"Have you seen this?" I get asked that a lot. Almost daily. Recently it always relates to educational software. Big surprise. In three years this segment has exploded. There may be ten thousand companies working I the space, up from next to nothing in the span of a Presidential term. So there's no shortage of things to see, and each new company is a potential competitor, rival, or scary monster that might do what Thumbprint does only better, faster, bigger. With sprinkles.
Except they never do. There's some overlap, sure, as well as companies with hundreds of times our resources, million-dollar marketing pushes, backing from this foundation or that. But there's always something missing, as well. Something that nobody wants to take on: Crowdsourcing.
If you want off-the-shelf content, you can have it. If you want a blank canvas on which to create something from scratch, you can have that too. But if you want to create a virtuous cycle where everyone creates a little and borrows a lot, you've got...us, apparently.
Now there are several technical reasons why such features are scary. We spent months of design trying to prevent things like data corruption and infinite loops (you know, bad stuff). But I don't think that's why. I think there's still a fundamental mistrust of crowdsourcing, maybe unconscious, buried deep. I think we still look at Wikipedia and see not comprehensive proof that a theory is true, but some sort of random, magical event with no broader application. I think that, once again, technology is outpacing human nature. Which is exciting.