Electronic Retailer - April 2011 - (Page 62)
The New Mothers of Invention
services. Depending on the level of their financial commitment, a backer can receive anything from a copy of the finished work to a producer’s credit. There is an undeniable “cool” factor and a sense of tribalism and altruism that goes along with being a backer, even though at its fundamental core, Kickstarter is an e-commerce site, albeit one that traffics in passion. At a time when opportunities for young people are at a low, it fashions a bold, fresh paradigm that eschews entrenched corporations. The site speaks to a movement where individualism forms a new kind of collectivism that obliterates generational differences, ideologies and geographic borders. Though Kickstarter specifically spells out that it is not intended to fund “As Seen On TV Products” due to their commerciality, it is fascinating to consider the intentions that fuel it. It is really no different than the crowdsourcing model adopted by ERA to identify relevant educational programs as decided by its voters. Such efforts seek to uncover a marketplace defined by relevancy; that is, the ability to identify with and relate to an idea, attributes that lie at the heart of any successful consumer brand. While it has been suggested that Kickstarter is ripe for those who might want to game the system, no leap of faith is devoid of risk. Like Kiva.org, which distributes micro-loans to impoverished entrepreneurs, Kickstarter’s backers trust that the cream of humanity will rise to the top. As worldwide events and the impact of cyber-communities continue to unfold, it is the will of individuals that is also rising, producing a myriad of consequences that have only begun to bloom. Rick Petry is a freelance writer who specializes in direct marketing and is a past chairman of ERA. He can be reached at (503) 740-9065 or online at rickpetry.com. On Twitter at http://twitter.com/thepetrydish.
As recent watershed events in the Middle East have proven, the Internet and social networking have revolutionized the ability for common people to circumvent traditional political institutions and mass media messages to form their own consensus. This is perhaps the grandest manifestation yet of a kind of democratization of choice that extends from the likes of American Idol voters to the aggregation of opinions on Amazon.com. Witness the tale of one Frank Chimero, a Portland, Oregon-based author and lecturer who aspired to write a book about design. He posted a clever video on kickstarter.com, “a new way to fund & follow creativity,” which appealed to a global community of total strangers to contribute $27,000 to help him realize his dream (https:// www.kickstarter.com/projects/30453381/the-shapeof-design?ref=live). It was an all-or-nothing gambit, because Kickstarter only releases funds when a project is fully supported by its followers. Frank didn’t raise his targeted amount; he exceeded it, to the tune of $112,159 from 2,109 individual backers. Welcome to the age of con-¢ents-us, where one’s wallet forms the shape of a heart.
The site speaks to a movement where individualism forms a new kind of collectivism that obliterates generational differences, ideologies and geographic borders.
While Kickstarter is used principally to fund endeavors on the margins of commerciality – say, a band’s new album or an unfinished documentary film – it has also been used to raise nearly a million dollars to create a kit that converts an iPod Nano into a multi-touch wristwatch. And it is still about the most basic exchange of goods and
electronicRETAILER | April 2011
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronic Retailer - April 2011
Electronic Retailer - April 2011
Calendar of Events
Your Association, Your Bottom Line
ERA Government Affairs Fly-In Preview
The Electronic HomeShopping Preview
IMS Retail Rankings
Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Lockard & Wechsler’s Clearance & Price Index
Ask the Expert
Cover Story: Staying Ahead of the Curve
Why is it Tougher to Make DRTV Pay?
Electronic Retailer - April 2011