Friday, April 9, 2010

More Advertising, No Nepotism

This post is about two things I ran across yesterday in the bowels of the Internet. First, this fantastic project by Rachel Sussman to find and photograph living organisms that are, wait for it, OVER 2,000 YEARS OLD. Yes, there are lots of them! My mind is officially boggled. So far she has traveled to at least a dozen countries, and had to learn scuba diving to reach one, a twenty-foot-wide coral off the shores of Tobago. Her blog is fascinating.

The second, and possibly even more intriguing piece of this is the way in which she is seeking funding to continue what must be a very expensive project. Organisms this old are scattered in some extremely inconvenient places, which are expensive to reach. Like Antarctica! Or the high-altitude deserts of Chile, where the Llareta lives (that funky green mossy-looking thing in the photo). So not only did she introduce me to the concept of a 3,000 year old drought-loving relative of parsley, but she also called Kickstarter to my attention. And now I am calling it to yours.

Kickstarter bills itself as "a funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, inventors, explorers..." Here's the really fascinating and clever bit: you have a certain amount of time to raise money in the form of pledges:  "Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands. ...
  1. It's less risk for everyone. If you need $5,000, it's tough having $2,000 and a bunch of people expecting you to complete a $5,000 project.
  2. It allows people to test concepts (or conditionally sell stuff) without risk. If you don't receive the support you want, you're not compelled to follow through. This is huge!
  3. It motivates. If people want to see a project come to life, they're going to spread the word."
I wanted to help Rachel Sussman, so I pledged $25 by pushing a couple of buttons and it turns out you make your pledges through Amazon! Now I wait to see if she makes her goal, and if she does, I pay her. I've been poking around on the Kickstarter site, and have found: A woman in the middle of a two-year project to sail around the world who is (while sailing!) trying to raise money for safety gear; a guy who designed posters just for fun on his blog, was overwhelmed with requests to purchase them, and is raising money to do a print run; cartoonists, musicians, animators, filmmakers....all kinds of people with big ideas! Some of the best are featured on the Kickstarter blog, like this really funny 'please give us money' video:

The Pauses Need Your Help To Record Our First Album with Producer J. Robbins from The Pauses on Vimeo.

Go! Even if nothing moves you to support the fund-seekers, the sheer variety of projects is inspiring. And the concept behind it all is the most inspiring of all. That bit by bit, $1 or more at a time, we can help each other dream really really big.

1 comment:

  1. Jenn, thanks so much for your support for The Oldest Living Things in the World!