The Evolution of the Crowd-Funding Model?

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The Evolution of the Crowd-Funding Model?

Postby jcliff » Thu May 23, 2013 3:43 pm

I'm curious about where the wind is blowing on Kickstarter campaigns. I saw a post the other day that asked, "Did Burning Man exist before Kickstarters?" I think crowd funding for our major art installations is one of the best things that's evolved in our community. I donated to several projects last year, and it made me feel like I was a part of the art that was on the playa. I'll be honest, this year I feel inundated with campaigns....for small projects, art cars and theme camps. I know it's my choice to scroll past projects that don't speak to me. My worry is that all the peripheral projects are going to dilute the funding base for the major art installations that really need the funding to supplement what they get from the ORG. I am always amazed by the art cars on the playa, but I rarely hitch a ride on one. I definitely appreciate the drinks I get from camps, or the grilled cheese, or s'mores, etc. but my village operates a killer lounge for 21 hours a day supplied solely through donations with no camp fees.

In case anyone is curious about the art that I contribute...last year I did have an art project in Center Camp. I paid for all of the materials and the shipping costs from Illinois. As much as I would have liked to do another project, my finances wouldn't allow it this year. Next year I'll get art back on the playa.

I'm torn. Maybe the Kickstarters level the playing field for people creating wonderful things on the playa that they otherwise wouldn't be able to create. The other side of the coin is that if you can't afford your vision, maybe you should scale back on it?

I'm anxious to hear what people think about this relatively new addition to our Burn.
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Re: The Evolution of the Crowd-Funding Model?

Postby unjonharley » Thu May 23, 2013 4:58 pm

The greatest problem in the US today is: Not knowing how to live within your means.. And, No matter how much, always want more.. Living/doing outside ones means is living in anothers pocket book..Learning to return to self reliance is going to be a bitter pill in the future of this whole world.. Burning Man gives us a chance to try self reliance.. Many come here on E playa and whine about there plight instead of work it out within there own means..
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Re: The Evolution of the Crowd-Funding Model?

Postby International Incident » Thu May 23, 2013 5:27 pm

jcliff wrote:I'm curious about where the wind is blowing on Kickstarter campaigns. I saw a post the other day that asked, "Did Burning Man exist before Kickstarters?" I think crowd funding for our major art installations is one of the best things that's evolved in our community. I donated to several projects last year, and it made me feel like I was a part of the art that was on the playa. I'll be honest, this year I feel inundated with campaigns....for small projects, art cars and theme camps. I know it's my choice to scroll past projects that don't speak to me. My worry is that all the peripheral projects are going to dilute the funding base for the major art installations that really need the funding to supplement what they get from the ORG. I am always amazed by the art cars on the playa, but I rarely hitch a ride on one. I definitely appreciate the drinks I get from camps, or the grilled cheese, or s'mores, etc. but my village operates a killer lounge for 21 hours a day supplied solely through donations with no camp fees.

In case anyone is curious about the art that I contribute...last year I did have an art project in Center Camp. I paid for all of the materials and the shipping costs from Illinois. As much as I would have liked to do another project, my finances wouldn't allow it this year. Next year I'll get art back on the playa.

I'm torn. Maybe the Kickstarters level the playing field for people creating wonderful things on the playa that they otherwise wouldn't be able to create. The other side of the coin is that if you can't afford your vision, maybe you should scale back on it?

I'm anxious to hear what people think about this relatively new addition to our Burn.


I agree with what you have said.

I donate to a few kickindiesourcer projects and think they are a great way to help fund BIG projects - like the pier. I will also donate to smaller "friend" camps where I just love the people and I know they need some help.

This year three of us aussies are bringing art to the playa - we are funding it ourselves and getting logistic support from our Nevada and California friends. We are self funding, much like you did, jcliff, and wouldn't dream of asking for funds from other people.

My concern with kickindiesourcer is that it might make some projects "lazy". Instead of having to organise fundraisers in multiple places and raising small amounts from many people it is "easier" to put a shout out on the internet.

I'm of the view that if you need less than $5k then raise it yourself in your community - and by "community" I think that can include asking your overseas friends to donate to a project through kickindiesourcer. Just don't expect that the "universe" will support your project or should pay for it.
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Re: The Evolution of the Crowd-Funding Model?

