Crowd Hydrant On Video

Crowd Hydrant's John Hauer recently recently sat down with Michael C. Potter from Plum Street Productions to talk about crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, content marketing and social media.



How 3D Printing Can Help Crowdfunding


Earlier this week, crowdfunding website Kickstarter posted new rules for projects in its Hardware and Product Design category. The news was delivered as a blog post entitled “Kickstarter is Not a Store.” The rules were designed to ensure that project creators set realistic expectations with potential backers.  Apparently some people see Kickstarter more as a way to get the next cool thing first than as a way to back projects they see as having merit. The trouble with that is there is risk associated with crowdfunding that one wouldn’t normally encounter with a “traditional” ecommerce transaction (as if there’s anything traditional about ecommerce, right?)

The first rule change is that project creators must now answer the question, “What are the risks and challenges this project faces, and what qualifies you to overcome them?” A legitimate question for certain, and one that any other type of investor would probably ask as part of their due diligence. To be fair, most project creators were already making that obvious – it’s just gone from being a best-practice to becoming a rule.

From there it gets a bit more restrictive. Projects posted in the Hardware and Product Design category must now follow these additional rules:

  • Product simulations are now prohibited. Products can only be shown as they are able to perform today – not how they might work in a future state of development.
  • Product renderings are also prohibited. Product images must be of the prototypes as they currently exist.
  • Projects are prohibited from offering multiple quantities of a product as a reward for a larger investment


Why Did You Call it Crowd Hydrant?

Why’d you call it Crowd Hydrant? It’s a question we’ve heard more than a few times. There were several reasons. In part, because both the web address and business name were available. But, we brainstormed a lot of available names and it was our top pick. Most importantly, because it best describes our business model - supporting innovators with crowd funding, sourcing, and marketing services.

The idea for our company stemmed from a recent experience we had submitting one of our new business concepts to a couple of different startup incubators. As we went through the process of developing the content and creating the team and product videos that would support our application, it occurred to us that other people with great ideas might need help getting them to market. We also began to question why we were chasing venture capital when we could take our concept directly to the crowd.


Crowdfunding the Court of Public Opinion

Throughout most of history, disputes were settled between individuals, tribes, or communities, either through force or with the help of some third party - a chief, king, judge, or priest who made the final decision. With the invention of mass media people found a new way to address their grievances - the court of public opinion. In the 500 years since Johann Gutenberg's invention of the printing press, people have used publicity to gain support for all types of political, religious, economic, and cultural ideas. They’ve also used the media to make personal disputes public, in the hopes of creating a public outcry that can be used to their advantage. But now with the Internet and electronic payment, individuals have a new way to gain support - by crowdfunding the court of public opinion.

Almost a year ago, the owner of The Oatmeal, Matthew Inman put up a post complaining that a humor website - FunnyJunk - was using The Oatmeal’s content without permission.  The owner of FunnyJunk responded with the threat of a defamation lawsuit and offered to settle if Inman gave him $20,000. Instead of negotiating or counter suing, Mr. Inman took his case to crowdfunding website, indiegogo. His idea was to “to raise $20k to donate half to the National Wildlife Federation (for the bears), and half to the American Cancer Society (because cancer is shitty).” The project met its goal in the first 24 hours and as of this writing, with roughly 19 hours left, the campaign has raised over $210,000. FunnyJunk is clearly not amused and has now threatened further action against The Oatmeal, indiegogo, the National Wildlife Federation, and the American Cancer Society.