Kickstarter is a crowdsourcing website that allows individuals to gain funds from others for projects or ideas one may have. Since the internet has become such a staple in our everyday lives it’s such an easy and simple way to get funding for your product or project. Before any big company would look at your project you would have to go through the patenting process. Even after that companies can still turn you away. With crowdsourcing if someone thinks you have a good idea they can help you get up and running.
What is Crowdsourcing?
It’s important for us to define our terms. Crowdsourcing is the ways by which companies or people obtain ideas, manpower, and in Kickstarter’s case funds through donations from a third party. The third party in this case is you. Yes, you. Often times when you think of funding for projects you think of a big check from a big corporation. Crowdsourcing sites allow the average person to fund projects that interest them on their terms. They can send a few dollars they had lying around to an idea they would like to see happen, or they can really make an impact and invest in a project with a large donation to see an immediate difference in the projects progression. Crowdsourcing is an excellent way to get objectives off the ground without having superior backing from a big conglomerate industry. This makes crowdsourcing a viable option for anyone. It’s been known to work for restaurants going under as well as well as established figures like Levar Burton (Reading Rainbow/Star Trek).
What makes Kickstarter better than any other Crowdsourcing service?
Kickstarter differs from other crowdsourcing services because not only is it much more user friendly and accessible, it is one of the only options that involves a reward system as incentive for backers to donate. The way it works is in increments: a small contribution will warrant a small reward. It may be as simple as a thank you note mailed to your address or your name in the credits of a Kickstarter film. As the projects become more grand, the need for more substantial backing becomes necessary. Smart Kickstarter users have learned to master the reward system by making attractive awards for potential investors. A restaurant saved by Kickstarter may engrave a backers name onto a wall, or a movie might go as far as to put generous backers in the movie itself! And as stated before, Kickstarter makes it very easy to donate, almost dangerously so. Just connect your bank account and type in your desired donation and it’s over! An attractive proposal is the difference maker.
History of Kickstarter
Perry Chen is an artist from New York City who founded Kickstarter in 2009. At only 22 years old he came up with an idea that has now received more than $1.5 billion in pledges. The most successful project on Kickstarter was funded on August 29, 2014 that received $13,285,226 in pledges. This is a cooler that has a built in motor for blender capability, speakers to hook up your iPhone/iPod, USB drives, LED light, compartments for eating utensils, bottle opener, removable divider, cutting board and wider, more durable wheels for longer lasting use. The Coolest has been featured on the Today Show, ABC and NBC News, Forbes magazine and many more.
Using Kickstarter, people have…
- Saved a beloved local restaurant
- Made the coolest Halloween costume ever
- Saved Reading Rainbow
- Sent pizza to space
- Helped get the Hoverboard “Off the ground”
- Funded 5 of the top 25 inventions of 2014 according to TIME
- Got an oscar nominated film off the ground
As you can see, the boundaries of what Kickstarter can do only exist in theory. We’ve been to space and created some of the greatest inventions in recent memory because of the emergence of Kickstarter. But crowdsourcing isn’t a new phenomenon, it’s been around for about a decade, so why are people just finding out and utilizing the power of crowdsourcing? Kickstarter has been deemed a massive success for a multitude of reasons but it can be best summed up in a single selling point: It has handed the key to inspired business owners right to them. Everybody who is an inventor has an idea, but not everyone with an idea is an inventor. According to Potez and Schreier, those who use crowdsourcing may not have it as easy as large businesses. They don’t have the credibility, experience and expertise. Large businesses also know the market. They know what items will sell where and where they won’t. However, those that use crowdsourcing sites come up with products that make everyday life easier and have a more “normal” outlook on the market. Since it is so structured and easy to navigate and manage, people everywhere can see their dream become a reality. Think of all the amazing ideas that have lived and died with their author. No longer should a great idea not get off the ground with Kickstarter available.
Think of the reason you took this class. The course itself was designed so that students could master existing forms of media. The reason we chose to do Kickstarter is to put the tools in the hands of all of you. Don’t master the newest media. Create the newest media.
For this presentation, we will outline the process of creating a Kickstarter as well as provide several examples of the versatility of Kickstarter and the good that it has done.