Outsourcing to a crowd is technique by which millions of people help to solve problems that would be difficult or impossible to solve any other way. In fact, it forms the backbone of one of the most explosive Internet movements ever – the crowd sourcing phenomenon and companies like Kickstarter. Here is one of my favorite recent examples of the power of leveraging.
DARPA or the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a division of the U.S. Department of Defense, who is largely responsible for higher level national security projects, in 2009 wanted to test the nation’s capacity for mobilization during times of urgent crisis. To test this they designed a seemingly impossible problem and sent it out to some of the most brilliant minds in the world. They could do this because remember they are the group that designed the modern World Wide Web.
The Test: On a predesignated day, DARPA would hide ten large, red weather balloons, eight feet in diameter, in various places around the country. A $40,000 prize would be awarded to the first person or team anywhere in the world who could correctly identify the precise location of all ten balloons. If you are wondering what this has to do with DARPA simply replace the word balloon with dirty bomb and you’ll quickly understand.
When the contest was first announced, experts pointed out that the problem would be impossible to solve using traditional intelligence-gathering techniques. There was great speculation in the scientific community at universities and research labs around the world about how the problem could be solved. Most assumed the winning team would use satellite imagery but how would a team divide up the United States into sections with a high-enough resolution to spot the balloons? Would it be accomplished in months with room full of humans or maybe never by a computer-vision algorithm that hadn’t been written yet? Others suggested the use of reconnaissance planes, telescopes, sonar, radar, spectrograms, chemical sensors, lasers. In any event, the general consensus was that if the problem could be solved it would takes months.
The contest was entered by 53 select top worldwide teams totaling 4,300 volunteers.
The Winners: A group of researchers from MIT.
Total Solution Time: Under 9 Hours.
How did they do that? Social Networking, i.e. leveraging the crowd.
The MIT team allocated $4,000 to finding each balloon. If you happened to spot the balloon in your neighborhood and provided them with the correct location, you'd get $2,000. If a friend of yours whom you recruited found it, your friend would get the $2,000 and you'd get $1,000 simply for encouraging your friend to join the effort. If a friend of your friend found the balloon, you'd get $500 for this third-level referral, and so on. The likelihood of anyone person spotting a balloon is infinitesimally small. But if people you know recruits people they know, and each of them recruits people they know, you build a network of eyes on the ground that theoretically can cover the entire country.
MIT proved in 2009 that using social networking and multi-level leveraging they could engage enough people to cover every square foot of the entire USA in less than 9 hours – simply to find some red balloons for a few dollars. What can we do in 2015 with a system built to help deliver economic prosperity to people by eliminating something we all hate – media influence in 30 second TV commercials and Internet graphical ads?
Become a social influencer simply by leveraging the power in the new social medias. It isn’t as hard to do as you think. Let me give you some social proof of that statement. The newest, most powerful social influence tool is live streaming media. It is the Holy Grail of the new internet. Twitter’s property Periscope is of course the most serious of the networks in operation today. I am not a celebrity but I have become an important influencer in that I have 350,000 followers on my English and Spanish channels and my small team of office workers, seven of us, have 1,000,000 followers now and are rapidly growing. People all over the world recognize me now and come to me for information and advice. Businesses are beginning to hire us to help their marketing efforts. It’s truly a real life example of leveraging and its fun and easy to get started.
Join me today on Periscope by downloading the app and adding: mzsadie or mzsadielareina
Published by Sadie