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Re: [tlug] kickstarter for open source...

Ulrike Schmidt writes:

 > I also think the comparison with spare change is not quite
 > correct. It is not donating, it is more like buying a T-Shirt, a
 > video, some piece of software, a 3D scanner, fame, whatever.

Where the project returns a good directly to the customer and payment
occurs in exchange for the good[1], what you're talking about is a
retailing innovation.  I'm quite happy to call it an important
innovation, but ten years from now it will be as taken for granted as
Amazon and eBay are now.  What I am claiming[2] is that it isn't a
solution to the problem of funding open source as we know and love it.
That is the question the OP asked, and the one I was answering.

If you feel like you're "buying" a unit of a good at little monetary
risk, and that's the only way to receive it in a timely fashion,
that's not "crowdfunding", that's an "Internet flea market".  This not
the same as published open source software, which need not be paid for
at all.  But as a retailing device it is nothing new, the flea market
antedates the supermarket by at least two millenia.

Of course the analogy is not exact.  The Internet allows gathering
customers at speeds previously impossible, and the innovation of
Kickstarter-like sites changes the risk/return calculation for vendors
dramatically because of that.

 > It is open source and they have been quite successful regarding the 
 > funding part.

Some projects will be successful.  UNICEF has been extremely
successful.  Some non-projects are successful, too: after the 3/11
disaster, my church found itself managing about 30,000,000 yen in
relief donations, mostly in cash, which we didn't solicit and have had
to put in substantial effort to decide what to do with.

 > Maybe todays crowdfunding platforms are simple enough for the main user. 
 > When googling for SourceXchange I came across this post mortem: 
 > It seems to have been 
 > much more complex.

SourceXchange (and were not crowdfunding platforms.
They were brokers who arranged two-sided contracts (sometimes with
more than two parties, but there were buyers and sellers with often
complex obligations on each side), with specifications, milestones,
intermediate payments, and so on.

[1]  It may be somewhat more complex, in that you can pay as much as
you want.  But I am willing to bet that this segment of the market
will converge to setting a minimum donation for receiving the product,
and the majority of payments will be at that minimum.

[2]  Based on my professor's intuition, which is worth listening to
but should not be taken as indicating its "truth". ;-)

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