Excellent timing on this article, where Kathy Sierra details the Dumbness of Crowds, an often seen mis-undertanding of the Wisdom of Crowds which I read just last week. I’m also following a discussion where a group I’m working with thinks they’ll be able to piece together a design during a “hack night” equivalent.
“Collective Intelligence” is about the community on Threadless, voting and discussing t-shirts designed by individuals.
“Dumbness of Crowds” would be expecting the Threadless community to actually design the t-shirts together as a group.
Art isn’t made by committee.
Great design isn’t made by consensus.
True wisdom isn’t captured from a crowd.
It’s the sharp edges, gaps, and differences in individual knowledge that make the wisdom of crowds work, yet the trendy (and misinterpreted) vision of Web 2.0 is just the opposite—get us all collborating and communicating and conversing all together as one big happy collborating, communicating, conversing thing until our individual differences become superficial.