The Genius Blog
Crowdfunding and Crowdsourcing – An Exciting or Dangerous Trend?
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 12/1/11 11:22 AM EST
I got an email the other day from a friend who is a full-time missionary. As a unique way to raise funds, he was asking for people to commit to a $5 donation per month -- and he actually urged people NOT to give more than that. His thinking was that with a small commitment from many people, his support would be more stable than it is when people commit to large sums and then back out.
My wife and I like what he is doing and signed up. Maybe you've been asked for something similar, as the trend of "crowdfunding" has exploded recently. I had another friend that published a book using Kickstarter.com, a popular crowdfunding site. And of course, President Obama famously used crowdfunding to revolutionize campaign fundraising in the 2008 election.
For some reason, though, as I thought more about my friend's $5 campaign, it started to bother me. I began wondering whether the "crowd-everything" trend was a good one. I was reading a book the other day by Richard Swenson. Swenson is a futurist that spends his time tracking trends. He was showing statistics related to the unprecedented pace of progress in the last twenty years and how the graphs are reaching a staggering point on the curve that looks mathematically unsustainable. This escalation trend spans almost every area of life from the number of hours we work each week to the amount of media generated each year. A simple consumer-goods example is that twenty years ago you went into a grocery store to buy coffee and there were a couple simple brands to choose from. Now, there is an entire aisle of choices and options and flavors and price points… and at some point the curve of the graph reaches a mathematical breaking point. That is, there are only so many options you can have for coffee before the whole coffee industry becomes unsustainable and has to consolidate or we all break down in tears in the coffee aisle from decision overload and we just go buy some milk instead. And that breaking point looks to be coming in hundreds of escalating areas of our society.
As I thought about it, there are two primary reasons why crowdfunding and crowdsourcing are increasing right now.
First - technology is enabling this. A $5 campaign never would have worked in the past… because you'd be mailing letters and sending out monthly reminders and getting checks in the mail and depositing them… and you'd end up spending so much time and effort that it wouldn’t be worth it. Email and auto-withdrawal and the internet make it all possible. It many ways, it's a great time to be alive.
But the second reason this is happening is because of an increasing lack of commitment from people brought on by their escalating pace of life. There are now so many ways to spend your money and so many things to support… that my friend was finding that no one will commit any longer to giving $50 a month consistently. Because we're all dealing with so much "stuff" - the only way to get things done is to ask for very small amounts of time or money from lots and lots people.
The thing that really bothered me was where this trend is leading. There is a breaking point coming. Sure, it's great that I have one friend that does this $5 idea… but soon I will have 2… then 5… then 100. Before long I'll have hundreds of people asking me for $5 a month to the point that it's going to be overload every time I open my mailbox. What will be next? Some kind of donation technology where you donate a penny on top of every single purchase you make? Think it won’t happen? Just wait. I’m happy to support my friend, but I'm exhausted already for where this is headed.
The reason these trends fascinate and concern me, of course, is because SignUpGenius is at the core a crowdsourcing utility. Instead of funds, SignUpGenius breaks down tasks and divides the work amongst lots of people. And I actually created it because the escalation of volunteering requests is already reaching a mathematical breaking point. Families in my stage of life are experiencing "death by paper-cut" with an overwhelming number of tiny commitments that are nearly impossible to organize and maintain.
Thirty years ago, when I was growing up, there was not as much need for SignUpGenius. When I went to church… my Sunday School teacher Mrs. Irish was there every week and she had committed to that responsibility for nearly ten years. No one needed to organize that. But now, people have so many responsibilities that a church needs to schedule a different volunteer every week and people will only make a commitment of once a month for six months. It's maddening to coordinate that without some kind of electronic tool like SignUpGenius.
So what does this all mean for SignUpGenius? It means first of all, that this tool is INCREASINGLY needed to try and simplify a life of crowdsourcing. We can't stop the freight train of culture and therefore we have to be able to manage it. That's the good part of what SignUpGenius does – and it does it very well. But the danger is that it could also enable further crowdsourcing escalation. The more our site grows, the more I am convinced that it is an important responsibility for each person that uses our tool to think about what they are doing. As much as we're glad to have new users, we don't want to run this site if it just contributes to bombarding people with hundreds of more responsibilities.
School, church, nonprofit, sports leaders… you need to start asking yourself:
Is this event really valuable? Is everything I'm asking for really needed? Is my task something so critical that an entire group of people needs to band together immediately and make it happen? For example, if your child's 3rd grade classroom doesn't have “Friday study snacks” brought by a different parent each week, is anybody really damaged? Is that something that could just be cut? Definitely raise supplies for that orphanage in Africa. And organize meals for that friend that has cancer. But we all have a little bit of responsibility to throttle the crowdsourcing/crowdfunding trend. Please think. Don't just use our tool to overwhelm people and create more busyness.
Otherwise, I'm just going to break down and cry… and go drink some milk.
COMMENTS: [View all 10 comments]
Posted by Julie Luton on Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:10 AM EST
I get the idea behind your post, but I'm less concerned that you about your site leading to over-commitment or overuse. Instead, I see this signup tool as a way for people to manage more efficiently the things they care enough about to commit to (if that sentence makes any sense). Used correctly, it should save time and worry, both on the part of the signup creator and the signup user. As a volunteer, I'm more willing to agree to organize something if I know I won't have to keep track of everything manually. Thus, I remain committed and yet not overworked.
Posted by Dan Rutledge on Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:28 PM EST
Super glad to hear that Julie. That's our hope for the site for sure - that it will save time for both coordinators and their volunteers! Appreciate the comment.
My Favorite Tweets
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 5/23/11 08:58 AM EST
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. Sometimes I think the only difference between Twitter and a diary... is that someone might actually find your diary and read it! However, I do think Twitter is very beneficial for my wife because now all these funny/strange thoughts that go through my head get tweeted instead of me constantly telling them to her. Anyways, I was browsing through some old tweets the other day and thought it would be fun to list some of my favorites... um... in case you missed them the first time.
3/27/10 - Finished the P90x today. I'd type more but I'm afraid my bulging forearm muscles would rip my shirt in half...
4/17/10 - Got this cool book last month called "Getting Things Done." Looks real interesting... but haven't gotten around to reading it.
4/19/10 - Did you know the Bible warns against Facebook? Proverbs 18:24 says: "He that maketh many friends doeth it to his own destruction."
5/14/10 - My new wedding ring is turning my finger green. Does this mean I should have spent more than $8.99 on my symbol of eternal love?
5/16/10 - Summer's officially here. It's not the heat that gets you. It's the humidity. And the blazing sun. And also the heat.
6/9/10 - Thought about signing up for the location features of FourSquare... but realized every tweet would just say "Sitting at my desk."
6/16/10 - I'm not going to say that one of my sons is lazy... but he recently complained about carrying a CD up the stairs. He said it was "too heavy"
6/23/10 - Staying in shape takes too much time so I've decided to outsource my workouts to India. My exercise will now be completed in a sweatshop.
6/30/10 - It bugs me that I don't get more recognition for my humility.
7/16/10 - My one daughter will NEVER admit she's wrong. I can only hope that she will grow up and be the CEO of Apple.
7/21/10 - "Inspirational quotes are for losers." - Dan Rutledge
7/22/10 - I just invented a new workout called the P1X. Results aren't as good as #P90X but it's a heck of a lot easier to finish."
7/23/10 - Just wanted to make sure everyone heard me correctly - I said I enjoyed #INCEPTION... not CONCEPTION... although that wasn't bad either.
8/3/10 - How come there's no "Squirrel Week" on Discovery? Sharks get the glory but there's nothing as horrifying as a squirrel mauling.
8/17/10 - I'm so glad Brett Favre is back. Wait... I changed my mind. I'm not glad he's back. Check that... I'm now glad again.
8/23/10 - Have you noticed that Winston Churchill and C.S. Lewis make a LOT of twitter posts? These guys need to get jobs or something.
9/17/10 - Having dinner at Bob Evans. And I have located everyone in Charlotte over 90 years old.
9/20/10 - Watching the #Panthers play this weekend was kind of like being beat with a blunt club by a large Russian weight-lifter. Fun times. #NFL
9/23/10 - "Next time I think I'll go to the movies instead." - Abraham Lincoln #quotes
10/11/10 - Someone just informed me that Columbus Day is not a celebration of the city in Ohio. Learn something new every day.
10/12/10 - Retweet this post and I will make a derogatory comment about the #iPad in your honor!
Ok, that was fun, but I'll stop there for today. And actually, I am now incredibly inspired to go out and write more meaningless comments that no one will read! Tweet on America!
The #DAN2011 Conference
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 2/11/11 04:30 PM EST
I get bored sometimes. Not that I don't have enough to do. Quite the opposite. But I get tired of the same old same old work. Have you felt that way this week? Then you should have attended the #DAN2011 Conference.
A couple days ago I was doing some twitter posts for SignUpGenius when I noticed a bunch people making conference tweets. If you're familiar with Twitter, a lot of people tweet live from conferences all over the country. These people, with much more time and money than myself, are traveling to exotic places and hearing big name speakers and going to parties and tweeting to schmucks like me that are sitting in front of our computers. They all "tag" their tweets with the hashtag from their conference so others can join in the conversation.
Feeling a bit left out and bored, I just quickly typed up a tweet:
"I'm going to hold my own conference here in my office just so I can tweet about it and not feel left out. I'll call it #DAN2011"
I thought it was pretty funny and I followed it up with a few tweets about how my conference was going (like when I gave the keynote speech... and brought myself to tears). But I had no idea what would happen.
It caught on.
People on Twitter started asking if they could come to the #DAN2011 conference. People started spreading the word about the conference and inviting friends. People started creating "events" at the conference. Within two days, there were well over 200 tweets from people all around the country who were "attending" the conference and tagging their tweets with #DAN2011. We had official "sponsors" and coupons and even photos and videos posted. It was pretty hilarious.
One of the key attendees took it upon himself to write up a summary of this virtual two-day conference. If you're up for a good laugh, check it out!
I Stink at Self-Promotion
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 9/9/10 12:15 PM EST
So... this situation keeps happening to me and I'm not sure how to handle it. It might be at church, school, or on the sports field... but inevitably I'll be involved in someone else's group/class/team and they will be recruiting volunteers. They'll walk up to me and hand me a PAPER sign up sheet and ask me to sign up.
I am always speechless. I don't mean to sound pompous... but you have to understand that I've been developing and thinking about SignUpGenius.com almost non-stop for several years now. So for me... my brain can no longer imagine someone who would actually still deal with all the hassles of paper. It seems so outdated. It's like going into someone's house and seeing a rotary phone. Really? You haven't heard that they have BUTTONS now?!
Of course, not everyone knows about SignUpGenius. And I get that... and we've been spreading the word on the web and are indebted to our many passionate users who have been telling their friends. But that said.. it's completely different when you tell somebody about something you personally helped create. For some reason, people are naturally skeptical of their friends. It's like they think I'm trying to sell them something or that I couldn't possibly be involved in developing a major website.
I'm sure that says something about my own level of confidence and how I present myself. I can always hear my mother whispering to me to stand up taller and talk clearly. Or maybe it's has to do with that concept of a "prophet being rejected in his own town." Like when a company hires for a position from outside the company despite having qualified people on staff. You just don't think the guy that you see everyday could be the answer.
But regardless... I usually blow my pitch. I offer to setup the form myself... I assure them it is free... I drop numbers of how many people are using our site. I still usually get polite smiles and promises to "check it out." I've never been much of a salesman.
That's why it was so funny... The other day, a staff person at the church where I'm a member was trying to figure out how they could coordinate outreach volunteers. So they found another prominent church in our city and went over there to get some consultation. They sat down in the meeting and one of the first things this other church leader says is "Look... we could never coordinate all we do without this great site that manages it all for us. It's called SignUpGenius.com."
