What the Failed $1M Netflix Prize Says About Business Advice

The $1M Netflix prize is touted around as the ultimate CrowdSourcing success story. Netflix put up a prize to improve their film reccomendation algorithm which was claimed by code combined by multiple entrants. It fits the "sum is greater than it's parts" rhetoric but most references to this story fail to mention (or actually never checked their references) that the algorithm was never implemented. This is a great article which discusses how success in Crowd Sourcing is much trickier than just running a competition. Organisations have internal checks and balances for their R&D not just to give people with bureaucratic tendencies an outlet but to ensure the outputs are actually commercially viable. It does not mean the Crowd Sourcing is doomed, but it sure as hell is not the only part of the equation.

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