crowd hydrant

Crowdfunding the Court of Public Opinion

Throughout most of history, disputes were settled between individuals, tribes, or communities, either through force or with the help of some third party - a chief, king, judge, or priest who made the final decision. With the invention of mass media people found a new way to address their grievances - the court of public opinion. In the 500 years since Johann Gutenberg's invention of the printing press, people have used publicity to gain support for all types of political, religious, economic, and cultural ideas. They’ve also used the media to make personal disputes public, in the hopes of creating a public outcry that can be used to their advantage. But now with the Internet and electronic payment, individuals have a new way to gain support - by crowdfunding the court of public opinion.

Almost a year ago, the owner of The Oatmeal, Matthew Inman put up a post complaining that a humor website - FunnyJunk - was using The Oatmeal’s content without permission.  The owner of FunnyJunk responded with the threat of a defamation lawsuit and offered to settle if Inman gave him $20,000. Instead of negotiating or counter suing, Mr. Inman took his case to crowdfunding website, indiegogo. His idea was to “to raise $20k to donate half to the National Wildlife Federation (for the bears), and half to the American Cancer Society (because cancer is shitty).” The project met its goal in the first 24 hours and as of this writing, with roughly 19 hours left, the campaign has raised over $210,000. FunnyJunk is clearly not amused and has now threatened further action against The Oatmeal, indiegogo, the National Wildlife Federation, and the American Cancer Society.

 

Salute Your Solution

Do you want your website to help build awareness of your brand, generate leads, and help you close more business?  Who doesn't, right?

I've worked with a lot of B2B services who want to sell solutions to their clients.  I'm still amazed when I ask what they mean by "solution" and I get the deer-in-the-headlights look, followed by an overly complex answer.

Simply put, a solution is a unique combination of the products and services offered by your firm.  The best way to determine what solutions your customers will buy is to uncover their needs using a consultative sales process.

Rarely will a customer sit you down and tell you about their every requirement.  In many cases they don't even realize there is a better way to build their mousetrap.  Their needs are implicit, not explicit and it's your job to bring their pain to the surface.  Once you've done that, it's time to present your solution!

 

Crowdsourcing Changes How We Work

 

Lately it seems crowdsourcing has caught fire. Even though the concept is not new, it’s picking up steam in the press and businesses are taking notice. While crowdsourcing can be an important tool for businesses in need of labor, it is also likely to become a bigger source of income for working people. In light of today’s economic climate, it’s relatively easy to see crowdsourcing as the full-time “job” of the future. Instead of working for a company, people will register with various crowdsourcing platforms, share their skill sets, and in return for money, pick projects and tasks that they find appealing. A clear win-win for both the enterprise and the individual.

But for businesses there can be other rewards. Engaging the crowd to assist with product development and other tasks can create an unexpected side benefit - the people who work on the project often become the organization’s most loyal advocates and its most valuable consumers. A recent article written by Bill Johnson, Dell’s Director of Global Community sums it up nicely:

Creating the Agile Business

 

Change happens. Do you want to spend your life’s resources resisting change, or leverage it to produce at a higher level?

If you’re ready to accept the inevitable, consider applying the philosophy behind agile software development - where change is welcomed, planning adapts, product is evolutionary, and quick deadlines drive progress - to your business.

Fear of change is the enemy of innovation. Arthur Schopenhauer, a German philosopher who lived from 1788 to 1860 once said that “All truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” While he was referring to big questions of the day, like whether the earth was flat or round, his observation continues, 200+ years later, to describe innovation in the vast majority of enterprises.

But for every company that insists on being the last buggy whip manufacturer, there are those who “pivot” and go on to greatness. Did you know that YouTube started as a video dating site, or that PayPal started as a way for people to beam IOU’s between their Palm Pilots? Pivot is the hot buzzword right now, but it’s really all about seeing the opportunities in front of you and responding to change. Agile management can help you connect the dots.

 

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