Crowdsourcing Demand

One of my favorite features in a web application is Demand It! from Eventful. The concept is simple but powerful (the best kind). Users demand events, movies, concerts, etc and if they can rally enough demands, they get the events to come to their location. This puts the decision about where a touring event goes into the hands of the fans and reduces the power of the concert organizers.

Eventful founder Brian Dear told me:

I remember US bands shocked to discover they had throngs of fans in distant places like Finland and Uruguay and Japan, and so they'd go tour there because it turned out their Demand it! numbers in those places were big enough to get gigs that would be profitable.  

There are signs that this type of fan behavior is spreading to the large scale social networks and I think that's a good thing. AVC community member Tyrone Rubin recently told me about a Facebook effort to get Radiohead to play a concert in South Africa, a country they have never performed in. To date they have almost 6,000 south african fans requesting a Radiohead concert. Their goal is to get 40,000 fans to make that request.

I asked Tyrone about the broader significance of this effort. He said:

For me its the objective of success. And if we successfully do this,
by bypassing the top 3 concert organizers, hopefully South Africa and
Africa can start coming together like this for other things too.

Unifying people together for one strong centralized voice is not new,
but definitely new in Africa and South Africa.

With the Facebook IPO on everyone's mind, the topic du jour seems to be valuations, revenues, and profits. But the most impactful thing about social media is not the dollar value of these platforms, it is the people power of them. 


Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    It’s like a reverse survey – cool.Makes sense for so many businesses.

  2. tyronerubin

    Thanks and hopefully we get our goal…

    1. William Mougayar

      Congratulations. This is very inspiring & all the best in reaching the goal.

      1. tyronerubin


    2. bsoist

      Great stuff. I wish you the best.I do have one question about this kind of campaign. Is the goal with the Facebook campaign to generate 40,000 likes with no attention paid to how many of them are from fans in South Africa? I’m not knocking the idea – far from it – I’m just wondering if a like from me (a guy who loves to visit SA, but will not be doing so any time soon) should sway a band to play there?

      1. tyronerubin

        Most of them are from South Africa but the more likes the more chance we have of getting noticed. The louder the voice created.

        1. awaldstein

          Logically that makes sense.But many likes from all over is not as powerful as many likes with context or intent.That’s why I love Kickstarter, When I support a project they hold my dollars. It’s a commitment that if the group builds, transacts.I’m just less and less impressed by the power of a ‘Like’. Lot’s of noise can be a trend but also be just traffic noise if it’s not focused.

          1. Chris Coldewey

            There is an exciting space between the FB “like” and the Kickstarter dollar value commitment: additional (not necessarily monetary) ways for fans to signal interest and push the ball forward on the collective goal. Suggesting venues, people to connect with, etc. Less important for Radiohead since this will all be handled by concert pros, but huge for indie speakers & musicians.

        2. William Mougayar

          Re: Arnold’s comment, what if they put $5 as a deposit for their vote?

    3. ShanaC

      Good Luck

  3. John Best

    There’s timing! Daughter #2 was looking for a way to persuade her favourite band (Japanese) to play in the UK. I shall show her this!

  4. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Nice. It’s the enlightened way to look at it – not simply the crude monetization/ARPU model, let alone based on the ‘value’ of their personal data, it’s taking the view that if you engage them in a transparent and relevant way, business will follow, naturally – and sustainably.

  5. FundingPost

    If you come, they will build it

  6. awaldstein

    Power to the group!Great example of the trend towards centering the world around me, and you and individuals and our groups rather than company’s and brands.This is the VRM concept playing out in different ways.

  7. Rohan

    ..of the people, for the people, by the people.Nice.

  8. jeffyablon

    Timing is right. My kids as well, without using words like “crowdsourcing”, of course, are asking for this kind o’ stuff now.

    1. fredwilson

      Whats a mainstream word for this sort of thing?

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith


      2. William Mougayar

        I’m looking for that word too,- something that depicts crowdsourcing & peer-to-peer. The kids will have it figured out.

      3. falicon


        1. fredwilson

          yes, but i want something newlike freemium was

          1. panterosa,


          2. falicon

            well historically it’s been called “people-power” and it’s been changing/shaping the world forever (one of my favorite examples from my life time is… )…it’s just getting easier to organize it and get it started…maybe that helps spark a naming/labeling idea?

          3. fredwilson

            yes, for suremaybe that’s good enoughi believe that is how i ended my post so i “agree with you more than you agree with yourself”funny aside: i was in a board meeting yesterday and i used JLM’s well known line and everyone loved it

          4. John Revay


          5. Carl Rahn Griffith


          6. panterosa,


          7. ShanaC

            I really like the term peerable, but not for crowdsourcing. It sounds like it means “a web material in which the way you share it makes you a peer to the receiver, as opposed to a straight up broadcaster”

          8. Chris Coldewey

            kickstarting.not a new word overall but new in its referring to kickstarter. i am starting to hear this more and more from people outside the tech world.

      4. Dan

        Struggling to think of one. The term crowdsourcing is an elegant summary of an otherwise lengthy description about “involving a community in generating something” or “wouldn’t it be cool if we could just get enough people to…”. While the concept has existed for generations, it does seem like we’re reaching the tipping point of mainstream usage. Curious if others have a good alternate word or favorite example of crowdsourcing to draw?

      5. jeffyablon

        Wish I had an answer; I was mostly just speaking off the cuff in my wry-and-yet-somehow-simultaneously-slick way. ;-)Lack of a good word notwithstanding, my point was that “these kids today” eschew jargon-y words like those that we old-timers seem to love. My kids (24, 23, 18) know what crowdsourcing MEANS, but they would never SAY it.And perhaps fittingly to the conversation, my browser (Chrome) sees the word crowdsourcing as a typo. Hmmmmmm.

      6. FlavioGomes


        1. fredwilson

          i like that! kind of like Pearl Jam

          1. FlavioGomes

            Peerjam – people getting together, some bringing different instruments to the session…thinking, tinkering, iterating, agreeing, harmonizing…hopefully resulting in a cool tune or movement…Its what a jams all about

      7. matthughes

        Peer pressure? 😉

  9. William Mougayar

    This is really Peer-to-Peer in action.I wished there was a better word than P2P to describe the underlying current. because it enables so many things & it puts word of mouth & crowd sourcing on steroids via social sharing.If Facebook was used in this manner to topple governments, I’m sure you will succeed in bringing Radiohead.

