Color me old school, but I have a hard time taking the opinion of a crowd over anything.
Even if we play the “Founding Fathers” card, they too were against obliging the will of the majority. That’s why in the Senate, each state, how matter how big or small, has the same number of Senators. It is meant to balance out the crazies (on both sides) in the House.
The same applies in business. Professionals are called professionals because they spend a dedicated amount of time becoming proficient at certain activities. I may be able to understand using crowds of professionals (when necessary) but using consumers or the public for certain matters that were traditionally in the hands of “experts” is totally beyond me.
I do see the attractiveness of selling a product or service that the crowd of consumers design themselves. It goes back to a saying in marketing, that we want to provide what the consumers want.
But the saying was never meant to be taken literally.
A book came out about using crowds and Freakonomics covered it. I do believe they made valid points, but I think my studies of behavioral economics and following the research of Dr. Dan Ariely have made me conclude that there is no such thing as a rational crowd. When groups begin to make decisions, inaccuracies are bound to follow.
Maybe that product or service designed by the group will sell, but I would believe that the driving forces are not the features picked from the crowd, but in fact because the crowd wants to but the product they designed, and people- who don’t like many options- will choose the option others are buying.
I’ll listen to a crowd.
But obey one?