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Crowd Funding

I wasn't thinking along the lines of collecting money up front and I think it would be dangerous to go down that path. On thinking about it, the term "Crowd Funding" isn't appropriate for what I had in mind, but it was the correct term when the concept appeared many years ago.  One of my hobbies is model railroading and people often express an interest in a particular locomotive design and ask if anyone is interested in making it. A manufacturer may respond by saying he or she will take on the job if they get xxx expressions of interest. Once they reach the target, those interested are contacted to ensure they're genuinely prepared to pay and then the manufacturer will proceed with production.  In some instances a small deposit is requested, but generally the manufacturer is satisfied with the pledge. I may point out that in one recent case, it took five years for the product to eventuate, but it did.

I think the idea of paying someone in advance is very dangerous, especially in the IT world. Thus I was thinking of pledges, which people sometimes forget they're ever made, but the developer can usually count on some money being available at the end of the day. If I knew the developer, I may be willing to pay 25% up front, but I wouldn't be doing it for someone I knew nothing about.

I think my original suggestion to Modzzz, was a mod where people could suggest a module and others could say they would also be prepared to purchase a copy. A value would be set (say $20). If a developer was interested in taking the project on, he would tag it as such and develop it. He would then negotiate with the interested parties for payment of the value stated, but also offer the module on the market for a higher price if he wished.

My suggestion was to encourage a developer to create a module for the market, not for members to pay the full cost of development.

I have seen a lot of crowdfunding work.  Then at times I have seen it go wrong.  Usually with some crowdfunding one buys into getting the product when it launches.  We could do a crowdfunding for a module and then when the module is completed, we get a copy.  The question though is what happens if we crowdfund a module and it never appears?  For some things, an escrow service helps; the money is donated, the money is held in escrow, the developer builds the module, the module is delivered to those that crowdfunded it and the developer gets the money.  Maybe Cheetah can work as the escrow; holding the money in escrow for a fee.  Then again, Deano might not want that extra responsibility.  Something to think about how it should work.

I've always considered crowdfunding as being a way of making people put their money where their mouth is. I once asked Modzzz if he'd write a module for Dolphin, but that didn't go very far. With Dolphin on the "outer" and Cheetah trying to repair  the damage, asking people to create new modules at this stage in life isn't going to be easy.

Crowdfunding is one way it can be done by allowing people to essentially "buy off the plan". The time isn't right yet because Cheetah is still in development and only a handful of people are members. However, when the script is released to the public, it would be a good idea to consider how to get third-party developers motivated again.

A crowdfunding module or even a section devoted to it could be the answer.

I was amused today when I saw that someone had developed a simple gizmo that people can attach to paper aeroplanes and fly them like drones. I went to the site, only to find it was a crowdfunding site, but please take a minute to look at it and see how much money has been offered to these people to develop the product:

Click Here

You may not be aware of another crowd funding exercise that went horribly wrong in Australia late last year.  A young singer was motivated to start a crowdfunding exercise to purchase new equipment for the local fire brigade when her parent's home town was partly damaged by a bush fire. She put the word out on Facebook hoping to pick up a couple of thousand for the volunteer fire brigade to purchase a bit of new equipment, but FB users et al  thought it was a campaign to collect money for "everyone" affected by the fires. She ended up raising $20 million and needless to say, the local fire brigade of about 20 people were a bit overwhelmed.

The organisation's constitution doesn't allow it to make donations and the Courts have just ruled that if they pass the money on to the people who actually need it, they will be breaking the law. 

Click Here

So if you do decide to go down the crowdfunding path, please make sure you cross your  "i's" and dot your "tee's".