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Cognitive Surplus: How Sharing and Collaboration Can Benefit Marketers in a Connected Age

Clay Shirky
Matthew Grant
Thu., Apr. 19, 2012, 12pm ET (9am PT)
90 minutes
This online marketing seminar received 4.5 star(s)

Americans were suburbanized and educated by the postwar boom, creating a surfeit of intellect, energy, and time. Clay Shirky, author and professor of interactive telecommunications, calls this a "cognitive surplus." In this presentation, he'll chart the vast effects that this cognitive surplus will continue to have on society and how marketers can best exploit those effects.

One key way you can take advantage of your customers' cognitive surplus is to create a platform for sharing and collaboration between your company and your customers. This will allow you to understand their needs beyond what you can learn from market research alone and ultimately improve your products and your position in the market. As you host your customer community, you'll start to see endless opportunities for your business—from customers helping each other faster than your own company can to discovering how you can customize products or create new ones to better meet customer needs.

By sharing examples about the Stack Exchange Network and the development of the SARS vaccine, Clay will illustrate the huge impact tapping into your customers' cognitive surplus can have on your business results.


Clay Shirky is today's leading voice on the social and economic impact of internet technologies. Considered one of the finest thinkers on the internet revolution, Clay provides an insightful and optimistic view of networks, social software, and technology's effects on society. Writing extensively about the Internet since 1996, he is the author of the best-selling Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus. Clay holds a joint appointment at New York University, as an Associate Arts Professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) and as a Distinguished Writer in Residence in the Journalism Department. He is also a Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and was the Edward R. Murrow Visiting Lecturer at Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy in 2010. Over the years, he has had regular columns in Business 2.0 and FEED, among other publications, and his writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Wired, Computerworld, and Foreign Affairs.

Who Should Attend?

If you want to collaborate more effectively with your customers, improve your relationship marketing, and figure out how to monetize your community efforts, you'll gain some great insights from this seminar.

What Will You Learn?

  • How being a host for collaboration and sharing in your market can result in greater customer insights
  • How you as a marketer can become more valuable to your company
  • How knowledge gained from collaborative efforts can be turned into big business results

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