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Jeff Howe

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Jul 11, 2011
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Jeff Howe

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Senators Introduce a Bi-Partisan Crowdfunding Bill

This afternoon U.S. Senators Brown (R–MA), Merkley (D–OR), and Bennet (D–CO) introduced the bi-partisan Crowdfund Act (S. 2190), legislation that would lift much of the regulations restricting the crowdfunding of small businesses and entrepreneurs. Start-ups could solicit up to $1 million per year from individual investors, though they would have to use SEC-accredited platforms to do so. Investors with annual incomes less than $100,000 could invest up to $2,000, or 5 percent of their income. Wealthier individuals would have considerably more freedom; they could invest up to 10 percent of their income, with a cap at $100,000.

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Jeff HoweMar 13, 2012 08:57 pm GMT14847 views
01
Scott Brown: Senate Wants Crowdfunding

Jeff Howe moderated a panel hosted by WeFunder in Boston this morning that featured crowdfunding bill sponsors Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC). Afterwards, he provided Crowdsourcing.org with this brief summary.

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Jeff HoweMar 05, 2012 08:41 pm GMT2957 views
10
Kickstarter Receives its Millionth Backer
Crowdfunding

Cargo, the film that Rachel Perrie supported

Last week a woman named Rachel Perrie became the millionth person to pledge financial support to a project posted on Kickstarter. It's a remarkable feat, given that company hardly two years old, and it comes on the back of another milestone — $100 million has been pledged on the Kickstarter platform.

Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickland and Fred Benenson penned a blog post earlier today to commemorate the dual accomplishment. Far from the self-congratulatory back patting you might expect, the post provides an interesting portrait of the state of crowdfunding: who's contributing; how much money they give; do they come back?

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Jeff HoweOct 11, 2011 09:29 pm GMT3518 views
00
A Crowdfunding Survey: What Are the Regulations In Your Country?
Crowdfunding

After covering the groundswell of support for crowdfunding reform in the United States, I was inspired to ask this question of the crowdfunding community that has grown up around this site: How are crowdfunding efforts regulated in your country?

Crowdsourcing.org has a wonderfully diverse, international readership. If we can gather, fact-check, and carefully catalogue the various approaches national governments (or even extra-governmental bodies like the EU) take to this emerging form of financing, we could provide an invaluable resource to everyone from policy makers to entrepreneurs.

Any and all information is valuable. Provide tips and links in the comments below.

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Jeff HoweSep 28, 2011 02:19 pm GMT5902 views
636
2011 Crowdsourcing Industry Survey
Distributed Knowledge

When I first wrote the Wired article, The Rise of Crowdsourcing, that coined that term, I could count the number of organizations using crowdsourcing on my hands and feet. Over the next several years crowdsourcing continued to grow: slowly, and organically, at first, then rapidly and egged on by an increasing number of books, articles, and the burgeoning hype around all things social media. By the time my book hit the stands in late 2008 the days when I could recount, from memory, all the important players in the crowdsourcing field were long gone. As I moved on to new projects, I wondered when someone would come along and conduct a comprehensive survey.


I'm happy to note the wait is over.

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Jeff HoweSep 26, 2011 11:25 pm GMT3938 views
00
Let the People Invest

There's an emerging consensus that an enormous amount of investment dollars are currently penned up behind SEC regulations over how private firms raise capital. If the floodgates indeed release a flood, that would serve everyone well—Democrats, Republicans, startups, and the small money investors who could then have the kind of access to small companies that VC firms currently enjoy a monopoly on.

It's incredibly rare that I offer an opinion on the application of crowdsourcing (or, for that matter, crowdfunding). There's a simple reason for this: I made my bones observing the phenomenon, not promoting it. Such detachment provides me with the invaluable freedom enjoyed by all journalists: To call a spade a spade.

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Jeff HoweSep 23, 2011 02:16 pm GMT7595 views
635
The SEC and Crowdfunding: A Reader's Guide

It's been a big few weeks for crowdfunding. Last week President Obama went on national TV to push for his job's bill, and said that federal agencies need to cut the red tape that prevents start-ups from raising capital and going public. This was followed the next day by a White House blog post which pushed for allowing startups "to raise money through “crowdfunding” – gathering many small-dollar investments that add up to as much as $1 million." Then yesterday a top SEC official told a US House of Representatives subcommittee that she sees benefits to easing restrictions surrounding crowdfunding.

Want to catch up on what's happened? Here's a primer, in rough chronological order, on how this fast-moving story is playing out:

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Jeff HoweSep 16, 2011 06:56 pm GMT9187 views
10
Kickstart ... Kentucky Style!

Kickstarter has helped fund movies, cool watches, and the first, consumer-grade jelly fish tank. But in what must be some kind of crowdfunding milestone, Griffin VanMeter and Whit Hiler want to use the crowdfunding platform to help their entire state. [Image Credit: James Yang]

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Jeff HoweSep 09, 2011 10:36 pm GMT5490 views
391
Crowdfunding in Europe
question Crowdfunding

What crowdfunding platforms or companies are the most active and successful in places like England, France, Germany, or other European countries.

