Tag Archives: synergy

Crowdsourcing at Netflix

The challenge: Create an algorithm that was 10% better than the one Netflix was currently using to recommend movies to subscribers and win $1,000,000!

The contest began on October 2, 2006 and was expected to take some time. It is a great example of crowdsourcing, or community-based design, which allows organizations to become more porous and tap talent outside of their organization.

“It’s been quite a drama,” said Neil Hunt, Netflix chief product officer. “At first, a whole lot of teams got in — and they got 6-percent improvement, 7-percent improvement, 8-percent improvement, and then it started slowing down, and we got into year two. There was this long period where they were barely making progress, and we were thinking, ‘maybe this will never be won.’

On September 21, 2009 Netflix awarded the $1M Grand Prize to the collaborative team “BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos.” Tune in tomorrow to find out about the role of collaboration in this contest!



Thinking twice about being a solo act

Recently I listened to an interview on a local NPR-affiliate radio station of Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes.  He described a collaboration with South African artist Robin Rhode which they are performing at NYC’s Lincoln Center. “Pictures Reframed” included Rhode’s panels of  art and a video along with Andsnes playing “Pictures at an Exhibition”, by the 19th century Russian composer,  Mussorgsky.

Performance of "Pictures Reframed"

Performance of "Pictures Reframed" ( photo used with permission)

Reviews suggest that this mixing of music, film and abstract art surpassed the impact of each art alone.  Andsnes is quoted as saying he doesn’t know where this collaboration will lead but more performances are scheduled throughout this fall season.  As Andsnes reminds us in his biography (http://www.andsnes.com/index.php), joining with another to create is a way to increase the challenge in ones’ work and life.  This all makes me stop and take stock of where I am acting solo when a collaborator might help me have greater impact.