Introducing Crowd Companies: A Brand Council for the Collaborative Economy

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Our Mission: Empowered People & Resilient Brands for Shared Value.
Today, I’m launching a new company called Crowd Companies as I see a market opportunity for large brands to be an integral part of the Collaborative Economy. We’re on a mission for Empowered People and Resilient Brands to achieve Shared Value.

The Collaborative Economy is a Powerful Movement.
Technologies like mobile, social, internet of things, 3D printers and more empower people to create physical products, or share existing resources with each other, rather than buy anew. It means people are empowered to get what they need from each other, rather than from inefficient institutions. The bold question we will ask and answer is: “What role do corporations play when people get what they need from each other?”

Big Companies have a role in the Collaborative Economy.
To answer the question on the role of companies in this crowd economy, I’m launching Crowd Companies, a brand council whose primary function is to help big brands understand, then connect with startups in the Collaborative Economy. The scope of this council includes trends that empower people which today includes the sharing economy, maker movement, co-innovation, and future technologies that come next. We believe that brands that participate in this movement are resilient, securing their long-term place in the market.

Empowered People benefit through the Innovation Network.
The mission of Crowd Companies is an equation; people and brands together. To complete the equation, I’ve hand-selected startups that empower people from the sharing economy, maker movement and co-innovation, all who want to work with big brands. They will meet, present to, and connect with the brand council. This relationship does not cost the startups anything other than their time.

How The Brand Council Works.
Our business model is primarily focused on membership fees from the corporate members, which cover: 1) A private place to connect to other members, 2) Experts who come to present to the council (saving you time), and 3) Access to the innovation network of startups who want to work with big companies. Over time, as the council needs change and growth, we will offer new solutions to meet market needs.

The 24 Crowd Companies Founding Members:
The following progressive companies are the founding members of the Crowd Companies council, they include:

    1. Abbott Labs
    2. Adobe
    3. American Eagle
    4. Autodesk
    5. Barclaycard
    6. Cisco
    7. Ford
    8. GE
    9. Hyatt
    10. Intel
    11. Intuit
    12. Kelly Services
    13. Nestle
    14. Paypal
    15. Radio Shack
    16. Swisscom
    17. Taco Bell
    18. The Home Depot
    19. Verizon
    20. Visa
    21. Walmart
    22. WellPoint
    23. Western Union
    24. Whole Foods

Why I’m doing this.
I’m driven by a career mission. It’s to “help corporations connect to their customers using new technologies.”  About a decade ago, I was involved in a prior phase of democratization where people were creating media and sharing it with each other. Today, we all know this as social media. Using the lessons learned, I see the same democratization happening to the physical world, where empowered people are creating physical products and sharing resources among each other, rather than buying anew. I have great passion for how technology both enables and disrupts markets. I’ve written over 2,700 blog posts on the subject and thrive being on the edge of technology and business.

Thank you.
I try to maintain a list of those who have helped along the way, so I apologize if I have missed anyone. First of all thanks to the council members and innovation network startups who believed in the movement and in us. Thank you, Fred Neil, for my first dollar. Thanks to the team and partners who helped: Miranda Merten, Angus Nelson, Vladimir Mirkovic, Paul Bae, Carmen Simon, and Lou Gutheil. Thank you to advisors, Vivian Wang, for movement-seeking and inspiring me; Todd Defren and SHIFT, for counsel and help for these early days; Wendy Lea, for kicking me to go do it; Loic Lemeur, who opened my eyes; the entire LeWeb team; Lisa Gansky, for being so meshy; and Neal Gorenflo for being so generous. Thank you David Armano, Aaron Strout, Kelby Johnson, Steph Agresta, Ian Greenleigh, Malcolm De Leo, Francine Hardaway, Joe Chernov, Rebecca Lieb, Terry Young, Ben Smith, Jim Lundy, who guided, cheered me on and made intros. Thank you Lora Cecere, Alan Webber, Julie, Viola, Charlene Li and to all the people at Altimeter Group, for your ongoing support. Of course, thank you to my supportive wife, who is a supportive driving force behind me. I know I left many, many people off, please accept my apologies.


Above: Keynote slides from LeWeb company launch.


Above: Video from Keynote speech at LeWeb for the Crowd Companies launch.

 

 


Key Resources and Company Stats:

  • Crowd Companies launches with 24 large companies as founding members including GE, Home Depot, Whole Foods, Intel, Nestle, Cisco, Walmart and many others.
  • Crowd Companies launches with 22 innovative startups, investors, and thought leaders in the Innovation Network stemming from the sharing economy, maker movement, and co-innovation space.
  • For more details: visit the website, read the press release.
  • Case examples: See this growing list of brands who’ve deployed in the collaborative economy.
  • Peruse my full body of work on this topic for deeper insight.
  • We use collaborative economy services for the logo design, website design, virtual staffing, and more.

So welcome to Crowd Companies! A brand council for the collaborative economy. We’re on a mission for Empowered People and Resilient Brands to achieve Shared Value.


Market Coverage:
I’ll cross-link to coverage on this announcement.