AUSTIN, Texas--Why invent the wheel by yourself if you can turn instead to a group of peers and solve it together?
That was the premise of a gathering here of executives from most of the leading companies in what might be called the "people-powered" industry.
These are companies like CafePress, Moo, Etsy, and 8020 Publishing whose business is manufacturing physical products designed by customers. CafePress, for example, makes T-shirts, coffee mugs, hats, and many other products emblazoned with logos and designs uploaded by users. Moo makes business and greeting cards adorned with users' own photos and images, and 8020 publishes photo and travel magazines full of readers' work.
But each of these outfits has until now had to solve a set of problems unique to this nascent industry--legal issues, community management processes, and even questions of nomenclature.
So as many of the people behind these companies prepared to go to Austin for this year's South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) festival, Moo CEO Richard Moross decided that maybe this would be a good time and place to get everyone together and discuss whether a cooperative investigation and search for solutions to common problems would be a good thing for everyone involved.
After all, there's strength in numbers, right?
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