Think locally; crowdsource globally

13Aug09

I’ve been reading a lot lately about crowd-sourcing which according to Wikipedia, is “a neologism for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people or community in the form of an open call…The term has become popular…as shorthand for the trend of leveraging the mass collaboration enabled by Web 2.0 technologies…”

On the Sgt. Pepper album, the Beatles said it more succinctly: “get by with a little help from my friends.”

So, with that, I’ll attempt to crowd-source some aspects of the project that Suzi and I are working on right now.

We invested in Speed Raceway, an indoor electric go-kart track under construction in a former Home Depot facility in Highlands Ranch, a Denver suburb.  We’re pursuing LEED certification, and intend for it to be the first green racetrack in the U.S.  Keeping with that theme, we plan healthy (organic, wherever possible) food and drinks in minimal-waste, recyclable packaging.

Much of the basic description is found at the Speed Raceway Facebook page.  This is an exciting new family recreation category at an early stage in the U.S., where there are only 20 such facilities, compared with over 600 in Europe.

As you see from the FB comments, our pre-construction reception in Denver has been fantastic, suggesting a lot of pent-up demand for our category and facility.  No surprise there, really.  Who has ever gotten off a go-kart expressing anything but enthusiasm for the next ride?

Here’s where the crowd-sourcing comes in.  We want to deliver a Nordstrom or Ritz-Carlton level of customer experience and service.  Here are just a few of the things we’re investigating:

  • RFID-tagged key fobs or racing gloves connected to membership accounts to eliminate unnecessary delays at check-in, food ordering, payment interactions, etc., or awkward cash transactions for hosts and their guests
  • Maximum use of social networking media to create real community and constant feedback
  • Trackside webcams to enable real-time remote viewing by friends and family unable to join the racers in person

I’m soliciting ideas to make this consistently a “wow” experience that people will buzz-, blog-, post- and Tweet about.  Your thoughts most welcome.

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