Alex's Tech Thoughts

Crowd-Sourcing Investigations


This past week I read this piece from Jason Calacanis called Speculation, Investigation & Hacktivism. It got me thinking that there is truly a benefit for someone to build a crowd-sourcing investigations platform.

I think, to start, the product/company should stay away from ongoing investigations. I think the beachhead is cold cases. If you start with cold cases and can solve a few, then maybe you can take on more recent cases.

Watching Reddit and 4chan work this past week may look to some as something that led to very little. Maybe even hurt. But I look at what unfolded, and think that instead of saying there is no benefit here, that someone can make it better. Remember, we are only in the first or second inning of social media and smartphones available in events like the one in Boston. I think, if done right, there can be a huge benefit and helpfulness that comes from crowd-sourcing investigations (ie it would be structured and not a free-for-all).

So… anyone working on this yet?

Checkout other articles in these categories:

Reddit 4chan Boston Crowd-sourcing Startup idea
Digital Tools I Use Everyday

I’ve been thinking about tools I use everyday and wondered how they stacked up to others.

Here is what I use:

1) Twitter (news)

2) Facebook (distribution of my blog and keeping up with friends)

3) LinkedIn (getting updates on who moved jobs, looking up people, connecting with others)

4) Google+ and Skype (google hangouts with Dwolla team for daily meeting and skype for other calls)

5) Google Docs (I rarely use Microsoft Word or Excel- only if I’m in a spot with no internet)

6) Tumblr (post my blog on Tumblr)

7) Gmail and Gchat (to email and chat)

8) Instagram (when I take photos)

9) Foursquare (using Explore to find places around me or to let friends know where I am)

10) Citibank and American Express (check on my finances)

11) Reddit and Hacker News (I’m mostly a lurker, but peruse both each day)

12) Dwolla (I work there and I pay people back with Dwolla)

13) Eventbrite (I typically have an event going on, so I check Eventbrite frequently)

14) Verizon, Time Warner, Con Edison (check my bills almost daily)

15) Games: Angry Birds, Derby Jackpot (Angry Birds played typically in the subway if no internet)

16) Spotify (I listen at my desk and with mobile app- easily worth the $10 a month)

17) Brewster (I have found it to be a much better address book)

18) Dropbox (sharing files and such)

I’m sure I am missing a few, but that is a good high level overview.

What am I missing? What do you use that is awesome and you can’t live without?

Leave it in the comments below.

reddit Donate

For the past few months, on and off, I’ve been working on a project called Reddit Donate at Dwolla. We teamed up with the good folks at Stripe and received some great guidance from the team at Reddit. We are launching it today and I’m really excited about it.

The general idea behind Reddit Donate is that we give subreddit moderators the tools to help their favorite nonprofits raise money. For those who aren’t familiar with Reddit: they are one of the most vibrant communities on the web, with user-generated news links and sub-communities ranging from Christianity and Atheism to gaming and science. 

We are launching Reddit Donate with 12 nonprofits: they are charity: water, Donor’s Choose, Fuck Cancer, hackNY, Girls Who Code, Pencils of Promise, She’s the First, goods for good, CFY, iMentor, Kiva, and United Way NYC.

Way awesome.

One of my favorite parts of Reddit Donate is the viral component. Once you make a donation you get a share page. This is similar to when you back something on Kickstarter and tweet out- “I just backed X on Kickstarter- (LINK),” we have an I just donated to X on Reddit - (LINK). We are adding the hashtag #give to the end of the tweet. We are hoping to make it go viral today.

Go check out Reddit Donate and let me know what you think.

Checkout other articles in these categories:

reddit donate reddit stripe dwolla