come back to your car one afternoon only to discover a parking ticket in the windshield. After analysing the situation, you begrudgingly admit that the ticket was waranted and that you won’t bother fighting it. However, that still puts you in the hated situation of having to go to the city hall, or some police station, or even have to mail a check or any other archaic way that costs precious time and annoys you to no end. If only there was some way to pay the thing without going through all this hassle. Well, thanks to an American software development company called Terrible Labs, now there is just such a way. Introducing… TicketZen!

Although it started out as a response to a tweet by Kayak co-founder Paul English(“I want an iPhone app to take a photo of any parking ticket and pay for it from a credit card on file.”), TicketZen is now an app developed for both iOS and Android that allows you to scan the code of the parking ticket and then pay for it online via credit card. It’s just as easy as scanning any QR code right now, and it saves you precious time and energy. No more waiting in line alongside other disgruntled drivers, now you can just scan the code, select the city in which you got fined, select your payment method, and then with a single click of a button the payment is done.

Currently, TicketZen only works in eight cities across the United States, however, this year it is scheduled to be rolled out in over a hundred cities in North America, Europe and Australia. Continue reading TicketZen – a new way of paying your parking ticket(s)

Curing diseases by doing nothing

Curing deadly diseases by doing nothing – an alternative use of crowdsourcing

What if I told you that you could help scientists in their search for a cure to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer? The first reaction would probably be „I don’t have any medical background or experience, how could I possibly do that?”. Then you might think of donations to certain organizations or NGOs, but in order to really make a difference in terms of research, the amount of money needed is somewhere in the millions. So how then can an average person, with no experience whatsoever in the medical field and with a budget that could never hope to match the needs of this endeavour, help in finding a cure for these diseases?

The short answer is… by doing nothing. The longer answer is… by doing very little. Puzzled? Don’t worry! The people over at Stanford University’s Pande Laboratory, alongisde Sony, Nvidia and ATI have created a software called Folding@home, which runs in the background of your computer and simulates different possible folding patters of proteins. According to medical textbooks, this folding process is the physical process by which a polypeptide folds into its characteristic and functional three-dimensional structure from random coil[1]. What this actually translates into for you and me is that when proteins in our body fold properly, they can even work as defense mechanisms against disease. When they don’t, they can actually cause the abovementioned diseases. Clearly, if scientists manage to unlock the secrets of this process, it would be a great thing for us all.

Unfortunately, the process is not that simple. Continue reading Curing diseases by doing nothing

How rotten is Rotten Tomatoes?

I live in a house with four other girls, invariably one night in a week is a dedicated movie night where questionable amounts of junk food is bought and the search for the perfect movie elapses the time taken to watch the actual movie. Coming to a consensus about which movie to watch is a far more difficult ordeal that you’d think so we end up putting our fate into the hands of the internet-Rotten Tomatoes. Similar to the ‘Magic 8 ball’, heavy decisions are made with Rotten Tomatoes.

The platform basically combines critic’s reviews and user rating across various websites and presents the final rating of a movie as a percentile. If the movie is higher than a 60% percentile, it is considered ‘fresh’, if not then it’s ‘rotten’. As much as my housemates and a million other people swear by it, I have a bone to pick with the website. The platform compiles reviews and is considered an aggregator yet movies that completely suck, in the real sense, Captain America 2011 for instance are giving a whopping 79% rating. The movie did miserably at the box office and was not well received by audiences at large. So where does this compilation come from? Who are their audiences? Despite high ratings, comments say completely different things. And this movie isn’t the only example!

rotten-tomatoes-screenshot Continue reading How rotten is Rotten Tomatoes?

Using the internet to create a better world

We all know it, but often we are reluctant to acknowledge it: there are a lot of people in the world that need our help. This is why there are so many charities, often calling or approaching you on the street asking for money. But many people simply ignore this, thinking their money will probably not reach the cause anyway… The problem with these organizations collecting money is that they often convince you to send a monthly payment to the organization, and you end up not even knowing exactly how your money is being used. (Yes, I am one of those victims that has been donating a couple of euro’s a month to a charity organization for several years now, I have no idea where it is going though).

So what can you do if you want to give aid to a specific cause, and decide for yourself how much and when you are giving money? Here the online world comes into play once again. Through crowdfunding based on donations there are many sites that facilitate you to donate to a specific cause of your choice. For example the websites or, which allows you to search for a cause, make your own ‘giving-page’ and start giving!

These sites also use crowdsourcing to their advantage: most causes on the site are advertised by the crowd: let’s say I want to run 5 miles to support Kika cancer fund, companies and individuals can then decide to support me and donate a small price. Besides individuals, also companies or events can register on the site and start giving to or advertising their cause.

Continue reading Using the internet to create a better world

AHHHA moment? Share it!

We can all be Bell, or Marconi, to name just some of the world’s greatest inventors. Why? Because we all have those great ideas. Naa, you’ll think, I don’t have great ideas, my ideas are whacky and not suited for the outside world. Think again. What do you think they said to Marconi when he told his government that he could transmit wireless signals and pick them up again? They told him they weren’t interested.  And can you imagine what the world would have looked like without radio? Neither can I. So, those whacky ideas are the ones you need. You might not even be the only one having them. Now what’s keeping you back? Developmental costs? Not anymore. Meet AHHHA!Screen-Shot-2012-03-13-at-9.22.13-AM

AHHHA is a platform where your whacky ideas can come into existence. You submit your idea, claim it, and then share it. Now, others comment on it, you improve it and before you know it, your idea is propelled to life and you get a prototype on your doormat (see the example of the SleeperSleeve). AHHHA’s managed to turn the long and time consuming process of developing an idea into a product into a crowdsourced process, while at the same time shielding you of the risk and costs related to the development. They call themselves a crowd ideation platform: it’s all about putting your whacky ideas out there, see who shares them and who likes them, and putting some of that into action. Continue reading AHHHA moment? Share it!

Sharing is caring

It’s what every socialist dreams of; a society share the stuff they don’t urgently need and receive the stuff they desire without having to spend any money on it. One possible downside to this is the idea that people are not to be trusted and will take advantage of the good nature of others. If there was some forum where people could look for goods to share while at the same time moniter what others have to offer and have an indicator of how trustworthy there were, that would be amazing right? Look no further!


The people Spullendelen have recently created exactly such a platform. You can register the goods you have to share, indicate with whom you want to trade and and what days an interested party could come and pick them up. Clearly value is created through the otherwise neglected goods that might have been useless to one party, but extremely valuable to another.

The guidelines specifiy the rules that are ought to be maintained (clearly specified dates when you will return the item, as well as state of condition it was in when you borrowed it). The website itself distances itself from any conflict arising through the transactions, and lending something out to someone is at your own risk.

One of the means the website aims to use to counter this is to have profiles for users that show how often they lend out and borrowed themselves, as well as the money any person has saved by doing so. You can also add people to your friends and only allow your unused goods to be shown to your friends or people in your own neighborhood.


Continue reading Sharing is caring

Jelly, “Let’s help each other!”

There is something wrong with the information today. First, we suffer from an information overload (1). We can know whatever we want, whenever we prefer. However, in most of the cases, this doesn’t make us more educated, as info touch us just the time to impress. Probably it will be disappeared in a moment of real need. Second and more important, “Information is not knowledge”, at least according to Einstein. Information is the skeleton, knowledge is its human application, colored by creativity, fixed by ad hoc application.


The founders of Jelly, which are Biz Stone -one of the Twitter co founder-, and Ben Finkel, started up from this intuition. Do algorithms really know us? Could friends’ advises be replaced by recommendation agents? Can Wikipedia answer all our questions? They said no. Technology, they thought, does a lot in terms of gathering the worldwide intelligence, but it will never be able to replace human brains. Phew, this is comforting.

So they created Jelly. Jelly is an app and an idea that like a jellyfish uses different tentacles to feed the same brain. Jelly is personalized. Last, Jelly is social.

Continue reading Jelly, “Let’s help each other!”