Li, a former investment banker, admits he stumbled onto crowdsourcing because he knew nothing about furniture design. He figured that consumers would be the best judges for them! He discovered that high-end furniture typically passes through the fingers of seven or more middlemen en route from China’s factories to Europe’s showrooms. And then Li’s big idea: Made.com, a seven-month-old U.K. start-up that sells top-quality furniture online at deep discounts.
“It eliminates a lot of market risk,” explains Daren Brabham, a University of North Carolina crowdsourcing expert. The voting predicts which items are likely to sell. That’s certainly been the case at Made.com.
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