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu May 23, 2013 9:20 pm

Right now, in this instance, I think there's too much "big" art. Heck, I can go to an art museum and see big art... Small and quirky...

If I had a few thousand to spare, I might do my own funding for minor projects every year.

Oh, and I have kickstarter schwag. But I feel kinda dirty. And not in the good, sexy way.
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Re: The Evolution of the Crowd-Funding Model?

Postby Turtleburp » Thu May 23, 2013 10:06 pm

I agree - don't even really remember the man from 2001 but the small weird and CLEVER shit I DO remember...

The 3D electrical laser harp, the bleachers where people gave you grief, the back st persychologist who told me to stick a maracca up my bum, the drain pipe dinosaurs etc
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Re: The Evolution of the Crowd-Funding Model?

Postby oscillator » Thu May 23, 2013 10:45 pm

Don't Worry.

Be Happy.

Contribute to what you like.

Rinse & Repeat.
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Re: The Evolution of the Crowd-Funding Model?

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:07 pm

Image
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Re: The Evolution of the Crowd-Funding Model?

Postby A-RockLeFrench » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:25 pm

unjonharley wrote:The greatest problem in the US today is: Not knowing how to live within your means.. And, No matter how much, always want more.. Living/doing outside ones means is living in anothers pocket book..Learning to return to self reliance is going to be a bitter pill in the future of this whole world.. Burning Man gives us a chance to try self reliance.. Many come here on E playa and whine about there plight instead of work it out within there own means..



Right... That's the greatest problem in the country today... Never mind the crippling deficit, a completely poisoned and corrupt food supply, an addiction to fossil fuels, a puppet government bought and paid for by earth raping corporations and not to mention all of the stinking hippies. Oh, and the ravers too...

And for fucks sake, no matter how much I get, or how good it gets you can be damn sure I will always want more. I thought I was doing a damn good job and then I went to that thing in the desert and was like "wow, these are the people that don't stop, they keep chasing it" whatever "it" is... Burning Man has taught me to always want more, to redefine my means, not live within them.

Part of the way I interpret radical self reliance is using whatever means you got, and exploring more ways to get more means and so on and so forth. And then there's that whole experimental community thing.

One of the best lessons for me in recent years was to realize that asking for support can be strong. What a better way to experiment in community by asking the community for support?
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Re: The Evolution of the Crowd-Funding Model?

Postby Bumble » Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:06 pm

jcliff wrote:
I'm torn. Maybe the Kickstarters level the playing field for people creating wonderful things on the playa that they otherwise wouldn't be able to create. The other side of the coin is that if you can't afford your vision, maybe you should scale back on it?

I'm anxious to hear what people think about this relatively new addition to our Burn.


I am torn too, should i look away & wish them luck or should it make me angry?

The people funding for art - i say i hope you reach your target & yes i have myself contributed to some of these & look forward to seeing them - yes they build them for themselves as artist, but more they build them for everyone to see & enjoy. They get burnt at the end and all we are left with are photos and memories.

However, as for people that want me to give them money for a NEW EXPENSIVE CAMERA that will fund and benefit them for their future career!!!! I say NO - get a business load. No one payed for my university degree or nor would i expect anyone to pay for a car in which i need for work. I didn't think burning man was a way to make money after the event, or am i wrong?

OR if i did contribute to buy someones camera - should i ask for a share in their business that they earn from in the default world?

again i guess i should just look away, but what is with this self entitlement - get a job or a loan & support yourself!
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Re: The Evolution of the Crowd-Funding Model?

Postby Bumble » Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:07 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:Image



AWESOME!!!! Turtleburb is putting his together soon - i am hoping that it will include a college fund for our future children. PLus i do want an eternity ring - it will sparkle & entertain many that see it
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Re: The Evolution of the Crowd-Funding Model?

Postby A-RockLeFrench » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:45 pm

I feel similarly when its a fundraiser for something like interactive or burnable art that will go to Buring Man as opposed to a company trying to raise money for startup.

