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Testing the Limits with John Winsor

Having grilled some of the top minds in the software business, this installment of Testing the Limits will deviate johnwinsorslightly from the norm. With us this month is John Winsor – author, entrepreneur and crowdsourcing expert.

After a successful career as a journalist and magazine publisher, John founded Radar Communications in 1998, where he implemented a variety of academic-based market intelligence tools to help some of the country’s most progressive companies learn from key voices in their communities. Today, he offers that same advice as the VP/Executive Director of Strategy and Product Innovation at Crispin, Porter + Bogusky.

John has written extensively on the subject of crowdsourcing, having published the popular 2005 book Spark: Be more Innovative through Co-Creation. With his latest book Baked In: Creating Products and Businesses That Market Themselves now hitting the shelves, John was kind enough to sit down with us to discuss the future of crowdsourcing, the premise of his new book, and the best (or worst) rock-climbing movies of all-time.

uTest: The hottest debate in crowdsourcing right now is the “fall” of traditional advertising or design firms and the “rise” of crowdsourced services. In your opinion, what does the future of crowdsourcing look like? Is the world ready for what you call the “digital tsunami?”

JW: Well the future of crowdsourcing is definitely bright, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions in people’s minds. Those who are skeptical of crowdsourcing question its ability to truly connect people. With crowdsourcing, you no longer have all of these professionals working together in the same building – that alone is often too much for some people to come to terms with. The idea of a crowd aggregating to solve business problems in a virtual environment is entirely new to most people, even though the underlying trend has been developing for years. The difference now is that it simply can’t be ignored.

uTest: So you see crowdsourcing as eventually obtaining mainstream acceptance?

JW: Absolutely. People are starting to see the full potential of this model, especially on the client side of the equation. There was a time when most people viewed crowdsourcing as chaos – like the inmates running the asylum, and that’s no longer the case for a growing number of people. So I think we’re just getting started.

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Testing the Limits with James Whittaker (part one)

Once a month, we’re going to “test the limits”, interviewing a leading thinker in the world of testing and quality.  It james_whittakercould be a journalist, an industry analyst or an exec from a top software company.  To kick this program off, we could think of no better person than our good friend, Dr. James Whittaker.  So we recently interviewed James by bouncing emails back & forth over the course of a few days.

Several of these questions came directly from our community of testers.  The whole exchange is fairly lengthy, so we’re splitting it into two posts.  Come back and check out the 2nd half later this week.

uTest:  So the news is out about your move to Google. What prompted you to make this move?

JW:  I didn’t so much leave Microsoft and I did join Google. I was attracted by all the Googlers I met at conferences and what I read on their blogs about the way they test. When they offered me the opportunity to be a part of it, one might even argue an important part of it, I found it impossible to decline.

uTest:  Is there something about Microsoft you’ll miss the most?

JW:  Yes, the breadth of both products and expertise. You literally have every type of software imaginable and a chance to collaborate with the people who make that software. From an intellectual standpoint, Microsoft is mind-blowing.

uTest:  What specific work at Microsoft did you enjoy the most?

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