Good Jordanian Musician: Alaa Wardi

In light of Independence Day, it’s the perfect time to highlight a Jordanian talent. Alaa Wardi is a musician currently living in Saudi Arabia. He studied music at the Department of Fine Arts at Jordan University, and continued his studies at the SAE.

What makes Alaa’s music special is that he has the ability to play an entire song with no instruments. It is pretty cool.

My favorite part is the facial expressions.

Here are some of his songs:

This is my favorite of his songs:

My second favorite song is called “Garfan Bil Soudeyeh”:

Everyone is going over this remake of Nancy Ajram’s “Fi Hagat”. I enjoyed it the least because I can’t stand Nancy Ajram.

How to use crowdsourcing for your business

Freelancers, especially in the literal world, have been around for a long time. But thanks to advancements in technology, a world of opportunities has opened for hobbyists dealing with raw material much more tangible than words; electronics, t-shirts, miniature models, and almost any thing you can think of. If a hobbyist has the will, he or she can definitely make money from his or her hobby of choice.

The Internet means that the tools are not only affordable, but also logistically easy to handle. Music, movies, commercials, and other types of audio-visual motion pictures are transferred virtually. Interactive electronics like home-made weather stations are created using gadgets similar to the Arduino Microcontroller, a $30 open source electronics prototyping device. Aluminum chain rings, miniature plastic airplanes, and laser-cut wooden tables are designed by amateurs and then manufactured by rapid-prototyping services, companies that enable hobbyists to upload their designs and have them made out of plastic, wood, rubber, or metal.

It’s an amateur’s economy.

The good news is that with an open mind and a clear set of objectives, you can involve thousands of such hobbyists to help your business. Do you need a 100 articles in 2 days? Want to create an advertising campaign that you would normally outsource to an agency? Is your team having trouble finding the most viable solution for a technical problem?

The solution is simple; post your need and an incentive on the web, wait for the submissions to flow in, and then choose the option you like. Depending on the task required, the incentive could be cash, profit sharing, an award, or simply kudos and recognition. This process of utilizing individual pools of talent and creativity, rather than limiting oneself to small groups of professionals, is called “crowdsourcing” .

Companies large and small have been discovering the benefits of crowdsourcing, and a large talent pool is only one of the perks. With crowd sourcing, you are also decreasing costs, adding a fresh touch to your brand, and learning more about what the mass market thinks by involving them in your business process.

What’s more? From my own personal experience, I can tell you that the quality is often very good, our region not excluded.

Last month, we decided to experiment with crowdsourcing on, the Middle East’s first online community aimed at marketing professionals. The task we required was not a simple one; a massive 40x 2.5m banner to be displayed on a bridge in the UAE, less than a week for the deadline, and compliance with the UAE’s rigid rules for outdoor advertising. The winner of the competition would walk away with $500.

We were amazed by the results. The first 10 entries were sent within the first 12 hours. In the five days of the competition, we received over 200 submissions (160 of which were qualified), 158 comments, 4,000 votes, and over 17,000 visits on the competition pages alone. The designs submitted were diverse in terms of style and marketing message, and the quality was high. In fact, the winning banner is currently live:

In retrospect, several elements helped in making our crowdsourcing experiment successful. as a platform is very niche, targeting a marketing audience familiar with the rules of branding, design, and advertising. The competitors included professionals, students, and amateurs with a personal interest in the field. This helped in driving up the conceptual and visual quality of the submissions. We achieved scale by making it easy for people to contribute; the only thing we requested was to have an image emailed to us, and disqualifications happened at a later stage.

You can experiment with crowdsourcing, too. There are many platforms available online, some created specifically for crowdsourcing and others that can be easily used for that. Tools like Innocentive, CrowdSpring, and GeniusRocket allow companies to buy access to use their softwares, which are designed to get solutions from crowds. For more basic experiments, social media networks like Quora and Facebook can be easily equipped through fanpages and questions. Jo Bedu – a Jordanian t-shirt design company – hosted several very successful crowdsourcing competitions on Facebook, where they invited members to post images on their fanpage with design ideas.

If done properly, crowdsourcing can deliver productivity, innovation, and engagement that would otherwise not be possible. As it continues to accelerate as a business solution, it is radically changing the way companies deal with content.

The moral? A crowd can be smarter than any one of its members. Tap into the wisdom of your community, and change your business.

[Originally published in Venture Magazine, written by Roba Al-Assi, March 2011]

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