VP/ Executive Director of Strategy and Product Innovation
Crispin, Porter + Bogusky
I’m really excited for the conversation I’ll be having with Edward Boches in Boston entitled All About Crowdsourcing
on the August 5th. To prepare, I’ve been having lots of interesting
conversations with folks on the subject. One thing that constantly
surprises me is the amount of emotion around crowdsourcing. It’s made
me reflect on what’s happening at a deeper level. It feels like I’ve
seen this disruptive play before. On a long bike ride yesterday it came
I started my first company in 1986. It was based on a
radical paradigm shift and I was able to take advantage of it. I
decided to buy a magazine, Rocky Mountain Running News to use it as the
foundation to start a larger magazine entitled, Rocky Mountain Sports.
The purchase was only possible because of a radical shift in
technology. Instead of paying $35,000 for typesetting, annually, I was
able to buy a Mac Plus, a 20MB hard drive and a laser writer for
$23,000. I was also able to get a beta version of Quark. Then, it was
essentially a type setting program for macs. That seems surreal now,
So, there I was trying to figure out how to typeset
my magazine. It was trial by fire. I was a complete amateur. While I
didn’t need our typesetting house for the body copy of the magazine, I
still used them for the occasional ad.
The first few issues
turned out much better than I thought they would. But, you should have
heard the professional typesetters. When they saw the issues they just
laughed and talked about what awful kerning and leading the magazine
had and that the choice of type was horrible. Every time we talked they
said, “This amateur desktop publishing thing will never work. You’ll be
We all know how the story ended.
My sense is that
we are in the midst of another such revolution. This time, it’s all
about connectivity. Now people can participate in culture by going on
line. They don’t have to move to the right city or work for the right
company to be involved. It doesn’t matter whether their an amateur or a
professional, people now have the ability to work where they want, with
whom they want and how they want. We’re evolving, as Eric Raymond so aptly put it, into a world ruled by the creative bazaar instead of the world of cathedrals that agencies have created.
can call it crowdsourcing, co-creation or open source innovation, the
crowd is here is to stay and will produce more and more creative
content. The big questions are: How do you manage and inspire the
crowd? How do you make meaning from all of their input? How do you
build brands in such a noisy environment?
I hope you can help answer some of these questions with us either in person or via Twitter.