Thursday, February 14, 2013

CloudSpokes State of the Union

Welcome to the new CloudSpokes! With the launch of our newly designed website comes a new chapter in CloudSpokes. This is a year in which not only CloudSpokes, but crowdsourcing becomes pervasive, and we aim to be the center of the movement (which we've lovingly nicknamed "Primetime"). Being in the spotlight while crowdsourcing changes the way the business world operates means we need to continue to be transparent, highlighting our successes and fixing our bugs, allowing us as a community to grow and prosper together.

Since the start of this new year, the CloudSpokes team has been dedicated to growing the community. We’re excited to share our progress with you. In conjunction with launching a new site, we have been working tirelessly on bringing more challenges and new customers to the site for you to work with. Spearheaded by your challenge results, CloudSpokes has secured some premier level partners who have pledged to consistently bring numerous challenges to the community throughout 2013. We have also expanded as a team and are eager to keep doing so. Behind the scenes operations have been a rollercoaster ride of tasks, keeping us all on edge, grinding the midnight oil, and wearing down our keyboards until theres nothing left but a pile of plastic dust.

Even we've been surprised by the power of this community and want to highlight some recent achievements that wouldn't be possible without our phenomenal members:
“Special thanks to cloud110989, logontokartik, Kenji776, chetanpg59 and especially soe and sgurumurthy who helped us rebuild a legacy email based case management tool entirely in Salesforce with the most awesome bootstrap.JS interface I have ever seen” - Kyle Bowerman

Those simply could not have been done without the creativity, and tenacity of each and every community member involved. Although we have a lot to celebrate, we're not overlooking a few key areas that we need to work on. We know we're not perfect and appreciate your continued feedback. We're listening and have outlined a few key areas to focus on improving in the near term:
  • Review times of challenges running past winner announced date
  • Peer reviewed challenges scores being questioned
  • Payments delayed due to late challenges

On to our core topics:

Member Interaction:
Forums are the same old tool that has been around for a long time now! We actually purposely stayed away from forums for our first two years. But it still seems to be the most efficient way of communicating with our members. Please check out our new forums and we definitely want your feedback on what we can do better and what you want to see more of. Don't forget to checkout, +CloudSpokes, our Google+ Community, we are still looking for ideas/suggestion on how to use this communication vehicle.

Lastly, we also intend on redoing our profiles. You may have seen some challenges recently around that, but expect a highly integrated profile. What would you like to see in your profile?

Health Check:
Knowing what we are struggling with allows us to address these issues proactively and in a community manner. We need your help correcting our faults, and spotlighting those members who bring the solutions to the table. Challenges running over time and having extreme delays are unacceptable and will be monitored daily by our team. What we are working on implementing is a community health check every month, that we can post on our blog indicating the metrics on the things that matter the most to you. We have drastically improved our length of time to score metric to date along with others, but we can add more transparency around some of the key metrics we monitor when it comes to community health. Expect this health check to be a monthly overview of all the major metrics that make the platform tick.

Hall of Fame:
It also comes with great pleasure that we will also be introducing the CloudSpokes Hall of Fame, an elite group of members who represent what CloudSpokes means through and through. Not just the top members of the leaderboard, but members who strive to better the community in any and all ways. Members who inspire, intimidate, and enrich the the lives of the rest of the community simply by being involved. Our Hall of Fame members will be looked up to with the utmost respect by the CloudSpokes team. We are extremely excited and anxious to initiate our Alpha class into the Hall of Fame in just a matter of weeks.

Community Judging:
Community Judging needs to be as streamlined as possible. Community Judging allows your peers to provide constructive criticism to the community as well as gives us the bandwidth to keep challenges and reviews on track. Without community judging, we simply would not be able to do the things we want to do, and would not be able to scale community growth and provide more opportunities to win. We understand that being reviewed will always be a touchy subject, and we commit to make the integrity of this process a top priority. To best find and reduce the bugs, we would like to introduce an Appellate Committee, comprised of our top members in the community, selected by you the community to further judge all scores in question. Our vision for the Appellate Committee is that it will be actively involved in regular communication between the CloudSpokes team and the community. However, we also envision an evolution driven by usage, and commentary from the community. We’re looking to you to help us drive the definition of that process.

We have two automation initiatives that should make our members happier than a witch in a broom factory in 2013. One initiative is an automated build/deploy/test tool that will reserve a development environment, deploy your code, test it and send you the results as soon as you submit. The second initiative, is an internal project that will build the requirement section of the challenge and automatically generate a scorecard (judging criteria) to reflect the individual requirements based on the weight provided by the challenge author.

Payments are a core competency of CloudSpokes. Without prizes for your efforts, there is no reason for you to compete. We pride ourselves on paying above market competitive prices for the work that you as members submit, and we intend to keep it that way. Delays in payments can happen for a number of reasons, most of which are caused by the delays in winner announced dates. However, payments are also often delayed due to incomplete profile information of winning members. We urge each member to fill out and complete their account information. To attack payments being delayed due to late challenges, the Appellate Committee will play a crucial part in making sure challenges are kept on track.

We have recently implemented a new payment calendar, to have all methods of payments processed on the 10th and 20th of every month, and adjusted the way we attack delayed challenges. In unison we are actively working to maintain the consistency of our payments, and making sure payment integrity remains our top-level priority.

By the end of 2013 things will be very different than they are today. The community will have grown to more than 100,000 members and the dollars paid will be rocketing past $2,000,000. There will be multiple members with more than $100,000 won and maybe even a member with $100k in 2013 alone! The possibilities are limitless, but can only be accomplished through utilizing the entire community. That means we need you, to keep pushing us and keep us in check. 2013 is the year of CloudSpokes, and 2013 is going to be primetime.


  1. Wonderful post Dave. It truly is amazing how Cloudspokes has evolved over the past 2 years. Looking forward to continue association with this wonderful community and spearhead the crowdsourcing movement.

  2. Amazing vision, amazing journey with cloudspokes...already getting goosebumps after reading the post...:)

  3. Great post which aptly summarizes how CloudSpokes has been a revelation of sorts in the crowdsourcing industry. The best part - we've just reached the tip of the iceberg and CloudSpokes will only get bigger and better each year.

    Best Wishes,