Everyone is Edison: How the Internet Enables Creation

The following is a short guest post by my friend Kemp Edmonds. I’ve known Kemp for a few years (we met at a Vancouver freelance event0 and I asked him if he’d be willing to offer up a post during my travels. He was more than happy to — and he’s also offering up some nuggets of information on his latest project — a project that reminds about the film I saw at the World Domination Summit. You can check out Kemp’s work over at his weblog and follow him on Twitter.

Bringing new creations to life is one of the most involving, gut-wrenching and exciting things there is. Inventors and creators have to be creative about the funding and development of their creations. The mass creation, learning and documentation facilitated by the Internet has become part of our collective knowledge base.

Now how are we going to fund those ideas?

We can use the same technology to turn product development into a democratic activity. This is the concept behind crowd-funding. The most successful story to date is that of the Pebble Watch on a website called Kickstarter, which handles the transaction. The wristwatch-like screen connects to your phone, has e-ink( easy to see in sun and light), and displays essential info, plays music, and more. The idea reminds me strongly of the early iPod Nano watches.

The team from Waterloo, Ontario was looking to raise $100,000 to fund a first run of the wrist computer. This is the true story I told to a classroom of marketing students at a local college in Vancouver. I asked them how much they thought was raised:

  • “500,000 dollars?”
  • “1,000,000 dollars?”
  • “2,000,000 dollars?”

These are some of the examples they said (through a little coaxing). When I told them that the project garnered over 10 million dollars in support from backers, I was shocked and inspired as I watched them begin to understand the true power of these new tools. I also learned that swearing at appropriate moments for emphasis while guest-speaking in a classroom of young students is a good way to work the room.

Sites like IndieGogo and Kickstarter have a lot of losers too. Not all projects receive their funding. This is because these projects are all about the backers. Each and every person who contributes to the project means something to its development. People can vote with their money about the types of things they want more of. Whether they are a project team member, a backer, or a supporter they are all contributing to the success of the product. This happens before the product comes into being, giving those people the right to say they had a hand in it. They get to say that because they actually had a hand in the project’s success. This is where the next frontier of “crowd-anything” is.

On that note…

I am producing a documentary film called Generation Social.

A film requires a number of professionals who put in long hours and hard work to develop. I am pre-selling the film and other rewards on Kickstarter to raise the funds. This is my first campaign and your backing will mean a lot  — plus you’ll get something in return!

Support the things that matter to you, and through crowd-sourcing tools like Kickstarter you have a better shot at seeing your creations and inventions flourish!

Photo credit: OZinOH (CC BY-NC 2.0)