Pages

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Not Sure About Crowdsourcing? Try Co-creation

It seems many businesses are still reluctant to take advantage of the benefits crowdsourcing has to offer whether the business is an SME or a leading international company. It is perhaps a daunting prospect to entrust a task to a limitless faceless crowd, even through a specialised platform. Maybe it is the thought of wading through large amounts of submissions to find the right one that causes one to groan with disdain. Crowdsourcing is not for everyone yet in this current economic climate it is important to stay one step ahead of the competition, especially if their competitive edge relies on crowdsourcing. Co-creation is an off-shoot of crowdsourcing that has grown exponentially within a relatively short time and could provide the alternative for the less adventurous with all the benefits. 



Co-creation, like crowdsourcing, relies on collaboration for ideas and information from a crowd. The crucial difference however is in the size of the crowd. Instead of putting a call to an open forum or a specialised platform seeking the resources of many, the task/conundrum is placed before a smaller specialised crowd. You could call it a form of focused crowdsourcing in which the individuals of this "focus group" have skills and knowledge that are dependent on the needs of the client. For example, a car manufacturer looking for a new design of vehicle or update of an existing model, instead of using the crowd, would present the instructions to a specialised group of engineers, mechanics, and designers. The group works together and present a single idea to the client, rather than the client sifting through many ideas. 

So is there much of a difference between co-creation and crowdsourcing? In some ways there is very little difference as they both operate on the concept of consulting the wisdom of the crowd. The principle difference is that co-creation encourages more collaboration between the members of the specialised crowd. Co-creation also allows the crowd to think more outside the box thus fostering innovation. It is still as cost effective as crowdsourcing and in fact provides a level of accountability as well as focus. There are many service providers working with leading brand names including eYeka who has worked with Coca Cola and Unilever, and Infosys currently in partnership with Volkswagen and recently Nike.
This is probably the difference that crowdsourcing does not quite achieve, the ability to work with a specialised group, capture the ideas of the many and work with them through different steps to ultimately create a better experience for the consumer. Crowdsourcing focuses on quantity and results in incremental changes, co-creation focuses on quality and produces innovative solutions. - Scott Teng, Regional Collaborative Planner for eYeka
Such is the increasing popularity of this crowdsourcing spin off that there is even a Co-creation  Association. The association's goal is to promote the use of co-creation, and even recognises organisations that best incorporate it into their organisation with the annual Co-creation Awards.    So if you're not certain about crowdsourcing then maybe co-creation is the way forward, with a more focussed and innovative approach. 

Image Credits; WhyOhGee

Monday, 28 November 2011

Renowned Photojournalist Looks to Crowdfunding for Continued Investigations of Big Tobacco

If you are smoker have you ever considered the amount of work and resources involved in producing the humble cigarette? This was the question that Italian photojournalist Rocco Rorandelli asked himself prompting a long term investigation into the tobacco industry. To continue with the project, Rorandelli has turned away from traditional sources, and has embraced crowdfunding, via emphas.isa platform specifically geared to help with funding visual journalism initiatives.




After having lost his father to cancer which was brought on by smoking, Rorandelli (a smoker himself at the time) began to wonder just how much work went into producing cigarettes. In 2008, Rorandelli began his investigation and travelled to Asia where he learned that China and India are the biggest producers and consumers of tobacco. Rorandelli also visited Indonesia which has no restrictive regulations over tobacco advertising. Sporting and music events enjoy sponsorship by tobacco companies targeting young consumers.

Rorandelli's work has attracted international acclaim and featured on many notable publications such as Newsweek, L'Espresso, New York Times, and National Geographic magazine. He was also awarded a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism to document the use of child labour in tobacco production. 

In continuing his work, Rorandelli plans on travelling to various countries next year including the US. America's association with tobacco is particularly prevalent as it is linked culturally to the image of the Marlboro Man, and 2012 will mark 400 years since the first American tobacco plantation was established. Rorandelli needs $8,786 to fund his investigation including, manufacturing, sales & marketing, and consumption. Once complete, the findings will be compiled into a book, travelling exhibition, and even an ipad application.

So far $2,517 has been raised and in return for a donation, investors  will be granted an assortment of awards from personal thank you's to a personalised editions of the book, even inclusion of the company logo for large corporate donations. You can view the latest chapters on the project's Picturetank page, and if you believe this a project worthy of support then visit Rorandelli's funding page.

Image Credit; Dany13

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Businesses Need to Embrace The Power of Social Media and Crowdsourcing

More and more businesses are turning to social media to attract and engage customers around the world, as well as develop new ventures and products. Virtually every business has a Facebook page, Twitter account and more recently Google+ page in which directly engage potential customers/clients, to source feedback on an existing product or field ideas for new projects. Yet many businesses still shy away from social media, preferring to stick to more traditional marketing methods. 



