The Gig Economy

We went from trading mp3s with Napster to trading cash with Paypal to trading actual work for goods. Brace yourself. The barter economy is back.

Gigwalkers, Runners, and Giggers in the Cloud

You can now pay for anybody to do almost anything, anywhere, at any time. From gig walkers at Gigwalk, to runners at Taskrabbit, to peer to peer, realtime bartering over your mobile phone with Zaarly, the barter economy is here.

This new peer-to-peer economy is all be part of a bigger trend, or movement towards leveraging social platforms as the new killer app: cloudsourcing.

Cloudsourcing is when you use social network platforms to crowdsource a group of eager participants into creating something that may have been impossible for one man or woman to accomplish on their own. Call it peersourcing, a peerforce, or peersourcing, companies are reaching out to the general public to get new ideas or new inventions – or creative new ways to solve a problem they may have.

For example, Quirky lets anyone submit, vote on, and improve an invention in order to create products that people actually want (and will buy). Kickstarter uses it’s social platform to allow people to ‘vote with their dollars’ towards a new, creative project. If enough funds are raised, the project will start – and if not, it doesn’t. Call it survival of the fittest, it’s an extremely efficient business model and we’re going to be seeing more of it soon.

The CEO of Salesforce.com, Benioff, saw it coming and calls it “social enterprise” because he believes social platforms are the disruptive technology – on par with the development of the Internet itself. That’s why Benioff pushed to develop and rollout Chatter, a private and secure social network that allows users to follow others, information, and groups; and share files and status updates.

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk has been crowdsourcing “requestors” since 2005, and Reckitt Benckiser uses IdeaLink to invite the public to submit ideas, products and technologies that they want to see built. Imagine what some organization like Google could do to the job hunting network if they could create or purchase a social platform that connected people wants with people’s needs and availabilities inside a massive database?

If you’re interested in learning more about crowdsourcing, Crowdsourcing.org is the place to go if you want to check out what’s happening with crowdsourcing or if you want to join the debate on ‘all things crowdsourcing’.

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