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X-Culture Stories

X-Culture Stories

by Vas Taras

Open-source collaboration and crowd sourcing – the principles at heart of X-Culture – have already changed a number of industries.

Conspicuously, however, business research, education, and consulting are stuck in the “do it in the house” paradigm. We think we can change that.


It would make sense to first share how X-Culture started. It’s a fascinating story of serendipity and hard work. However, history can wait. I’d like to start by sharing our plans for the nearest future.

And no, I am not afraid to opening reveal our new program/service/product plans. Our goal is to make a world a better place by connecting cultures and providing platforms for collaborating learning, research, and business consulting. If somebody takes our ideas and does it better, it’ll mean less work for us.

So, here are the new directions we are exploring.

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COMING SOON

X-Culture handles an enormous amount of email correspondence.

Our email accounts ([email protected]оrg and v_tаrа[email protected]) must be more internationally connected emails in the world. I am not exaggerating. On a given day, each account receives 200-300 emails from an average of 25-30 countries. And at least once a week, we sent out about 10,000 emails to 45 countries. Sometimes more.

The correspondence with the X-Culture students and professors. All those survey invitations, reminders, newsletters. I am not even counting personal correspondence.

We are occasionally blocked as our email providers limit correspondence to 500 outgoing personal emails per day and 50,000 outgoing survey-related emails. It’s a huge problem, because tends of thousands of people depend on these accounts.

In this blog, I will share with you the challenges of email overload we face, the tricks we use to stay under limit – as well as ask for your help with solving some remaining problems.

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COMING SOON

X-Culture collects immense amounts of data. Over 2,000 variables. Multi-Level. Multi-Source. Multi-Method. Longitudinal.

We have weekly surveys of all X-Culture participants.

However, much of it is self-report questionnaires. As we learned the hard way, self-report questionnaires are tricky. It’s not that people intentionally lie. But the threat to validity of the data posed by the subjective interpretation of the questions, anchoring, acquiescence bias, extreme response bias, comparison bias, socially-describable answers, and good old response fatigue are HUGE.

Bad data in, misleading results out. Garbage in, garbage out.

In this blog, I will tell you how we detect random (or systemically bias) response, tricks we use to minimize the problem, as well as share some funny (and some troubling) stories about self-report data collection.

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COMING SOON

The biggest, and really only real problem in team-based projects is free-riding.

It happens always and a lot. Studies show that up to 30% of all team members, regardless of age, profession, or compensation, work less than expected by their team.

In X-Culture, we started off with the usual free-riding rate of about 30%.

Through a series of experiments, we’ve developed procedures that have reduced that number to  3% “bona-fide” free-riders and about 11% “under-performers”.

We have several papers that describe our experiments and research in this area. This blog will provide an overview of the most notable issues, findings, and solutions.

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COMING SOON

What can be easier than print a certificate?

Well, designing, printing, and distributing X-Culture Certificates has been a major hassle.

The evolution of X-Culture certification process is worthy a separate book.

When I find a few minutes, I’ll tell you all about the challenges we faced, the solutions we developed, the problems that remain – and maybe you’ll help us further improve the process.

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COMING SOON

None of this was planned. None of this came from a grand vision.

All a product of serendipity. Lucky incidents, which looked like problems first, but turned out to be great opportunities.

Give me a few days and I’ll tell you how it all started: X-Culture, WikiDemix, VirtualTA, the Coaching Program, Hackathon, and many other things we’re developing now.

Sure, it all required thousands of hours of work – and will require much more. But there is more to the story.

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COMING SOON

It appears large-scale collaboration, open-source research and crowd sourcing – the principles at heart of X-Culture, have already changed a number of industries.

  • The largest accommodation provider owns no hotels (Airbnb)
  • The largest taxi service provider owns no cars (Uber)
  • The largest retailers have no stores (Alibaba, Amazon)
  • The largest video entertainment provider owns no cinemas (YouTube, Nextflix)
  • Largest software vendors don’t write apps (Apple, Google app stores)
  • The largest phone companies own no telco infra (Skype, WeChat)
  • The world’s largest encyclopedia employs no professional writers (Wiki)

However, a number of industries are still stuck in the old paradigm of “do it in house”. X-Culture wants to change it, including in the industries of:

  • Business education
  • Business consulting
  • Business research
  • Teaching/Research assistants
  • Venture capital

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by Vas Taras

A few years ago, I started what is now known as X-Culture.

It was a very simple idea, but unexpectedly (though not without tens of thousands of hours of work), it has become something big – and continues to grow.

Big not only in terms of the number of people it is affecting – and that number has long been in tens of thousands.

Bigger.

X-Culture has the potential to transform several industries.

 

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