Wikinomics: A Love Story

Two companies, both alike in strategy,
On the internet, where we lay our scene,
From ancient tactics to new alchemy,
Where their feedback makes their objective seen.

A parody of Shakespeare (The first four lines of “Romeo and Juliet”, rewritten by Amanda Kay)

Not too long ago when social media wasn’t fully embraced in the Web 1.0 stage, businesses would have their own plans with not too much consideration for their customers/clients. They would work with what they knew and gather information on what their customers want by supply and demand rather than asking the customer to contribute.

Crowd sourcing isn’t a new idea, and companies have used it in the past when introducing new products; it was inevitable that they would eventually use mass collaboration to not only have suggestions and feedback, but to base the majority of their business strategies on. It’s not about getting to know each customer, it’s about letting each of them have their say.


In 2006, Don Tapscott (pictured above) released a book about Web 2.0 and the facinating advances businesses have made, called Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything.

It mentions four principals of the Web 2.0 business strategy:

  1. Openness is about collaboration and having open standards. It is a smart attitude of letting any one lend a hand.
  2. Peering is about transparency and the communication of information. Letting anyone view and edit to improve a product (like Linux).
  3. Sharing is giving up major assets (like intellectual property) for a more open and intimate understanding of the business.
  4. Acting Globally is taking advantage of being able to communicate internationally and using it as a business advantage.

So here are some examples of Wikinomics in popular companies.



A website dedicated to artists and fans of popular cultureTeeFury is a site that allows people do buy a limited edition tee shirt that changes every day for just $11 (shipping isn’t too expensive either). It brings people together that have the same interest in geeky clothing and gives them what they’ve been waiting for; they just have to check the site every day as the designs change every 24 hours.

The clothes they make and sell are for a very specific audience, and if they weren’t online, they wouldn’t have the kind of following they do now. Since there is a strong online community based around popular culture, it brings people together to submit designsbuy, and interact with those involved.

Without being open and allowing global contribution, this site wouldn’t be nearly as popular. The people that design the shirts are artists from around the world, contributing their work in order to improve their portfolio and get their art out there. That factor makes the artists more popular and the people who run the site seem friendly and more relatable.

They also recently released their shirt making process, along with having most of the information about their business in the FAQ.

Steam (Greenlight)


Steam is a popular online gaming portal used to connect to friends through the games they are playing. It also allows users to buy digital copies of games rather than go into a store and getting a physical copy. Their community page, Steam Greenlight, features a system that allows users to vote for and submit games they would like to see in the Steam Store.

Introduced in 2011, Steam has finally handed over a significant amount of power to it’s community. Users can vote for and decide on the new games that will be launched via Steam. They have a lot more of their business properties online in order to allow users to have more knowledge about upcoming projects and features.

The whole idea of the company is to be able to buy any game (available on the PC), anywhere. The set up tools are all downloadable, the site is safe when it comes to buying things via credit card, and as long as the user has a steady connection, they are able to play what they want, whenever they want.

So now to you: Do you like how businesses have improved their online presence over the last few years? Would you kindly comment below?

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5 Responses to Wikinomics: A Love Story

  1. Nissa says:

    This is awesome, Mandee. I love the writing style you’ve chosen for this. Your parody of Shakespeare was a great touch and drew my in immediately. I would’ve loved to hear more of your personal opinion and any movements you think we’ll be seeing in the future of Wikinomics. To answer your questions:
    “Do you like how business have improved their online presence over the last few years?”
    I certainly do. It saves me a great deal of time finding new places to shop, research and inspire. However there is still a great deal of vulnerability attached that I’m still coming to terms with (not being sure if the goods will arrive, let alone in the correct size or on time).
    Keep up the fantastic work 🙂

  2. Louisa Newsham says:

    I totally agree! I would say an online presence has become near necessary to stay relevant in the current market. The convenience and cost benefits of e-commerce are becoming the main forefront of retail and any business to continue to deny this fact will be quickly left behind. As evidenced by the case studies you have highlighted in this blog, there are many business opportunities apart from the intiial notion of virtualising the physical storefront, and as the world realises this, I believe we will continue to see more ventures which bring previously unimaginable value to the market.

  3. Alex says:

    I like the Shakespeare re-do and I loved the ‘shirt making process’ link – really interesting stuff!

  4. brantsmith89 says:

    I love how the blogging style is personal and humorous to engage the reader. It really makes you want to keep reader not just this post but your further work. I think both companies are perfect examples of collaborative development and you have used examples to explain that well. The actual format enables a great reading experience by having images break up text and having bold/italicised words and using lists to indent to guide the reader’s eyes.

    Both of these companies are a major force in their market and I believe a huge reason for that is how open they are to participation and exploiting the way communication has migrated to the web. I think businesses who act more socially are more well known (due to public exposure in my Facebook feed for example) and also more likeable because it adds a face to the corporation. I think with TeeFury specifically, the need for collaborate content development is crucial because it uses a ‘By nerds, for nerds’ approach so the designs are more targeted to that demographic (me included, being massive nerd and TeeFury customer) and more likely to find the content relatable. Much better than trying to find geeky graphic designers all in the one region to make their content and sell it in one shop.

  5. I think these sites fill their niche well and I know there are quite a few similar sites covering a range of product types, up to and including marketing itself ( for example). Whether or not you’re successful is dependant on a lot of factors and I always wonder if better sites for a particular niche are under-represented simply because they weren’t the first one in (or the loudest). Ultimately the market will choose what they consider to be the best, but competition is always better for the consumer in the long run.

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