From January to June: six months of micro (and macro) work

July 6th, 2011 by

microtask_6months_2011Believe it or not, it has been over six months since our last Microtask news update. Back in the chilly depths of December, we wondered what new crowdsourcing delights (and disasters) 2011 might bring. Now, summer’s here and the whole of Helsinki seems to have abandoned work to sunbathe in the park (you can almost hear the economy grinding to a halt). We thought it was high time for another recap. So why not take your laptop into the sunshine and enjoy the highlights of the Microtask year so far:

Two launches and a herring
It has been a fantastic six months. The success of Digitalkoot (our newly launched library archive digitization project) has surprised even us: so far, over 60,000 people have completed 4,661,832 microtasks of mole-based fun. In May, we announced Microtask Forms – a crowdsourced service to “digitize and destroy” unwieldy paper forms (check out the free trial). To top it all, we’re also the proud winners of a Red Herring Europe TOP 100 award – apparently this makes us one of “the most innovative and promising startups in Europe” (oh stop it, we’re blushing!).

Media coverage has also been pretty spectacular. Digitalkoot has featured in The New York Times, Wired (by Bruce Sterling, no less!), Contagious, the BBC and Monocle to mention the most prestigious publications. Back on home ground, our blog continues to attract thousands of unique visitors (mainly from Finland, US and UK) with daily traffic doubling over the last year. Good news for guest bloggers Jani Penttinen, David Bratvold and Ida Hakola (got a burning crowdsourcing issue to discuss? Get in touch!) The icing on the cake is our collaboration with leading industry site The Daily Crowdsource: Microtask’s CEO Ville Miettinen is now an official Daily Crowdsource Crowd Leader.

Worker tales
So what does Microtask’s hardworking staff make of the year so far? I deployed my expert journalistic skills (i.e. went and annoyed my colleagues with questions) to find out. First up was Harry, our Senior Designer, who revealed he was actually “surprised that people played the games in Digitalkoot”. His doubts weren’t about the games themselves, but that people chose to play them rather than all the other great games available on the net. CTO Otto was more upbeat, describing how he’d been very happy to deliver his first academic paper for HCOMP, writing in collaboration with Sami, one of our engineers. Panu, VP of Sales, was most excited about Microtask Forms: “If Digitalkoot was our proof of concept, with Microtask Form we can go to partners and show something that actually solves their problems”.

As for me, I’m confident our blog has some of the best articles on crowdsourcing available online. Most of all, I’m happy we’ve reached this level while keeping posts and tweets light-hearted and informative (qualities that are sadly lacking in most corporate blogs, I think).

The second half of 2011 is set to be just as busy as the first. Plans include getting more writers on the blog (including some engineers, as soon as we can drag them away from coding), and developing the commercial side of Microtask Forms even further. To find out how well we succeed, tune in again in (you guessed it) about six months time.