Dec 2, 2013

Kickstarter, Crowdsourcing and Fresh Joe

Crowdsourcing - The practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.

Our economy hightails down the path of globalization.  Automation, speed-to-market and the rise of computers are here to stay.  Employees that are innovative, flexible and work quickly are the baseline for what companies expect today.  You gotta paddle hard and keep up or prepare to cough water in this fast moving stream.  I'm a hyper sort of dude that likes to try new, so this all sounds good to me.

It's in this vein of globalization, technology and flexibility that crowdsourcing works well.

Last year, I crowdsourced the B&P logo.   Through LogoSnap, I described in a few sentences what the logo should convey and pressed the submit button.  Within days, four dozen logo submissions trickled from designers in Spain, U.S., Indonesia, Cyprus, Romania and more.  I picked a few of my favorites and pinged readers via Facebook to get their input.  It was a toss-up between the current logo where Pigtails looks like she OD'd on Hershey bars and the Fu Manchu below:

The logo exercise made it clear to me there's some serious horsepower in crowdsourcing.  
It's a portal that pipes in 100 ways to solve a problem.  
From a more diverse pool of talent for less money than going the traditional route.  
If I ever do a custom website redesign for this blog, it will be crowdsourced for sure.

I dug some more and came across crowdfunding site Kickstarter.  Creative folks like inventors, artists, movie makers and entrepreneurs often are high on ideas but low on cash.  They can use Kickstarter to fund their project and shuttle it from idea to finished product.  Some of my favorites include a bus stop in Georgia, a 6th grade class in Kentucky floating a camera to space and the first commercial smartwatch, Pebble

Tea and coffee are a big deal in this house and on brew daily.  I've been looking for a way to purchase green coffee beans and home roast them for fresher Joe.  The smoke factor and limited roaster options talked me out of it.  

To the rescue, a German team of engineers are crowdfunding the Bonaverde home roaster/grinder/brewer.  They hoped to raise $135,000 to manufacture their first run of coffee machines.  Their campaign is at $500K and counting.  Since goal was exceeded, they'll add additional features since they have a cash buffer to implement improvements.

I'm on it, supported their Kickstarter campaign and crossing fingers for a home roaster delivered next year.  If they don't go belly up.  Their invention doesn't even exist yet, they have a prototype but the real deal isn't shipping until late 2014.  I'm okay with that.

Interesting part here is the Bonaverde team sketched their idea on paper, then crowdsourced the industrial design via Jovoto.  They offered a €6,000 reward, plus royalties to the winner.  Dozens of computer-mockups rolled in.  Bona' pared the list to their favorites, then crowd-voted to see what designs potential customers preferred.  They settled on #3:  

Their company is also hooking up with coffee farmers so they can ship fresh beans directly from the source, bypassing the pile of clowns beans normally have to traffic through.

Crowdsourcing, Kickstarter and this new way of doing business is pretty exciting.  The combined global brainpower hammering away towards a solution makes me smile.  As does the pairing of inventors needing money with those willing to swallow risk in order to support innovation.  

It all makes for one fresh pot of coffee. 



  1. Anonymous12/02/2013

    Really interesting, thanks​!​

    I think that you would be really interested in some recent research that I have come across explaining crowds and citizen science.​ ​In particular I feel you may find these two emerging pieces of research very relevant:

    - The Theory of Crowd Capital

    - The Contours of Crowd Capability

    Powerful stuff, no?

  2. Reading now and praying not virus links, grazie!


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