Yeah... I think I'll leave the promotion to our fiercely loyal users and our company marketing guru, Helena. They do a lot better than I can. And I'll keep focused on our development team. And if someone hands me a paper sign up sheet in the future... I'll just have them call one of our users to explain SignUpGenius.
They can even make that call on their rotary phone.
COMMENTS: [View all 8 comments]
Posted by Carol Clayton on Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:05 PM EST
I just posted on Facebook-I know so many parents and activist/volunteers of all stripes-this is such a, well, genius tool. We'll do the promotion for you! Now if only someone would promote my photography business for me....
Posted by Dan Rutledge on Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:04 AM EST
Thanks so much for spreading the word, Carol! One thing that has been fun for me about this site is getting to know some of our fantastic users. We have organized, generous go-getters like yourself that lead and coordinate all kinds of change-their-community activities. It's always inspiring. Planners of the world unite!
The Greatest Technological Achievement of the Century
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 8/6/10 04:12 PM EST
So I was watching television recently and saw a commercial for the new Gillette Fusion razor. Have you seen this? This amazing new razor has FIVE blades on it.
A chill ran down my spine as I saw this thing. Like most men, I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating and dreaming about how many blades could actually be fit onto a single razor. Until recently, I subscribed to the traditional thinking of the scientific community… that the natural laws of physics have created certain boundaries that cannot be broken and should never be pushed… like maybe 4 blades was all that was physically possible and that going beyond that would cause irreparable damage to the entire space/time continuum.
But this gigantic tech leap forward blows that assumption out of the water and leaves me thinking… how far could we really push this? Could we get 8 blades? 12? 20? Could I eventually just hold a razor up to my face, turn my head to the side, and complete my entire shave with one stroke? With this new development, almost anything seems possible.
It makes me proud to be an American. I can just picture our founding father, George Washington, shaving with a dull knife by the Potomac and cutting his face. I bet if he had only known that one day he’d have helped found a country that would create a 5-blade device that can smoothly glide over your face while “massaging the skin” simultaneously… all those wars and challenges of establishing the nation would have seemed worth it to him.
It also makes me wonder... who are the guys that have done this? MIT or Harvard prodigies sequestered in some ultra-secret government research facility? Could we get them to put down razors for a couple years and just cure cancer before they start working on six blades?
I know one thing. There's no way I'm shaving with three blades anymore. That's like... as old and outdated as MySpace.
The new product from Apple that cracks me up
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 7/29/10 01:55 PM EST
Apple, the ultimate source of all things innovative, recently came out with a new product: The Magic Trackpad. Have you seen this? Basically... they have taken the finger-touch-pad technology that comes on many laptops and have made an accessory that you can use with a desktop to replace your mouse.
This cracks me up. Who are the people that want this device? If you have ever used a laptop with a trackpad, you know that trackpads are incredibly annoying! Most people that do a lot of work on a laptop buy a portable mouse so they don't have to use their trackpad!
But I do trust Apple.... and they always know what I should have and what I should be doing with my computer. So I guess I am going to buy a portable mouse to use with my laptop so I don't have to use the laptop's trackpad and a Magic Trackpad for my desktop so that I don't have to use the desktop's mouse. What do you think?
Why I refuse to buy an iPad
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 6/25/10 01:13 PM EST
So you’ve probably heard of the iPad… unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last month. And even then, the rock probably had an Apple advertisement painted on it.
Yes, the iPad is here. Three million people have already shelled out $500 to say that they desperately need this electronic device, even though a few months ago the product category of tablet computers didn’t really exist.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Apple is an innovative company and this thing looks incredibly slick. It plays music and games, runs apps, shows movies, and is perfect for browsing the web and checking Facebook. Look, if someone wants to gift me one, I’m not going to complain or anything. And I’m not saying no one should get one. But I personally won’t be spending any money for one. And here’s why:
First, this thing is the definition of “toy.” Tons of fun, but basically doesn’t do anything I already can’t do with a more practical device… my laptop. I need a laptop for work as it has a better processor, larger storage, solid keyboard, and more advanced applications for getting work done. Yes, the iPad would be nicer for chillin’ on the couch, but I can’t see dropping $500 for that kind of difference.
