Follow on to my diatribe against the IBM Indiegogo Partnership

A long time reader sent me an email question yesterday. He doesn’t post publically for a lot of reasons, and I won’t share his name or email directly. The question was about my post yesterday on the IBM and Indiegogo relationship. The details of the question were “are you concerned that it was IBM or are you concerned overall that the market will flatten because of this?”

Well yes to a degree IBM being the first out of the gate in this space makes me nervous. They often are first out of the technology gates, but seldom do they do more than a rabbit. The rabbit being the first runner that leaps into the lead and then fades to the middle of the pack by the end of the race.

But the real fear here is more the flattening of the market. When a market flattens, it becomes much broader than it was before. Today there are two large players Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Kickstarter has more users and greater volume, but Indiegogo isn’t far behind. I know as a serial backer that with IBM engaged on the backend of Indiegogo, I will think twice before backing an Indiegogo project. In fact, I probably will stop supporting their projects, because the creative and innovative idea projects are going to move away from Indiegogo quickly. No one wants to have their project become part of the collective.

You see the value that is Crowdfunding is that the collective can’t take over a project. Let’s talk a little bit about why. First off, yes I do use first off too much, going to work on that, there are much more failed projects on Indiegogo than on Kickstarter. I have backed more than 100 projects on both platforms (yes I am a SuperBacker on both). So far there are 15 projects on Indiegogo that never delivered, and slid quietly off into the night. There are five on Kickstarter that slipped quietly into that good evening. I’ve backed 24 more project son Kickstarter than on Indiegogo which makes the percentages even worse. Yes, the Sue Birds are out in force for all 20 of those projects, and I feel sorry for the people struggling to get their dream going.

This brings me to the reality of what I see as a soon to be flattening market. You see the fun of crowdfunding is helping someone. Taking a dream, and effectively making that dream real. You can’t measure the ability of a large company to take small ideas and crush them.

Or can you?

You can, its why there is crowdfunding now. In the past, people would go and work for large companies R&D departments. They would do what they were told and the world on their dreams on the side. The resources of the company would help them get over the hump and deliver their dream.

But crowdfunding allows them to move away from the large corporation and develop their goal. While I see a way for Kickstarter and Indiegogo to engage big business, it isn’t as direct partners. There are many better ways to engage large corporations. The funny thing is, most people that head to crowdfunding are often frustrated with the life in a large business R&D lab, or they don’t want to have their dream sold as a part of Barbie’s Malibu Mansion. In other words, they don’t want to be part of a product currently shipping, now with Smart Watch capabilities.

Yes, I am deeply concerned with a flattening market. In part because the flatter that market gets the more dilute it will be. I am concerned that we will end up with a repeat of the corporate R&D departments of the past very quickly. I wish Indiegogo hadn’t signed a partnership with IBM. It makes me sad to know that what once was, is no more.

The other and probably worst side of a flattening market are the reality of more players. Today there are some crowdfunding sites, the majority of which are plagued by delivery issues. The more distributed the market becomes, the more we will rely on systems that don’t deliver today.

I wish Indiegogo had read my email of nearly a year ago.


soon to be former Indiegogo backer…