Kickstarter, the Golden Calf, and Galileo

I love Kickstarter.

To me it’s a place where a ‘60s sensibility of commune meets and marries the power of the digital age.

And the beauty of the Kickstarter model is that it builds on our human desire to be a part of something new and exciting…and of course, that all too human penchant for a little gambling as well.

In fact we even find a reference to crowdsourcing in The Bible, when the Golden Calf is created and later the tabernacle, last seen by Indiana Jones….

But back to Kickstarter:

I love browsing the projects – joining a few – getting a sense for what turns people on – to see where they are ready to put their own money – to understand what are they betting on.

In particular, I use Staff Picks and the Popular tabs to get a quick read on what seems to be trending on their platform. Try it…if you haven’t already.

Inspiring this Ramble was a plane trip I took last week, when finally…I was able to keep my digitally delivered book open during takeoff and landing. I was elated – having cut down my purchase of printed books some 90% or more (except for special editions, art books and the like), I always carry with me, when I travel, some paper-based reading for that 20 minutes or so at the beginning and end of every flight when they make you turn off your devices – you with me?

However, I did have my usual Wired, Monocle and HBR – none of which I ever download nor do I ever venture to their corresponding websites, and I also wait for Esquire, which I purchase only in airports.

As always, I noticed others on the plane with similar habits and my voyeurism recorded art, fashion and literature – among other print vehicles – all looking pretty big, well-printed and cool.

A recent article in New York Magazine, Hit Print,” called attention to the ever-growing number of new magazines available in small run, specialized editions by no means targeted to the digitally uninitiated – to the contrary…most…if not all have been created by so-called “digital natives” who don’t seem to have the same self-conscious need to denounce anything not screen-delivered as old and unworthy that so many others make a living from.

Back to Kickstarter – there are many such projects – magazines, books, comics – available and popular – none of them purport to be Facebook – none of them have ambitions to take over the world.  But simply put, they are creating beautiful, engaging, thoughtful, interactive content for those interested in the niche categories they have chosen.

And there you have it.

What I love is the use of digital channels to fund a fully digital enterprise whose output is not virtual but real. And no one is making excuses, whining or pretending otherwise.

I am grateful that we live in a world that gives us tools to do the most amazing things and I don’t believe we have even scratched the surface.

The challenge is to use those tools to impact in the physical world and not limit them to “online” experiences.

Check out Kickstarter – you will be amazed at just how many people get it.


“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” Galileo Galilei

And there you have it – substitute God with technology….

What do you think?


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