I first heard about crowdfunding via social media when YouTube star Freddie Wong of RocketJump was seeking funding for a video game inspired web series. This was back in 2011. In 2011 the world was still being burdened by a lingering financial crisis while social media was bursting at the seams and startups were popping up everywhere. The world saw a royal wedding, the demise of Osama bin Laden and mourned the loss of Steve Jobs.
At that time I was single, played 30+ hours of video games a week and spent countless hours online researching a vast array of topics and watching various documentaries, web series, and tutorials. I was also working on developing my own board game during that time as well as spending time in books and videos relating to entrepreneurship and startups.
Why was I so attracted to crowdfunding back then and why was I so curious about it all? It’s rather simple: I was already interested in it (without knowing it) and it resonated with my core value of ‘significance over success’.
Crowdfunding creates an opportunity where people (backers) can contribute and support people (creators) who have ideas (projects) and by so doing, backers can help creators have successful projects. While there are risks which needed to be considered, crowdfunding is essentially an investment, it is the social evolution of venture capital.
So, in 2011 I backed my first crowdfunded project, Video Game High School on Kickstarter (which was voted Website of the Year for 2011) with a pledge of US$10.00 and so began the attraction and interest (often obsession) with crowdfunding. It has been roughly five years now and it still has that attraction, that allure. Here are three (of many) reasons why.
I have and always will be attracted to creative people and their creations. Creativity is not just about art and artists, but rather it is a mindset, a way of thinking and doing that involves both brain and heart (but mostly heart). Creative problem solving is as alluring to me as the fine arts or performing arts.
Crowdfunding appeals to creators and their creations. Often times the most successful projects are those which provide a creative solution to a problem that otherwise may have been solved in a dull and mundane fashion. I am always curious to see how people turn creative thinking into successful projects and in turn I am happy to support them in their creativity.
Here are some examples of creativity found in crowdfunding:
There seems to be a very unique community that has bought into crowdfunding, a community which continues to grow and attracted like-minded people who buy into the idea and become evangelists for the cause. It is a very creative, supportive, open and honest community and they are part of the phenomenal success that crowdfunding has become.
This community, made up of both backers and creators, remains well after a project is funded and rewards have been shipped and it is this particular group of people I can relate with. I have found that almost always, backers and creators of the projects (that attract me and which I am curious about) are people who I can get along well with and who are generally on the same proverbial page. I have enjoyed the many interactions I have had with both backers and creators and I look forward to those still to be had.
Incentive. It's the reason why we do any and everything From getting up in the morning and driving to work or going to the gym and brushing your teeth before you go to bed, everything we do is motivated by an incentive (defined or not). Our actions are always rewarded in some way or another and incentive can be seen as the currency which motivates us and rewards us. For some it maybe hard cash, for others a good feeling and for some just a smile, but regardless of what it may be, we are all driven by incentives.
The same applies to crowdfunding. Backers back creator’s projects for various reasons. For some backers it may be the physical reward their pledge qualifies them for, for others it is the simple ‘nod’ of appreciation and for some it is being first to have or first to be part of something new. Others see it as a way of paying it forward with the hope that someday their projects will be funded by the same means.
And to yet others, like myself, it is all of the above to some degree or another. The allure of this currency is hard to ignore and once you have traded in it, it is near impossible not to want more because the exchange rate is always in your favour.
There are obviously many other reasons why I love and advocate crowdfunding the way I do, but the creativity, community and currency of crowdfunding should be more than enough for anyone to be attracted to it or even just a little curious.
For more on crowdfunding follow my collection Crowdfunding & Startups on Google+ or Board on Pinterest. You can also follow the hashtag #crowdfunding on Twitter for the latest news, updates and chats.