Is the Celeb Endorsement Gold?
In my debut column last week, I discussed how the financing landscape is radically changing through crowdfunding. Naturally, everyone is catching onto this phenomenon, including celebrities. But now that Zach Braff, Spike Lee, and Rob Thomas (that Veronica Mars guy) have kickstarted their dreams into the millions, it has been said, in many ways, that celebrities are ruining Kickstarter. It’s not just the press; influential figures in the industry are angry too. Dana Brunetti, the producer behind the Social Network and Netflix’s House of Cards, said that these celebrities “already have access” and are taking opportunities “away from the little guys” who readily need the financing.
But is this true? Well, not technically.
In the first year of Kickstarter (just back in 2009), founder Perry Chen said that Kickstarter was (and is), “Not an investment, lending or a charity. It’s something else in the middle: A sustainable marketplace where people exchange goods for services or some other benefit and receive some value.”
By 2012 as word got out about the platform and more high profile figures and celebrities began launching their projects on the site, the Kickstarter community expressed their concerns and frustrations. Kickstarter responded with a justified point: “When a new project launches, the first thing its creators do (if they hope to be successful) is promote it to their friends and fans. This starts a ripple effect of promotion… Projects aren't fighting over a finite pool of Kickstarter dollars or backers. One project's backer isn't another project's loss. The backers that one project brings often end up backing other projects as well. Each project is not only promoting itself, but the Kickstarter ecosystem as a whole.”
This isn’t new news—this was an issue two years ago—but it does need to be reiterated. Because as the word continues to spread and crowdfunding grows (the said ripple effect is beginning to turn into a tidal wave) more celebrities are going to catch on. And why shouldn't they...? Through crowdfunding celebrities (and all other artists) with successful projects get cash in a truncated period of time, usually pick up a good amount of press and buzz, and walk away with this cash without losing creative control.
What I have noticed is that some celebrities are endorsed for crowdfunding while others suffer backlash. For example: the Veronica Mars campaign received positive feedback, while Spike Lee's...not so much. The Kickstarter campaign I am producing for Neil Young has not only surpassed its goal by 618%, but it’s received tons of positive feedback from press and eager and grateful backers. What did we do right? We honed our message; we pinpointed our needs, our hopes. We exemplified how our mission is all out of passion; that it's artist driven, and community based. We were also honest. Unveiling our product through Kickstarter served as a market tester as many investors were hesitant about being involved in a somewhat complicated product.
If a celebrity does it right, it can be gold. Same goes for the rest of us. When you crowdfund, you are online for the whole world to see: your project, your story, and your brand are all public. Everyone included.
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Torn between absolutism on the left and the right, classical liberalism—with its core values of compassion and incremental progress whereby the once-radical becomes the mainstream—is in need of a good defense. And Adam Gopnik is its lawyer.
- Liberalism as "radical pragmatism"
- Intersectionality and civic discourse
- How "a thousand small sanities" tackled drunk driving, normalized gay marriage, and could control gun violence
Irish president believes students need philosophy.
- President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins calls for students to be thought of as more than tools made to be useful.
- Higgins believes that philosophy and history should be a basic requirement forming a core education.
- The Irish Young Philosopher Awards is one such event that is celebrating this discipline among the youth.
The lost practice of face-to-face communication has made the world a more extreme place.
- The world was saner when we spoke face-to-face, argues John Cameron Mitchell. Not looking someone in the eye when you talk to them raises the potential for miscommunication and conflict.
- Social media has been an incredible force for activism and human rights, but it's also negatively affected our relationship with the media. We are now bombarded 24/7 with news that either drives us to anger or apathy.
- Sitting behind a screen makes polarization worse, and polarization is fertile ground for conspiracy theories and fascism, which Cameron describes as irrationally blaming someone else for your problems.
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