Threadless + crowdsourcing

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  • Last build – given the chances of winning $2500 for a designer (10 winners / 2800 designs per week = .4%), the primary motivation for designers is really the chance at recognition.
  • The business is built on loyal customers Listening is key
  • aggregators - liveworkquestions - yahoo answersdistributed innovation - innovator exchangecrowd funding - kickstarteridea platforms - my starbucks ideacontent markets - iStockphotoinnovation prizes - netflixcontent rating - redditdata sharing - dead cell zonesreference content - wikipediaprediction markets - news futuresservice marketplaces - rentAcodercompetition platforms - 99 designsmicrotasks - amazon mechanical turkcycle sharing - seti@home
  • Threadless + crowdsourcing

    1. 1. Threadless.comCreating profit through an online design community Team C Lalit Chopra, EliranDrucker, Geoff Gibson, BenniLickfett, Josh Mischel, Verity Noble, Daniel Santamaria, AlessioTixi
    2. 2. Introduction Hi Jeffrey – Video from 2007
    3. 3. What does threadless do? Designs Designers 150,000+ / year 100,000+ Design Vote for faves community participates Community for Threadless.com (“Crowd”) recognition ~10 shirts / wk Sales Buyers $30MM+ / yr 4MM+ Source: dailycrowdsource.com Community Contribution Direct threadless contribution
    4. 4. Analysis Strengths Weaknesses • Crowd sourcing • Shipping costs • Immediate feedback • Fickle nature of crowds S WInternal • Cheap price of content acquisition • Lack of content control • Only print buzzworthymerch, Reprints • Cost of blank tees/raw materials • Social network - Meetups (376 intl & domestic communities) • Speed for new mediums ex. Twitter Opportunities Threats • Product Variety • Intellectual property rights (China) • Customer Segmentation • Launch of similar business modelExternal • Concentrate on International Market • Alienating the crowd • Japan, South America as potential • Become too mainstream, lose their soul growth targetsO T • Attrition from main contributors • Retail Store Expansion • Limited expansion opportunities
    5. 5. Pillars of Crowdsourcing Community Retaining Participation Building Power Users
    6. 6. Participation • Score • Submit designs • Share (pics, media) • Purchase tees • Recommend • Comment • Interact with threadless team
    7. 7. Community Building Meetups Blog & Street Thread- Apps (online to Forums Team spotting offline) Accessibility
    8. 8. Attracting & Retaining Power Users New Incentives (scholarships, grand prizes) Recognition User feedback Challenges Meetup groups
    9. 9. Limitations & Risks of crowdsourcingKey Issue MitigationSIZE KEEP ENGAGEMENT HIGHCritical mass needed • Invest in community & culturebut not always appreciated • Offer meaningful Incentivesby core users • Support and engage power users QUALITY MANAGEMENTQUALITY •Strictly monitor satisfaction andYou are presenting the user, cultureneed to meet expectations •Only promise things you can deliver •Focus on constant feedback DIFFERENTIATE PRODUCTSLEGITIMACY •Launch sub-brands.Why are we the right community to •Define limits and purposepresent the user •Stay focusedCENSORSHIP BE TRANSPARENTManage the community without •Communicate your rulestaking power from the people •Use communal editing when possible
    10. 10. 8 Factors for Success Right Purpose: Call to the crowd for insight you will act on Right Call: Tell the crowd what you want from them Right Crowd: Crowd needs to be diverse and qualified Right Incentives: Glory, ego, altruism, greed – feed the crowd’s needs Right Model: Define the output needed from the crowd Right promotion: Get people in and get them spreading the word Right Community Management: Nurture crowd participation and know when to chime in Right Technology: Features vary, beware one size fits all
    11. 11. Successful CrowdsourcingAmazons Mechanical Turk• An on-demand, global scalable workforce• Mix of crowdsourcing and marketplace• Workers perfom “Human Intelligence Tasks” Netflix Prize • Recommendation engine • Targeted developer community • Innovation prize: $1 million for best algorithm
    12. 12. Common Mistakes• Overlooking daily moderation• Choosing the wrong first crowdsourcing topic• Assuming crowd recruitment is easy• Not identifying/involving power users• Not investing enough in the right incentives
    13. 13. Unsuccessful ExamplePepsi refresh project:• Donates money to non profits• Consumers vote for non profitsProblems:• Cheating in grant process• False informationModeration Mistakes:• Not enough experience in managing community• Did not attract the right community members• 3rd party assesses validity of leader board
    14. 14. What should be next for threadless? • Keep focusing and expanding design focused products and add design services • Atrium, Platform for charity design campaigns • Develop social editing platforms What should not be next for threadless?“There was no good reason for us to open • Opening a 1700 sq ft store…. Too late a store” – Jake Nickell • Going Big Box, compromising community • Produce non-design products • Going beyond production capabilities
    15. 15. ConclusionsIt’s an amazing tool…. but not for everyone• Identify a relevant community• Listen to the people, understand their motives• Identify right crowd-sourcing model• Realize limitations and need for managementIt won’t go away…• Empowered users won’t want to switch back• Expect to see more and more in government, science, funding, forecasting …and crime• Companies will need to shift from reactive to pro-active mind-set
    16. 16. Questions?

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