So why are some businesses still reluctant to tap into the limitless potential that social networking has to offer? One possibility has to be, like crowdsourcing, they are simply unsure of how it all works. Many people find social networking akin to a different world with its own rules and language that they simply do not understand. Many assumptions are hurled around on comments pages of news sites and forums in which social networking is seen as either a glorified chat room or virtual playground for self obsessed individuals. This blinkered view tends to blind some businesses to the potential of social networking to engage with customers about their product and generate potential interest which in turn translates into income. 

Some reluctance is not just down to lack of knowledge or popularist assumptions. There are still many fears as to the security of accessing social network sites. The recent Facebook porn scandal has not allayed the fears of the less Web 2.0 savvy who use it as the perfect cautionary excuse to stay away from these sites. This is reflected in a survey carried out by consultancy and audit firm Protiviti in which they reported that 17% (around 1 in 6) of UK employees consider social networking sites to be a risk to corporate security. These fears can be calmed through proper guidelines as to use of these sites, and an effective security system.

The real problem however seems to be a lack of vision. Monitoring customer feedback on Facebook for example, can be seen as not wholly representative of other customers leaving analysts unsure of how to interpret the feedback. Could this however be down to incorrect implementation? If you bombard followers with generic sales messages on a mass scale then feedback is likely to be vague. However if businesses can better understand the interactive component of social networking then they can start to build a relationship with potential customers, feeding them sales messages and information more relevant to them. Vodka giants Smirnoff used social networking and crowdsourcing to engage customers with their highly successful Nightlife Exchange campaign

It is also interesting to note how the reluctance to use social media has blinded some businesses to the potential cost savings. Ten years ago focus groups were used by businesses to determine customer reactions to their brands and were very costly to organise. Depending on size of venue and location the cost could range from £500 to £1500. Organisers would have to arrange venues, find the right groups, and determine reward incentives. Registering with any social networking site is free and you can start asking questions straight away, thus saving on costs. Whereas focus groups have limited number of participants social networking offers the potential to tap the insights of a limitless number of consumers thus ensuring high quality results. 

An understanding of crowdsourcing as a source of ideas and innovation through social networking could not only enhance a company's brand but even help develop new brands and ventures. By embracing social networking and Web 2.0 principles businesses can take advantage of a limitless customer base and develop an advantage in a rapidly competitive business world.

Image Credits; Social Grow

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

How Microvolunteering Offers Everyone a Chance to Change the World

The concept of volunteering to help individuals, communities, and organisations has always been one of committing many hours of spare time which in an era when life becomes ever more rapid and busy, seems impossible. However the advent of the digital world has given birth to microvolunteering in which people can donate as little or as much time as they want from any location be it from home or on the go, and Help From Home offers the armchair volunteer plenty of opportunities to do so.



Launched in December 2008, Cardiff based Help From Home is the brainchild of Mike Bright who as a microvolunteer himself identified the absence of a cohesive volunteer database that featured bite-sized volunteer listings. After much research, lessons in basic web design, and with help from a team of technically able volunteers, Help From Home was born. It is essentially a grassroots initiative providing a free community service aimed at promoting and encouraging involvement in microvolunteering. Getting involved is easy and requiring no commitment other than to spare anything from ten seconds to thirty minutes of your time to help out worthy causes, from home, or on the go. 

The organisation mainly promotes home based microvolunteering, an opportunity to "change the world in just your pyjamas". Whether it's signing petitions, making a sick child smile, completing a survey, or helping to cure diseases, there are over 800 active opportunities on the Help From Home database. It is considered to be the largest directory of microvolunteering opportunities, and many of them regularly feature on the crowdsourcing news site and discussion forum The Daily Crowdsource 

Since becoming a leading resource of home based microvolunteering Help from Home has evolved into a leading on-demand database for various other active projects. These include initiatives to encourage microvolunteering from the classroom (Help From School), during a work lunch break (Help From Work), or even on holiday (Help From Holiday). There is even a project to encourage senior citizens to volunteer with Help From Seniors, and Do Good Cards to help spread viral acts of kindness around the globe.

Help from Home's core goal of encouraging people to volunteer has the support of the UK government as part of their Big Society drive. It has also garnered support from some of the main volunteering bodies of England and Wales, and over 50 UK high street volunteer centres. So if you want to help a worthy cause from your armchair sat in front of the TV or the warmth of your bed in your pyjamas why not visit Help From Home website on your laptop, tablet or smartphone and help make a difference. 

