The Story of Digital Revolution Created By Crowdsourcing

by CXOtoday News Desk    Dec 30, 2013


Walter Isaacson, biographer of Steve Jobs and one of the most renowned writers in the world, is leveraging the power of ‘crowdsourcing’ to popularize his new book on digital era involving IT industry’s major inventors, according to a report by The Verge.

The report noted Isaacson’s crowdsourcing experiment is notable not only because of his reputation as a distinguished author, but because of the subject matter itself. While focusing on the story of digital innovation starting with 19th century computing pioneer Ada Lovelace, and writing about people who have taken the digital revolution forward, Isaacson involves some of the same individuals to participate in the online editing process.

Isaacson has posted excerpts from his new novel across a variety of different online publishing platforms, including Medium, Scribd, and LiveJournal, asking interested parties to read the passages and contribute any notes or corrections. “Online collaboration is why the Internet was originally built,” Isaacson writes at the beginning of one excerpt, “and I’m interested in any comments or corrections readers might want to make before I publish in a year.”

Stewart Brand — editor of Whole Earth Catalog and creator of The WELL — already having stepped in to correct passages about his own background, said The Verge report.

According to another report in Techcrunch, “Though only two chapters are online, it’s already got attention from an impressive group. Stanford Professor of Political Theory Rob Reich thought the role of government in funding the early Internet got short shrift, and recommended Isaacson give it some attention. Isaacson wrote that, “Yes, I will add a section on govt research at MIT, Stanford, Lincoln Lab, BBN, SRI, etc. Very important. I’m a fan of Leslie Berlin and her Noyce bio is superb.”

Experts believe, crowdsourcing, though a wonderful concept, may not work for every book. With  Isaacson’s fanfare in the industry and an elite circle of supporters, it may be possible. However, for newbies, it might not work. However, many believe it is a landmark initiative that is more transparent and participatory and an ideal example in the digital era.