aHead in the CLOUD –

Category Archives: Crowdsourcing

Free University-Level Courses in the Cloud with P2PU

Apple laptop

So, your Master of Science in Marketing degree won you a great job when you graduated ten years ago.  But social media wasn’t around ten years ago, so you either stayed with traditional marketing jobs, went back to the University in hopes of finding courses in Social Media Marketing taught by someone with actual social media experience, or learned social media marketing techniques in your spare time. Entrepreneurial Marketing is just one example of the dozens of online University-level courses offered at Peer-to-Peer University (P2PU).  Courses are free, mostly asynchronous, and taught with structure, guidance, and support around open course materials.

P2PU is a grassroots open education project that organizes learning outside of institutional walls and gives learners recognition for their achievements.  Courses are offered free of charge and P2PU is run largely by volunteers.  P2PU has received seed funding to cover operational costs and because web hosting costs are very low, P2PU has few other operational expenses.  Although P2PU may charge small registration fees in the future to ensure perceived value in the course, P2PU promises that it won’t restrict access to course information.  Although not accredited yet, individual instructors are seeking accreditation from their affiliated institutions.  In fact, some students are already receiving credit from some western universities.

The P2PU initiative is very popular with web technologists who are almost completely self-taught in the web design and development fields. Most traditional academic institutions don’t offer university-level courses or degrees in emerging web scripting languages.  In fact, the courses were so popular that P2PU created a sub school called P2PU Webcraft.  Webcraft courses are mostly taught by expert peers working in the field, not college professors with advanced degrees.  However, the skills gained can lead to high-paying jobs where real experience ranks above a college degree.P2PU is always looking for volunteers to propose and teach open courses.  So, if you’ve got an idea for a course and some spare time, consider facilitating a P2PU course of your own!


A Global Perspective on WikiLeaks

Regardless of what you believe about WikiLeaks, if you’re living in the U.S., chances are you’ve developed your opinion based on what WikiLeaks means for the U.S.  I’m not trying to change your opinion but I’d like to expand your perspective.  Everyone around the globe is talking about WikiLeaks, whether or not Twitter acknowledges it.  So, while we’re busy wondering and tweeting about what WikiLeaks means for our national security and  international reputation, others around the world are blogging about what they now know about America (thanks to WikiLeaks) and what it means for their countries.

Lisboa, 11/12/2010

Photo courtesy of wikileakspt

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The Future of Journalism Is?

Lisa Stone of BlogHer

On November 5, 2010, the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fl asked those attending Social Media Day to tweet the ending to “The future of journalism is . . . ”

When I first walked into the event, I felt unqualified to answer such an important question.  Surely, the experts presenting that day were better equipped to answer that question than I.  With experts from some of the most interesting, successful, insightful, and innovative social media organizations in the U.S., what could I possibly add to this question that they haven’t already noted?  I was both in awe of and amazed by the genius of Matt Thompson of NPR, Lisa Stone of BlogHer, Charlene Li of Altimeter GroupMónica Guzmán Preston of Intersect (you MUST check out Intersect!), Vadim Lavrusik of Mashable, and several others!

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Flickr Creative Commons

Street Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Giulio Zannol

Flickr is one of the most popular photo sharing sites on the planet. However, it’s not just a place to dump your pictures. I use Flickr as much, if not more, to find pictures. One of my favorite features on Flickr is the Explore Creative Commons photos. There are several different Creative Commons licenses.  If you don’t know what Creative Commons licenses are, learn more before using any Creative Commons licensed content. Briefly, Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that offers an alternative to full copyright.

Flickr has a very handy Creative Commons search for finding content under the various licenses. Depending on what you plan to do with the images you find, you’ll need to search for content in the appropriate areas. Why not honor the golden rule and set a creative commons license on some of your original photos, too.  By default, Flickr designates your uploaded photos with the ‘all rights reserved’ copyright.  However, you can modify your entire account license so that every single image is Creative Commons licensed.  If you prefer to modify the copyright license on selected images,  change the license type under the Owner Settings of each picture by clicking on the edit link.

Found on Flickr: Creative Commons- Attribution licensed cloud computing pics

Cloud Computing

Photo courtesy of Kevin Krejci

Current Theory on "Cloud Computing"

Photo courtesy of Cote


Photo courtesy of James Cridland


photo courtesy of Silicon Angle

Shopping for Horizon Project Items

Photo courtesy of cogdogblog

Humanizing Key to Success

Tampa’s Kevin Hale, one of the founders of Infinity Box, Inc. and one of the creators of, shares his secrets for success in the internet start-up business.  Take thirty minutes from your lunch break to watch Kevin’s enthusiastic ‘Internet start up boot camp’ video.

OK, so what is Kevin’s secret?

Fanatical Customer Service

WuFoo‘s philosophy for customer service is interesting.  WuFoo takes a psychological approach to customer service.  Kevin explains the approach as dating new customers and marrying regular customers.  Translation:  Work hard to make great first impressions, and personalize service to exiting customers.

Dating = New Customer Interaction

  • Developers are part of the customer support process.  Because developers  support the products they develop, they are best equipped to fix issues and  learn to build better apps as a result:  ‘Build products like you have to support them’ philosophy
  • WuFoo pays careful attention to the pages that new customers are most likely to see first, such as login, home, launch, account, and first support pages.  Pages are friendly, fun, and  well thought-out (This last one kind of reminds me of Apple’s philosophy about their gadgets)

Marriage = Managing existing customers

  • WuFoo has its developers write hand-written thank-you notes to regular customers every week.
  • Fun and rewarding contest:  WuFoo gave away a battle-ax as part of an API contest!  The winners received cash and the ax, but WuFoo gained several new product features as a result! Great example of crowdsourcing!

Operational Logistics

  • WuFoo leverages many free and open source tools to manage its internal communications, and then builds support and documentation right into the development process.
  • New products aren’t launched unless documentation, tool tips, and support features are complete.  Nice!

The key take away from WuFoo’s approach to its startup success is that it humanizes its product from start to finish.  Users don’t just sign-up for a Wufoo account, they ‘marry’ it!

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