Lollapalooza recently decided to release their API to the world and crowdsource a new app for their upcoming festival. The organization pared it down to 19 entries they felt had promise and are going to vote on the two best to feature at the festival.
As a development company, that is to say, folks who make a living off of making apps, I am not terribly excited about crowdsourcing. I think it is akin to child labor in the sense that the person or entity engaging in crowdsourcing is knowingly exploiting a large number of people and paying a fraction for the output that they should. In the end you can get an avalanche of options to choose from and clearly the numbers game works in your favor here. However, cumulatively, the number of man hours that are donated to the individual or entity are staggeringly out of whack with the financial compensation they ultimately pay out.
Some would argue this is fair competition. Others would argue that this paradigm affords smaller companies or individuals the opportunity to throw their hat in the ring on a project well above that which they could do otherwise. All of that might be true and we could argue the point ad nauseam. The real issue here is that they wrapped it up as though they were doing a good thing. A “contest” they say.
The resulting product ultimately gave them 19 apps to choose from, none of which they will pay for it seems. The winner will be “featured” at the festival which may, or may not, lead anywhere for that person. Aside from bragging rights (which let’s face it are cool, no denying that) this ultimately benefits Lollapalooza a whole lot more than John Doe who wrote the winning app.
There were some good idas that emerged from the contest too. I hope the talented individuals who cobbled those together can make something happen from this experience.