crowdsourcing stories

Editor's Note: Author Rusel DeMaria recently turned to Kickstarter to fund the third edition of his book, High Score: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games. Here, we turn to him as co-author of The Crowdfunding Bible for tips on how geeks without funding from Silicon Valley can make their dreams come true through crowdfunding. "Simply put, crowdfunding is the process of asking the general public for donations that provide startup capital for new ventures." — The Crowdfunding Bible Speaking as a grateful recipient of crowdfunding and contributing author of "The Crowdfunding Bible," I want to speak to you directly. My name is Rusel DeMaria. I had an idea. I needed money. I turned to Kickstarter and I got the money I needed and more. How did I do it? I'll offer some hints on how I did it, but first, let's talk about you. What's your idea? Do you have a product, invention, event or vision you want to realize, and all you need is money to make it so? If your answer is no, read on anyway. You might get inspired to change your answer.
The Pebble smart watch epitomizes the crowd-funding success story. After the creators raised $375,000 from angel investors, the flow of money came to a halt, with venture capitalists wary of financing a hardware startup. That's when the team — the same guys behind the Blackberry-compatible InPulse smart watch — decided to turn to Kickstarter for funding. Their goal was ambitious: $100,000 to produce a slick smart watch compatible with iPhone and Android devices. An elegant watch face, integration with email and social networks, fitness tracking features and an open SDK inviting new apps appealed to the crowd. A little after the first day, the project reached its goal and then some, raising $1 million. Thus far at over $7.5 million (and counting), it is the highest-grossing Kickstarter project ever. Users have put their faith backing numerous useful, innovative and quirky projects since Kickstarter's founding three years ago. That's saying a lot because there's no such thing as a guarantee on the crowd-funding website. We've rounded up 10 well-designed Kickstarter blockbusters that far exceeded their funding goals. Got a favorite Kickstarter success story of your own and don't see it here? Let us know in the comments below.
Over the last year or so, crowdsourcing has emerged as a way for lots of people to contribute small amounts of money to make amazing new things possible. Kickstarter (which focuses on commercial projects) has been the best example of this, and a new site called wants to take that model and apply it to scientific research. It's brilliant.
If you've heard the word crowdsourcing bandied about lately but need a tutorial, this infographic is for you. Coined by journalist Jeff Howe in 2006, crowdsourcing allows us regular folks to tackle issues posed by companies like Netflix and Amazon, or to crowdsource crisis information, monitor elections and curate local resources on Ushahidi's Crowdmap.