Crowdsource eBook – Everyone is Illuminated

Apologies for the long interval between posts, but I’ve been occupied on a number of fronts. One of which was the creation of my first eBook. During Q4 of 2009 I wrote several times about Crowdsourcing:

1. Crowdsourcing a Discussion on Crowdsourcing: Agency Nil, Anomaly and Victors & Spoils

2. A More Civilised Approach to Crowdsourcing

3. Crowdsourcing: Lesssons from the World Series of Poker

4. Crowdsource / Open source

I really enjoyed writing these posts and received tremendous input from several people I really admire and respect. I wanted to put some further time and thought into the subject and that led to the creation of “Everyone is Illuminated,” my new eBook which you can view and download via Slideshare here.

I want to thank all the people who helped make this eBook come to life, their generosity is only exceeded by their smarts. I urge you to read the Everyone is Illuminated for the great content they provided. The All-Star lineup included:

John Winsor of Victors & Spoils

Maria Popova from TBWA/Chiat/Day

Spike Jones from Brains on Fire

Brian Flatow of The Ad Store

Wil Merritt from Zooppa

Sam Ford of Peppercom Digital

Mel Exon of BBH Labs (Check out the interview I did with Mel on this project here).

Also, a big thank you to Ambal Balakrishnan of Click Documents who helped spread the word with this nice post.

I’ve also included some new material of mine own. I love to hear comments from you and please, if you feel I’ve presented something worth sharing, tweet this post or talk about it and link to it on your own blog.

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  • Mike Scheiner

    Rick, first congratulations on a terrific analysis of a topic thats controversial with some, and whose popularity is growing with others.

    I wanted to share with you my comments that I had originally made a few weeks ago to BBHLabs posting on Crowdsourcing. I think my thoughts are even more applicable here.

    “Having previously worked on the agency side and for the past few years being independent, there are definitely perspectives from both sides to this that one can agree with or argue against, and I’m not sure which is right or wrong. Especially when it comes to commoditizing ones ability and value for such services.

    By executing against the Crowdsourcing model, the benefits are obvious. You’re able to get a much broader range of thinking, select from those individuals with the most relevant skill set and client experience. As well as keeping a tighter reign on managing costs, overhead, and profitability.

    If you’re a creative resource, you certainly have the option to participate in this “creative shootout” for maybe a nominal fee and for an additional fee if your work is chosen. However, what exactly is that fee and what type of industry pricing model will it be based on? Is it a day rate that is based on the level of experience or a predetermined flat fee that’s set from the very beginning? Also, who owns the rights or intellectual property to all of the work that was submitted and not chosen?

    With Crowdsourcing fees being much more competitive compared to traditional fees and rates, could it eventually undervalue the efforts provided by all of those involved, firms included. Will clients expect to pay less based on this, even though they are getting a great deal more than the traditional model?

    Everyone puts a certain monetary value to what they do, but as with anything that service or expertise is only worth what others are willing to pay. Will Crowdsourcing further define this?”

    The viewpoints shared in your analysis are mostly from firms that are built around this model, or examples from assignments that were as much about using crowdsourcing to motivate and inspire a broad range of solutions. As much as they were about involving a community that is loyal to a brand.
    Which I certainly can see the value in.

    Perhaps at one point there could be an update to your study that gets the perspective from those on the other side. Such as a Pentagram, Landor or several independent designers, writers, planners etc.
    I think that the comments from this group, would be not as favorable.

  • Rick


    Great thoughts here, very much appreciated. I think the economics of crowdsourcing is a fascinating topic that needs to be explored more carefully. Certainly something I’ll look to do, but will also look to those more closely engaged in the process to provide their POV as well.

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  • Simon


    Thanks for the ebook. Great work.

    A thought on the world series of poker analogy. I’m coming from the perspective of someone who has been in the ad agency world for many years, played poker for most of that time, and now following the crowdsourcing model closely.

    I agree that the rise in technology has had a dramatic effect on poker. Not only the internet, but also technologies such as hole-card cameras that made television viewing interesting. Yes, the fields at the WSOP have increased exponentially, aided in the most part by the ability for amateurs to progressively qualify online, for small initial stakes, and win their $10k entry. Agree that this has had a dual impact on the pros. But you question how ‘creative pros’ can benefit in a similar vein from the rise of the amateur via crowdsourcing. Well, how about this:

    – One of the most remarkable benefits that some of the more savvy poker pros have experienced has been their active, shareholding, participation in the online poker rooms – Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer and others got in to Full Tilt Poker at the beginning. It is my understanding (though this would need verification) that they are shareholders, so the actually make millions each year from the very mechanic that allows the amateurs to participate. So, they embraced the online world early, saw where it was heading, and decided to get a piece of it rather than just try to adapt to the consequences.
    – Secondly, whilst the world of poker books was once restricted to small publishers in Nevada, selling to a small group of enthusiasts, now every pro has an audience of millions who are looking for knowledge, advice and insights. The pros are still revered, if not more so, by a community far larger than before. The amateurs recognise their own status, but still have the chance at the big time. The pros have earned their status, and the clever ones are benefitting in secondary ways. Their standing is enhanced because their skill is recognised much more than when they were the only players in town. Yet, when a new talent emerges from the crowd (such as Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dwan), they accept them as one of their own without complaint.

    Anyway, just a couple of further thoughts.



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  • Shirley Mullineaux

    Your site is one of my favorite blogs I’ve ever seen so far and man , I tell ya , I’ve seen a lot of great informational blogs. I’m glad that i found such great news here. Keep up the good work dude.

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