YEARS OF CATERPILLAR FLU
Fellow designer, the new century has just begun to show us its modernity and its progress with an impressive rate. We just discovered computer viruses that could destroy technology, islamic fundamentalism that could destroy western technology, bird flu that could destroy human society, swine flu that could destroy human society, Apple iPhone that could destroy human society, etc… By the way, I predict that this year’s flu will be caterpillar flu, just to keep you informed.
Now, in a world in which huge companies, viruses and groups are fighting each other how can we imagine to stand out with our tiny, nice product? Well, a bank robbery could seem a great idea but there are definitively easier and softer ways. One of them is crowdfunding, that for designers is very simple. You have a product, you need to create your company to build and commercialize it, you go on internet and you gather money from people donating giving them back, maybe, that product. They pay it less and have it before all the others and you get enough money to start your business. It seems heaven isn’t it? Well there are some limits, and they are really important.
First, it is not enough to create your campaign on Kickstarter. People need to know about it, you will have to use all your cyber-power: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, “Friends”, “Relatives” (important social networks), you have to spread the word. You know, it is not like making people aware of your ideas. If you write a status about the next caterpillar flu and 1000 people read it, well, you did it, 1000 people know what you think about it. If you make 1000 people know that you are gathering money for something, you will have a final effect of 30-40 people donating, that is a good achievement but is not enough, so you will need to reach 10.000 people and you will have great possibilities (well, if you find a cure for caterpillar flu you would probably reach 10.000 people donating, scared by newspapers and TV shows).
Second, you have to be sure of your results. You can’t make people donate for something you have to develop and you are not sure to achieve. If you want to design a flying chair be sure you can do it! Otherwise you will have lots of cyber-addicteds really angry with you.
There are other ways to gather money, similar to crowdfunding but deeply different. When I write “Develop Yourself” I mean to change your perspective. While with crowdfunding you develop your product with startups you can develop yourself and then your product creating a stronger result! There are a lot of websites as microventures that can make startups and investors meet. Here you can create your own small and wonderful company in order to come out with a lot of new products and ideas. Sure, the limit is that you will have investors but in “normal” crowdfunding is not that different. Moreover governments are investing a lot of money in financing startups and you have special spaces like “hubs” where you can increase your awareness about this new magical world. In Italy we have some great experiences in Piemonte and in Veneto regions in which these hubs are working very well, not being affected by the economic crisis (and that’s an unbelievable result in Italy!). That’s way I think that this investors finding system for startups is the best mean to stand up in design world. After that entering a startups hub is another way to "stand up together" that is easier than trying to do it individually.
OUR NGO WILL DEVELOP ITSELF
That is why we suggested our NGO to create a startup, to think itself as a startup. It can give a service: providing new environmentally and socially sustainable spaces for companies and people. In the Tiny Houses community we can create a great opportunity for individuals and companies to make each other better. People can join this community to learn and try new experiences both on the working and on the living side. The workers of that companies would work in a relaxed green place, with trees and fresh air. Inhabitants of this community would gather money and experiences from companies. Moreover a startup won’t have any legal problem with the government that would be able to finance it. For them it is easier to start on Microventures than on crowdfunding campaigns.
WHAT TO DO NOW
As a group we defined the economic part of “having a real community”. Now it is time to define how can this NGO/Startup make people aware and how they can develop their calendar and activities to make the community work. We are thinking to a sort of internal regulation for the Tiny Houses hub, internet cafè and events. Stay connected for the next week post, now I have to see the first episode of American Horror Story 4, so I will leave you with a picture of your worst enemy this year! Bye!