John Fluevog's fabulous new digs in Gastown hosted a cozy gathering of friends and selected media (that would be us) this evening for the launch of Richard J. Goossen's new book, "e-Preneur: From Wall Street to Wiki: Succeeding as a Crowdpreneur in the New Virtual Marketplace". The book examines the phenomenon of "crowd-powered" companies that use massive online communities to collaborate and power businesses.
While crowd-sourcing is a central part of Web 2.0 businesses like Digg, not many have examined the ability for this model to apply to other businesses in, you know, the real world. I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of Richard's case studies focused on Fluevog itself, which has actually been using crowd-sourcing quite successfully to engage its customers to help design new products. A Fluevog representative was on hand to highlight the success they've witnessed with Vog Populi, their online campaign that gives Fluevog customers a say in which products the funky fashion design company should release next (they're currently seeking input on their Spring 2009 collection).
The event was nicely rounded out with commentary from two more familiar Canadian faces: Mike Sikorsky of Cambrian House, and Marc Baumgartner of NowPublic. While these might be more traditional web-based applications of "crowd-preneurship", if Richard's predictions hold true, they're just the beginning of a new era of companies and their customers working together to build new products.