The recent announcement by IBM about their partnership with Indiegogo has me worried…

crowdfunding2So there are two things that I am curious about. The first is the concept of an HDMI hub. I know I am searching for the wrong things, but really? I just want a hub that is smart enough to take one HMI output and deliver it to two devices (for the Oculus Rift system in fact). I know it is possible but well, anyway I am just dreaming there I suspect short term.

The second thing that I am curious about right now is the reality of what IBM announced this week. Their upcoming relationship with Indiegogo and their (IBM’s) desire to increase the rate of IoT devices. First off we all know that they would like all devices to be served in BlueMix, their IoT cloud platform, which to date is pretty solid. But, their, IBM’s, the cloud hasn’t taken off the way I suspect they were planning on having it removed.

I worry that IBM doesn’t get the crowdfunding world. I am happy that they have gone and started the process, but I think they are missing the point of what is possible. Based on the reality of what is possible, I believe it is a swing and a miss for IBM.

In part because of the market change. In part because what is interesting about the world of crowdfunding is understanding the dream of the possible. It is not about moving things into reality; it is about seeing if they can be built. One of my favorite campaigns didn’t get funded last year. AguaDrone was a tri-use drone for people that are in or around water with their drones. A waterproof drone that can land on water, so they include a water proof camera so you can see above, and below the water. It didn’t get funded, and I do understand why.

It is, it was, it continues to be a NICHE market. I get that. I am happy to announce that even though they weren’t funded, they continued to build the product. If you are interested in an Aguadrone, you can pre-order one now at . What I don’t think big companies get about crowdfunding and why I may stop funding projects on IndieGoGo is the checks and balances that aren’t in place. IBM has a particular market mentality; crowdfunding is the response to that corporate button down mentality. The two don’t mix, so you need a barrier. Someone with authority to boot IBM out of a campaign. Because the one thing I know IBM has is engineers. Devolving a product and releasing a new slightly different version of the same thing isn’t horribly hard to do.

ambitionI do truly understand the reality of corporate America. I have been working in or around corporate America for the past 25 years. I understand the difference between a great idea and a niche idea. Sometimes great ideas are niche ideas at first. But I do also understand the rise of Crowdfunding and why it is important as a safe Avenue for people to move out and create. My fear, my prediction is that in fact IBM will kill projects or worse, will fund them, and become exclusive. So I truly hope Indiegogo is paying attention. I don’t think they are. They are looking for the free advertising that deals with IBM creates. I don’t think they are looking towards the potential backlash of losing Superbackers, people that fun lots of projects, or worse, losing the projects themselves.

Change isn’t a bad thing. But having competed against the monolith that was IBM for 15 years, I can tell you three things. IBM is more like the Titanic than a speedboat. If there is an iceberg, it takes IBM a long time to change direction. A lot of things have to fall into place to make that change happen. With a speedboat, it is simply a flick of the wheel and iceberg avoided. If it is a really big iceberg, you may slow down because of a speedboat and speed up and slow down a lot faster than a cruise liner can. When talking about exploring, you don’t take the larger vessel into exploring. The risk of manage to the very thing you are exploring is greater. You take smaller more agile vessels in. I would hope Indiegogo realizes that. If they don’t, they are about to find out. If they need help building the wall that will be required, well my address is listed, reach out!.


Indiegogo SuperBacker, but for how much longer?