  10. Cam MacRae

    Very cool @tyronerubin:disqus .A slightly less explicit gesture of demand, but gesture nonetheless if only the boneheads in hollywood et. al were smart enough to see it, is the volume of people downloading high quality TV series over bittorrent because it’s not available by any legal means.A couple of days ago I heard an interview with Australia’s Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband, Malcolm Turnbull, in which he called for a global system of copyrights – apparently he likes Game of Thrones too!

  11. bsoist

    “it is the people power of them”A point that was brought up at least once at hacking society. The power of Reddit is in the community, not the software or platform. I don’t visit Reddit very often, but I understood the point. Someone (not sure who – I tried to keep up) talked about building communities like cities, which I thought was a great analogy.I’ve been thinking a lot lately about blog comments in this regard. I started frequenting online “discussions” years and years ago and essentially gave up on many of them because they devolved into fights and nonsense. I’ve just recently discovered that some of my favorite blogs foster real live communities with respectful, intelligent participants.As much as I like what Fred has to say here, the real power here is in the breadth of ideas and opinions in the comments.(I might have strayed off topic a bit, but this has been on my mind a lot lately, and that last sentence really strikes a chord with me.)

    1. William Mougayar

      Bill,”I’ve just recently discovered that some of my favorite blogs foster real live communities with respectful, intelligent participants.” This is so very true and empowering.Every comment is an implicit linkage to a person, therefore a relationship waiting to blossom. I think you might enjoy what I’ve been writing about this very topic at, basically that social conversations lead to real people relationships.

      1. bsoist

        Thanks, I’ll check it out.

    2. fredwilson

      Comment communities are amazing

    3. falicon

      Couldn’t agree with you more (as usual). 😉

    4. awaldstein

      Engagement is the currency of communities; comments are the common language.

      1. William Mougayar

        Indeed. Comments are a means to an end, not the end itself. Comments that become regular discussions on a regular basis open-up a number of possibilities.

      2. testtest

        i read the feeling of ownership fosters the most engagement. i like that idea.

    5. Tom Labus

      AVC is unique in the amazing quality and diversity of comments and the good nature of the community.It’s a lot more than just “comments”

      1. bsoist


    6. ShanaC

      It takes a huge amount of organizational effort by many people to make this work, more than may be initially one be able to deal with. I’m always therefore surprised about emergent communities – they seem to governed by evolution rather than someone breeding them…



  12. jason wright

    By finally enabling the consumer to stomp their own demand driven crowd footprint on the market the provider is almost certainly going to accrue greater value too. A win-win efficiency. It makes the hitherto seem very medieval, almost something to scoff at. That’s a sign of real progress, and in our lifetimes too. Heady stuff.

  13. Carl Rahn Griffith

    It’s akin to Kickstarter, but for social change/events – in this example gigs, etc, but when more aligned to empowering political/economic change… Wow.

    1. Tom Labus

      Our Afghan policy.

    2. William Mougayar

      Exactly. Beyond Eventful, there’s a market for a top end aggregator of Crowdsourced “demands”, with quality curation like Kickstarter. Then the world can be changed.This is the age of online advocacy. Online votes and Likes are starting to count in more than one way!



  14. awaldstein

    Love this idea.With all the buzz about Facebook, as a user and designer of its use for others, it feels less and less important for even projects like this.It’s become feeder just like Twitter and others to me. We all use fan pages as campaign centers but the real action feels it is moving.

  15. baba12

    What is the number of people one may need for Mr.Wilson and USV to say “aha” ok to invest/advise or guide an entrepreneur.Could one use “Demand It” in other areas, like maybe public policy?

    1. Tom Labus

      End of lobbyists!

      1. bsoist

        I like the sound of that. On the other, what was that someone said about trading one tyrant 3000 miles away for 3000 tyrants one mile away? I know its not a perfect analogy in this case, but something to think about. Are we really interested in crowdsourcing everything?

        1. Tom Labus

          Huge no for crowdsouring everything for sure but I couldn’t resist whacking lobbyists and their self sustaining game.

  16. David Semeria

    This may work on a smaller scale too.A young chap in Milan recently came to see me with a cool idea: he explained there is gap in the market which sits between pub gigs and huge concerts. If no-one shows up to a pub gig then the band can just regard it as a practice session, whereas the mega concert organizers already know there will be demand for tickets.But as young bands reach tipping point they apparently struggle to get back backers for mid-sized venues (say 100-500 people). The room and security have to be booked, etc – and the band themselves deserve to get paid for a gig of that kind.So his idea is for the fans themselves to finance the gig. Say you need 100 people to break even, then if 100 people sign-up and pay, the gig happens. If not the punters get their money back.This approach completely eliminates the financial risk with organizing mid-sized gigs and so means a lot more happen.The cherry on the cake is that once a gig goes ahead, the original backers also get a share of the profits on any additional tickets sold.I think it’s a winner.

    1. David Clarke

      It does seem like commitment of cash is important to make the concept real. Effective demand is demand backed by purchasing power. To bsoist’s comment above, just clicking ‘like’ or ‘demand’ without pre-funding your whim is arguably a low-fi signal.

      1. Chris Coldewey

        I talked to a lot of speakers about this when starting demand crowdsourcing platform, and was surprised to learn that for many of them what was more important than a dollar commitment from fans in their decision-making to do a fan-requested gig was A. just revealing the previously hidden demand (“526 requests to come to Phoenix”), B. garnering non-monetary types of commitments (“I will definitely attend your talk”), & C. validating the credibility of the potential event & organizer(s).

    2. fredwilson

      Yup. Great idea. Thats is exactly the situation that caused Perry to conceive of Kickstarter 11 years ago

      1. Andrea Parodi

        Nice to hear that! Good comments are as important as bad ones, right?

    3. Mark Essel

      I believe fellow AVC’er Vladimir @Vukicevic is working to satisfy this need with It’s a specialized crowd sourcing app catering to artists.

