Thursday, August 11, 2011

Review: Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything

When I first saw the Wikinomics title, I jump to the conclusion that I know most of the things about Wikipedia, Crowdsourcing, Openness and User Generated Content thingy. I assumption about the book is right, but it’s case study still provide some insights of Wikinomics beyond the common boundary of tech and web.

  • Goldcorp – A Canada gold mining company have problem identifying gold deposits after years of work and millions in expenditure. They decide to open up their data (this is a highly guarded secret) and offer a challenge to the world to identify gold hotspot based on the data. An enthusiastic army of geologist, computer scientist, mathematicians come up with ideas and suggestions never thought of before. The company went from $100 million to $9 billion.
  • Lifan – we know of open source software like Linux and Apache, how about open source hardware in motorcycle manufacturing. Company like Lifan in China, and a thriving ecosystem of suppliers in Chongqing, had built a motorcycle like building a PC (with its modular components, and standard interface). Manufacturer and Part Supplier sit down to discuss about making cheaper and better parts together.
  • Boeing – it’s no longer the time where time where Boeing come up with a 20,000 pages specifications to the suppliers to build its parts as it is. Boeing and its hundreds of suppliers sit down together since the early stage of design to decide on the best way to design and built its components together (the guys who will manufacture it should design it). They share the cost, risk and reward together. All components are assembled in DC about 3 days (much like LEGO).
  • Ideogras: P&G post up their problems and challenges, and offer rewards for those who come up with a solutions (50% of their IP are generated by outsider). Besides, they offer their IP (which many remain dormant and not used) for easy licensing by outsider. Certain market might be too small for P&G, but they are happy to license out their IP or technology.
  • Prosumers: Encouraging/supporting customers who "hack" your products, creating new features or uses that your company would have never thought of on its own. DJ like mixing of music (sadly it’s illegal to do so most of the time), Lego Mindstorm, Hacking of Kinects, PSP, etc. Kinects object it initially, but eventually embraced it; Music industry, iPod and PSP definitely rejected the idea until suing its consumer in court.
  • Human Genome Project
  • IBM contributed millions in Linux, make a profit by providing services or selling related products, while savings billions in developing their own server platform.
  • Platform for Collaboration: Contribution of idea, Open API, ability to build application on the platform and make a profit from it (Amazon allows other to create a customized version of Amazon store), etc.

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