While crowdfunding sites were created to give the underdog a chance and essentially foster free enterprise where start-ups are concerned, it never occurred to me to use these platforms as an opportunity to raise funds for personal pursuits. Especially something as personal as adopting a baby. But does that make it wrong, unethical or crass, even? What do you think? If you had a friend or family member crowdfunding an adoption, would you contribute?
I love crowdfunding, because it's like watching money have a wrestling match with ideas. It's capitalism in microcosm. It's important to not lose sight of the lesson here: Crowdfunding websites are not responsible for anything that happens once you've contributed. You are leaving your money on the table, walking away, and hoping for the best.
Given that Quebeckers are facing yet another pivotal election on April 7, over the past couple of weeks, I paid close attention to the two political "debates" held between the leaders of the province's four main parties. I bracket the word "debates" with quotation marks, as these two two-hour sessions were debates in name only.
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.