      1. David Semeria

        Thanks Mark, will check it out

    4. panterosa,

      The size gig you’re talking about is in my mind the best way to see certain bands. There used to be way more small clubs in NY and the intimacy was great. I miss that.

      1. David Semeria

        Yeah, the 100 Club in London was my favourite, similar to CBGB’s in NYC so I’m told.

      2. FlavioGomes

        There’s an enormous amount of energy that inspires me at a stadium concert even before the band sets foot on stage. So thrilling. But agree the intimacy and more often the sound quality is far better in a small venue. I love hearing the raw unadulterated sound direct from tube amps and drums.

    5. Andrea Parodi

      Hi everyone, i’m the young chap in David’s comment.It’s amazing seeing my idea being discussed on Fred Wilson’s blog!Thanks for all your comments, and thanks David for the perfect description!

      1. David Semeria

        Thanks Andrea. Now go build it !!

      2. ShanaC

        Go build that- I like that idea too!

      3. Dave W Baldwin

        Dave Semeria is right. You can experiment with this idea no matter where you are.Just up the lower goal to at least 200.

  17. Guest

    Sometimes you come across an idea that is so obvious….Having spent a lifetime in consumer products and having focused on turning around troubled subsidiaries and start ups I used to marvel at how I would always find myself a couple of times a year being asked to pick/approve colors, styles, designs, or fragrances for the upcoming season.Me, an operations guy, being asked to determine what we will sale, hmmm, no wonder they were all struggling!In one situation I just asked a very simple question, why don’t we ask the retailers, the folks we sell to what they think? I mean they are the ones who really matter as it is their money we are trying to capture.So we started pre season sample packages where we sent prototypes of our ideas to the retailers and asked them what they thought.Honestly, I cannot say it gave us better decisions or products, but it did increase sales because the retailers became loyal, maybe just loyal to the fact that they were asked their opinion.I think Eventful captures the same type of loyalty and if I was in entertainment I would be jumping on the potential that Eventful taps into! If I owned a band I would be calling Eventful up and asking about advertising right now!

    1. Andy Ellis

      The idea of crowd demand seeing mass appeal is being exemplified really well by Kickstarter-to a point. Most Kickstarter pages for products generally have a working prototype or video as part of their fundraising page. I wonder if the threshold for JFDI mentality could be lowered with an industry specific concept testing ground (medical, office, student, etc). I certainly realize that attaching dollar figures to votes a la Kickstarter is preferable in terms of getting trustworthy feedback, but I don’t think that something as poorly targeted as a Facebook campaign any signal of consequence.

      1. Guest

        “Target” is the keyword and it is one of the fundamental weaknesses of Facebook. I also do not believe that everything requires a financial commitment. We talk a lot about “engagement” and I think that Eventful can engage in the sense that it offers not only the opportunity to vote and promote but it also has a follow up loop in the fact that an email can be sent that could say, “You asked for it and now you got it” that is “engagement” via commitment.One of the unintended consequences of the “consumer centric” model is that is will require an obligation on the part of the consumer to follow through.My experience with retailers is that if you give them an opportunity for “input” they will talk until they are blue in the face. But you have to create an input model that you follow up on by saying, “Okay, we listened and here is what you asked for….” that creates an obligation.

        1. Chris Coldewey

          Eventful’s “Demand It” leaves a lot of potential fan energy on the table. The opportunity for Eventful and any other org in the crowd sourcing demand space (including my own) is to offer ways to ratchet fans up the “ladder of engagement” — from clicking “Demand It” to engaging in higher value ways that help the event to happen. This may be a dollar commitment or it may be a social sharing ask, or for niche events it may be an ask to fans to step up and play a role in organizing it unconference-style.

          1. Guest

            I came across this on the web this morning, “Lets do our part for Earth Day by continuing to impact the outside world via email, Facebook, and Twitter.”Now, I believe that if “tech” is true to its belief of “changing the world” then be true to your beliefs. That is why I see the idea that “money” as the only currency of commitment as very cynical and I see it as a betrayal of the concept of “changing the world.”Personally, I like the way you think and I especially love the term “potential fan energy” because the whole concept of engagement should be about energy; your goal should be to create fans who believe they can make a difference; as individuals and personally.If you can accomplish that then you truly have engineered a revolution.Nowadays, everyone expects a couple of bucks as a sign of your support. I think its time we go from thinking about “engagement” and begin thinking about “involvement.” I do like the fact that you are thinking that way….

  18. awaldstein

    Wondering whether this could be taken further.Think of something like Skillshare. We put up a course and there is some marketing to get signups.What if it turned on its head. What if Skillshare created a widget which let the population demand the courses or even the courses by the teachers.Precaffinated thought.

    1. panterosa,

      I dig the idea of requesting teaching/lecture/discussions with particular people.Design your own education!!!!

      1. Taj Chadha

        I have been thinking of a similar idea but within companies. There are amazing set of talented people within companies with skills and experiences that will not show up on a resume. You only find out what people are passionate about or want to share with others, by talking to them about it and capturing it. That is not very scalable.I would like to create a program within a company where people can train each other on topics that may not be relevant for a company but would allow people to connect with each other and share their knowledge. I have reached out to Skillshare to see if they offer a solution like that. I would love to know if there are solutions that can be leveraged within a company.

        1. panterosa,

          That sounds interesting. My focus would be on the ‘consumer/s’ being able to access knowledge at the points they want it. The whole idea of curriculum can function only to a certain point and then you need to follow what you need to know and who you need to get that info/skill from. If we were able to custom design more ‘non-linear’ learning into dynamic learning responding to the last lesson then more people access more relevant info in the order they need it.

        2. jonathan hegranes

          I was working on just this type of ‘brain share’ idea back in the day (circa 2011)… unfortunately we weren’t able to pursue it as it was more of a distraction away from our core business, but in hindsight I think it was more interesting.Whether within companies, or via a site like Skill Share or others, I think both the use cases and ability to monetize are endless and interesting.

    2. LE

      A great idea. There has always been a class of people out there that are professional students. But in the past that was reserved for people who could afford to go from degree to degree with family money not ever needing to earn a living.

  19. gorbachev

    So an investment from USV to be announced in how many weeks?:)

    1. fredwilson

      Eventful has been around for a long time

  20. panterosa,

    So fun to order culture a la carte if you can get your posse around that! I hope it spreads far and wide. It like asking Mom to make your favorite dessert rather than being handed an ice cream cone, or whatever is being served, because it’s what’s on the menu.

  21. ShanaC

    Interestingly, this was in the style section of the NY Times-…Crowdsourced organized to try and make companies to bring back discontinued products (and formulations).I think the real reason groups like demandit work is that they organize people into a potent market force that isn’t easily seen because of dispersion. Online, you can gather them in one place, and make them powerful enough to destroy reputations.There is risk through this though – last time a company tried this idea they turned into groupon. Most people aren’t nearly as attached to brand as advertisers would like to think.

    1. Brandon Marker

      This happens with TV shows a LOT. I hate sitcoms, but when they took away Community, I became active with the rest of the fans until it was brought back.

      1. ShanaC

        I think the web may make more tv shows into cult tv as distribution models break apart. They’ll be more money in serving the fans than serving the advertisers immediately – i’m just trying to figure out when it will pay to do web video over a commercials and what they will look like.

        1. Brandon Marker

          TV execs are fighting a daily battle to keep it on TV. They are getting their asses kicked. Mandatory cable subscriptions for a service like Hulu may delay what you are pointing out. Let’s hope that is just a nasty rumor!

    2. Guest

      “Most people aren’t nearly as attached to brand as advertisers would like to think.”Boy, have I been arguing that point for years! 🙂 I think its because the concept of “brand” is distorted and convoluted. The concept of “brand” should be viewed almost as “value added” not as “popularity.”My sister loves Pottery Barn and in her mind the “label” signified a higher standard. Now she just ordered curtains and linen from them and every single curtain panel was a different length so she sent everything back, and their customer service was awesome. But, like my sister said, “I guess made in China is the same regardless of who you purchase it from.”She had created a “brand” out of a “label.” That is a common fault of most consumer products.

      1. ShanaC

        Now imagine trying to get a job with my attitude. 🙂 I’m a big fan of how branding and products actually relate – which may or may not be the way one thinks. I think being a bit negative about assumptions tend to serve you well – but people don’t like hearing that when you interview even if it is helpful to the brand and/or product over time.

        1. Guest

          Shana, I can relate! Maybe you need to quit calling it “attitude” and rather use the term “perspective.” I too can sound like the biggest sourpuss in a room (or organization) but the reality is I am the biggest cheerleader and optimist you could ever meet, deep inside.I think questioning terms such as “branding” and “brand” is not a negative but rather draws one back to the roots or foundation of the concept. Every one of us and every organization has to take the time to question their assumptions. If not then you lose your relevancy over time and you end up like lots of companies, just footnotes in textbooks.There, now I just turned what you perceived as a negative into a positive! Now go get that job you always wanted because that organization needs you!

          1. ShanaC

            What is funny is that I am not so sour, more just truthful.I’m saddened, the jobs I really want will always reject me on the 3rd round or something. Frustrating.



        1. Guest

          …and like Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, when the truth becomes known it is a sad day….The true “brand” in the Pottery Barn story is “Made In China” not “Pottery Barn.”

    3. awaldstein

      All company names are not brands. And all brands are not equal.You need to be careful about judging a group by it’s weakest members.

      1. ShanaC

        True, but I think this particular example isn’t about brand weakness or even product weakness. One of the things they mentioned is how counterspace affects products that are brought in and out of the market. The web has no counterspace (Yet), so there is no need to worry about those sense of logistics.I suspect over the long term micro-manufacturing/3d type printing/small localized factories will overcome the logistics issue (which is essentially what most of this is, plus a tad of fad-ism)

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. ShanaC

            There is no where on the web to stick my teapot in its three-d form. One could make the argument that SEO/websites are a form of couterspace issue – but from a logistics pov, webpages can scale to infinite products while a physical counter in macy’s can’t

    4. LE

      groups like demandit work is that they organize people into a potent market forceI always worry about the crowd effect (mentioned in this thread by others) which causes people to jump on the bandwagon because it only takes a click (like signing a petition at the mall). Think there always needs to be some kind of friction (money like kickstarter) or effort to validate.

      1. ShanaC

        For purchases, one of the great thing about kickstarter type markets is that in fact that are seamless in a way that decreases friction. I am not sure why it would be a bad idea to commit money to bring back products. Let commerce be more efficient.



      1. ShanaC


        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. Guest

            That’s what we need is a social network that makes sarcasm and a sense of humor easier to grasp!We could call it “LightenUp!”

  22. RichardF

    Facebook should be all over crowd sourced demand.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      IPO aside, I believe Facebook is indeed ‘all over’ … 😉

      1. RichardF

        Not so sure about that Carl. I’m no great Facebook user or fan but I liked ‘Alabama Shakes’ a little while back, I log into Facebook today and in my timeline I see a post from the Alabama Shakes saying they are releasing more tickets for a gig in Birmingham. That is useful information that I want to receive pushed to me. That’s pretty powerful.

          1. RichardF

            luv em!

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Cool, but not rocket science, really, is it? Since when has a product that is so ubiquitous (another ‘all over’ interpretation, lol) been so ‘average’ a user-experience?

          1. RichardF

            I prefer Google+ but there are no ‘normals’ on it so I find it a bit of a tech echo chamber

          2. Carl Rahn Griffith

            And we are ‘normal’ here? 😉

  23. Guest

    I have been playing with Eventful the last half hour….as I am not a big fan of Justin Bieber, whoever he is, I decided I am going to start: 1. Bring FRED WILSON to Bowling Green 2. Bring JLM to Bowling Green 3. Capture FAKE GRIMLOCK and bring him to Bowling GreenActually # 3 might be a new game for Zynga to develop….Nothing I love more than experimenting and testing new ideas!

    1. fredwilson

      Bowling Green, Kentucky?

      1. Guest

        Yep! We are going to crowdsource you into a rock star!I am a big fan of pop up shops for ecommerce consumer businesses and I really think that Eventful can add to the marketing and the “hype” generation of a pop up shop. Turn a brand into a rock star from the bottom up.

        1. fredwilson

          hmm. between you and andy swan, i think i need to come visit god’s country

          1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


      2. FlavioGomes

        I’d like to propose an AVC bbq….the AVC peerjam festival. Live music, beer, wood grilled meat, evening fire, camaraderie, and what would promise to be awesome discussions. I’ll pitch in several kegs of beer and dig shoe pits if necessary.?

        1. fredwilson

          damn. what a fine idea. but where should we do it?

          1. FlavioGomes

            Well my immediate thought would tell me Texas;) ode to BBQ as it were, but it could be anywhere really. Maybe a poll on a state. Planned for 2013. I’m assuming most folks would see it as a few day excursion factoring in travel. I would absolutely love this if it could be pulled off.

          2. fredwilson

            Austin does seem ideal. Maybe around ACL which is a mighty fine music festival

          3. FlavioGomes

            Last years ACL looked friken awesome! What a lineup. Hopefully that dynamic would interest other AVC’rs. But I’d be just as happy in a more intimate setting if that suits the majority. More importantly tho, is tagging it onto an already established venueevent as you suggest. That would be a logistical blessing with already established venuefacilitiesplanning. Just get on a plane start having fun! In any event, I’ll sponsor several kegs of beer and shoe pit construction. 🙂

    2. JLM

      Do they have good BBQ in Bowling Green? If so, I am available next Tuesday.Ooops, I guesss I am not supposed to be that easy. Sorry.

      1. Guest

        Darn! You take all the fun out of everything! I wanted to see if we could get enough excitement going for you and Fred locally to surpass Justin Bieber!I am thinking about promoting you under “concerts” or maybe “festivals” of course we could go for a debate and promote it under “sports”Imagine being able to say, “I am more popular than Justin Beiber in Bowling Green, Kentucky!”We have BBQ but I think a trip to Kentucky should focus on Hot Browns and Bourbon! I know three restaurants in Louisville that do awesome Hot Browns!

        1. ShanaC

          What’s a hot brown?

      1. Guest

        I LOVE IT! Now I am going to go out and chase down every redhead I can find to support this and entice the BIG BOY!



      1. Guest

        I have been out all day enticing every red headed woman I could find to support:…Hundreds of red heads….your weakness! 🙂

  24. andyswan

    Wasn’t this the initial design of Groupon (not events but deals)? A “coupon for my group”

    1. awaldstein

      Sort of but the idea of ‘threshold’ with Groupon never really mattered.It was more of a trojan horse to get you to share. Few shared, most early deals got filled and they, IMO, never solved the customer acquisition issue.

      1. Dan

        Interestingly enough, Groupon actually grew out of ThePoint (, which “lets anyone start a campaign asking people to give money or do something as a group, but only if the campaign hits a predetermined tipping point.”Mason started with the best intentions, or so it seems.

  25. LIAD

    I see it as another form of ‘reverse-commerce’.Kickstarter = Get sales, then create itDemand It! = Get commitments, then organise itYC backing teams without ideas = Get money, then decide what to do with it.

    1. Brandon Marker

      Agreed! But YC mostly backs teams with early ideas. No idea is a dangerous leap of faith reserved for veterans or the most unique individuals.

        1. Brandon Marker

          It will be interesting to see how many they actually accept under this. Their remark on how the companies change quickly is a great point. Thanks for the correction!

          1. LE

            It’s a way to tie talent up and get talent to self identify as well. That talent could be used potentially for other purposes.

          2. Brandon Marker

            I definitely see that value, I just had no idea they were doing it! And are you meaning they can start rolling that talent up into other focused YC teams/companies?

          3. LE

            I know what they could do and what I would do.There are many people and companies that apply to YC that don’t get in. Because the cutoff is arbitrary based on capacity not just quality. Just like an Ivy League school.That is a very qualified pool of talent. Why not use it?Also, there may be talent on a team that doesn’t make it where a particular team members talent exceeds the other(s). Hard to believe that you couldn’t harvest that at some point in the future or that it wouldn’t somehow be exposed to other YC companies.

    2. Guest

      Somebody is giving away money to teams without ideas?Well, doesn’t that suck! I got ideas but no friends to form a team with….

    3. ShanaC

      I admire your cynicism.

      1. LIAD

        you get me wrong. no cynicism here.

        1. ShanaC

          🙂 though I think the YC comment had more to it than a straightfoward read.

    4. George

      Great pov! Appears they are purchasing property rights; future development approach.

  26. Cam MacRae

    Speaking of Radiohead, concert pianist Christopher O’Riley did two albums of Radiohead arrangements: True Love Waits & Hold Me To This. They are just as mind-blowing as the originals.

    1. tyronerubin

      thanks will obv take a listen.

    2. Chris Coldewey

      And if you haven’t heard Amanda Palmer’s ukelele-driven Radiohead covers, you’re missing out. http://music.amandapalmer.n

  27. AgeOfSophizm

    Disruption, dis-intermediation, and creative destruction. This post, like many others on Fred’s blog, IMHO gets at the heart of the issue in today’s economic climate and is the reason I’m generally a big fan of the VC world (and especially USV b/c they seem to focus on disruptive tech only). I used to work in commercial real estate and talking about disruptive technology would essentially get me laughed out of the boardroom. It’s really pretty amazing/ironic that these folks would espouse Ayn Rand philosophies when they spoke, but embraced corporate socialism in their actions. Actions really do speak louder than words.

  28. Brandon Marker

    ” But the most impactful thing about social media is not the dollar value of these platforms, it is the people power of them” ——yes!!Disqus looks GREAT, btw.

    1. fredwilson

      we’ve turned disqus 2012 on at AVC todaywe had it on and off as pre-beta testing for the past few weeksnow we are in full beta and likely it will stay this way going forward

      1. Brandon Marker

        The splash of color went a long way. I particularly like the new interaction buttons. Nothing like Facebook, as people are always trying to incorporate liking stuff. The stars, arrows, it all flows naturally. I left some positive feedback for the team!

        1. Donna Brewington White

          You have stars and arrows and a splash of color?I wonder if we have the same disqus 2012?

      2. RichardF

        I think you should be able to like as well as up or down vote

        1. Donna Brewington White

          I agree. @wmoug:disqus and @awaldstein:disqus have recently blogged about gestures online. Gestures such as “liking” are part of what help us to engage. Up-voting feels like something different than liking — less like engaging and more like assessing. I think both have validity — but they are different. I have a feeling many of us will still see this as a “like” button — I will actually use it for liking AND up-voting.

          1. fredwilson

            that’s what you should do. an upvote is a like

          2. Matt A. Myers

            Language is a powerful reenforcer. An upvote has no defined intent. Something with a specific intent behind it is more powerful. A “Like” has a defined and suggested intent behind it. An arrow up doesn’t – its intent is general and thus feels impersonal compared to what a Like entails.I don’t see a harm in including a Like as well, that perhaps also automatically upvotes it. Perhaps it’s a “minimalist” UI thing gone too far? I did a blog post recently that touched on minimalism going too far: Don’t Shy Away From Opportunity To TeachYou have a few very regular AVC’ers, very intelligent people stating the nuances of their own personal experience and value of the Like button has. I’m sure they’ve experienced upvoting/downvoting on other websites, so it’s not new to them or me.If you/Disqus need to squeeze us into a box, then so be it – however I don’t see a reason why there can’t also be a like, that a user can define if they use it and what weight it carries personally. Re: An upvote is something you think should be shared, versus a Like being something you want to keep a better record/reference of.They are different. Curious what the intent behind removing it is and if it’s just to minimize the UI.

          3. obscurelyfamous

            It’s not an exercise in UI minimalism at play, actually. Whether or not we’ve nailed it (not yet), there’s a certain philosophy at play.Likes work well in social networks because it’s a kudos — a thumbs-up gesture to the person who wrote the post. But there’s a loaded context in Like. It’s not recommend, agree, or promote — it’s “I like this.”We have an explicit goal with D12 in making it more discussion-focused: build participation around topics. We’ve seen the voting arrows work really well in communities where the discussions are strong.The downsides are there too: it’s not as explicit as Liking, but we’ve observed users as a whole become more sophisticated with more subtle actions like voting.Though, whatever the decision, it’s important that there isn’t both.

          4. RichardF

            up voting surfaces what’s popular, which in the tech/start up echo chamber and even to a degree here at avc is a little predictable.I want to be able to see what certain people (like you) are liking and I want to be able to signal to someone that I “liked” their comment which as you have already said is engaging. This is where Disqus was excelling. I don’t particularly like the adoption of Reddits up/down voting system.

          5. Donna Brewington White

            I AGREE!!!See Fred’s comment to me – we can still continue to “like” with the up-vote button, but the ability to see who voted or liked is VERY important to me. It is part of the “engagement factor” – and not just who “liked” MY comment, but others as well. There are some relational cues here. In fact, during the initial beta, I kept the new Disqus in Chrome and the old Disqus in IE for this very reason.

          6. Matt A. Myers


      3. joeagliozzo

        The comments don’t even come up in my browser (chrome) today. Reloaded several times.Commenting from Disqus -This is another form of customer discovery which is great – you are essentially gauging demand before you build anything – in this case creating an event.

        1. Sam Parker

          Joe- I’ve dropped you an email to troubleshoot your issue with the new Disqus.

        2. Cam MacRae

          Same for me. Works in Safari on the Mac, but not iPhone.



        1. fredwilson

          everyone should see it the new way now. that’s strange.

        2. Brandon Marker

          discrimination against fake robot dinosaurs? I thought we were past this point………

    2. Kyle Van Pelt

      I am a frequent reader, but this is my first comment. I am obsessed with this quote. Fred, thanks so much for your insight and willingness to share.

      1. ShanaC

        well, why does this line strike you as important?

        1. Kyle Van Pelt

          Sorry for the delay in responding Shana. I think the reason I love this quote so much is because it embodies what social media is supposed to be, social. People with great social lives away from their display screens understand the power of other people. When we approach our display screens with that same attitude, that is when the world becomes a better place.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            Kyle — I appreciate this insight. One of the criticisms I’ve heard of social media is that it inhibits “real life” engagement. I have found that the people who are social online tend to be social offline. Social media doesn’t make me less social, it makes me MORE social.Social media (or the Social Web as @wmoug:disqus has taught me to say) serves as a catalyst for something I want to do anyway — I can just do it more efficiently and more broadly.I like a comment that @fredwilson:disqus made somewhere in this thread — “use the internet to get off the internet!”

      2. Donna Brewington White

        I always love when frequent readers comment for the first time.I think a lot of my first comments were as a result of just wanting to say “thank you.”In a way my comments continue to be a way of saying “thank you” — of wanting to contribute to a community from which I’ve gained so much.Plus, I like to talk.

      3. fredwilson

        and thanks for stopping by and participating. we hope its not the last time.

        1. Kyle Van Pelt

          Fred, I’m sure I will be commenting more in the future so long as you keep the great content coming!



      1. EmilSt

        This is the best definition of money I ever saw. Followed by great advice. Social capital will be the future ultimate currency. No inflation, no QE or printing,

        1. Matt A. Myers

          I always say, “Money is time. Time is money. With enough money you can accomplish anything, with enough time you can accomplish anything.”There are no limits to what we’re all capable of. Money creates false boundaries and limitations that help, perhaps purposely done, control people – a mechanism for control. It works well enough for micro ideas, though for macro / holistic ideas where you need to have strong relationships/bonds between people for safe/good decisions that are good for everyone – and not just pooled money – then money fails to foster/support that.

