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All the Kickstarter project creators at Maker Faire. Photo via Julio Terra.

All the Kickstarter project creators at Maker Faire. Photo via Julio Terra.

At the EG Conference in 2007, Kevin Kelly told the audience that the “Web” had only been around for less than 5,000 days. His statement was a reminder that all the access, all that content, and all that information had become available in such a short period of time and, most remarkably, no one was amazed. For some reason, the day-counting method gives the timescale a more human perspective. Similarly, it’s interesting to think about just how long other platforms we rely on are:

Google: 5,753 Days
YouTube: 3,397 Days
Facebook: 3,774 Days
Twitter: 2,998 Days
MAKE Magazine: 3,442 Days
And, for the purposes of this article, Kickstarter: 1,864 Days

For makers, it’s hard to imagine a world without Kickstarter. It’s opened up an entirely new route for bringing projects to life. And, despite the myriad of clones and derivatives, Kickstarter were the ones who pioneered the spirit of crowdfunding. Even from an outside perspective, it’s been obvious the idea – that people should be able to come together and bring new, creative ideas into the world – is what drives them. That’s why, when they felt the idea’s integrity was being compromised by get-rich-quickers and unrealistic promises, they clamped down on the product design category with the infamous “Kickstarter is Not a Store” post. At the time, I supported their decision, because I knew they were acting in defense of the idea, not to punish anyone.

Today, they’ve announced new rules that are considerably simplified. They’ve now had almost two years to evaluate their rule change and have made some welcome tweaks to, again, make Kickstarter a great place for makers with the right intentions. I think they’ve done that here.

That being said, I agree with Paul Spinrad that we, as makers, have a responsibility to patrol and alert Kickstarter (or IndieGoGo or whoever) of any suspicious activity. Lets remember how new, how fragile, and how wonderful this idea really is, and that we all have a part to play in it’s future.

David Lang

Co-Founder of OpenROV, a community of DIY ocean explorers and makers of low-cost underwater robots. Author of Zero to Maker. And on Twitter!


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