I think the world needs a break from FB-related posts and though this still somewhat touches the subject, Kickstarter really had significant news this week due to Diaspora and have been mostly an Unsung Hero in the process. Something that’s not really being said is this week has proven that Crowdfunding can work if you have a killer idea and the proper marketing awareness around that great idea. But what it also told me is that despite popular belief, people are willing to pay for social networks and web applications. There may even be a business model hidden in here have your community fund you early or before they join and then crowdfund future features. Personally, I would prefer this over monthly recurring payments. The Kickstarter.com platform is really the key here which I had the pleasure of hearing other success stories at SXSW.
There are groups of people that have been classified as Freediots or Freetards because they want everything to be free. I could be wrong but I believe some of those people may have donated to Diaspora this week. On the opposite spectrum, even Fred Wilson donated money which isn’t very surprising but always a good sign when VC people support the idea with no strings attached.
Was all of this due to getting caught up in the anti-Facebook movement and timing? Yes a lot of it was due to perfect timing but it still showed me something I’ve never seen before, a lot of money was given to 4 college students who have a vision and a dream which obviously a rather large group share even for this moment. The team was only looking for ten thousand dollars, they now have over $130,000 with another 2 weeks of funding to go. Again, a huge shock to me as many people could have easily decided that Diaspora clearly met their goal and not bothering to contribute at that point. Not to put any extra pressure on the Diaspora team but they now have a spotlight on them to deliver something big. If they remotely meet people’s expectations, I can assure you that you’ll see many other projects come to life via the same route.
People will pay for stuff. They will always look for the best deal, and yes that usually is free with it comes to apps online or on a phone, but you need to create something people want that nobody else is doing cheaper. People like to buy things that give them emotional satisfaction. We pay for iPads, Internet Access, Music/Entertainment, Souvenirs, etc. We pay money to travel to visit family and friends , see new places or just relax on a beach/ski trip. Shopping or Contributing is a very emotional transaction, it’s imagining owning or wearing or using something that’s “just the right thing” for us. In Diaspora’s case, privacy and control are features that people think are worth the value.
So words for thought, people will pay money for things that give them emotional satisfaction, especially those things that involve interacting with others or have a high emotion content or strokes their egos. Figure out your idea, figure out how to get some early media coverage and then use something like Kickstarter to plant the seeds of yours and other people’s dreams.