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What Would You Like 2.1 Billion People to Do for You Today?

Seminar

Speaker(s)

Nathan Eagle, txteagle, Inc

Date and Time

December 2, 2010 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Availability

Open to the public.

No RSVP required

Location

Wallenberg Theater

FSI Contact

Kathleen Barcos

txteagle is Boston-based company that enables mobile phone subscribers in the developing world to earn airtime by completing simple work. We have now integrated our compensation platform within the billing systems of over 220 mobile operators - providing 2.1 billion mobile phone subscribers with the ability for moderate economic empowerment. While originally focused on text-based tasks from the outsourcing industry, we have recently come to appreciate our distributed workforce as much more than a source of cheaper labor for the data-entry industry. Instead of simply facilitating labor arbitrage, we are now focused on leveraging a particular population's unique insights and local knowledge. Today our workforce provides services that could never be outsourced - services that require on-the-ground knowledge and insight. The scope of these types of services is rapidly expanding - ranging from conducting a 50-country survey commissioned by the United Nations, to helping a massive consumer goods corporation grow their sanitary pad distribution and marketing channels into rural markets, to localizing software for a major search engine, to verifying local businesses for the World Bank, to responding to surveys for international market and investment research firms, to conducting compensated awareness and engagement campaigns for many large, international brands.

The underlying value of our workforce comes from their unique community, their culture, their neighborhood, their social network, and their knowledge of the place where they live. We are excited to be continually discovering new ways to demonstrate this unique value they can provide to the rest of the world.

Nathan Eagle is the CEO of txteagle Inc. He holds faculty appointments at the MIT Media Laboratory and Northeastern University, and is an Omidyar Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute. His research involves engineering computational tools, designed to explore how the petabytes of data generated about human movements, financial transactions, and communication patterns can be used for social good. He holds a BS and two MS degrees from Stanford's School of Engineering; his PhD from the MIT Media Laboratory on Reality Mining was declared one of the '10 technologies most likely to change the way we live' by the MIT Technology Review. Recently, he was named one of the world's top mobile phone developers by Nokia and also elected to the TR35. His academic work has been featured in Science, Nature and PNAS, as well as in the mainstream press.

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