What is Kickstarter For?

On April 28, 2009 a crowdfunding site called Kickstarter launched, with the hope that it would enable people to make their dreams a reality. The deal is, if you’ve got an idea, and if you can convince enough people to contribute, then you can get the funding you need to start a business, rent a recording studio, fund a movie, or launch a tech startup.

We used this for an earlier version of ALGORITHM called The Root Kit. That version didn’t work for us. We had to retool and relaunch on a different site.

But, for Oculus, head-mounted VR setup, it worked. Spectacularly. Within hours they had raised their desired $250k. By the time their campaign ended they had raised the tidy sum of $2,437,429. That’s a pretty big number for Kickstarter.

Soon enough, the venture capitalists found them and their investments got real.

And then, on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, Oculus got acquired by Facebook, for a staggering $2 billion. Another way to read that is… Facebook paid one thousand times their amazing Kickstarter success. What, exactly Facebook got, and what they intend to do with it remains to be seen.

Ever since the Kickstarter campaign run by TV star Zach Braff, people have been wondering what Kickstarter is for. Some said Zach’s coming spelled the death for truly independent creatives. People like Kevin Smith arguing that Zach could have easily gone to financiers and secured the money he needed based on his fame. Zach could have even funded the movie from his own wealth. But, instead, he went to Kickstarter.

Regardless of how people feel about Zach Braff, his campaign, or Kickstarter in general, the question remains: What is Kickstarter/crowdfunding for? When asked, it brings to mind questions I came across while researching for ALGORITHM and people were asking what a computer was for.

What’s a computer for? What is Kickstarter for? it’s for whatever we use it for, from beta testing movie ideas to launching multi-billion-dollar companies. Kickstarter, and other crowdfunding sites enable people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. Just like the rest of the Internet.