Have you ever used Kickstarter or The Point before? These are a couple of pretty cool websites that are changing the face of charitable giving, and encouraging entrepreneurship by making it easier to support projects and sponsor creative works of art. The way that these sites work is that you “pledge” your support for certain projects, with a certain amount. That amount never gets charged unless the project meets its fundraising goals.
From Singularity Hub:
Five hundred years ago, most Western artists lived off the charity of wealthy patrons. Today, you are that patron, and with Kickstarter you’ll be funding a lot more than just art. The Manhattan based company, not quite three years old, works as an online network to match worthy projects with crowd-based funding. On Kickstarter an artist, advocate, or even engineer will post a call for help, often with a video detailing what they want to do and how your money will be used. Almost anything is fair game, from putting on a rock concert to designing a better iPad keyboard. Every visitor to Kickstarter decides on their own which project, if any, they wish to help fund and how much they want to give.
Through word of mouth and internet buzz, Kickstarter has helped 17,000+ projects succeed, raising more than $130 million in pledged support! Almost $100M is from 2011 alone. Kickstarter’s growth is phenomenal, and they are expanding into realms many may have thought beyond the reach of crowd-sourcing. 17 films at the Sundance Film Festival (about 10%) were funded on Kickstarter. Two projects have nearly broken the million dollar barrier. Increasing numbers of projects feature high-tech devices that are more commonly found at startup incubators than community supported websites. Kickstarter is making an impact not only in the lives of artists and patrons, but in the very industries those participants come from. This flourishing network is a prime example of the delightfully disruptive power of crowd-sourcing…and it’s just getting started.
One cool project that I can think is Diaspora. What is Diaspora? Think of it like a distributed Facebook; a social network where you remain in full control and retain full ownership of your data. Very cool, and I can’t wait to see what they are able to come up with.
Similar in principle to Kickstarter, The Point is also host to many cool projects, and it works under the same idea: projects only get the money once the funding goals have been reached. One such project, that has not yet met its goals, is the Krugman versus Murphy challenge. What is this about? Free market economist Robert Murphy has challenged Paul Krugman to a debate on the merits of the Keynesian view of the economy versus the Austrian business cycle theory. To spice things up a bit, Robert has decided to make the challenge more attractive by proposing to raise at least $100,000 to donate to a NYC food bank. Unfortunately, The Point is not very good at filtering out spam, and the message boards are full of it.
I invite you to head over to these sites and see what other sort of cool projects are currently taking place. You might end up helping to sponsor the next great idea that will change the world!