As soon as you walked into the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco you could feel the enthusiasm of the participants of the very first CrowdConf. Everyone was very excited and the noise level from the animated conversations was unusually high, even though it was very early in the morning.
There were about 500 people in the conference hall. Some were crowdsourcing providers, some were customers and there were also a few journalists in attendance. One of the first speakers was David Alan Grier, author of the book “When Computers Were Human”. He spoke about the evolution of crowdsourcing over the past 80 years. Part of his historical review told of a group of people in an office who completed a large task together. It was interesting to note that the challenges they faced back then were the same as those we face today.
Shortly after that, our CEO Wolfgang Kitza reported about crowdsourcing in Europe. Many participants were impressed with the number of countries in which we have active clickworkers. Other very diverse examples of crowdsourcing such as Samasource, an organization that provides work for people in Africa, and Ushahidi, who have developed an emergency call system for areas in crisis on their platform, were highlighted over the next few hours.
One of the best speakers was Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain, author of “The Future of the Internet”. He works in the crowdsourcing field with his students and spoke to us over a live video feed. His portion of the conference was not just entertaining; he also provided some very interesting thoughts about the subject for us to think about later.
All of the participants were sure that crowdsourcing as a viable work model is here to stay. There are a variety of different crowdsourcing websites, from design companies to help organizations and of course micro task platforms such as clickworker.com. At the end of our stay at the conference, we all agreed that we had become a new community and that we would all see each other again next year.
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