Innovators also pinpointed the promise of mobile microwork for making data available and accessible to all. “Microwork-based Social Publishing for Empowerment,” by Jeongtae Kim of the Republic of Korea, would expand a UNESCO project’s ability to spread valuable texts in all language, while “RealTime GPS Traffic Update through Rickshaw Drivers,” by Aadhar Bhalinge of India, would organically crowdsource maps at very low cost in developing nations.
Dear Jeongtae Kim & team,
First of all, once again congratulations on your impressive submission, Microwork-based Social Publishing for Empowerment.
This is certainly one of the most inspiring concepts of the whole competition. Given that you have your social publishing organization already in place, it seems feasible, at least as a pilot, and it is likely that there is demand. In short, the overall concept is great; the next step will be to figure out more of the specifics and a first crude business plan.
The biggest challenge with micro-translation/writing is that the beauty of books (even children’s books with simple language) very much lies in the talent and “giftedness” of the author, and that a book is usually written as a coherent piece for a good reason. You would need to figure out if it is always a book as a whole that would be written/translated by the same worker or, if not, how this can be done by many workers while maintaining a certain level of literary quality and coherence. You are certainly
working in a publishing niche where it is acceptable if a script is not the most elaborate and correct piece of literature, but some level of literary appeal will need to be guaranteed, and this will be difficult.
For instance, who will approve the texts and based on what? Will they go through some editing process? How will these lectors/editors be compensated and will this compensation maybe be much more expensive than the writing/translation itself? Will this determine whether the microworkers are paid or do they get paid for any kind of effort? How can you make sure that microworkers don’t exploit the service and, e.g., type in fantasy words?
You should start talking about revenue and cost models: You can include estimates on
(1) the expected demand/deal flow (how many books will be sponsored? How much will be contributed as donations?)
(2) the payments to microworkers (payment per word, per line, per whole book, per quality?), and
(3) the expected cost of the startup/extension of your publishing organization, in particular for staff and developing the technology.
This will lead you to questions about processes: what triggers a payment to the translator/writer? Do they get paid when they send their translation/script, only when someone (the publishing company? A lector? Other microworkers?) verifies it, or does it have to be the micro-employer (donor) that approves the payment? You do not need to go into too much detail, but it would be good to provide at least a couple of examples/illustrations of a payment process, e.g., through a flow chart.
Regarding the technology, you should talk, for instance, about compatibility and technical requirements of the application for mobile phones and operating systems (e.g., do users need a smartphone?), or the specific capacities and functionalities of the application in terms of data processing and extraction (e.g.,identification/monitoring of great authors). You should also explain how the application would compile the many varying inputs from microworkers into one piece. The application should be powerful, but also simple and easy to understand and use.
You should also talk more about the organization/setup of your startup. This needs to be aligned to your client groups, donors/customers and micro-translators/writers. Will public money be the main driver, private donations, or even corporate social responsibility units of large companies? How would you reach out to these different kinds of employers and who would you focus on? For instance, the human
resources of the startup will have to be able to respond to the different needs of these stakeholders: a private donor might like a sense of empowerment (“making a difference”)/empowering poor writers and community spirit, while an education ministry might prefer technical impact reports and accountability/monitoring.