|Seed, 6/2012 |
Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator
Houdini is a service that allows employers to manage the quality of outsourced work.
What Houdini essentially does is sit between the users and the services like Mechanical Turk that promise dirty deeds done dirt cheap. Once logged in, users (be they individuals or businesses) can create specialized requests for tasks that need to be completed by pairing specified actions with data types — combining the “edit” action with the “articles” data type for instance brings up a work order geared toward cleaning up text. From there, users can describe their particular needs in greater detail, and pass that request along to Amazon’s thousands of Mechanical Turks.
Houdini’s major selling point is that it works to categorize those legions of anonymous workers. “[It] organizes anonymous workers into curated crowds of users with certain specialties for the right tasks,” co-founder Muhammad At-Tauhidi stated. He (sadly) wouldn’t divulge how his secret sauce works, but he did admit that a “combination of metrics, artificial intelligence, and internal review” went into the organization process. On the off-chance that one of the workers assigned to your task wasn’t vetted properly, users also have the option of reporting them to keep the service as solid as possible.