Like Kickstarter-for-Companies, There’s Fundry

I’ve gotten hooked on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding site for creative projects (art, movies, etc). It’s awesome that a community of people with shared vision can quickly & easily come together, dollar-by-dollar, to collectively “kickstart” the project of a perfect stranger.  To me, Kickstarter says a lot about human nature and goodwill, non-monetary rewards, and the desire to be a part of something meaningful.

It also got me thinking about for-profit software businesses, and how to fix something that’s been bugging me: There’s no marketplace for all the “fringe” feature requests that every software company inevitably hears.  In software, we survive and profit by creating features with general appeal to our customer base.  We build the stuff that 80% of customers want, and “chip away” at the more obscure capabilities.

The very obscure ones?  Long tail.  Sadly, most never garner the attention required in order to make the roadmap.  Why?  The simple truth is that the cost of development probably outstrips the lifetime value of the requestor’s account.  Or there’s just no time or money in the current budget.  So, the development team, or the product manager, or the marketing guy, pretty much unilaterally decides to bury the idea.

But, in this day and age, does it really make sense to do anything unilaterally any more?  So much of what we do is social, and collective, and based on the input of connected communities.  Google PageRank.  Quora.  Groupon.  Market price.  Shit, for years, we’ve been “voting” & “liking” the software bugs we think ought to get priority.  But I haven’t seen a true (ie. real money) marketplace for niche feature development.

In Fundry, I think I found it: “crowdfunding software” for software companies.   A world away, Fundry seems to have been bugged by the same market flaw that’s been bugging me.  Will this magically ensure that niche features get made?  No.  But now there’s transparency, and each feature has a fighting chance of gaining steam and getting funded (which ultimately benefits both the company and the customer).

Must. Learn. This Business Card Trick.

Strategy Session: The Long Tail of Gorilla Suits

If you need a gorilla suit… a really high-quality one (not the low-quality kind from China that, apparently, has infiltrated the American market for gorilla suits), there’s a company in Boulder specializing in exactly that.  Awkward?  Hmm.

This must have been what Chris Anderson was thinking when he wrote “The Long Tail: Why The Future of Business is Selling Less of More“.  I imagine the long tail of the curve for specialty suits is pretty long  (& pretty low) indeed. 🙂

Digital Samba Earns Top Spot in VC Contest

Woot woot! Huge congrats to Digital Samba EU on a Top 5 finish out of 900+ companies at the 2010 Eurecan European Venture Contest.  If you’re in the market for enterprise web conferencing server software, or just need something small to host a few online meetings, visit our site.  You can even try the latest version of OnSync at no cost.   In the US?  Call me and I can help.

Annual All I Want for Xmas, 2010 Edition

Last year, the Brammo Enertia Powercycle topped my list.  This year, it’s another set of wheels that I’ve had my eye on… the Madsen Cargo Bike by Madsen Cycles in Salt Lake City, UT.  No motor!  It’s all pedal power, and with a 271kg bucket on the back & some big ideas (like planting a full-size lighted Christmas tree in the back, and launching the world’s first mobile giving tree), I’ll need a lot of it if I actually get one.

Sao Paulo Visual Pollution’s Great Undoing

I work in a downtown area, so when I look out over the city, there’s a lot of outdoor advertising and potential ad “inventory” everywhere you look.  Is it ugly?  Hmm… not sure.  I guess so.  But, admittedly, it’s become such a part of life for most of us that I haven’t thought much about the possibility of pausing, prohibiting, and ultimately reversing this modern assault on our senses.  This article in today’s Financial Times has changed my perspective.  Sao Paulo, Brazil’s Lei Cidade Limpa (“Clean City Law”) not only tackled it’s out-of-control “visual pollution” problem, but it’s working, and it’s garnered support from the very same parties who most vigorously opposed it (ad agencies, marketing teams, billboard builders, and some advertisers).  In the end, it seems, marketers find new media, advertisers keep advertising, and the public interest prevails over private.  Sounds pretty good (unless, of course, you’re the billboard builder).  Read the article.  It’s interesting and inspiring.

Incredible Human Beatbox Entertainers

Everybody is good at something.  These guys are incredible at this: