Dream or Donate

Making dreams come true

The Dutch initiative Dream or Donate is an online platform that allows individuals to realize their dreams or ideas by crowdfunding. It brings together two groups of people; namely the dreamers who want to share an idea and the donors who can give money for its realization.[1] In that sense, Dream or Donate can be considered as a two-sided network. It this case, one group of users is entirely subsidized whereas the other group of users can be considered the ‘money side’. [2] The difference here with two-sided networks as described by Eisenmann, Parker, and Van Alstyne (2006) is that there is no tangible advantage for the donors to attract large groups of dreamers. It might be that donors experience glory from their donations, since the dreamers will get a notification of their donation. It works as follows: Continue reading Dream or Donate


Peerby.com – Get to know your neighbors!

Imagine this. You are hosting a dinner party for all your friends and you have decided to cook the meal yourself. Since you have invited many people, you need the appropriate cooking gear to make this party a success. However, in case you are a student like me, it is not very likely that you own a cooking pan large enough to cook tomato soup for 20 people. The stores are closed, your parents are out of town, and none of your friends own a pan of the dimensions your feast requires.

Peerby.com offers a solution for people with exactly these kinds of problems. They established an alternative to the prevailing consumption patterns in which people use goods after which it is stored or thrown away by developing a platform on which people can request to borrow things from their neighbors. In this way Peerby hopes to realize objectives such as “connecting people with each other and encouraging collaborative consumption.” [i] In essence, collaborative consumption allows individuals to become active members of society and increase their social network.[ii] Peerby does this by offering a platform that introduces a new value-creating system, allowing customers to govern the flow of goods in their own consumption context. [iii]

A question remaining is why people are committed to the online community that Peerby creates. Previous literature on organizational commitment has shown that people can develop a connection to an online community that is based on obligation, affect, and/or need. Continue reading Peerby


Geo-location based pictures of any incivilities or disorders noticed in public areas

BetterStreet is a mobile application available on App Store and Google Play and takes also the form of a service online. Launched in 2013 as result of a small start up competition in Belgium, the service enables any citizen with a smartphone to take a geo-location based picture of any incivilities or disorders noticed in public areas, and to communicate it to the responsible municipality of the region. The picture can also be complemented with a brief comment of the issues to be solved by public authorities. The objective is not simply about creating a platform where people can complain and criticize the authorities. The approach is much more constructive and allows the citizen to follow the progress of their notifications, get informed when the problem is solved, and even reward municipalities for their good job! The company assures the maintenance and the development of the platform and propose integrated services of data management and processing to municipalities for annual subscription fee around 5000 euro, depending on the number of citizens living in the municipalities.


In practice, this Cloud service is very user-friendly and directly proposes three basic options at the opening of the app: Continue reading BetterStreet


Tired to clean your house?

Two years ago, Homejoy.com was established as a platform that connect cleaners and clients who needs their house be clean but have not time to do so. After two years, now Homejoy expands to more than 30 cities in United States and launched its European headquarter in London this year. How kind of innovation or business model that enabling all this happen? According to Homejoy, the website is less about selling things (cleaning service), but more about backend technology. Continue reading Homejoy

Anoniem Anno nu (pt.3)

Interface design and usability

As Anoniem Anno Nu is centered on art, I envisioned bringing the theme back in the blog posts I wrote about the website. With the assignment being three blogposts, I came up with the idea of a tryptich – a (often Christian themed) three-panel piece with the mid-section being the most important and the side-panels playing a supportive role. In this case, value co-creation and collective intelligence taking the main stage, while pricing strategies and interface design played the respective roles of deutera- and tritagonist. So, in line with the theme of art, it seemed self-evident to discuss the importance of aesthetics and design as the cornerstones of a website experience.

Research done by Hartman et al. (2010) have identified the value of quality website aesthetics and design in enhancing usability. Put differently, if a website has a pleasing aesthetic with an emphasis on visual design, it is more likely to be found easy to navigate through and, hence, users will be more likely to stay longer on the page and come back to it more often. This is seemingly good news for AAN as its website interface is visual, clear and playful.

Schermafbeelding 2014-05-18 om 10.24.29 PM
Anoniem Anno Nu’s gallery page

Continue reading Anoniem Anno nu (pt.3)

The future of IT

We live in a time when discoveries in science and technology are happening rapidly, making it difficult to always stay informed. The full potential of these changes are continuously evolving, with digital technologies and connectivity transforming the world around us.

