Men Running

App Idea: Community-Based Micro Task Crowdsourcing Called “Runner”

I was on a job site and several hours into the project, and I wanted a coffee. Anything I would have purchased would have been cold by then. I thought, why isn’t there a crowdsourcing app that could help me have a coffee delivered? If you want something and delivery isn’t an option, Runner can get it for you. If you’re free and will like to make some money, be a Runner. Let me explain how this would work.

Briefly: Yesterday I was hit with an idea. I present you with the app application description for “Runner” – a crowd-sourced micro task tool that anyone can use to get what they want or make money helping others.

Like all potentially great ideas, I drew what the interface might look like on a napkin. Take a look at how simple the interface has to be. No clutter, nothing but a few buttons. Hopefully, you can read my chicken scratch. It would need lots of work, but that’s the starting point.


The essence of this tool is allowing people to become available in a specific area to complete small jobs for others. The jobs can range from a coffee run to, small deliveries, to even things like shovelling snow. The jobs are all real-world and paid in real dollars. The Runner needs only to be available (and ideally have transportation if the task requires it). As someone who needs a Runner, you pay for what you’ve requested plus a runner fee, and the job starts.

First and foremost, this application has to work based on location. Given that, GPS location data are essential. Users that are in motion, en route to somewhere else wouldn’t be eligible to request a runner. Inside the app, I would present two options. The user says they “want to run” or they “need a runner”. In either case, if they are logged in – a registration process occurs inside the mobile app. When requesting what you want, the price for any item or service needs to be established [1], a runner’s fee is added and you pay inline with your credit card.

The person doing the Running accepts the job, the terms and stats the work. Her Runner fees (and reimbursements for purchases) accumulate and will be paid at the end of the week to a bank account she desires. This could be a more frequent payment if the processing system supports it.

I know the microtask type of application is a common one; and, the field competition for this kind of thing is crowded. But, if you look at what’s out there, nothing seems to be based on a local community concept. I think it would be great to connect people in the same area together and help them get what they need and earn some money in the process. I can even see this expanding to tasks that help disabled or elderly folks get things done (for no cost upon identity verification). They could then request snow shovelled and possibly have a pool of people that can help. The possibilities, I think, are endless.

Well, it’s an idea. What do you think?

1. Bonus points for allowing a negotiation between parties