Secondly, for me, the iPad would be an unhealthy addiction machine. The last thing I need is some new ultra-portable device that enables me to spend MORE time on a computer. Seriously… if I had to make a list of all the things the iPad does best and all the things that I really need to be doing less of in my life… it would be the same list!
THINGS I SHOULD BE DOING LESS:
Honestly, what we all need much more than an iPad is a little unplugging! Is it just me or has our society gone a little overboard with “always on” tech devices? I have all these cool communication/entertainment devices, but am I really more connected to people? Am I more happy? Here’s the kind of stuff I really need:
THINGS I SHOULD BE DOING MORE:
Ok, you get my point. Maybe it’s a little stretch to call the iPad a symbol of all that is wrong with our materialistic, web-connected, tech-worshiping, entertainment-focused society. But it's close. And besides -- if you disagree, you can always buy me an iPad to change my mind. Preferably the 64GB version, ok?
Posted by Jack Lugar on Fri Jun 25, 2010 1:57 PM EST
I'm not getting one because I don't have a pocket big enough. Oh, and I'm assuming you're getting OJ with a good friend.
Posted by Dan Rutledge on Fri Jul 2, 2010 7:43 AM EST
Jack - I always miss those orange juice mornings in Burbank! I've gotten into coffee lately, which is probably not a good switch... but I can now sometimes stay up later than 9pm.
Would Someone Please Invent This?
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 4/18/10 08:38 AM EST
As you might guess from a guy that runs a website that lets you organize your entire life for free... I'm somewhat of a cheapskate. And one thing that has been really bugging me lately is the telecommunications industry. Over the last couple years, they've been expanding the fees that are required to keep you "connected" to the modern world. Pull out your calculators for a quick breakdown of what you could easily lay out per month:
It's out of control. And I'm not even taking into account the fact that I run a small business and therefore pay for a whole second set of internet and phone services for my office. I am only one person - there is no reason why there should be so much redundancy in what I'm paying!!
So... this is where I want to see things go:
I want to buy 2 mobile-broadband USB sticks... that give me and my wife internet access everywhere for a single charge of about $50-60 bucks a month. Something like a wimax 4G network. These do exist.
But then I want routers setup at my home and office with a plug on the top of them for the stick. I walk into work and plug in my stick to the router and presto... I have work internet. I drive home, plug it in at home and have home internet.
Next... the television networks would make sure all their shows are on the internet and I would then just start watching all TV through the web... eliminating any cable TV bill whatsoever.
Finally, the icing on the cake would be the invention of a mobile-phone-sized device that you can plug this internet USB stick into... and then you could make VOIP calls through Skype (for free or very low long distance cost) just like a cell phone. Of course, you could also use the same device with the USB stick in the back of it... to browse the web or text through the internet. And since Skype is so reasonable in cost, you could then drop your landline.
Final cost would be:
$60 two wireless everywhere USB sticks
It's getting closer... Clear.com has recently released a program that is the beginnings of this kind of system. I'd like to see them go all the way. After all, I'm not picky. I just want internet, phone, text, and television everywhere I go for one single low cost monthly fee. Is that so wrong?
Posted by Chris Spencer on Tue May 11, 2010 9:08 AM EST
The cradlepoint router lets you plug in the usb modem and go wireless to all computers in the house or business. Then you can skype through that connection. Thats how we ran our house this last year.
Also, we have not had cable tv or an antenae for over a year. All tv comes through the computer via Hulu, Fancast, or Netflix. There are no shows that we miss and thousands more we get than cable subscribers do.
