Crowdsourcing Ideas: Apparently Marijuana Is All California Needs

California has several big issues that need to be tackled. Our state budget seems to perpetually be in deficit mode, with drawn-out battles for resolving the red ink. The education system, once a shining jewel in the world, now produced some of the low test scores in the country. The state infrastructure must be upgraded to handle the ever-growing population. Our prisons are sagging from overcrowding. Water sources need to be improved for the higherpopulation combined with predictable periods of drought.

So Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger established a novel approach. Let Californians weigh in with their ideas for how to fix the problems the state faces. He set up, where anyone can tweet their suggestions. So what does the wisdom of the crowd think will help?


Yes, it turns out state leadership has been missing a golden opportunity. Legalize pot, and things improve immediately! Or at least our perception of the problems mellows. Forget wisdom of the crowd. It’s buzzdom of the crowd.

Here’s a list of the most popular ideas as of Friday August 28, 2009 at 6:30 am: Most Popular 082809

In the screenshot, and further down the list, there are some more serious ideas proposed. So all hope is not lost in the fumes of a big joint. But you have to admire the persistence of the “legalize dope” crowd. Multiple ideas, multiple votes, top of the leaderboard.

Reminds me of a recent New York Times story detailing  a similar effort by President Barack Obama to elicit ideas from Americans.

The White House made its first major entree into government by the people last month when it set up an online forum to ask ordinary people for their ideas on how to carry out the president’s open-government pledge. It got an earful — on legalizing marijuana, revealing U.F.O. secrets and verifying Mr. Obama’s birth certificate to prove he was really born in the United States and thus eligible to be president.

I fundamentally believe that crowdsourcing works. For instance, our stock markets are a great example of collective wisdom. They provide amazing value in terms of aggregating the opinions of large numbers of people.

Yes, crowdsourcing works. Just be mindful of the crowd from which you’re sourcing.