samedi 29 janvier 2011

Crowd Funded

I love all this crowd stuff. Well, within reasons. But I believe the Net is there to help us connect and interact for the better. Crowd something (formed, funded, voted, designed, ...) has been there for a while now, eg Wikipedia, and will expand big time in the future. In fact it is probably the future of working.
I already talked about Quirky, which is what I call a crowd shaped (my own wordings) business. There are plenty of other forms of Crowding out there. One fascinating one is crowd funding, eg how to get seed funding from the crowds (your fans).

First time I ever came across crowd funding was already a few years back. The company/website was Sell a Band and the idea is to help finance bands to produce their (first) project (a CD, a single, whatever). By contributing you earn goodies or even part of the rights to the benefits made by the selling of the object of the project.
I was fascinated. Projects like that have the potential of unleashing creativity, foster new initiatives and cut all the middle men's greeds.
There is a side benefit to it, besides the easier access to financing: market study. Take another range of crowd funding websites such as Kick Starter or Indiegogo. You can submit any type of idea, such as an artistic project (film, painting, ...), a technology product (ever heard of the ipad nano watch that raised 1 million euros??? or diaspora, the open source facebook that raised several 100s of thousands?) or whatever project likely to be financed. With those websites you can't participate to a company's capital but you can contribute financially because you like the project's idea, eg a charitable cause, or in exchange of perks, eg a signed copy of my painting for 50$.
If you are building a product, you should be interested in testing the concept, or at least finding out if it is viable before you go into heavy and costly developments.
Such a platform can help you do so, albeit agreed it is a specific community not necessarily representative of your market.
To start with you can test the concept with the perks you offer, eg provide a whole range of perks and see what are the popular ones.
The websites also provide interaction tools such as a forum where people can provide opinions and suggest changes to your product.
At the end of the day you will see if you have a popular idea by the level of attention and funding you will get. Even better you will money to start developing and promoting!

I am just about to start a project on indiegogo for an Earth Card product. The idea? Come and find out on indiegogo! I will post the link when I have completed the project form.

Stay tuned!

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