Jeff HoweSep 07, 2011 09:29 pm GMT10632 views
130
Crowdfunding in Europe
Will Crowdfunding Outlive its Parent, Crowdsourcing?

I had an interesting exchange in Berlin a few months ago. I'd traveled to Germany to speak at  CrowdConvention 2011, and there was the usual amount of revelry that follows a conference. At some point I landed in a conversation with an architect and graphic designer living in Rio de Janeiro. They asked what I did, and I naturally mentioned crowdsourcing. They stared at me quizzically for a moment, and then a lightbulb seemed to flash over their heads. "Is that kind of like crowdfunding?" asked the architect.

The act of crowdfunding may go back thousands of years, but the word itself was a splinter-term from crowdsourcing. To the best of my knowledge, it was first used a few months after my original crowdsourcing article was published to describe the business model behind the Dutch start-up, Sellaband (in which people contribute small amounts of money to musicians to help them record an album).

Over the last five years I've often said that crowdfunding might well outlive its parent, crowdsourcing. The crowdfunding model possesses a simplicity - lots of people contribute small amounts of money toward a cause, any cause, in which they believe - crowdsourcing does not. That day isn't quite upon us - at least outside Brazil - but I've decided to spend the next month or so devoting all my attention to crowdfunding.

There's so much activity in this category, and yet very little united coverage. It's my aim to correct that state of affairs, and as always, to spark some robust conversation.

 

Editor's Note: For the next month Jeff will focus his attention on the subject of Crowdfunding. Jeff will respond personally to all member posts, questions and comments.

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Jeff HoweSep 07, 2011 04:58 am GMT6524 views
06
Changes at Crowdflower
Cloud Labor

CrowdFlower, the San Francisco-based crowdsourcing company, will announce significant management changes later today. Co-Founder and CEO Lukas Biewald will be replaced by Woody Hobbs, a veteran executive with experience at both technology and financial service firms. CrowdFlower will also appoint Richard Arnold as CFO and VP of strategy and corporate development. Hobbs and Arnold have worked together on three previous ventures. including serving as CEO and CFO of the mobile software provider Intellisync when it was acquired by Nokia for $430 million in 2006.

Dolores Labs, renamed CrowdFlower in January 2010, was founded by Biewald in and Chis Van Pelt in 2007, and quickly became one of the most reputable firms utilizing Amazon's Mechanical Turk platform. Biewald brought methodological rigor to an oft-disparaged category of crowdsourcing. Biewald and company were rewarded with considerable interest from the venture capital community. In March of last year CrowdFlower raised $5 million in Series A funding and in March this year raised an additional $7 million.

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Jeff HoweAug 02, 2011 03:03 pm GMT5771 views
10
"Towards a New Taxonomy" by Jeff Howe
Distributed Knowledge

 

When I coined the word crowdsourcing five years ago, the phenomenon itself hardly existed. Oh sure, there were a few glaring examples: Wikipedia, of course, and that massive hurly burly of user-generated content known as MySpace. NASA, I recall, was already experimenting with using volunteers to measure asteroid craters. But the original article was, in a sense, an act of prognostication. I was saying, "This is how things will be." It was a gamble, and it happened to pay off.  


A lot changed between 2006 and 2008, when my book was published. In writing the book I faced an entirely new challenge. I no longer had to predict the future; I had to analyze and interpret the present. Books force you to create taxonomies by their very structure: Chapters are subdivisions of a larger subject. 

 

The problem was that examples of crowdsourcing now proliferated across every domain of human endeavor. When asked what couldn't be crowdsourced, I used to answer: a restaurant. Then one day a Washington Post reporter called to ask me what I thought about a new--you guessed it--crowdsourced restaurant. My answer to that question these days? Everything can be crowdsourced. I figure it's best to play it safe.

 

In trying to bring some coherence to this dizzying variety of online collaborations I came up with four basic categories:

 

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Jeff HoweJul 20, 2011 10:43 pm GMT18209 views
014
Jeff Howe Welcomes the Crowd
Distributed Knowledge

I coined the term crowdsourcing five years ago in a June 2006 article in Wired magazine. I started my blog the same day the article went live on Wired's site, and for the next three years I covered the rise of crowdsourcing in everything from radiology to journalism to bird watching. When I was writing my book, How the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business, I used the blog to collect edits and feedback from, well, the crowd.

After three years of ceaseless writing and researching on the subject it was time to move on--literally and figuratively. In late 2009 I became a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, and relocated my family to Cambridge. In the last two years I've studied subjects ranging from US intellectual history to transmedia storytelling to the connection between social capital and social networks. I started teaching--one course each at Harvard, Boston University, and Northeastern University--and teamed up with the Atlantic.com to create the largest book club in human history. And in September I'll begin a tenure-track position in the journalism department at Northeastern University.

And through all this crowdsourcing was never far from my mind. I've often said I could happily spend the next 30 years of my life studying the emergence of such new forms of economic production as crowdsourcing. What I learned in the last two years is that I might not have a choice: Everything I studied, everything I taught, and everything I read was filtered through the formative lens of that pervasive concept of online collaboration. 

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Jeff HoweJul 13, 2011 03:32 am GMT5134 views
04
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