December 10, 2013

Crowd Companies: A brand council for the collaborative economy

crowdImage by James Cridland on Flickr

Startup launches at LeWeb with a big idea

Target audience: Senior business executives, startup teams, innovators, product managers, marketers, operations leaders, sustainability leaders, social business strategists, PR pros, brand managers, social good advocates, educators, Web publishers, journalists, participants in the collaborative economy.

JD LasicaLast week I picked up the phone, and there was Jeremiah Owyang, a longtime friend, former partner of Altimeter Group and now the founder of a new startup. “JD,” he began, “I found the next phase of sharing.”

The last big wave, of course, has been social media. And while the social wave isn’t over, there’s a remarkable Next Big Thing rising up alongside it.

Today, on the first day of LeWeb in Paris, Jeremiah is announcing his new venture, Crowd Companies. (The beta site is now accepting sign-ups.)

crowd-companies

The idea behind Crowd Companies is that companies will increase their relevance and influence by tapping into the power of the crowd. But instead of launching a startup that attempts to ride the megatrend of the Collaborative Economy, Jeremiah is forming a brand council — the kind seen in other sectors — as a sort of meta-organization, a business association that will provide peer-to-peer knowledge, expert education from third parties and access to an innovation network of startups. Continue reading

February 6, 2012

TaskRabbit: Crowdsourcing comes to your neighborhood

A mobile marketplace for getting stuff done from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

Start-up offers location-aware marketplace for getting stuff done

JD LasicaOne of my favorite new iPhone apps and online services is TaskRabbit, a platform that allows people to hire other people to complete tasks in their own towns or neighborhoods.

The concept is drop-dead simple but difficult to pull off. Founder Leah Busque says TaskRabbit lets folks “outsource small jobs and tasks to other people in their neighborhood” — say, if you need dry cleaning or groceries picked up, house cleaning or yard work done, Ikea furniture assembled or a wifi system set up in your home.

“We’ve seen some really funny ones,” Leah said, “like, ‘Help me write a love letter to my ex-girlfriend to help win her back.’ Or, ‘Help me prank my office mate by wrapping all of his desk items in cellophane.’”

Here’s my 8-minute interview with founder Leah Busque on Vimeo.

A simple way to connect customers with a local workforce

TaskRabbit works like this:

• Sign up on the site for free.

• Post a task — what do you need done and at what price? Use the app to voice-record a description and upload photos.

• The task goes out to participants (“TaskRabbits”) based on their location. They bid on your job, you confirm the best match, he or she goes to work, and TaskRabbit gets a small cut of the price.

Well over 2,000 people have signed up to perform tasks in Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Portland, Seattle, San Antonio and Austin, with Atlanta, Dallas and Houston on the way. The company’s vetting process includes online applications, video interviews and a background check, which greatly weeds out the flakes (my term, not hers). Trust, safety and security are at the heart of the marketplace, Leah says.

Unlike online services like Angie’s List, TaskRabbit is not marketing the services of licensed electricians, plumbers and carpenters but instead is targeting regular folks — individuals in a community who can offer their free time, special skills and services.

TaskRabbit has 35 full-time staffers at its San Francisco headquarters with “city managers” across the United States, and it has $24.7 million in financial backing, TechCrunch reports.

In a phrase, TaskRabbit is about service networking rather than social networking. Check ‘em out.

Related

Do you have a strategy for social bookmarking and crowdsourcing?

Book: ‘A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing’