have created a few pieces of software recently that may be ‘spun out’ with the help of one of the new directors at Online Ventures, futurologist, Tom Cheesewright.
Of these pieces of software, the last two – fabric and leadtrigger (working titles) – have been built without a central console for the user to, erm, use. By this, I mean that its a piece of software, but there is no software to use – I will explain more throughout this blog post.
I have always been a fan of using the ‘Mechanical Turk’ method of working – where large tasks are chunked into tiny jobs that can be spread among many people, and this seems to be dripping into the software I am writing presently. I think that this will also become something that happens more and more in the wider world of software and work in general.
In one of my pieces of software, ‘leadtrigger’, a staff management tool, users are prompted on a frequent basis (via email) with things that they must do, rather than being solely responsible for their own choices. Now, if you hire an employee on £50,000+, then you expect their choices to be correct in the main. But what about those employees on maybe £15,000 – £30,000 that you cannot sit on the shoulder of 24/7? The decision making processes of junior staff in a company could lead to disaster if not seen early enough. And what about all of those disciplinary meetings, motivation meetings and general time wasted on house matters rather than serving your customers?
The answer by many companies is to buy or create a CRM system when concerning sales staff. In marketing departments or small businesses, marketing automation software may be purchased. Invariably, this software either never gets used, or used so infrequently that it simply isn’t worth the cost of purchase – never mind ongoing fees. Those same junior members of staff that often make incorrect decisions based on lack of motivation or lack of experience are then expected to work with software that is alien to them – unsupervised!
This is the reason why 80% of people that have exposure to CRM systems or marketing automation systems have a negative experience. It is largely to do with their own lack of motivation/understanding/experience, but absolutely linked to them having to do SOMETHING themselves, especially without their immediate manager sitting behind them for eight hours a day.
So, to avoid situations where employees can make or break software, procedures or systems, if these are broken down into small, digestible parts, where an employee is instructed with what to do – or at least a framework of instructions on a frequent basis, then great things can be achieved without breaking the bank.
In fact, by employing a ‘Mechanical Turk’ type system in a business, staff costs would be lower all round – and less staff required. ‘Many hands make light work’ is a quote that most people have heard of. Yet how many SMEs employ methods that involve systematic industrialisation of tasks? Think of all that energy going to waste.
The amount of untapped resources that we have as a nation (or the planet), if ‘lassoed’, could produce wonders.
- For example, it could easily be arranged for a large company based in Britain to pay for people’s lottery tickets based on simple work that they could do from home on their computer (or anywhere on their phone), in 2 minutes flat.
- Or, literally in one hour, potholes in the the entire region of Manchester could be recorded by people stepping outside their doors and recorded via an app, and then acted upon by the council.
- Rubbish bin collections could be done not every two weeks, but whenever the right amount of bins are full across an area.
All of this could be done very quickly – and most definitely will be the way that we do things in the future. These are some admittedly terrible examples, but I’m sure that you get the point.