Friday, February 05, 2010

Nah, Crowdsourcing Is Old Hat – Pillsbury Has Been at It Since ’49.

Crowdsourcing is being tipped as one of the big things to watch out for in the coming years. In essence, Crowdsourcing websites harness the power of their community to achieve common goals quicker and more effectively. This is a pretty apt description from the Storecrowd blog.

The word itself was invented in 2006 by a Wired magazine editor, Jeff Howe, when he started a blog of that name, to portray work that large, distributed teams of amateurs do, aided by the interconnectivity of the Worldwide Web. His contention is that such involved works were formerly the exclusive domain of corporations or isolated experts.

In this sense, crowdsourcing does seem to be a genuine product of the Internet. I’d probably still be agreeing if I hadn’t spotted the Pillsbury® Create and Easy Wow!™ 2010 calendar that arrived in the mailbox today.

The recipe-filled piece is a timely (and humbling) reminder that advancing technology only makes an activity easier to accomplish while the activity itself has been there and done that.

The justly famous Pillsbury Bake-Off® is the involving national competition that began in 1949. For decades, it has pulled in cooks of all sizes, shapes and sexes from all over the US. They’ve baked, cooked, slaved in thousands of kitchens and shared the winning recipes for more than 60 years. And the company has rewarded home cooks for their efforts – the first winner collected $50,000. Whoever wins the 44th Bake-Off, going on right now, will take home a million. Bucks, not biscuits.

This is crowdsourcing the old-fashioned way; the 2010 calendar features recipes from 2008 (Toasted Tuscan Walnut Squares by Jennifer Harkleroad), 1992 (Lemon Truffle Pie, Patricia Kiewiet), all the way back to 1951 (Topsy-Turvy Apple Pie, Mrs Donald W Gaard).

A recent speaker at amobile marketing seminar reminded the audience that cell phones represent a new distribution mechanism – it doesn’t replace human effort needed to create messages or business opportunities or baked goods. Neither does crowdsourcing. But both make their activities faster and easier.

Maybe that’s why Pillsbury stresses the word “Easy” in this 2010 calendar edition. You can get a free copy – and a lesson in original crowdsourcing – right here. Bake yourself something tasty.

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