Skip to Content
Personal Insights

The Wisdom of Crowds – Genius in 2010?

Happy New Year 2010, my fellow SCN members!


While whiling away the holidays in Hawaii, I managed to catch up on some reading. One of the most intriguing things that I came across was the New York Times Magazine from December 13th, titled: “The 9th Annual Year in Ideas”.


Among many fascinating, and for me, hitherto, unheard ideas, including the “Myth of the deficient older employee”, “Kitchen sink that puts out fires”, and “Google algorithm as extinction model” –  my social media marketer eye was particularly caught by the article: “Massive collaborative mathematics” (page 52-54). I am not a huge fan of math but this article provided such a compelling example of the power of “crowdsourding” that I immediately thought of SCN and all the challenges – large and small – that get solved everyday by our community members; and how many more we will be able to solve!


The Summary: Massive Collaborative Mathematics

Jordan Ellenberg writes about a mathematics professor and Fields Medal winner who had the idea to post a theorem on his blog and ask “the crowd” to prove it – as he had been unable to do so himself. His success metrics were defined as: “I will regard the experiment as a success if it leads to anything that could count as genuine progress toward an understanding of the problem.”  Only 6 weeks later the prove had been accomplished!!

Please read the full article here (JORDAN ELLENBERG, “NYT Magazine: The 9th Annual Year in Ideas”, December 13, 2009)



In 2009, there were many marketing challenges that I could not have solved without the support of my fellow SCN members. The best results that our team achieved were produced in conjunction with very active SCN members! Thank you for your support, and I look forward to working together in 2010! Health, peace and happiness to you and your loved ones.



PS: I’d also like to point you to  Mark Yolton’s interesting blog Social Networks: Catalysts for the Borderless Enterprise.

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
  • If you are interested in the “real” blog then here is the description of the problem
    and here starts the discussion

    I’m still trying to understand the original problem despite my university diploma in maths.

    Thank you for sharing this fantastic article with us. It’s really funny to see that “Open Source” starts spreading in academic circles too.

  • As I read your blog, I was thinking about the changing workplace.  We’ve moved from a competitive work place into a “teamwork” approach.  (In around a 20 year change.  I think.)  Instead of hording information we now are encouraged to share. 

    I wonder if that has helped social networking.  We are move used to sharing ideas, brain storming with others, and using collective solutions.

    It will be interesting to watch it expand. 

    Nice blog.


    • Intriguing questions. I wonder if what actually is going to happen is something we can’t predict at all, at this point. We’ll find out :-).
  • I would like to point out that I edited this blog – deleting the full length article from the NYT magazine – after Jim Spath kindly reminded me that “It’s a poor example to other SCN users who are disciplined for copying and pasting content.”

    I did not realize that it was incorrect to copy the whole article into my blog and am writing this comment, hoping that others will read this and learn from my mistake :-). Once again, a mentor saved the day. Thanks Jim.