          1. Skinner Layne

            The problem is not money. Money is a vital intermediary in economic exchange. The problem is the lack of competition in money. More competition = better money. @FakeGrimlock:disqus Says create more competition by non-intermediated transactions and I agree 100%.This unlocks wealth that has been artificially trapped by what I call the Dollar Monopoly. Wealth is created through voluntary exchanges of two or more willing parties. When all transactions require money to intermediate, you have eliminated millions of transactions between willing exchangers who do not have money to intermediate the transaction, but have other things to exchange. The beauty of Craigslist is that it helps better facilitate these kinds of exchanges, but what we really need is something designed to smartly facilitate them across far more boundaries than Craigslist allows. Therein lies not only the real Facebook/Twitter/Google Killer, but the kryptonite of Bankers & Finance

          2. Matt A. Myers

            And this would flourish in a system that pays people a minimum survivable income, a society that takes care of everyone; People wouldn’t have the fear, emotional stress, distress and worry from time contraints for how they can feed themselves, pay for their shelter, etc.. And therefore what each person can offer through personal development time will then have the time needed to develop their skills, and the structure to exchange, educate, interact and learn from others.Relationships and bonding will start to grow deeper and deeper, roots interweaving, feeding life and allowing creativity to blossom evermore.Relationships will be fostered and allowed to grow when and where they need to. They will have the time to grow together or time to grow apart, supporting whatever the person needs at that time in their life’s evolution, learning, growing.

  29. Elia Freedman

    I love that subversive start-up thing where people think your project is a toy but it is really a massive change. The quote from Tyrone:”For me its the objective of success. And if we successfully do this, by bypassing the top 3 concert organizers, hopefully South Africa and Africa can start coming together like this for other things too.”Start with concerts and it leads to world peace!

    1. tyronerubin

      South Africa has way way way (excuse the repetition) more important things than rallying people together to get Radiohead down here. But if this works then people in Africa and South Africa can use social media to create strong enough unified voices to solve really big problems. And there are a lot here but a lot of people are either scarred to voice it or affair of using the technology to its fullest potential.I dream of this being a success and using this collective voice for greater things here in Africa.

      1. Elia Freedman

        I wish you all the success in the world.

    2. FlavioGomes

      If we can peerjam respecting differences and celebrate what binds us…..

  30. Andy

    I bet Radiohead would love to go to South Africa. I’m surprised they haven’t been there already.

    1. tyronerubin

      heres hoping!

  31. DanielHorowitz

    This is big. Great stuff.

  32. Dave Pinsen

    Was there another site doing what Demand It! does a few years ago? I remember reading that Jonathan Coulton used a similar site a few years ago. I just checked Coulton’s site now, and he’s got an old-school booker these days.

    1. Chris Coldewey

      JoCo was using an Eventful Demand widget on his site for several years but looks like he has retired it and gone old school as you mention.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        OK,thanks for clarifying that.

  33. Harry DeMott

    I always loved this idea however, I see a few issues:1. There’s simply a like – no financial commitment from the fans – perhaps a small escrowed down payment on tickets. what would be really cool would be for a group of people to get together and crowd produce the show – so figure on an arena – set ticket pricing – get people to commit to certain types of tickets so that you could present a band with a complete package – one night 40K people average ticket price of $100 etc…2. No date specified – or no range of dates where people would want to see the concert3. Someone should connect with the digital music services (Pandora, Spotify, etc…) and find out who the fans are in the areas you are trying to reach.

    1. fredwilson

      great ideas on how to iterate it to make it betterwelcome back Harry. it seems to me that you’ve been missed around here.

  34. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    I was going to write a comment on the post and then got distracted by new version of Disqus. Overall, I think its a much more improved and easier on the eye design than before. The extra controls on bottom for discussion, community and my disqus are terrific.

    1. FlavioGomes

      Yeah it’s great…so far love it

    2. fredwilson

      thanks for the feedback. it isn’t universally loved. i expect the disqus team will iterate on it a fair bit in the next month

  35. hypermark

    Some of this hearkens back to a book called ‘BLUR’ that I read a number of years back. It was focused on mass customization, and specifically, the idea that we’d reach a future where companies could cast a lot of low-risk ‘offer’ SEEDS.The majority of these seeds would never sprout (due to low demand), but some of them would, and the offering company could then SELECT the sprouted seed, and AMPLIFY it (i.e., offer it more broadly to the market) as part of their larger segmentation strategy.The authors took their inspiration from the credit card companies who systematically create 70,000 different types of credit card offer letter variants based upon a similar premise, ala A/B testing on steroids.In this context, we might see a future where a company’s minimal viable product is an offer. “Here’s the spec, here’s the mockup, here’s the price,” and if enough people sign up for that product, they’ll build it and sell it. If not, the offer goes away.Obviously, this is very synchronous with what Kickstarter is doing, albeit more of an institutional approach for established companies.Implied by this is that there are all sorts of ‘build logistics’ ramifications to support such a model, akin to the way fashion retailer Zara can take a new design from Runway to Showroom in two weeks.Some fodder on this last point in ‘Rebooting Retail.’…

    1. fredwilson

      cool. i will look for that book.

  36. matthughes

    I can envision the sports world getting involved here…Determining where the Olympics are held has been a somewhat corrupt process for many years. This could help?The NFL could go nuts with having fans vote on the SuperBowl site.And with all the talk of new BCS playoff system, my gosh, this could solve a lot of their problems…

  37. Jerome Camblain

    business idea: a Demand it for online services or apps or … to help entrepreneurs find the right idea…with a market for it.

    1. fredwilson


    2. Matt A. Myers

      Basically an extension of what Fred sometimes asks / hopes someone reading the AVC community to build, that he’d like to see / find useful. 🙂

  38. jason wright

    What’s this “in 32 years” thing I see next to each user name?…and…’votes’? I don’t get that part – if I click the down arrow what’s happening? Obama walks away?

    1. Sam Parker

      Can you send me a screencap of the “in 32 years” text you’re seeing? Email sam at

    2. fredwilson

      downvote the guy who keeps posting annoying shit about the gotham galupvote anything by JLM

  39. JamesHRH

    People, ideas & improving things are waaaay more interesting & rewarding than money.I have never been a hater of any major tech company, although I do find that many of their founders create change for people while not seeming to enjoy or appreciate people.I don’t believe they do it for money – more self realization. I am sure MZ would stay private if he did not have so many other folks who would benefit from being public.Money is only really interesting if you don’t have any.