Posted by Dan Rutledge on Tue May 11, 2010 3:51 PM EST
Hey Chris - thanks for that. Love getting tech hints! I wasn't aware of Cradlepoint and I like the wi-fi portal that they have, which is different than Clear.com. You could theoretically use something like an iPod touch as a mobile phone using Skype through wi-fi. Very cool! I really hope companies like this win out over the big cable and wireless companies. I want to make a jump sometime to a scenario like yours, so appreciate the tips. Right now I do keep the very basic home cable ($12 a month) - mostly because of NFL games. But I could easily grab an antennae for that and be good to go. Thanks again for the comment.
I Think Video Games Have Destroyed My Kids
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 3/17/10 11:46 AM EST
Last Saturday was a beautiful spring day here in Charlotte. So my wife and I, being the incredible parents that we are… decided that it was the perfect day for a special family outing. Gorgeous day, quality time with the kids, what could be better?
So I had this great idea… to take a family bike ride. We used to do that when I was a kid and I remember loving it. Back then, I had this very cool Huffy BMX dirt bike which was purchased from that high-quality bike super-store… Kmart. Of course, since I was a type-A first child… I never actually rode the bike in the dirt. And if I ever accidentally went through a puddle or something, I would spend the rest of the day washing and polishing the bike. But regardless, there was nothing better than my bike when I was a kid.
Wow. Times have changed.
First of all… it took us a half an hour to find the bikes in the garage. We had to sort through mounds of toys, motorized scooters, roller blades, nerf guns, kites, and inflatable water slide systems. Back when I was a kid, I had a bike and maybe a ball glove in the garage and that was about it. My kids have so much stuff, we had to remind them which bike was theirs. But I eventually got the tires all pumped up and we embarked.
That’s when the drama really started.
My younger son immediately broke into a sobbing ball of tears and whined: “I can’t get up this hill! My legs are aching! How much longer?!” I assured him that it would get a lot easier… as soon as we got out of the driveway.
Unfortunately, it didn’t. Most of the entire bike ride (um… maybe 45 minutes?) was spent complaining and asking when we were going to turn around and go home. Granted, the ground wasn’t completely flat -- but this is North Carolina... not the Swiss Alps. And we weren’t exactly drafting each other for top speed. We encountered some hills and went at a normal pace, but to all but one of my four kids… it was like my wife and I were waterboarding them or something. My one daughter even described the ordeal afterwards as “the worst experience of her life.” If that weren't enough, my younger son actually had to stay home from school the next Monday, in part because his legs and ankles hurt so much from pedaling! I'm not joking!
So much for family bonding. As soon as we got home, my kids asked if they could go inside and play video games.
I couldn’t believe it… but I thought maybe my memory had faded or something, so I called my dad to ask him if I had complained about bike rides when I was a kid. He assured me I hadn’t. Actually, he said that when HE was a kid, back before parents had to be so safety conscious… he would go out on his own and ride his bike 15-20 miles… in the snow… while pedaling with only one leg. He said I was the one who had it easy.
I guess things must get easier for each generation. Can you imagine when my kids have kids? They’ll be telling their children… “Oh yeah? Well in my day we didn’t have video games that you could control with your mind. We had to USE CONTROLLERS with our OWN TWO HANDS until our thumbs ached!”
It does seems like kids these days are more interested in virtual exercise than real exercise. I cracked up the other day when my older son was telling our family that two of his favorite sports were “Tennis and Hockey.” We were all a bit confused, since this child has never held a tennis racket and never, ever played ice hockey. When asked how he knew they were his favorites, he replied: “I’ve played them on the Wii.”
So… I decided after that weekend that my kids definitely need more exercise. My kids are going to be tough and active, like I am. This weekend, I’m shipping them outside... no matter what they say. And then, while they are outside… I’ll sit down at the computer and spend a couple hours on Facebook.