Image Credit; Planet a

Monday, 21 November 2011

CrowdControl Transforms Crowdsourced Sentiment Analysis with Latest A.I. Solutions

One of the leading providers of human sentiment analysis, CrowdControl has launched a new application providing businesses with crowdsourcing solutions designed to better manage vast chunks of data at a fraction of the cost. The new platform provides high quality results by combining human sentiment analysis with the latest artificial intelligence (A.I) technology to better help companies keep in a constantly changing market. 




Based in Seattle, CrowdControl was founded by Max Yankelevich who also helped establish the leading platform for cloud service management, Freedom OSS. Yankelevich, along with startup expert and co-founder Andrew Volkov, looked to address the shortfalls of manual and automatic crowdsourced data management and authentication processes. At a time when (potential) customers are making their views known on social networking sites every second, manual crowdsourcing solutions, even with an online of community of thousands of members, have difficulty processing vast amounts of information. Automated solutions cannot recognise and process data sentiment such as sarcastic tweets. 

The unique formula of CrowdControl blends state of the art high end A.I. technology with the power of human judgement, and makes conventional crowdsourcing platforms available to all. This combination makes it possible for systems to cope with large incoming data chunks, process them at speed and provide superior quality results, which is also cost effective.
Gone are the days of Wild West crowdsourcing. We're introducing manageability to the equation - and this ability to control large data sets will power businesses that aren't yet imagined. Companies build their businesses around pennies and we can give them that precision in high-quality data sets, cheaper and quicker than alternatives on the market today. - Max Yankelevich, co-founder CEO CrowdControl

CrowdControl's innovative solution gives businesses a significant competitive advantage over others by providing manageable quality data, which can be used to enhance and expand their operations. This type of next generation marketing for a rapidly increasing digital age provides the sort of data that can help businesses to better under how bonds between humans and brands are formed. 
Image Credits; Brew Books

Monday, 14 November 2011

Evolution of Crowdsourcing

Gazette Contributor Manik Kinra shares his thoughts on the rise of crowdsourcing and what the future holds for the industry.

Since the "formal" advent of the term crowdsourcing, the model has come a long way. The industry has also come a long way with companies in design, testing, ideation, innovation etc. Not only have many startups have grown thanks to the crowdsourcing model but last few years have seen these startups spread wings across the globe from developed economies like US, UK, Europe, Australia to growth economies like Middle East, India etc. 



On the way there have been companies and individuals who have written off crowdsourcing for various reasons while others have tried and benefited from the model. The last two years has also seen the industry becoming more mature with analysts like Crowdsourcing.Org, The Daily Crowdsource coming in and conferences like CrowdConference taking place, all to take this to the next league. However, like any model or industry, crowdsourcing has a long way to go. There are still challenges and issues, and there are still geographies who haven't even heard the term.

As the model evolves, many early movers will have to step into shoes of industry veterans, researchers, analysts etc to help the model mature. Compare crowdsourcing to outsourcing and we need to have people who can understand how to manage the crowd force, how to increase their efficiencies, how to keep them motivated from provider perspective. From a customers perspective more effort needs to go into helping understand how the model can benefit them, how to build required documents, how to drive the disconnected environment, and still achieve the results.

The coming years surely are going to be extremely exciting for crowdsourcing and a lot will be seen happening within the industry.

Image Credit; Juhan Sonin

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Crowdfunding Success for the People's Bank

A recently established financial services platform, civilisedmoney UK limited will soon be able to to offer an alternative form of banking thanks to what must be a record breaking crowdfunding success story. Over 120 people have contributed funds totalling £100,000 in just nine days enabling civilisedmoney to finally launch the platform in which it will provide people to people financial services, a sort of bank of the people for the people. 



Making civilisedmoney a reality, after four years in development has been due to the efforts of its founders Jason Scott and Neil Crofts, both of whom have extensive knowledge and experience in the financial and banking markets. Jason Scott's desire to change the current financial system was spurred on by his experience during the recession of the 90's working with Black Horse Agencies. During this time Jason represented mortgage lenders overseeing an average of two to three repossessions per day. Over the last four years Jason has researched banking and money markets to better understand events that have led to the current financial crisis and their effects worldwide. 

