Kickstarter is full of awful, ill-conceived, downright dumb ideas. So is the internet. So is the universe. But it’s also festooned with crazy-good thinking, ingenuity and imagination. It’s fun and unfettered. It’s the opposite of the tech industry.
Here’s how the technology we use ends up being created: Companies conceive of products using focus groups, market research, Ouija boards, sorcerers, some more focus groups, international espionage and dart boards. These ideas may or may not be awesome. Most of the time not. Then, to make the idea into a thing, execs invoke the combined powers of project budgets, clueless managers, competition and a trillion other factors that don’t have to do with making something cool. Next, your gadget is tossed into a cement mixer of public relations shill-olympics, marketing death rays and orgiastic reviews.
Then it arrives on a shelf for you to buy. You’re detached from the entire process. It’s passive. Buy it or don’t buy it, but here’s what’s for dinner, buddy.
Kickstarter is the opposite of all of this. Yes — like I said, most of it is total shit. But if you wade through that, you find the golden remainder:
Clever iPad stands.
Someone who wants to make internet GIFs real.
Two dudes who bought their own island.
The Robocop statue.
But really, it’s not about those exceptional ideas, whether they end up successfully funded or not. Kickstarter is the only viable place any average Jonny Internet can take a decent idea and stand a chance of making it real. No venture capital vampires, no hype, no need to make it 3D. Restaurants, novels, gadgets, games — rich, interesting things you can buy a small part of to make the earth 0.00000001 per cent more interesting without having to lift your arse out of the seat and actually do something. The cream rises to the top. The idiotic millionth iPhone case sits at the ocean’s floor.
And it doesn’t ask anything of you. Fund something. Or don’t, and close the window, and choose easily not to care. The only thing you risk is some cash and a chance to help do something good — sure beats wandering around Best Buy.