The Ultimate Organizational Tool
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 3/1/10 09:21 AM EST
For us type-A planners... finding the perfect organizational tool is like the quest for the holy grail. Personally, I'm always changing my system in the search for something better. I started with the Psion Series 3c, circa 1996, right when PDAs were bursting onto the scene. It had a black and white calendar, folks! In 1998, I stepped up to the sleek and hip Palm Pilot III, which in hindsight looks a little like a big cheap plastic brick. Additionally, I had to scribble each letter about four times before the Palm would correctly identify what I was trying to write. The Palm Tungsten E lasted me quite a while until I made the gigantic leap to a smart phone with the Treo 755p and a software-sync to Outlook. That was pretty darn cool. Still not satisfied, I wrote my own custom web app that would take data exported from the phone and publish it into interactive reports that could be shared online.
Yet... through it all... something was missing. No matter how these devices improved... I still found it just took too much discipline to make these tools useful. My quest had failed.
I've recently stumbled upon the mother of all organizational tools. Seriously. I'm kind of addicted to it. The interface is so intuitive and customizable that it has been revolutionizing the way I plan my day! Sorry Apple fan-boys, I am definitely not talking about the iPhone. What is this incredible piece of technology?
The paper notebook.
Anyway, I felt like I had to pass this tip along to all five of my blog readers. You can find one of these at all kinds of online retailers, including Amazon.com. I'm not getting a commission or anything. Just trying to help.
I can't wait to see what they think of next.
COMMENTS: [View all 4 comments]
Posted by Will Null on Fri May 13, 2011 4:29 PM EST
Or you can just type it all out on Microsoft Word.
Posted by Susan Whitbourne on Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:39 PM EST
Thought you might be interested in my latest Psych Today blog on whether smartphones are making us... not smarter? http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201110/your-smartphone-may-be-making-you-not-smart
Community vs. Utility... and My Birth Order View of the Web
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 2/12/10 04:10 PM EST
Lots of great changes coming for SignUpGenius in 2010. It can be a tricky thing orchestrating the direction of a web property. There are a lot of possibilities and the challenge is prioritizing and creating a singular vision. Here’s a little debate that I’ve been having with myself lately… community or utility?
Everywhere you turn these days, community is the buzzword on the web. Though some people insist that we are transitioning into a new 3.0 age... to me it seems like the concept of web 2.0 (interactive communities and user-generated content) is really just starting to hit its stride with the masses. Grandma and grandpa now have Facebook accounts, your pastor and boss now have blogs, and pro athletes hire their own social media consultants.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been a bit behind. It’s not because I’m not tech-savvy. I’ve been building web applications for 15 years. No… I think it’s a birth order thing… because honestly I was never much into the whole web 2.0 idea. To me, the web was all about productivity. Utility. It was a tool, not a playground. I visited websites that helped me get work done … like book an airplane flight, or manage my photos, or let me buy something 20% cheaper and 50% faster than I could do locally. As a job, I built corporate web applications that earned people real money rather than helping them reconnect with their high school sweetheart.
Like I’ve said, I’m a firstborn, type-A planner. I always thought I’d leave the Tweeting to those 3rd children in the family that just want to interact with people all day. SignUpGenius, up until recently, has reflected a bit of that thinking. It’s a productivity application designed to save time and avoid headaches.
However, in the last couple months, I’ve finally been realizing the advantages of the web for community. Yes, I’ll grudgingly admit that I’m actually enjoying Facebook. And I’ve been exploring ways that SignUpGenius could be more than a utility, but also a community of people that can help each other with their planning/scheduling/leadership responsibilities. Thus… we’ve recently added the blog and the resources tab with helpful tips and interactive commenting features.
But… I don’t want to get sidetracked from perfecting the useful functionality of SignUpGenius. That is still our priority. And with all the gobs of community sites out there… do you really even need any community features as part of SignUpGenius? What do you think? And be sure to say where you are in the birth order when you answer.
ABOUT THIS BLOG
Like you need another blog to read, right? Well this one is completely different than anything you've ever read before!! Um... not really. But you can read it if you want to keep up on the latest SignUpGenius news and the off-beat thoughts of our company President, Dan Rutledge.
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