Monday, 20 February 2012

Some modern things are so cool.

It's not the first time that I write on this blog about how I dig modern technology. Or the InterBloggoTubes. But it's time to mention one incredibly cool (and meanwhile also incredibly successful) idea: Crowdfunding. Or, to be more specific: Kickstarter.

I first found out about this platform and the idea it carries - get normal people to fund an expensive project with their money, getting a little (or sometimes not-so-little) input from many persons - when Neil Gaiman blogged about a short animated film project on Kickstarter. And since then, I have looked there now and then, browsed the projects... and sometimes even fell in love with one of them and backed it.

In case you do not know about crowdfunding yet, here's the Cliff's Notes: Someone has a project that needs more money for getting it going - like printing a book, making a CD, or filming something, or making a gadget of some sort. Sometimes, there is a market for the item in question, but it is commonly only reached via middlemen (publishers or similar), or there's even more investment needed to distribute the item so it gets to the market. Lots of projects die in this stage. Enter crowdfunding: now the someone in question describes the project, maybe even with a little video, and asks for help in making this. Not just help though - anyone who backs a project usually gets something back: a copy of the item in question, a personalised item, a limited edition thingie, and so on. So basically you future-buy something that would not come into existence without your future-buying it.

Kickstarter also has a very good system of handling the logistics: you can change your pledge at any time until the end of the drive, and you will be charged only once - after it closes - and only if the project reached its funding goal.

And in case you now wonder whether this can function... it can. There's a lot of purchasing power in the hands of geeks, and those folks are prone to find out about something like Kickstarter. And if you need more proof about that, check out these two still-running projects that both have more than a million dollar in pledges now - a drive for funding a comic book reprint and a drive for making a point-and-click adventure game (close to two million now). And if you would like to see a truly amazing marketing strategy in action, make totally sure you check out the updates of the Order of the Stick drive. This is how it's done, and I'm in total awe about how Rich handled this.

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