Now through fiber optic cables anyone can publish through major distribution channels like Amazon or Lulu.com. Independent movies and web shows can arise seamlessly from nowhere and be distributed via direct download. Any free spirit with a guitar can hawk their breakup song on iTunes. Even housewives with a sewing machine can head over to Etsy.com and make a mint by crafting homemade Halloween costumes. As long as you can produce it, someone can buy it.
However, for these methods to work, you have to have something tangible. Why can't people just pay money for the sheer possibility of something tangible? If there could just be a slight cash advance, say $25,000, then surely whatever someone promises to make will get made...eventually...maybe...someday. If I fail then you won't get your money back, but I will feel sorry for cashing that check.
That's where Kickstarter.com comes in. For a nominal fee you can "invest" in someone's dream and hope he isn't a complete screw-up. Some work out, like the Veronica Mars movie. Some may live in some sort of development Hell. It may be a gamble, but what else would you do with your hard earn cash? Probably buy groceries like a schmuck.
To sweeten the deal, investments can be made at a variety of perk levels. Pledge $5 for something cool. Pledge $100 and get something awesome. Pledge $10,000 and get something so great that your brain will liquify. For instance, pledge $5 for the "Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint" kickstarter and you get a vintage Spike's Joint bumper sticker autographed by Spike Lee. But for $10,000 you get, and I quote:
"This Award Is For All Playa-Playas. For 10 Grand I'm Taking You to Dinner, Then You Will Have The Honor And Privilege To Sit Next To Me (IN MY WIFE'S TONYA'S SEAT) COURTSIDE - FRONT ROW IN THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE AT THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS ARENA - MADISON SQUARE GARDEN TO SEE OUR BELOVED NEW YORK KNICKERBOCKERS, ORANGE AND BLUE SKIES. IF YOU DON'T KNOW THIS IS ONE OF THE TRUE GREAT SPORTING EVENTS TODAY. YOU WILL REMEMBER THIS EXPERIENCE AS LONG AS YOU LIVE. THIS IS A VERY LIMITED ITEM. YOU SLOW - YOU BLOW. THIS IS BIG, BIG TIME. PS. KNICKS WILL BE GREAT THIS COMING NEW SEASON."Unfortunately, I have this thing called a mortgage and the Queen has this rule against cardboard boxes as living establishments. (And it was all in caps, too!)
I'm also considering putting in a Kickstarter for Losing the Internets. I think a little cash infusion and this sucker could actually become readable. For enticement, here's my pledge levels:
- $5: I will not come to your house and punch you in the nose.
- $10: I will Tweet you a "Thanks." This Tweet will happen at 2:06 AM eastern standard time.
- $50: If we walk past each other in the street, I will give you a head nod as we pass. Please have proof of pledge stapled to your person as we pass or head nod will not be guaranteed.
- $100: You get an envelope with whatever is in my couch cushions. I haven't cleaned under there in like a year, so it could be some pretty cool stuff. And I'm sure there are some half-eaten Doritoes. With my spit!
- $250: I will tattoo your name on our dog. Everywhere our Jack Russell goes, people will see your name on a shaven patch where his cute little black spot used to be.
- $500: I'll personally mail you a box of Van's gluten free frozen waffles from my very own freezer. NOTE: Waffles not guaranteed to be frozen by time of receipt.
- $1,000: I'll name our first child after your favorite school teacher. The Princess already has a name, but she's young and should adjust nicely.
- $5,000: You will get a vial of my DNA for your personal cloning needs.
- $10,000: For all Player-Players. You get the pleasure of me, living with you, for an entire year. You also get the honor of feeding me--sometimes baby style--the finest selection of Maine lobster ON YOUR OWN PLATES! Don't worry, to save on the water bill, I won't even shower. You will remember this experience as long as you pay your therapy bills! YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!