On Wednesday morning Kickstarter was sent a blog post quoting disturbing material found online. The offensive material was part of a draft for a "seduction guide" that someone was using Kickstarter to publish. The posts offended a lot of people -- us included -- and many asked us to cancel the creator's project. We didn't. We were wrong.
There is less than a day to go before the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter.com hands hundreds of thousands of dollars to a controversial project for the widespread and unregulated distribution of over half a million extreme-bioengineered seeds. In my view Kickstarter could still do the right thing and refuse to fund this risky release.
This is how the entire situation boils down: You are giving your money to a website so they can give your money to a member of a gang which wreaks violence on your city so that they, the website, can make money for themselves. Does this make any sense to you whatsoever? If you don't like Rob Ford, fine, don't vote for him. Smear him all you want. Insult him at every party. Call him a fascist Michelin Man. Frankly, I don't give a damn. But for the love of God, please don't give money to drug dealers.
While it took a few years after the financial crisis for financial services start-ups to get their business models refined to the point where they can come to market they are here now, and these alternative financial services technology companies are becoming viable and increasingly common sources of financing for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Veronica Mars television series creator Rob Thomas and series star Kristen Bell began a Kickstarter fundraising campaign that would guarantee production and distribution of a movie if at least $2 million is collected from the public by April 12. Why should fans be asked to fund this specific project when Warner Bros. likely has money in the bank to produce the film themselves?
If there is one area which has undergone intense innovation in the last 20 years, it's communication. The problem, of course, with a pervasive promise of change is that it sends the cart before the horse. We've branded our generation as innovators but is this image itself really the best thing we've come up with? Are we so hungry for new ideas, we're willing to eat them half-baked?
So I know Yoda is a Jedi Master and all that, but he's got something wrong. One of his most favourite claims -- "Do, or do not. There is no 'try,'" -- has a big hole in it. He's suggesting that if you make enough of an effort to achieve a goal, you should be able to reach that goal. And that if you fail, your effort or conviction was lacking. That certainly hasn't been my reality.
Charities today are actively looking for innovative ways to connect people to their causes. What is interesting is how much innovation is coming from outside the traditional charitable sector. We are learning that if a cause or a project matters to people, they want to be a part of it even if it is not connected to a known charity.
Is there any hope for music? Can the industry adapt to meet the pressures and challenges of a rapidly evolving digital frontier? My band, Enter the Haggis, decided to fund our forthcoming record through Kickstarter and we more than doubled our goal in under 10 days. From where I'm sitting, it's hard to understand the argument that the music industry is dying. I'm currently on tour, playing songs I wrote for people who are willing to pay to see me, and they're funding my career directly. From my perspective, the music business is thriving.
There is a major shift in business focus that is under way. Digital media has forced businesses to change. Dramatically. This is nothing new. What's interesting is that we're seeing two, distinct, breeds of business being born: product-focused businesses, and customer-focused businesses. Which one do you work for?