The media, entertainment and information industry have long played a role in informing, educating and entertaining consumers. Recently, new technologies and changes in consumption habits have influenced how the industry creates and transforms content into profit. However, the business community is concerned that the demand for innovators is greater than supply. According to one research in the US, the number of students entering college is significantly lower than the number of exits, leading to a loss of skilled workers.
The pace at which the trends are evolving requires including additional skills in the college programs in order to prepare students for the ambience they will enter upon graduation.

Industry leaders have identified 15 trends that will shape the future of Information Technology, with mobility, personalization, ‘Internet of things’ and security being the biggest trends in 2013. Some of the trends that will emerge in the coming years are visualization management, robotics and artificial intelligence (intelligence of machines and robots).

Continue reading The future of IT

The BitTorrent protocol

The platform uses the Bittorrent protocol, which has been created by Bram Cohen in April 2001 (Wikipedia, 2014).

The figure 1 provides a brief example of how it works: each shared file is divided in small elements that are downloadable by using a torrent client (each colored dot in figure 1 represents an element of the file). First, the big server is the only one that has the file; the big server is the only “seed” and the people that download elements are the “peers” (pic 1). Then people that downloaded some elements become “seeds” for these downloaded elements (pic 2) and they are also still “peers” (they still download from the big server (pic 3)). And so on until all the “peers” downloaded all the elements of the file they wanted (pic 8). Thus there is not only one source for a specific file, but instead all downloaders become a source, which allows a faster download than if there is only one unique provider. Continue reading The BitTorrent protocol

YouTube as a videogame hub

When thinking about YouTube and what the biggest channel in terms of subscribers is, you would probably be inclined to say that it would probably belong to either a very popular celebrity or large corporation. Miley Cyrus, Armin van Buuren, or Apple perhaps? However, would you be surprised to find out that it belongs to a 24-year old guy who reviews videogames for a living? Introducing Felix Kjellberg, or as he’s better known in the Youtube community: PewDiePie.

We’ve covered product reviewers before in the course who used Youtube as a medium and this particular phenomenon can also be fitted in this category. Let’s Players (or LP-ers for short) like PewDiePie create movies of themselves while playing games, usually while filming themselves and showing this in a corner of the video to capture their reactions as they play. During this time, they will provide their in-game commentary or talk about anything to fill the time, frequently accompanied by silly behaviour. But whether you love their (for the most part) exaggerated style or not, the figures speak for themselves: PewDiePie for example, currently has nearly 27 million subscribers and around 3.5 billion video views. Last year, it was estimated that he makes around 300.000 euros per month. Continue reading YouTube as a videogame hub


Too busy to do everything by yourself? Work-zilla will do it for you!

In the final year of my Bachelor, I had a class in Monetary Economics. The teacher for that class was a graduate from our faculty who just returned after his master program in South Korea. After one of the classes, he told us about his and his friend’s startup. It is an Internet platform in Russian that is called Work-zilla, where people can perform quite easy tasks for others for a little amount of money. At that time, I did not see big potential in that business but within two years, Work-zilla had 60,000 dollars turnover and about 100,000 users.

There two types of users of the platform: 1) clients who publish tasks and 2) performers who complete tasks. When clients create tasks, they should mention the type of task, and give a short description, including a deadline and a price. In two minutes, a client receives some candidates to do the task. Continue reading Work-zilla


How customers influence website design without knowing it

Frustrated how your favorite websites keep changing their designs? Obviously you can’t be the only one complaining about this, right? There must be a reason for it, but why? Now it turns out you (yes, YOU!) might be the actual reason for these changes!

Even before the beginning of the Internet, marketers used eye tracking to find out what people were watching when viewing an advertisement. A well known example of this it the advertisements below, for Sunsilk. It shows that even the smallest details like the direction of the eyes influences the attention that is paid to the product itself.

Advertisment for Sunsilk. The overlay shows where viewers were watching, red being the most watched areas.

Nowadays, this type of data is of immense value to website designers. Basically, three types of data on visitor’s behavior can be distinguished. Generally, the more informative these are, the harder or more expensive they are to obtain:

  • Simple visitor statistics (for instance: google.com/analytics).
  • Click-tracking (for instance: crazyegg.com)
  • Eye-tracking (for instance: tobii.com)

One way of using this visitor data is so-called A/B testing, where two different designs of the same website are uploaded, and visitors are assigned randomly to one of the two. Visitor data will then not only provide usable data on which of the versions sells the most products, for instance, but also how long visitors stayed at one page, which pages were the most popular, which links were clicked the most and how visitors find their way through the pages. Continue reading Heatmapping