Neil Crofts brings extensive knowledge of Internet banking to the fold from his days as Head of Strategy at Internet consultancy Razorfish. Neil has worked with big name financial services clients such as NatWest, Banca Mediolanum and Egg.  Since then he has established his own consultancy business dedicated to authenticity in business and has even written three books on the subject. Together Jason and Neil hope to create a new, fairer banking system.
We are delighted - 121 people contributing £100,000 to become co-owners of civilisedmoney UK in just 9 days clearly demonstrates that we’re ready for a major change in finance. The time is right for civilisedmoney - Neil Crofts, co-founder civilisedmoney UK
The alternative proposed by civilisedmoney lies in the use of people-to-people technology
and networks. The current platform provides primarily investment and funding services, through two of its solutions; crowdfund & Get funded, and invest & Get investment both aimed to help fund projects as well as empower business startups and expansions. The promise by civilisedmoney is to challenge the practices of conventional banking by doing away with fractional lending along with unethical investments or engaging in the gambling of customers' money. Since the issue of bank bonuses is still a sensitive subject civilisedmoney also pledge to not make any excessive bonus payments.

People's confidence in the banking and finance industry has been shaken following the credit crunch leading to the current economic turmoil. With civilisedmoney there is a promise of a much fairer, ethical and transparent banking system. It currently offers crowdfunding and investment financial solutions but is working towards providing consumer lending and borrowing service. Combined together with a range of new products civilisedmoney UK looks set to become to a ‘one stop shop’ for people-to-people financial services. 

Image Credit; Ewan M

The Great Filoxenia Barbecue - A Unique Greek Dining Experience

During our stay at the Filoxenia hotel in Rhodes, we enjoyed many sumptuous meals at the restaurant and bar on site. The food was of a high standard and very reasonable in terms of price, especially compared to other eateries at the heart of the island's tourist traps such as the centre of old Rhodes town. However the highlight of our dining experience was the famous Filoxenia barbecue, which for the local villages of Paradisi and Theologos is considered quite an event. For holiday makers whose period of stay includes the weekend it is an entertaining and sumptuous dining event.




The barbecue is open to guests and residents although booking is advised as it is very popular. Dining at Filoxenia is usually fun filled and relaxed, with music playing as everyone enjoys their meal. The barbecue is the same but much more with traditional Greek music echoing throughout the beautifully lit courtyard and dining area. There is a real warm and friendly atmosphere as Evangelia and the boys take orders and serve drinks whilst laughing and joking with the guests at the same time. The meal consists of three courses; a starter of Greek salad (single or for sharing), choice of either pork chop or chicken breast, side plate of spiced potatoes and rice mixed with vegetables, and for dessert a generous serving of watermelon.



Nights on the island tend to be much like the day, warm and dry so a light starter such as the Greek salad is the perfect way to start this meal. Everything you would expect from a Greek salad was presented to us on a big plate for sharing featuring fresh olives, big slices of red onion and green pepper, juicy ripe tomatoes and a delicious hunk of feta cheese all dressed with herbs and Filoxenia's freshly pressed olive oil. The balance of ingredients was a delicious combination of the crunchy onion and peppers mixed in with the juicy tomatoes enhanced by the tasty olive oil. The olives were well received but the star of the dish was the feta cheese, which added that extra bit of creamy and salty character to the dish. It succeeded in whetting the appetite for the course that followed.

When one hears the word barbecue uttered it conjures images of a B&Q bought metal barbecue sadly underused and even then mostly under cooking chicken legs and blackening sausage skins. For Filoxenia's barbecue, whilst the potatoes rice and vegetables are being prepared in the kitchen, Nicos is stationed at the very impressive looking wood barbecue all fired up and cooking the pork chop and chicken breasts, with the smoky smell of the meat permeating the night air. Opting for the pork chop, for fear that even under Nicos' watchful eye, the chicken breast might be a too dry, I was presented with a piece of meat that defied expectations.


Far from the minuscule sizes one is accustomed to seeing in the supermarket chiller, a piece that easily dwarfed my hand was presented to me. The chop was char-grilled to perfection, seasoned well and with plenty of meat with a sliver of juicy fat along the edge. The meat was moist, tender, and each bite as succulent as the next, a true idea of food heaven. The potatoes were soft and well flavoured as was the rice & vegetable mix which complimented rather than overpowered the meat. As an unexpected treat, towards the end of the meal, if there is any meat left over it is offered to the guests and I was presented a piece of chicken breast which was as succulent and tasty as the pork chop.

With the juicy watermelon and a pint of Rhodes local brew washing down the last remnants of the meal, the Filoxenia barbecue lived up to expectations and more. If you're thinking that this was an expensive outing then when you consider all the food (for two people) plus two pints of beer and bread with olive oil, the total cost of just under 40 euros, considerably more reasonable and of higher quality then a top restaurant. Nicos and the Filoxenia family excelled not only with the food but a great nights entertainment, hearty, fun and relaxed as a good barbecue should be.

