This morning, at 10 am EST, Pebble’s homepage countdown finally finished, and pointed users to a Kickstarter campaign for their latest smartwatch, Pebble Time. Unsurprisingly, they blew through their modest target of $500,000 within 13 minutes. By 24 minutes in, they’d hit $1 million. At the time of this writing, they are at $4,526,809 and not showing any sign of slowing down. But there are a lot of questions – many about the watch itself, but also some important ones about the strategy for Pebble as a business in an increasingly competitive space.
Recently, I re-discovered an old TED talk that happens to be a longtime favorite of mine. It’s by leadership expert Simon Sinek, and is his first TEDx talk, given in 2009. It also happens to be the third most popular video on the TED website. In it, he covers what he deems a fundamental element of leadership, as it relates to advertising and other industries: that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Today, The Idiot Economist explores how this methodology applies to the Smartwatch Arms Race, which has been brewing for some time but has finally come to a head with the announcement of the Apple Watch.
So you’ve got this GREAT idea, truly a game-changer, and you are ready to go to market. You just need a few thousand dollars to build some prototypes and find an investor. But you’ve worked hard on this, and don’t want to give up equity to an investor too early. Suddenly, it hits you: I’ll crowdfund it! I see all these awesome campaigns on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo that raise tons of money, it must be easy. Spoiler alert: it really, really isn’t. In fact, it’s really, really hard. But there are some things you can do to boost your odds.
Recently, I’ve been more active than usual in supporting crowdfunding efforts; a friend who needed a new laptop to make music, solar panels that can replace asphalt on major highways, and the revival of an 80’s children’s show about reading. Each uses a different crowdfunding platform, and it’s been a good chance to see some key differences and similarities between them. Today, the Idiot Economist covers the basics of IndieGoGo, Kickstarter, and GoFundMe.
When the internet was invented, people imagined many great advances in communication; editing and saving documents, transmitting messages around the world instantaneously, and a level of group collaboration never before known to man. From an economics/business point of view, one of the most exciting new and unexpected consequences of the internet is the possibility to crowd-fund a project.
Continue reading Crowdfunding: Anyone Can Be an Investor