Innovation is a curious creature. It starts with a good idea and then it requires resource to make it work. Traditionally, people come up with the idea then pour their cash into it hoping that at some stage it will be real and sell. The problem with that is that you can pour a lot of money into an idea only to have it completely flop. Only 10% of startups tend to turn into something real.
Along comes Kickstarter. The face of Crowd Sourcing, a new phenomena that is rapidly growing.
The idea is simple, rather than figuring out when you go to market if your idea is crap, you get people to pledge to fund it before hand. When the product is released, it is immediately given to all the people who pledged cash and that cash is released to your company.
Recently I was attempting to set up a wireless hotspot on my laptop. The same as the wireless hotspot you can set up on your smart phone. The reason being that I can buy 12GB of data from 2 Degrees at a significantly reduced cost to my Vodafone network. So when I am working, I can connect my smart phone and tablet to my laptop and run then all off the single internet connection.
Yes technical geeks, I know you can do this manually, I tried and became angry and frustrated so I decided to see if I could find a product instead. In my searches I can cross a product called Connectify Hotspot. It’s a small app that creates a wireless hotspot on your laptop. It cost me $40 and it just works.
The product was developed through Crowd Sourcing via Kickstarter. Kickstarter is effectively the portal for hundreds of these crazy ideas where you can pledge money in advance.
Connectify Hotspot is about to release a new version of the software called Dispatch. Sometime in September. This is a very cool idea. What it does is take all the internet connections that you have, and bind them into a single one. So imagine you have a smart phone with a data connection, a 2 Degrees T-Stick with internet connection, a local area network connection, and a wireless connection. Dispatch combines all four and splits the traffic across it, so while you are not using any more data, you are getting all of the speed of the four devices combined at once.
Think about it some more, you don’t pay for bandwidth in New Zealand, you pay for data. So that means I could get four T-Sticks from 2 Degrees, plug all of them in (ok, so my laptop is going to look a little crazy Christmas tree like), then proceed to get somewhere around 20Mb per sec instead of the usual 4Mb. If I really wanted to go mad, which I probably will, I can then add my wife’s smart phone data connection, my smart phone data connection, and my home wireless and get an astounding 45Mb per sec. I’m still not using any more data.
The product gets released in the next month. I have gone to Kickstarter, pledged $65 USD, which gives me access to the Beta and a good long license of the product. You can pay via Credit Card and all the usual methods, including Amazon. I have an Amazon account so with a couple of clicks I’ve pledged the money and just have to wait for the beta release. I get a link to download and license key, my credit card gets charged, when it becomes available.
Kickstarter isn’t just about technology. It covers games, movies, hardware, strange devices that look like they may be from another planet and dozens of categories. You can go completely insane pledging money to new kinds of teapots if you want.
The only problem at the moment with Kickstarter is that you have to be a US citizen to use it. They do say other countries are coming, but how quickly could someone setup a similar thing in New Zealand and sell back to the rest of the world?