Give a T-shirt as a gift!

Does the crowd mean the end of capitalism or is it more a trick to increase exploitation? Or is the whole thing really a dream?

Christoph Hugenschmidt

“Finally! Capitalism is on its way out. This crowd thing will change everything. The banks have served their purpose, financial capital is being shared out among the working masses and knowledge and research is being crowdsourced and opened up. Sugar?,” asked Karl Marx and poured the tea. He didn’t really like Vladimir, but neither of them had many friends anymore, so Karl and Vladi occasionally met for tea under a cloud that was lit by a perpetual sunset.


“Yes please!,” Lenin replied and looked angrily at the pink cloud. “You’ll always be a dreamer. This crowd thing is just a trick to increase exploitation. And anyway: power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”


The incorrectly attributed quote awakened me from my pink cloudy dream. Should I make an appointment with my therapist?


On the other hand, maybe my subconscious was trying to draw my attention to an economic megatrend? Banks need to think about their future if people are starting to procure loans and risk capital on an Internet platform from just anybody. Taxi companies, hotel chains, tourist offices, market research companies, bicycle courier associations, development departments and cohorts of well-paid software testers and documenters: all of these are unnecessary because everything can be crowdsourced and “share-economy-ed”.

“This crowd thing is just a trick to increase exploitation.”

Your company needs to develop new products? Ask your customer crowd and you can save at least half of your expensive developers. You need to provide a large number of customers with support? Form a user community, give the user who solves the most customer problems a T-shirt, and your support costs will sink. You have developed a mobile payment solution and now need to test it? No problem: give every test user 100 francs and they will occupy themselves with your app in their free time for weeks. You want to produce a film, write a book, become the next Bill Gates or provide a hip new housing estate with vegan food by bike? Forget the months of working on a business plan, the degrading trips to the banks, where tie-wearing youngsters sweep your sure-fire venture from the table. Publish your project on the crowdfunding platform of your choice and make sure you select the right one. The vegan food bike is best placed with the hipsters on RonOrp, the app with global market potential is most at home on the crowd platform provided by a bank platform’s VC platform, the start-up for a small brewery in beautiful Passau on and the film, of course, with


The psychiatrist reassured me: “Dreaming about Karl Marx is not a symptom of illness. At least not always.” Relieved, I thought: “Karl, you are a dreamer.”

Christoph Hugenschmidt

founded the online newspaper eleven years ago and works for it as a journalist and publisher. The 57 year old is half glad that decent journalism cannot be crowdsourced.

Further Focus articles

Title topic: Collectively creative

The crowd goes professional

Crowdsourcing is developing from a marketing tool into a strategic innovation tool and – if used correctly – has a real leverage effect.


Hacks as a challenge, dance as a passion

At a hackathon, Marica Bertarini easily bashes out hundreds of lines of code on her keyboard for 40 hours – with style, heart and soul.


“Co-creation also means giving up control”

According to Frank Seifert and Thomas Robinson, Customer Experience specialists at Swisscom, companies need to open up to customers if they are to develop good products.