Filoxenia Hotel - Paradisi (Tholos), Rhodes

The  Filoxenia Hotel is a family run resort conveniently located on the main coastal highway of Rhodes, and right in the middle of the famous Valley of  Butterflies.  It consists of apartments catering for a variety of travellers and tourists, with single  and double bed apartments. Should you wish to visit the island with kids and kin in tow, Filoxenia has special family rooms available.  It is only a couple of miles away from Rhodes Airport and six or seven miles from Rhodes town which easy to get to by bus or taxi.


It was difficult to get a proper first impression of the room as we had arrived at 11.30 at night, tired from the flight and very cranky. Although it very much challenged our notions of what we normally expect from hotel accommodation, we noticed immediately it was clean and the bed was comfortable. With refreshed eyes and clearer heads we were able to render a much fairer judgement of the room.

The room was bright , spacious and airy and although basic it was above all very clean and functional. Rooms come equipped with a kitchen sink, cooker hob, and a small fridge freezer. There is also a dressing table, and dining furniture both inside, and out on the balcony. The floor is tiled and so can be a little slippery when stepping out of the shower, but on the whole turned out to be more comfortable than any rug or carpet underfoot which given the hot climate was a blessed relief. The bathroom facilities are basic but again clean and functional with hot water available whenever needed. In all it was comfortable and, unlike other forms of basic accommodation the room was always a treat to come back to at the end of the day.

Filoxenia comes equipped with two swimming pools, a children's play area, as well as crazy golf course and giant chess board, to pass away any spare time before venturing out to see the island. The hotel grounds are well maintained and picturesque surrounded by luscious olive trees and flowers. It is the perfect place to relax, soak up some sun, read and generally unwind and forget any woes.



Perhaps the highlight of our stay was Filoxenia's bar and restaurant where we enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast and mouth watering meals. I mentioned earlier that Filoxenia is a family run establishment and when it comes to meal times the owner/operators Nicos, Evangelia and their sons welcome you as one of the family. Breakfast can be anything you want it to be from toast with preserves or  cereal, to a full English fry up. You can also enjoy a big plate of fresh locally grown watermelon or a big tall glass of Greek Yoghurt with honey, both refreshing on a hot day.

Luchtime and evening Meals, which are all home cooked, are very reasonably priced, consist of an assortment of dishes, both traditional Greek as well as a global cuisine. The menu is packed with an assortment of starters, main and dessert courses, accompaniments as well as a good variety of soft and alcohol beverages and cocktails. Rhodes even brews it's own beer and at 2.50 euros for a pint, it is exceptionally good value and has a smooth refreshing flavour. Every Sunday Nicos and Evangelia host their famous Filoxenia barbecue, an event so popular that even if you are staying at the hotel, it is recommended that you reserve a place in advance. This is an amazing dining experience in its own right and details will be featured in a separate post.



In choosing your meal if you should order a helping of bread you will be presented with various condiments and sauces including a dispenser filled with olive oil, made from olives freshly picked from the surrounding trees and cold pressed on site. There is nothing better than the taste of freshly pressed olive oil especially if you are only used to sourcing it from your local supermarket on the other side of the planet.  The meals are always delicious and filling with the home made moussaka, lasgne, as well as the catch of the day coming highly recommended. An average two course meal for two including beers cost us around 30 to 35 euros, sometimes less which is excellent value.


On the whole our experience at Filoxenia was fantastic, from the accommodation with its comfortable bed and basic but very clean and functional amenities, to the fabulous dining experience and warm hospitality of our hosts. Nicos, Evangelia and their family made us feel very welcome, taking time to talk, suggest the best places on the island to visit, and even help me learn some basic Greek.  A return trip to Rhodes is likely as is the prospect of once again visiting and enjoying the hospitality of Flioxenia, which according to Evangelia means hospitality or "love of foreigners".

For more information visit Filoxenia's website or you can find them on Facebook.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Scotland's Crowdfunding Clinic Helps Entreprenuers Get Started

The popularity of crowdfunding as an alternative source of seeking funds is growing in the UK. More crowdfunding platforms are being set up and already thousands of projects are reaping the rewards of getting the the crowd to invest money. In response to a recent survey of SMEs in Scotland, the New Start Scotland Exhibition will feature a crowdfunding clinic to advise businesses and entrepreneurs deterred from the current means of seeking finance, better understand how crowdfunding works.  




