Yesterday I received a press release from Jasmine at Cambrian House. “MOB4HIRE LAUNCHES IN BETA: USES CROWDSOURCING TO SOLVE MOBILE APPLICATION WOES“. In one of the early posts on this blog I said that Cambrian Houses’ ability to turn their ideas into businesses would be an important testcase for crowdsourcing in general. In that respect Mob4Hire is great news for Crowdsourcing!
The above was the perfect reason to talk to Paul Poutanen, president of Mob4hire. With a combination of money (Cambrian House cambros) and founder shares, the business was put up. The company is basically a crowdsourced crowdsourcing company; made by the crowds to crowdsource ; )
Mob4hire came from an idea put on Cambrian House on February 7, 2007. The idea ended up winning a weekly IdeaWarz contest and then placed in the top 3 ideas in a Tournament of Champions contest finishing last September. I incorporated Mob4hire Inc. that month and have been working on it full time since then.
I met Richard Cooke, a mobile developer and member (anathema) of Cambrian House through Cambrian House and he started working on it from a technical viewpoint. He is now Mob4hire CTO and is based just outside of London England. I met him for the first time in person last month after flying to Barcelona for a large mobile tradeshow. He has done a great job! David Zachar also a Cambrian House member (zentropy) has been working on web design for the site and for the beta release entirely redesigned the site look and feel. He has a good talent for making the site have a super look and feel.
How do you differentiate yourself from competitors such as Utest?
We focus entirely on the niche of the mobile space helping mobile developers test their applications. There are over 7500 different handsets on nearly 700 carriers. Each carrier can add software to each handset making the operation of each handset quite different. We recruit testers and using their handsets they what ever testing is required for the developer. These may be technical tests or they may require focus group type marketing tests (GUI is very difficult on some handsets).
The bottom line is the mobile space is a very specific niche and we are targeted to that testing niche. From what I can see from utest.com they are more targeted to testing web and computer applications. I wish them well.
What were the main issues you encountered?
We had 4 major problems:
1. getting the handsets (try and get a South African handset from Canada)
2. Subscription costs
3. Testers from the company had to travel to other countries to test in those countries required. ( you cannot test an application targeted to Verizon in the USA from Europe if it is a network application)
4. Internal testers make poor testers (they already know what the application is supposed to do and things like help screens often get neglected)
What’s your definition of crowdsourcing?
Crowdsourcing is the use of people and companies to help other people and companies for compensation. This usually done via the web.
What can be said about Crowdsourcing in general based upon your experience?
The ability to get a technical site up quickly while being capital efficient is a result of crowdsourcing. I would have never met the Mob4hire team if it had not been for Cambrian House. We look forward to a very bright future.
All in all another great crowdsourcing startup to keep an eye on…