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Three’s a Crowdsource [What the Tech?!]

What the Tech’s techy buzzword of the week is “crowdsourcing”. I’m calling it a buzzword because I’m sure many of you have heard it and been able to deduce a general meaning behind it, but there’s a decent chance you’re still sort of in the dark.


Crowdsourcing is when a company or individual employs a not-yet-determined group of people to contribute a small piece in order to create a bigger-picture puzzle.

If you were to ask your friends to help you out with something, that’d be outsourcing.

But if you were to put your thing you needed help with out there to reach a broader public, and members of the public voluntarily participated in helping you, then that’s crowdsourcing.

What the tech does this have to do with technology? Well most crowdsourcing projects today are taking place via websites or apps and usually to accomplish building a self-perpetuating service.

Allow me to share with you some of my favorite apps and websites that utilize crowdsourcing in some awesome ways.



1. My Fitness Pal App – Android and iOS

My Fitness Pal is possibly the highest rated fitness and food tracking app on the market and *bonus*, it got a revamp this week with a nicer UI (user interface – the fancy word for ‘what it looks like’) than ever before.

Their website also provides the same function as their app.

As is the case with most people I’ve met, I have a hard time keeping track of what I put in my mouth (that’s what she said!). My Fitness Pal allows me to customize how many calories I’d like to eat a day by guiding me to either weight loss or weight maintenance. I then log my food into the app as I eat each day.

Here’s where the crowdsourcing comes in. My Fitness Pal allows users (unlike myself – you’ll find that I utilize more than contribute in these crowdsourcing gigs) to input foods and their nutritional info and barcode into their food database.

Then, when lazy users such as myself eat something, all we need to do is use the camera on our phone to scan the barcode on the packaging (or search by name/brand) and voila!, my nutrition has been logged based on whatever serving I tell it I’ve eaten.

The best thing about this, as is pretty much the best thing about all crowdsourced services, is that the database never becomes obsolete.

The app also allows you to log your exercise, measurements, weight and water intake and of course, link with friends to give each other shit for eating like crap.




Quora is a website where one can go to ask a question they’re seeking answers to.

When Jeeves, Google or Yahoo Answers have failed to satisfy your curious mind, Quora steps up and provides the same type of hoity toity users you find on Linkedin. Users self important enough to sometimes regard their answer to your question as a blog posting in and of itself.  

Not to say everyone on this website is a professional and should be regarded as such, but it’s a place to ask your question and be confident that you won’t get “COOL STORY BRO” as the only answer offered.

Questions posed can fall into a variety of categories and range from academic to thought-provoking and philosophical.

You can ask one yourself or spend hours browsing through previously asked questions. It’s my new place I go to BEFORE Google and the emergency room. And that says a lot.




Although recently deemed illegal in New York due to hotel regulation laws, Airbnb is like had a lovechild with craigslist. It’s glorious. As a matter of fact, I recommend that no one stay in a hotel ever again.

Airbnb allows you to search for short term stays in cities you’re traveling to for the price range you’re looking for. It’s crowdsourced because all of the accommodations offered are by private owners and are for anything from rooms in an occupied house, a vacant condo, house, a planted RV or mobile home.

The listings are managed by the offerers/owners and provide lots of detail and photographs so you feel pretty confident about what you’re getting yourself into.

Also, if you’re going out of town and looking to make a little extra cash and have a big safe to put your expensive stuff in while you’re gone, I recommend throwing your place on there to see what sticks.

When the ‘big football game’ came to Tampa a few years back, I had to use craigslist to rent out my condo for $350/night while I stayed at a friends house. Airbnb would’ve made that entire process a shit ton easier on myself and the renters.

I’m taking my girlfriend to Palm Springs for the weekend sometime next month and I’m pretty sure we’re staying here. 

I may honestly never pay for a hotel room again. Why would you, when you can stay somewhere rad and unique for a lot less?


There’s a lot more I’d cover if I had the space. Things that didn’t make the list today were Waze (which I touched on last week), Ingress (which deserves an entire blog in and of itself) and Figure 1.


I’m looking forward to laying down the F&N podcast this weekend for release next week. Be sure to tune in for the ridiculous blathering and ball busting which is sure to take place.

Until next week, fierce nerds!

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