One of the things I love most about the internet is the ability to support people I’ve never met and causes I would never have heard of, if not for, well, the internet. I microloan through Kiva; I answer questions for assistance on Twitter; and I pledge money to artists and filmmakers on Kickstarter.
Crowdsourcing of this type isn’t new. Companies like Threadless, which uses a community of artists to develop new t-shirt ideas, have been around for years (Threadless started in 2000). Lulu.com lets authors publish books and e-books, online music and images, custom calendars, etc. – professionally and cheaply; they’re not a ripoff vanity press. And 99designs is one of the most popular online design contest marketplaces, where graphic designs can build their portfolios and small businesses can find great work for a low fee.
But Kickstarter is built specifically for the arts. It’s a pretty simple idea: someone pitches a creative project, and if you want to support it, you pledge a small (or large) amount. If the project meets its funding goal, they get the money and you get the satisfaction of funding an independent project. If they don’t meet the goal, you get your money back. No harm, no foul.
The Kickstarter name is a great match. Kickstarting a motorcycle means doing in the old, manual way, using muscle and skill. You try it a couple of times, and when you do it just right, the motor roars into life. It’s an evocative metaphor for what Kickstarter does: funding small, do-it-yourself creative projects like comics, film, games, dance, design, etc., a little at a time, the old-fashioned way, like passing the hat at a party.
Kickstarter has all the desirable qualities we always look for in a name. It’s simple to pronounce, easy to spell, easy to remember, full of energy and positive connotations. And it’s fun to say! While it’s a name that needs a bit of explanation the first time you hear it, once you do, you won’t forget it. And you might end up using it to make that movie you’ve always dreamed about – but don’t quit your day job.
Overall grade: A+