It’s August First and 83 Degrees…

so I’m sharing my first Olympian – a submission for the Women’s 50m Freestyle Event.

Do you want to see more Olympic performance videos made by the Mechanical Turk Workforce? Check out the Mechanical Olympics YouTube Channel, everything to date has been added.

Do you want to make a video and participate in the Mechanical Olympics? Good! There are HITs available, including the event, Women’s Air Rifling. This is the first event we’ll be voting on next week. Just sign up with Amazon and search for HITs containing “YouTube” (searching Olympics, strangely, doesn’t yield as many results).

Search Amazon for HITs Containing "YouTube"

Search Amazon for HITs Containing "YouTube"


It has been about a week and my HITs are currently being deployed. There are a few members of Amazon’s elastic workforce who have been especially fruitful in this process. I didn’t know what to expect when posting so many HITs for videos. Here’s what’s happening now:

1. First, there are the two boys who keep shooting videos in one of their bedrooms. They are silly and fun, and I like their work, so this isn’t so much a problem but…if they “accept” a HIT, then no one else can accept it. That’s just how Amazon’s machine works for right now. Obtaining a diverse set of performers is going to take a few rounds of hiring. I think this is normal in the workforce, even though I have very little managerial experience.

2. At first I had the HITs available for one week and when a worker accepted the HIT she/he could take the whole week to finish the job. This was a mistake. People would accept a HIT then forget about it, or lose interest, and the thing would be returned with no work. I’m thinking to myself, “Good thing I started this a few weeks in advance.” (I think things like this to myself, also, because I have such little managerial experience). Now they’re available for 5 – 7 days, but once someone accepts a HIT, she/he has only 24 hours to complete it. I like this a lot – I can see when HITs are accepted and I know to look again within a day to see the results.

3. There have been some truly inspired videos and I have encouraged those workers to submit additional entries, hopefully with a change of location or using different performers. I’m hoping that this will produce a mix of smart and entertaining works along with the silly videos.

4. And then there was the biggest problem – some of the workers who were paid for their hamburgers on Tuesday took down the links to their videos on Wednesday (admittedly, this is a backwards usage on the Wimpy reference, but you get what I mean, right?). Woops. So I lost a few videos already. Of course, I emailed and asked for the videos to remain active on YouTube until the end of August but I realize now that this is out of my control. The solution, you ask? Snapz. I now have a collection of videos on my hard drive. If those pesky workers subvert my efforts again, well I’ll just post my copies of their videos to YouTube. {Insert an evil managerial laugh track here, or whacked George Bush reference to fooling me once}

At this point, I am really happy with the progress of this project. I even had a response with a worker’s submitted URL that said, “This was fun to make.” Precisely.