Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Crowd-sourcing (II)

Following on from my previous post (which was published today but written last week), I’ve just read the follow up to the secretlondon story here - “How to build a website in 48 hours for £3,000”.

It’s a snappy title, and I love the energy, enthusiasm and general Web x.0 crowd-sourced kool-aid of it all, but I can’t help but point out that whilst they’ve accounted for every last bagel the biggest cost is missing – the people. It’s fantastic that they managed to harness the ‘crowd’ to get 40 people willing to give up their weekend, but my back-of-envelope calculation of their hidden cost is as follows:

  • They all work 12hrs/day, just because, you know, like, …
  • A 12hr/day is the equivalent of 1.5 (8hr) normal working days
  • There are 40 of them
  • They clock up 40*2*1.5 = 120 FTE man-days

By my reckoning, if they’d commissioned an agency to build it, it would have cost somewhere between £60-100k to build, not £3k.

I’d really like to understand what the people involved think, and how they value their time. We’ve all given up our free time at some point or other to help out friends / neighbours, but what’s interesting in this case is that they are helping to build something from which, I presume (perhaps unfairly), other people will benefit financially.

When Tiffany appears on the cover of Wired as the new Martha Lane-Fox, how will they feel? And do they care? Are they shareholders in the new venture?

[Update] I found this in a blog posting - “we weren’t started by a company — we’re a community, and secretlondon is all of us” – so apologies to those on whom I cast aspersions.

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