Chicago: the new capitol of community-based goodness? Mike | January 5th, 2009

So, what is it about Chicago? In 1922 the Chicago Tribune held a contest. They offered $50,000 to the crowd to come up with a design for their new headquarters building – “the most beautiful and eye-catching building in the world.” They received 260 entries and the winning entry was built and stands today at 435 N. Michigan Avenue.

In 2000 Jake Nickell and Jacob DeHart started Threadless, the community-centered online t-shirt store, where designers submit their original work and the crowd votes to choose which t-shirt designs will be made into t-shirts which are then available to buy on trhe site.

In 2006 Andrew Mason founded The Point,  an online community that leverages the crowd by allowing anyone to start a group action, or raise money for a cause.

In 2007 Parker Newman launched Popdeck, a crowd-driven design community for skateboarders. Board designs are submitted by users and the winning designs are available for purchase.

In 2008 Cameesa was introduced online by Andy Cronk and Kamil Chmielewski, using a “crowdfunding” model. Users can invest in tee-shirt designs and share in the profits when the shirts are produced and sold. Artists are paid a fee for their designs and also share in the profits as the shirts are sold.

And, crowdSPRING opened our doors this past May, allowing buyers access to a community of over 11,000 designers from around the world.

What is it that all of these crowdsource-model businesses have in common? Chicago, Chicago, Chicago, and Chicago. What is up with that? Don’t ask me to explain it – just can’t. But for whatever reason, Chicago has become a hub of community-based goodness. And we’re happy to be here, shivering through the winter with our crowd-brethren.

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  • jcieb1

    There is a post about CrowdSpring today over at the SCORE Women’s Success blog. Check it out!
    http://womensblog.score.org/2009/01/05/web_tools/

  • Charlie Festa

    Chicago is awesome!! So many unique ideas come from this city. If anyone has any questions about threadless.com please contact me at community@threadless.com Love to talk about anything!! Community Manager: Charlie Festa :)

  • Charlie Festa

    Chicago is awesome!! So many unique ideas come from this city. If anyone has any questions about threadless.com please contact me at community@threadless.com Love to talk about anything!! Community Manager: Charlie Festa :)

  • Anna Tarkov

    I think it’s because Chicago is a friendly, typically Midwestern town. We have some of the usual urban snobbery here, but in MUCH shorter supply than places like NYC and San Francisco.

  • Anna Tarkov

    I think it’s because Chicago is a friendly, typically Midwestern town. We have some of the usual urban snobbery here, but in MUCH shorter supply than places like NYC and San Francisco.

  • ArtbyAudree

    When I travel away from Chicago and tell people where I’m from – they have two responses… “Michael Jordan!” or “Oh- gangsters.”

    When people come here to visit – they say things like, “It’s so beautiful for a big city.” and “The people are so NICE!”

    Good old midwestern values have helped give the city a flavor of its own. I’m not at all surprised to hear companies here are taking these creative approaches to business.

  • fredK

    Cosmic law, that’s all I can say. Amsterdam and diamond merchants. London and actors. Berlin and avant garde artists. Paris and fashion designers. Chicago and crowdsorcerers. Crowdsourcers. Eh- you get the drift. ;)
    Cosmic law.

  • Popup

    I love Chicago! I used to live there. But how come the digital businesses that start there aren’t well known outside the area? For example, I’ve known about threadless for years, but most people mention cafe press when they hear of custom t-shirts. What gives?

  • Popup

    I love Chicago! I used to live there. But how come the digital businesses that start there aren’t well known outside the area? For example, I’ve known about threadless for years, but most people mention cafe press when they hear of custom t-shirts. What gives?

  • Sonny Gill

    Thats a great thing to see. Chicago has definitely stayed ahead of the curve and companies have realized the increased visibility and need for communities within businesses (driven by or an extension of). With companies being on top of the times, I think economically, Chicago provides great opportunities for job seekers and businesses alike.

    Besides – Chicago just kicks ass!

  • Sonny Gill

    Thats a great thing to see. Chicago has definitely stayed ahead of the curve and companies have realized the increased visibility and need for communities within businesses (driven by or an extension of). With companies being on top of the times, I think economically, Chicago provides great opportunities for job seekers and businesses alike.

    Besides – Chicago just kicks ass!

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