What I learned from writing using Crowdsourcing

March 25, 2015

by LIOR ZOREF @lior

beachA few days ago, I had the opportunity to host Singularity University’s conference in Tel-Aviv.

After speaking briefly about Mindsharing, someone from the audience asked me, “how is writing a book using crowdsourcing different than traditional writing?”

Good question.

Here are four insights I gained after spending almost 3 years in writing a book with thousands of people who took part in this crowdsourced effort.

1. Extensive research

Research is a key part of developing an idea. With so many information sources such as published research papers, book and press articles, research is a time consuming and challenging.

While sharing the different chapters in Mindsharing with my crowd, many people volunteered to help me do better research.

They have sent me dozen of relevant articles, books and links to YouTube talks from other researcher and authors. This is how I learned about the strength of weak ties, the science behind how our brain is wired for connections, social production and many other ideas that I reference in the book.

Crowdsourcing helped make Mindsharing a solid idea based on the ideas of leading researchers while taking them one-step further.

2. No writer’s block

Any author knows what writer’s block is. It is when an author loses the ability to be productive and write.

The first time it happened to me, I was scared. What if I’ll miss my deadline? What if I’ve lost my ability to write?

I shared this feeling with my crowd and the crowd came back sharing with their empathy and many ideas on how to cope with a writer’s block.

As a result, I left my office and started to write outside while visiting inspiring places and meeting inspiring people.

Tel-Aviv’s beautiful beaches and colorful sunsets became my favorite settings for creativity and writing.

3. Real-time feedback

“Feedback is breakfast of champions”, Ken Blanchard.

Using crowdsourcing while writing means constant feedback in real time. Whenever I share a new idea, a new chapter or any dilemma, I get immediate feedback.  

Over the months and years of writing, I’ve became addicted to this feedback. Feedback is food for constant challenge and improvement.

It makes the author more committed to the readers as they constantly push him to do better work.

4. Being confident

This is probably my biggest insight.

I cannot imagine how authors wait until their book is published to learn how people react to their work.

The writing process can take many months and years in which they remain clueless what the people will think about their work.

Using crowdsourcing I found myself surrounded by people who told me they appreciate what I do, they find it useful and inspiring.

I received phone calls and emails from people I never met (weak ties) after they’ve read and commented on a chapter I shared. Many of them were emotional and enthusiastic about what they have read.

I knew people find value in Mindsharing long before I finished writing it. I knew it touches people’s lives in a profound way.

There’s no better feeling an author can get and crowdsourcing allowed me to feel this while and not after writing the book.

Crowdsourcing takes time. It makes the writing process more complicated adding many new steps (as I describe in the book).

For me it was worth the effort.

I’ll never write alone.

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