The New Start Scotland Exhibition is a two day annual event which under one roof provides a host of workshops and seminars featuring over 100 exhibitors, geared to showing how business can flourish during the current economic climate. On 18th and 19th November at the SECC in Glasgow people will be able to develop their entrepreneurial skills and knowledge looking at every aspect of a successful business such as sales and marketing, finance, and branding. In addition they can learn how to in use their successful businesses in helping contribute to social causes which aide their communities. The crowdfunding clinic, first one to feature at the event, will be run by Amanda Boyle and Michelle Rodger of the crowdfunding site Bloom VC, which is due to launch later this month.
We want to make people aware that there is an alternative route to accessing finance, especially for those who are unable to secure traditional funding. We'll be explaining what crowdfunding is, how it works, how to get started, and if someone has a particular idea in mind then we'll spend some time helping them flesh out how to make the most of a crowdfunding campaign for their business. - Amanda Boyle, CEO Bloom VC
A survey was carried out of over 1000 representatives of SMEs who have registered to attend the event. Of those businesses surveyed, 45% have been using crowdfunding to help secure startup funds. The clinic will help address any concerns over how to successfully use crowdfunding to green light new projects or help revive those ideas previously considered unworkable due to costs restrictions, or lack of development. With their combined knowledge of business startups and entrepreneurship, as well as their own crowdfunding enterprise Amanda Boyle and Michelle Rodger could help businesses better understand how crowdfunding can help   with their growth and success. 

New Start Scotland is free to attend and tickets can be obtained by clicking here. 

Image Credits; Go For Chris

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

[Gazette Profile] FundaGeek Helping Technology Innovators Get Funded

The Gazette profile is proud to feature a new crowdfunding platform, based in California for technology and scientific projects in need of funding. 

A new crowdfunding platform has recently launched that looks to help scientific and technological projects get the funding they need. Called FundaGeek, its focus is very much on technical innovation and basic research into commercial products and services such as software & hardware development, inventions, robotics, bio technology, as well as alternative energy. The company also encourages projects involving  basic research in the physical and life sciences. 



FundaGeek was founded by Cary Harwin and Daniel Gutierrez, both with extensive backgrounds in technology, marketing and finance. Over the last thirty years Cary has, as President and CEO of a number of successful startups, been present at the forefront of ground breaking developments in the introduction of computers and development of software in accounting, tax and finance services.  Cary is also President and CEO of his own software company Catalyst Development Corporation. As a graduate of UCLA with a BS in Mathematics & Computer Science, FundaGeek co-founder and CEO Daniel Gutierrez's knowledge  is renowned. For over 18 years Daniel was an instructor for the Business and Management department of UCLA as well as eight years as technical writer and editor for Data Based Advisor Magazine. Decades of working in these fields have given Cary and Daniel the insight and understanding of these markets, making them suited to help technologist entrepreneurs target their idea to the right market.

Applicants looking to submit their project for crowdfunding can do so easily with FundaGeek's project wizard to guide through the simple process. Like most crowdfunding platforms FundaGeek ask for at least 5% of the total funds raised. In return, as well as a platform from which to seek out potential investors, FundaGeek will offer assistance and promote the projects through social media to better attract willing investors. Where it differs from other platforms however is project owners can opt to pay 9% in return for a more premium service agreement. 

FundaGeek's 'Premium Marketing Resource' offers more substantial services to help that goes beyond simple promotion through their own social network. For example, project owners are encouraged to write press releases announcing details of their project to be followed by subsequent releases providing progress updates.These are presented to FundaGeek along with certain keywords which will then be searched through a database of over two million writers, editors and publications. If any match or relate to the keywords provided then the releases are distributed to those on the list. FundaGeek also monitor over 20 million blogs for any mention of the project name. Postings found to feature those projects are then added to a daily digest with contact details for the project owners to provide update and follow up leads. 

Many of the crowdfunding platforms concentrate on creative projects such as film making, music, and other artistic ventures. Cary and Daniel spotted a gap in the provision of crowdfunding services for technical and scientific innovations. Funding for such projects has become scarce resulting from the current economic climate and so a new approach was needed. It is a demand that has seen FundaGeek, during a two month period, received over 8000 hits, and subsequent numerous projects looking to sign up. These include a fault tolerant control system, a project to research and capture wild life sounds in the Borneo rainforest, and a physics puzzle game. With such interest already generated Cary and Daniel have just one vision for FundaGeek.
To become THE crowdfunding site of choice for all technology and research projects needing funding which results in incredible new life improving products to be created and brought to market. Cary Harwin, Co-founder & CEO FundaGeek
FundaGeek is now live, having official launched on 4th November 2011. If you have a proposal for an innovative technological design or an ambitious idea for a research project, FundaGeek could help see the idea or dream become a reality. 

Acknowledgements; The Gazette would like to thank Michael Mollenhauer, Cary Harwin and Dan Gutierrez for their patience, help and input.

