My recent crowdsourcing post generated some heated debate and no shortage of conversation. I wasn’t trying to be controversial, just sharing a perspective. But the reaction points out a couple of things. We are in the midst of dramatic change. And not everyone likes it.
Look what’s happening. Crowdsourcing is clearly gaining traction. Not just in the design community, but in areas of film, video and co-creation. It’s just too appealing and easy, both for participants who aspire to create, and for clients looking for alternative sources of content. And there are plenty of companies to accommodate them: Chaordix, Crowdspring, Tongal, Poptent, and Filmaka, to name but a few. So I’m not sure the resistance of a few will stop this movement.
On another front, behind closed doors, newspapers are trying — or at least wishing – that they could create a cartel that agrees to charge for content. Fat chance that will work. Laid off reporters, editors and correspondents will simply create yet another Global Post and continue to re-invent the definition of news all together. These guys need to read Chris Anderson. Even if he’s only half right, even if the quality of free content suffers by comparison to the New York Times, the continued demise of print media as we know it seems inevitable.
And finally, there’s the predictions of the outspoken, but often convincing, Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary is big into the idea of disintermediation. He asks questions like:
“Why do we need outdoor advertising on bus shelters when everyone who walks by them is staring at their iPhone?”
“McDonalds doesn’t make us pay for everything on the menu when we only want a hamburger; why do cable companies?”
“Will we need ESPN once the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB broadcast all their games, retain rights to all their game film, and sell content directly to you?”
Granted there are people who think Gary’s just the modern day version of the used car salesman, but they haven’t spent time with him. If they did, chances are they’d join me in thinking he’s not only one hell of an entrepreneur; he’s a visionary when it comes to what’s possible.
If you’re a marketer, an advertising agency, a digital agency or a content creator in any medium this is what’s coming if it’s not already here:
Consumers who insist on more control and greater participation.
A market that will pay less and less for content and expect more of it to be free.
Technology that will let brands, marketers and content creators cut out the intermediary.
These are incredible changes that will affect us all. We can long for the days of Mad Men. We can complain. We can even argue. But my suggestion is that we do what Crowdspring, Global Post and Gary are doing. Find the opportunities. There are a plenty of them to be had and no shortage of tools and platforms that eliminate most of the costs and all of the barriers to invent, create, and distribute your ideas.
Everything is up for grabs. Whether that spells doom and gloom or unlimited opportunity depends on your plan. Got one?