You have an idea. You want to make something – let’s say its a cd. But recording a cd costs money, and you don’t have any (join the club). You’re a good musician, and you’re sure that if people heard your music, they’d put up a couple of bucks to pre-order your cd. If you got enough pre-orders, you’d be able to pay for a recording session. But who’s going to do that? There’s too much risk.
*Not any more.*
Enter “Fundable”:http://www.fundable.org/. From their site:
bq. Fundable is a new service that lets groups of people raise funds or make purchases.
In practice, what this does is allow you set up something like an ebay auction. You list your item (the thing you want to make), list the contribution you’re seeking, and the number of contributors required. For example, let’s say my mythical recording session was going to set me back $1000. I could set up my fundable auction to seek $10 from 100 people.
So far nothing special, right? Here’s where it gets interesting: you have to set an expiry date. If your total has not been reached, everyone automatically gets their money back.
It doesn’t have to be just products either. Let’s say you really want a “browser cam”:http://www.browsercam.com/default.aspx account, but can’t shell out the big bucks for. Use Fundable to get a group to go in on it together (not sure the browser cam folks would smile on this though).
I’m not sure how the system would handle intellectual property issues. I’ve got to dig into it a bit more as time allows.
When I go all ga-ga over the “power” of blogs and social software, this is *exactly* the kind of thing I’m talking about. Eliminate geography, race, and gender, and amazing things start to happen. This is the web at its best.