Image Credit; Crab Chick

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Vampires Rock The Bristol Hippodrome

I confess that up until the time I was presented with the tickets by my partner, I had never heard of Vampires Rock, and certainly didn't appreciate the strong cult following of this fun filled rock musical that has grown since it began in 2004.  So on a coldish Sunday evening (7th November 2011) my partner and I made our way to the Bristol Hippodrome with reserved anticipation as to what we could expect from what we assumed to be largely a low key and unheard of production.

A Love Story to Sink Your Teeth Into

Sometime in the future, Baron Von Rockula (yes, really), brilliantly played by Steven Steinman, a rock star and centuries old vampire is searching for a new bride. The Baron holds auditions for a new singer to perform at his "Live and Let Die" club, home to his ghoulish resident band The Lost Boys, and maintained by his undead and leacherous manservant Bosley (John Evans).  Then in walks the very shy Pandora Rosie (Hayley Russell), a young woman who desperately  wants to become a singer and agrees to audition for the club.  Soon the Baron is smitten and invokes all his charm and charisma, as well as his dark powers in an effort to seduce Pandora into the world of everlasting rock and roll.

The story is basic, not unlike that of other rock operas/musicals such as We Will Rock You yet serves its purpose ultimately as it is largely told through a carefully selected compilation of classic rock anthems, with some brief introductory scenes and comic interludes acting as a segue-way into the musical numbers. The setting and plot also lay the ground for some entertaining and even moving performances, adding a bit more substance to the story. The force behind the show is its writer, producer, director and star Steve Steinman, a chef and restaurateur who found fame as Meat Loaf in 1990's TV talent show Stars in Their Eyes, going onto to play the rock legend on stage in The Meat Loaf Trilogy.



Steinman's production effortlessly combines the closest of bedfellows rock music and Gothic horror, particularly the vampire myths, with entertaining results. It has everything a lover of rock and horror could wish for; spooky settings, creatures donned in leather lace & the occasional chain, and of course legendary rock anthems pounding out across the theatre.  The comic interludes between Steinman's Baron and the zany and disgusting Bosley, who keeps pelvic thrusting and stroking the hammer dangling from his utility belt, add to the fun filled atmosphere. As silly as it all the antics on stage sound we found ourselves laughing heartily. The occasional spontaneous burst from the audience which Steinman responds to both with speed and wit, as well as some unintentionally comedic moments and laughter made the interludes even more fun. However the show is all about showcasing and celebrating the world's greatest rock anthems and without a doubt, Steinman and the cast excel here.

Vampires Rock The House

The list of  rock classics include Guns N Roses' Welcome to the Jungle, Billy Idol's White Wedding, as well as Highway to Hell and Hells Bells by AC/DC. Steinman without a doubt is the star of the show, strutting onto the stage dressed in leather trousers, frilly black shirt and long velvet overcoat, exudes all the charisma and energy of a rock star  with a powerhouse vocal ability to match. Hayley Russell is both endearing and sexy as Pandora Rosie Honey Box (again, yes really) and her equally amazing vocal talents are a sad reminder of the absence of great female vocalists in rock music. Both the stars perform hit after hit giving it their all. My favourite performance of the night was their duet of the Bonnie Tyler classic Total Eclipse of the Heart. The vocals were excellent and packed with raw emotion which left the audience in awed silence and a lump in my throat.

Of course it wasn't just the leads who shone on stage. Steinman's handpicked members of The Lost Boys such as guitarist Henry JT Bird with a fantastic cover of Journey's infamous Don't Stop Believing as well as my favourite Marc Bolan track 20th Century Boy. John Evans as Bosley not only has fun as the Renfield-esque self abusing janitor but contributes strong vocals to various tracks. The musicality of The Lost Boys is matched by their energy, donning spooky make up and bounding enthusiastically on stage and generally getting into the whole vampire setting with glee.

I feel that the secret to a successful show is one that is so enjoyable it stays with you long after it is over, something which Vampires Rock certainly accomplishes.  On the whole it was a fun filled evening in every respect from great laughs to rock classics brilliantly performed. The audicence was laughing, singing, clapping, and dancing in the isles which the performers encouraged at every turn creating a wonderfully fun filled atmosphere. Any fan of rock music should enjoy this spectacular show and in case  you were wondering, vampires exist and they do indeed ROCK!!!!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Crowdsourcing A Song For Christmas

Once again it looks like the X-Factor stable could be facing competition for that much coveted spot in the UK charts, the Christmas number one, thanks to the first crowdsourced Christmas song. Actor and musician Matt Berry has launched a crowdsourcing campaign to help record a song for Christmas to which anybody can contribute. The call is being launched in conjunction with Absolute Radio, of which  Berry is one of its most popular presenters with all proceeds going to charity.