  40. Chris Phenner

    Wait. I don’t get the swerves in this post:- Fred opens with an ain’t-it-cool Eventful vignette.- Fred follows with a Radiohead in S. Africa item.- Fred closes with ‘Facebook IPO on-the-mind.’Rhetorical: Despite all the democratization of ‘people power’ via FB, isn’t the FB IPO a harsh reminder that power and wealth are as concentrated as ever? Didn’t Zuck offer $1bn for Instagram in his living room without so much as a heads-up to his board?Perhaps this comment is a wet blanket as we gush about envisioning a Radiohead concert for 40k folks in South Africa (‘Live Aid in Reverse!’), but no matter how many times the words ‘open,’ ‘graph’ and ‘social’ are used, the cap table and voting rights are in the opposite direction of anything feel-good or representing ‘people power.’But I agree wholly that Disqus looks sweet; maybe they’ll share wealth with the folks who have contributed to make their platform great (giggle).

    1. fredwilson

      you bet

  41. Luke Chamberlin

    Not a fan of discuss 2012 for these reasons:1) More difficult to read. They shrunk the text size AND the visuals (thumbnail size, button sizes). Shrinking the thumbnail sizes seems like a particularly poor decision. The reason you can flick through twitter so quickly is because you recognize your friend’s avatars. Shrinking them – and worse, making some smaller than others – makes it difficult for the human eye to parse this information quickly.2) More difficult to follow conversations. They took away the “in reply to” button as well as the thread lines. There are now no visual cues as to a comments place in the hierarchy of the thread. In long threads its now difficult to find your bearings.3) Some odd, unintuitive UI choices. For example, in the top right of each comment there is a “more” drop-down arrow that gives you… flag as inappropriate. Why move away from the standard flag icon that everyone uses? Who would expect to find “flag” as the sole choice under “more options”?4) The downvotes. This is more philosophical than a design choice, but I don’t like the downvotes for this site. Great comments will be downvoted based on politics alone and not the quality of the comment or what it adds to the debate, which was previously one of AVC’s greatest strengths in my opinion.The last one is the most unfortunate because I think they’ll probably fix the first three, but the last is a change in direction.

    1. panterosa,

      I don’t love the new Disqus 2012 either. I agree with 1,2 and 4 above. Especially font sizing.I dislike the removal of the banner that included the names of the commenters since visually the separation was better. And the previous indentations made the replies easier.

      1. fredwilson

        i made the comment about the removal of the banner to daniel last week. i can’t say what they will react to and what they won’t. but i can assure you they are listening and watching carefully.

    2. obscurelyfamous

      Good feedback Luke.1) Intentional design decision to emphasize content. I hear you on the points. This will be addressed in some upcoming ways.2) Interesting. We’ll pay attention. There are ideas on how to make this work well across the board, but right now we’re going to keep paying attention.3) More options belong here, but yeah I believe the Flagging UI is best served here. We’ve found that it’s quite discoverable and not really needed on the surface.4) We have the most feedback on this. The goal is to encourage quality while preserving dissenting opinions and personalities. This is actually very achievable and we’re still fiddling.

      1. K_Berger

        I agree with Luke – I liked 1 and 2 the old way. Especially 2, I often used that link. I also liked being able to see who liked a comment. Is there a way to see who up- or down-voted a comment?

        1. panterosa,

          Yes I agree on seeing who liked what comment.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            FYI – just upvoted you. 😉

          2. panterosa,


    3. fredwilson

      thanks for the feedback luke. super appreciate it.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        The ‘Share’ links are in a great new / more logical step of the process — I was hoping to see an icon for ‘Embedding’ option though too, for quick copy/paste of embed code into say my Tumblr (with options of include ‘whole thread’ vs. ‘include parent’ vs. ‘solo comment’)

  42. Dave W Baldwin

    This falls in line with some of our discussions last year concerning the growing power young artists can experience and have choice of using whichever middlemen.Hell, just have the machine in the club where a tune plays (may be single/double tune cuts) and folks in the crowd can vote. Find a way for the band to get a token royalty.Otherwise, FB is putting out there something the young artist can feel as power in their hands while the competition tries to call it something else.And that is from someone who is not the biggest Facebook fan.

  43. Donna Brewington White

    Reading this post the thought came to me about how dis-empowering isolation can be. People are empowered by community. Of course there are exceptions to this, but humans are essentially communal creatures so it makes sense that there would be great benefits to forming community. Community and, therefore, the power of community has been dependent to a large extent on proximity or on the forming of organizations. I think that one of the reasons that I love the social web is that it harnesses the power of community without the need for proximity or the giving up of power that comes in relying upon some organizing entity (such as a labor union)..My instincts tell me that there are inherent dangers in the idea of cyber-community replacing traditional community, but as an extension of or supplement to community in the traditional sense, I believe that cyber-community represents a step forward. Anyway, back to crowdsourcing, this is one of the ways that the social web is removing isolation and providing the benefits that were once restricted to proximity or formal organization.I wonder if there is a way that crowdsourcing could replace unions?

    1. fredwilson

      use the internet to get off the internet!

      1. Matt A. Myers

        That’s my mantra!And if this damn addictive AVC blog wasn’t so damn addictive, I’d surely be off the internet much more. 😛

      2. Donna Brewington White

        Sounds like there could be an AVC post lurking within those words.Sent via Samsung Galaxy S™ II Skyrocket™

      3. johnmccarthy

        that might be a good slogan for a company that helps people organize get togethers, or meetups…. 🙂

    2. jason wright

      “..this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”Crowdsourcing gives a whole new interpretation to Lincoln’s words. It is the new democracy. It replaces the old order, the institutions of government, the corporation, mass media,….et.c.Why vote for a representative politician? Represent yourself (within a crowd).Why empower a corporation? Be a corpora (a crowd).Why consume mass media? Be media (AVC crowd).

  44. Tom Labus

    Tech firms CrowdSourcing patent suits to show patents not “novel”. From WSJ.

  45. Kim Oakland

    Too many people think about the immediate financial gain and fail to recognize the true power of the platform. Thx for the insight.

  46. jason wright

    The beginnings of an era of ‘collective individualism’. The end of binary capitalism verses socialism, and a fusion of the benefits of both, a happy sustainable hybrid.

  47. markslater

    this is for me another sign of the emerging intention economy. Did you manage to read the book yet Fred?