TAG: Wisdom of Crowds

7 Reasons Why Web Apps Fail

A few ideas about why some of the web apps out there fail.

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Shouldn’t the Wisdom of Crowds lead to better politicians?

Rui Alou asks a great question in response to my recent post on aggregating individual wisdom, wondering why, if the Wisdom of Crowds is valid, do we continue to elect poor politicians? Presumably, voting in a democracy is aggregating individual wisdom, because each person has their own individual views and an equal vote. (and presumably, there are good politicians out there just waiting to be voted in).

The answer to this question is why the Wisdom of Crowds is a counter-intuitive, dangerous and powerful idea. In reality our democracy does not harness the Wisdom of Crowds effectively, because it does not recreate the three conditions that are needed in order to do so.

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The One Crucial Idea of Web 2.0

Listening to James Surowiecki’s talk on the Wisdom of Crowds (mp3) at the SXSW Conference (I’m attending vicariously), I was struck at how pervasive this idea has become in such a short period of time. And the reason, of course, is the success of Google’s Pagerank algorithm, which harnesses the wisdom of crowds to model the way we value content.

If there is one idea that encapsulates what Web 2.0 is about, one idea that wasn’t a factor before but is a factor now, it’s the idea of leveraging the network to uncover the Wisdom of Crowds. Forget Ajax, APIs, and other technologies for a second. The big challenge is aggregating whatever tidbits of digitally-recorded behavior we can find, making some sense of it algorithmically, and then uncovering the wisdom of crowds through a clear and easy interface to it.

Continue Reading: The One Crucial Idea of Web 2.0

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