Fans of hit UK comedy shows IT Crowd and The Mighty Boosh will be familiar with Matt Berry. Since graduating from Nottingham Trent University in 1997, the Bedfordshire born performer has  worked with the likes of Steve Coogan, Peter Serefinowicz, and Sarah Silverman, as well as released three albums. He is currently a radio presenter for the London based station and is known as the voice of Absolute Radio. 

Berry wrote the music and lyrics for "A Christmas Song", components of which are available for download. Anyone who wishes to contribute to the song can do so by downloading the components from the Absolute Radio website. You can contribute by singing a line or two of the song (lyrics are available) and is open to groups, individuals, and even choirs. If you are adept with a musical instrument such as the guitar, drums or can even bang spoons in time, then cues are available for you to add in a strum of the guitar string or a banging of the drum. You can film yourself singing and even throw in a dance routine. Participants are encouraged to be as creative and have as much fun as possible.
Christmas is about being inclusive, sharing and selfless, much like this song. My aim is to release a Christmas single that a whole bunch of people, young and old, can say they were part of. - Matt Berry
Once received, the submissions will be reviewed and excerpts will be included in the finished song and accompanying video which will be available on itunes from 4th December 2011. All proceeds from the sale of the song will go to Shelter, a UK based homelessness and housing charity that help those who face the prospect of losing their homes at Christmas.


If you want to be part of this fun musical experience then click here to select and download a segment for recording. Details of how to upload your recording along with terms and conditions can be found here.  

Image Credit; Abi Skipp

Indian Crowdsourcers Selected as Finalist for South Asian Recognition Award

Jade Magnet, India's most prominent provider of crowdsourcing services for design and marketing  SMEs has been selected as a finalist for the 2011 Manthan Awards. These recognise some of India and South Asia's prominent organisations for their best practice in e-Content and creativity in the digital market. 




The Manthan Awards was launched in 2004 by Digital Empowerment Foundation. It was formed in partnership with the World Summit Award and the Indian Government's Department of Information Technology as well various stakeholders made up of civil society members, media organisations, and groups promoting digital content inclusiveness for develop in South Asian countries. 

In the two years since it was formed, Jade Magnet, India's first crowdsourcing service provider has gained prominence servicing SMEs in South Asia which is recognised by being nominated for the Manthan Award. It's reputation also looks set to help the company establish a presence in the UK SME market through its partnership with UK crowdsourcing company Wanobe.

The winners will be decided upon by a jury made of prominent figures from India's digital field including Ravi Shanker, Joint Secretary for the Department of Information Technology, Dr Subho Ray, Director of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), Deepak Maheshwari, Director of Microsoft India. The winner will be announced in Delhi on 2nd December 2011. 

Image Credit; eyeliam

Thursday, 3 November 2011

InCrowd Platform Uses Crowdsourcing for Real Time Feedback on Medical Research

A new platform aims to tap into the wisdom crowd to help provide instant answers to questions concerning the latest development of healthcare products and services. Developed by a group of entrepreneurs with extensive backgrounds in medicine, business and technology, InCrowd looks set to replace existing platforms that normally take weeks to provide vital data. 




InCrowd, was established in March 2010 by Janet Kosloff (CEO), Diane Hayes PhD (President) and Kathleen Poulos (Senior Vice President). With over 60 years of experience in the medical, business and technology market, the co-founders have developed a do it yourself market research research platform for use by healthcare companies. Pharmaceutical companies, medical device developers & manufacturers, and life science companies can use the platform to obtain feedback from a carefully selected crowd of healthcare professionals on the relevant markets. 
Imagine the power of crowdsourcing a group of physicians within hours of product launch and initial detailing by your sales representatives. You now have access to market information that was previously untappable for several weeks. Think of the advantages your company can realize simply by accessing and acting on real-time data. We see this is a game changer for our clients - Janet Kosloff CEO InCrowd
Ordinarily companies would have to wait 2-6 weeks before receiving market information which can soon be out of date given that the market could easily change in a matter of days. InCrowd's easy to use platform provides access to its community of healthcare workers eager to share their knowledge with companies. With so many clinicians and other healthcare workers eager to contribute, in the hopes that such feedback would greatly improve their practice and the quality of patients' lives, InCrowd provides real time answers in a rapidly changing market. 

The wisdom of a vast community of healthcare workers streamline instantly to it's clients InCrowd looks set to provide its clients with an advantage over competitors who continue to use traditional research methods. 

Image Credit; Tulane Public Relations