Angels like you

What if you had a really cool idea, and all you needed was a few people to kick in a few bucks to make it happen? Shouldn’t there be a way to tap the net to find those few generous souls that you know are out there? That is pretty much the value proposition of Kickstarter.com, a site that launched this week, and that I am thrilled to see taking off already.

In the interests of full disclosure, I had the pleasure of acting as technical project lead in the initial months of that project’s development, but otherwise have no vested interest in seeing it succeed. In the interest of further disclosure, disclosures really suck the wind out of the narrative, don’t they? Did I mention that my development team has room to take on other stuff right now? Might as well, while I all off topic and shit. Drop me a line (mike.pence@gmail.com).

So, yeah, maybe you want to get 100 New Yorkers to collaborate on a book (cute girl! a video! sweet!), or you’re a red-headed girl named Laura, with finger waves and a stuccoed wall, who wants to take off to Iceland and take amazing photos, or you want to turn your iPhone into an offline encyclopedia-in-your-pocket — the creativity of the human mind is pretty endless, and that’s the point. To enable all of that creativity. To remove the barrier that, all too often, a few bucks put in the way.

Here is how it works, you create a project, pitch your idea through a video, or even just images and text, and set your goal. Then, hopefully, you sit back, or obsessively refresh the project’s web page, and see (in the words of our probably-enibriated, and thankfully former, president) “where wings take dream.”

Kickstarter is just one of those incremental, clever, ideas that just seems to put things together just right. It is not just panhandling with panache.

Here is the sneaky part, people who back a project have the opportunity to form ad-hoc communities around an artist or creative endeavor, as backers post comments and project creators post updates and share rewards with those who back them. Who knows where that all goes, but the possibilities that are already emerging are, at the very least, quite entertaining.

I’d be remiss not to mention Charles Adler, Lance Ivey, Carson Baker, Andy Baio, Yancey Strickler, and Perry Chen — the man behind the idea — who all put more work into this project than I did. I just got to run the tech side initially, to turn a pile of possible web page designs and the germ of a great idea into a functioning development effort. What a great bunch of guys.

So, if you are one of the seven people who still read this blog — Hi! — go off and check it out. You’ll be glad you did. And congratulations to the whole Kickstarter crew. I expect great things to come of this.

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