Crowdsourcing Startup's Goal: Change the World

This article was written by Daniel Terdiman of CNET

Want to change the world but only have 99 cents? Armchair Revolutionary is here to help.

Set to launch into beta on Tuesday, Armchair Revolutionary is a Web-based social activism platform designed to harness large-scale crowdsourcing and the boom in social gaming in a bid to support a wide variety of science and technology ventures that could benefit the world at large.

Started by the founders of The Hollywood Hill, said to be the largest social change membership organization in the entertainment-industry, Armchair Revolutionary is meant to bring people's interest in helping support worthwhile causes and the iTunes-era simplicity of spending 99 cents on something intriguing together with innovators who need funding to get potentially world-changing projects off the ground.

Built around a series of eight social activism tasks--gifting, VoIP phone calling, e-mailing, uploading, downloading, voting, forms, and quizzes--Armchair Revolutionary is seen by its creators as a one-stop shop for today's Web savvy and altruistic communities to make a big difference, one small step at a time.

The value proposition? That today's existing Web-based social activism efforts suffer from a combination of being boring; of wasting too much money on transaction fees and asking for too much to get mass participation; of not rewarding that participation and much more.

By contrast, by building a substantial competitive game element into Armchair Revolutionary, limiting gifts to 99 cents and providing plenty of participatory opportunities and rewards, the platform's founders believe they have found a way to support the "super geeks" who are developing the science and the technology that could help humanity dig out from some of our biggest problems.

"Every generation or so, new groups of people come around who find a way to make a difference," said Lawrence Bender, the producer of films like "Pulp Fiction" and "Inglourious Basterds" and an Armchair Revolutionary adviser. "And a couple generations ago, it was Lew Wasserman here in Hollywood, and Arianna Huffington is one of the leaders of that now, and it goes on. So this is an example of a group of young people coming together, using Hollywood and Silicon Valley as a launching point to engage people, and I think it's exciting. That can only be good."

You can read the full story at CNET
By Daniel Terdiman