These guys: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/min ... lay-system

Asking for almost $200,000 to start a company selling some really fancy bike lights... Got $130,000 already with 49 days to go.

That even upsets me a little bit, as someone who is all about crowd-sourcing.

Here's a really good TED Talk which deals some with crowd-sourcing and kickstarter and asking for money from people for art: www.ted.com/talks/amanda_palmer_the_art_of_asking.html
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Re: The Evolution of the Crowd-Funding Model?

Postby trilobyte » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:26 am

Speaking personally, Kickstarter (and their ilk) has become more than just a fundraising tool, for many startups (like the bike light people, and the 3D printer pen, and so many others), it's an actual viable business model. They're pre-selling their merchandise, and like many businesses employing what's effectively a creative marketing tool. It's kind of a bit of a shell game - instead of the company spending a shitload of cash developing and bringing a product to market and then hoping they sell a ton at a high enough margin to turn a profit, they're trying to eliminate the guesswork by pre-booking orders. Let's face it, if they fork out the dough and the resulting product turns out to be a dud, it could kill them. Maybe that says something about the deteriorating business skills of startups today vs. years ago, but that's a different branch of discussion.

As for how it applies to Burning Man, first it's worth pointing out that you can opt out of seeing fundraiser posts on the board - see this post for details. Second, Burning Man not only existed before Kickstarter, but burners were putting their hands out for money LONG before the term crowd-sourcing was coined. Hats were passed, tickets were raffled, parties were thrown, t-shirts and cups and other trinkets and merch were sold. I don't have any idea how many projects or what the percentages were, but I think it's more than most people think - before sites like Kickstarter popped up you'd only really find out about stuff that was happening in your local area. Back in my first year (2004) there were fundraisers for art (big and not-so-big), mutant vehicles, and camps. I'm pretty sure that it's more now, probably a lot more. Part of that may be that some people have become more radically reliant on others and see it as some kind of money tree. But part of it may be that more camps, art projects, and MV's are learning the skills needed to organize and execute on fundraisers (learning skills and being resourceful are good things).

Of course, what we think is a good fundraiser is often pretty subjective. We choose the projects to support that we as individuals deem worth our support. To me, Burning Man fundraisers (and most others, for that matter), tend to fall into one of two categories: the well-executed and the bottom feeders. Well executed stuff is easy to spot, they communicate a clear message, usually have most of the resources they need, and a pretty clear path to be able to deliver not only the project but the promised rewards on time (late delivery of rewards is the #1 complaint on those sites, as I understand it). The bottom feeders are usually easy to spot, too. Their use of language is often a dead giveaway. If their pitch seems confusing and unclear, or a poor set of goals/rewards (asking ppl to pay for what should be basic expenses, offering to sell VIP access), or if it's filled with terrible spelling/grammar, the campaign is largely a bottom-feeder. In the case of Burning Man stuff, it might be that they're radically self entitled people who feel that since other camps do it, they need to get in on some of the free money too. Or it could be that they had a great idea to do something (big or small), but just were in way over their heads and had no idea it was going to cost that much to do it and are now begging for help.

Treat kickstarter/indiegogo/wepay/whatever the way you would treat any other fundraiser - vote with your wallet. Cheer on the stuff you're excited about, and ignore the stuff you don't connect with. If you've reached your limit and are just plain tired of seeing them on the boards, at least you can turn it off.

In the interests of full disclosure, I've helped organize fundraiser parties for camps I was part of in the past. One was post-event to help the camp recoup a few runaway costs and was a success, another was a pre-playa shindig to help offset the cost of fuel to haul our camp's big mutant vehicle. While that one did raise a few hundred bucks to help out, I think mostly it felt like a last hurrah 2 weeks before the burn. After that things seemed pretty focused on the work that needed to be done in the home stretch. My campmates and I are also considering the possibility of running some kind of fundraiser for this year. All our camp's expenses are covered by campmates via dues, and we also cover the costs of the art we're building, but despite being as cost-conscious and careful as we could finances are pretty tight. We're wrestling with it now and wouldn't do it unless it's something we could execute well, but I sort of hope we can pull it off without going that route. But I'd be lying if I said we weren't seriously thinking about it.
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