Spring is here

Beautiful sunny Sunday.

Today’s activities:
I went to church, the fitness center, and sat in the park and drank a latte macchiato in the beautiful spring sun.

And I took some snapshots.

close-up

20th March was my grandmother’s birthday. I always wanted to write her story: the little that I know from my mother and what my imagination has filled in. Maybe one day I will.

I really like the current series of preachings at Crossroads church. We are studying Deuteronomy. If you are curious, there is a audio podcast on the church website. I can recommend last week’s and today’s.

Attached to the news and Twitter:
I guess you are doing the same as I am: checking the status at Fukushima nuclear power plant. And the news from Libya. Egypt. Tunisia. Bahrain. I am reminded of Billy Joel’s song “We didn’t start the fire”.

Crowdsourcing examples

One recurring buzzword that has entered the business world is “crowdsourcing” – it is used as a silver bullet in all sorts of contexts. Here are some notes and thoughts:

Wikipedia has a good definition and describes how the term emerged.

Famous examples are:

Facebook’s use of the community to translate its interface.

Translations

or Twitter

Twitter Translation Center

and Google that use the power of the community to translate their web apps. For example the Chichewa interface was translated by Malawian and Zambian volunteers:

Google.mw

See Clement Nyirenda’s blog entry calling for volunteers and his subsequent post celebrating the launch.

Another very famous crowdsourcing platform is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, which provides some remuneration for so-called human intelligence tasks.

amazon mechanical turk

Reasons why a crowdsourced project may fail:

  • lack of monetary motivation,
  • too few participants,
  • lower quality of work,
  • lack of personal interest in the project,
  • global language barriers,
  • or difficulty managing a large-scale, crowdsourced project.

Prerequisites are:

  • a big enough crowd – which many SMEs don’t have access to,
  • sufficient motivation,
  • and some kind of indication how much work is required.

What about B2B projects? How can B2B companies use crowdsourcing?
Tartan Marketing (not Scottish despite the branding) describes 2 scenarios:

  • internal – using the internal workforce to find new ideas via wikis and blogs and other collaboration software. The underlying assumption is that “the good ideas will “float to the top” and can make the planning and decision-making process much more efficient”.
  • external – where a company involves its customer base to improve and develop services and products; the long-term benefit being loyalty and goodwill for the company.

Here is a further list of less well-known crowdsourcing platforms.

Martin Gyger is exhibiting

A backlink for a local Basel artist:

Martin Gyger is showing recent work in a small show at:

Gemeinschaftspraxis Auberg 7,
Zentrum für Osteopathie,
Auberg 7 in 4051 Basel

Related news item:
In a 3sat Kulturzeit interview Heike Faller said if you really want to invest ethically, you need to understand the product you are investing in, e.g. a piece of land in an area that you know well or a local artist that you’ve met and believe in.

There are always two sides

Just started a Twitter storm with the extraordinary mllea following my tweet yesterday evening to investigate all PhDs with the same scrutiny and dedication that Mr. zu Guttenberg has been subjected to:

Fullscreen capture 322011 92304 PM.bmp

I don’t support zu Guttenberg and I think what he did is simply wrong. But there is another aspect in this story that is being wholly ignored: the role of the German uni system and the blatant incompetence of many, many professors and researchers to communicate “wissenschaftliches Arbeiten”.

My MBA law professor said:
“A pancake can never be so thin, that it doesn´t have 2 sides to it”

So before you condemn, please consider the other side. An underfunded, outdated university setup with many faculty members that have little to no didactic training/skills and low motivation.

Coming from Malawi where education and the teaching profession is highly regarded, I was shocked.

And compared to my recent MBA experience at a US state university, there is a world of difference.

Coincidently another friend commented on my tweet saying: if you check them, the Bundestag will be empty.

In the end I managed to get thru my German university because there are dedicated, thoughtful professors that care. And I would always hire somebody with a Magister in Humanities from a German university because I know they are self-starters with excellent research skills that don’t give up easily. It is a good learning experience.