November 09, 2011

Real innovators tend to move from one big invention to another, rather than resting on their laurels, as we showed in Wall Street & Technology’s recent list of top 10 innovators of the decade.

Philip Rosedale’s most famous invention,Second Life , created a buzz among finance aficionados, with its ‘fake’ stock market and currency.

Although Second Life, a virtual world populated by avatars, never lived up to its hype, it did spawn a number of imitators and led to the rise of virtual trade events which have become a staple of Wall Street & Techology’s events program too .

Like other true innovators before him, Rosedale is not one to stop and marvel at his one and only invention, or one to lick his wounds if it doesn’t quite work out.

This past spring, Rosedale quietly launched a work exchange site called Coffee and Power, which could have a bigger impact on Wall Street and Main Street than Second Life ever did.

Coffee and Power is a site where people buy and sell jobs, from paying $2 for someone to ‘like’ their Facebook page, to $5 for fixing any css/javascript issues in a website to $20 for creating a PowerPoint presentation, or a larger sum for writing sophisticated software.

From the New York Times :

“To prove his point that a work exchange could function, Mr. Rosedale built the software for his new company by hiring programmers from around the world and dividing up the work into about 1,600 individual tasks, from setting up databases to fixing bugs.

“We think it’s the new model for how software will be written,” he said. “It worked so well that we decided to extend it to all sorts of work.”

[…] As with Second Life, the business has a virtual currency for buying, selling or bestowing tasks as gifts. Coffee and Power takes a 15 percent fee for moving the money back into real dollars.

Wall Street has been outsourcing for years. But as companies continue to cut costs while staying on the look out for advanced developers from different parts of the world, a marketplace like Coffee and Power – perhaps one specifically targeted at the financial and technology industry -- could have an impact in the future in the way firms hire additional IT contractors.

After all, despite Wall Street’s broad layoffs, very specialized IT workers who are at the cutting-edge of new developments are always in high-demand.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melanie Rodier has worked as a print and broadcast journalist for over 10 years, covering business and finance, general news, and film trade news. Prior to joining Wall Street & Technology in ...