Thursday, May 24, 2012

Start Me Up, Everyone

A few years back I blogged on Kickstarter, a great idea for funding great ideas. A few years on this site is gathering kudos as a way for funding, launching and scaling ideas that have ‘unreasonable power’, as we say at Saatchi & Saatchi.

In an always-on world of instant sharing, Kickstarter is starting to feel like a model for the future. For an entrepreneur, it’s fast crowd-stormed feedback on whether an idea is an idea or just masquerading as one. If it’s an idea, your world accelerates and all power to you and benefits to others. Otherwise, move on. Effective and efficient. Fail fast, learn fast, fix fast in action. Projects that have been funded range from indie films, music and comics to journalism, video games, and food-related projects. The top three projects crowd-funded have been for video games; the top 10 projects have raised an average of $1.525M each; the top project had 87,000 backers.

While the boundaries of the model remain to be seen, at least it gets an idea up in the air. Solutions to the world’s problems will come from crazy individuals, underpinning my belief that the role of business is to make the world a better place for everyone. Check out this example from New York to raise funds to build the world’s first underground park.

1 comment:

Michael Kieloch said...

What's truly powerful about Kickstarter is that it's an easy way to secure certainty and reduce risk in a venture. If an entrepreneur or creative with an idea chooses the fixed-funding route, they can pre-sell the idea of their end-product right to customers ("Will at least 1,000 people want to buy a gas-powered back scratcher?"). If they meet with success, they've successfully circumvented a huge roadblock in the typical entrepreneurial path, which is the risk of making investment up-front without the guarantee of return. If they don't meet with success, the potential customers get their money back, the venturers are only out some time, and the world doesn't get more unwanted clutter.

It certainly is a model to consider for more than just indie projects. Imagine Ben & Jerry's "Kickstarting" various test flavors. Only the flavors that will sell enough get made; the rest never make it past the idea stage, and you can skip right past endless focus groups and mall taste testings.

CEO's would be wise to take notes.