Craft matters a whole lot more than Kraft nowadays. More intrinsically, big consortiums are feeling it. Just check out this article from The Economist -your mustache balm painstakingly made by riverside nuns may soon be a Unilever property. What does this have to do with SaaS, DaaS, and gen tech? Everything. It’s about who, or what, is making your software…and why.
Self-identified hillbillies with a smartphone may sing sad songs about Uber or other services. What unites these apps, though, are twofold: demand and a compelling origin story. Buying into an app means more than just using a service. For millennials, at least, buying a product is not just about ROI. It’s a matter of identity. Bad software with great branding gets away with badness for just this reason. It’s not just a matter of what works. It’s a matter of what works that’s from people who target users identify with.
Granted, this used to be internal. Only numbnuts are unaware that their dubious climb as one of the first employees of Microsoft, Apple, or Amazon is tinged with favoritism. There’s a reason why engineers are overwhelmingly talented…or overwhelmingly caucasian males.
Big brands aren’t ever too big to care. They adjust with the times, same as anyone else. Diversity and agile processing are mattering more and more. Foster Farms now offers hormone-free chicken fingers. Ditto for Dannon and yogurt. Their claims match the facts, even if their treatment of animals are woeful.
Vegans may spit, but the same can be said of tech services. Desperate coders, marketers, etc, often live in their own shit. The struggle is first world but it has third world implications. Would these people live as awfully as third world farmhands if their skills were less scarce? Would South Asian farm hands live better if their skills were more scarce? Doubtful. The real question is proximity and awareness. There’s a reason why meat packagers in the U.S. are reforming or shipping their shit to the military.
The same can be said for software. Movies are being made about its leaders. Who could imagine any one of them receiving such bioptics 20 years ago? “Less athletic sorts” have come a long way. With this newfound fame and attention comes concerns. How are these services handling their employees? How much are they outsourcing? Where are they outsourcing?
These are the questions that more and more consumers are asking themselves. These are the questions that more and more investors are also asking.
The major surge of crowdsourcing is no accident. Investors of all of caliber want more than just a product…they want to feel agency in its creation. Of course, the heaviest-handed investors are also the most active. Just look at Kickstarter. Major success (upstarts) pertain to technology or geekdom.
Crowdsourcing offers a cool glimpse into the future. So does, for that matter, Title III of the Jobs Act. Consumers want more control over their products. They want to feel involved. This necessitates a general sanitation of business practices and mores. Where it will lead should be interesting.
Images courtesy of Mike Mozart via Creative Commons