This Business English text is all about crowdsourcing and start-ups. Useful vocabulary is highlighted and the definitions are at the bottom. There is also a short quiz and some discussion questions for you to answer.
The terms start-ups and crowdsourcing almost seem to go hand in hand nowadays. In fact, it’s probably thanks to crowdsourcing that we now have so many start-ups in the first place. It’s also why they generally do so well. For people unfamiliar with these terms a start-up is a new business, often set up by only a small number of people. They can consist of anything from a kid in his bedroom to a team of MBA qualified executives. But what about crowdsourcing? To put it simply, crowdsourcing is about taking a traditional project for 1 or more full-time employees and dividing it up into smaller tasks. Then, they are ‘farmed out’ to the general public via online notice boards or specialist websites. These groups of people are also called ‘cloud labour’.
Why do start-ups use crowdsourcing?
It’s perfectly suited to small companies just starting out as they often have few employees but lots of work. They also don’t have the time or the means to hire full-time or even part-time staff for one-off projects. Now, thanks to the net you can find and employ large numbers of freelancers very quickly. Financially, it also saves them a lot of money that would otherwise go to middlemen like recruitment agencies.
Does crowdsourcing make money?
Well, you can be the judge of that one. In 2011, providers of crowdsourcing announced an increase of over 70% on the previous year. Their revenues shot up from $210 to a pretty impressive $379 in 12 months alone. And it’s all down to the 6.5 billion crowdsourcing workers, a number that’s growing by the day.
What kind of work can you get from crowdsourcing?
A lot of Business start-ups operate in the internet industry so early projects may involve website construction, testing or development. Whereas, other companies use the net to run their business and so offer things like marketing research or even short translations.
What’s the catch?
Well, some critics have accused crowdsourcing of creating ‘digital sweatshops’ because freelancers can work long hours but only get a paid minimum wage. This is due to the common ‘pay per results’ structure where pay doesn’t reflect the amount of time put in.
- To go hand in hand
- Normally go together
- To be unfamiliar with sthg
- When you don’t know something
- To set up sthg
- To start or establish something like a company
- To be farmed out
- When sthg is distributed to other people
- Online notice boards
- Websites where you can leave messages or announcements
- To be perfectly suited to sthg
- When 2 things or people go well together
- Starting out
- At the beginning of their business life or career
- The means
- The resources such as money
- One-off projects
- Small jobs that are not repeated
- From the perspective of someone interested in money
- Or else
- People or organisations who operate between producers or suppliers and end customers like recruitment agencies
- You can be the judge of that one
- You can see the result and make up your own mind
- Shot up
- Increased quickly and by a large amount
- It’s all down to sthg or someone
- It’s completely due to sthg or someone
- Run their business
- Manage their company
- The catch
- A negative point like “you don’t get sthg for nothing, there’s always a catch”
- Digital sweatshops
- Where people work long hours for little pay online
- The time put in
- The amount of time invested/used for the project
[poll id=’31’] Discussion questions
- Would crowdsourcing work in your country?
- How can companies use crowdsourcing?
- Is crowdsourcing good for employees, employers or both? Why?