Let me tell you what the latest cool thing I like to watch on the Internet is (you’re forgiven for thinking all I do is watch YouTube videos and look for dumb stuff). Crowdsourcing. Or, Cloudsourcing. The basic idea, for those who came in late, is that you have a good idea, you need funds, so you throw it out there and see if the internet will help. It works for everything from charity to book publishing, from inventing new products, to new science projects.
And it’s cool. It takes the power of social networking, and the nature of the internet, and actually applies it to something.
Here are some crowdsourcing sites that I’ve found. I’m sure there are others out there.
Kiva.org – Kiva is a microfinancing site where you can provide loans to needy entrepeneurs from around the globe. I love it. I’ve funded a few coffee farmers. You can start groups and stuff – and the Christians and Atheists are battling it out for generosity supremacy.
Santos here is a coffee farmer. He’s trying to raise $350.
Kickstarter.com – Kickstarter is a hub for funding inventors, artists, and people who are creating new products that don’t fall into those categories. Funding a project normally buys you some share in its success (ie a version of whatever it is you’re funding). Here’s an example – a project called Etchpop – which will buy a company a laser cutter to make wooden block type stamps for people. $25 will get you a wooden stamp if they get funding.
Loudsauce.com – Loudsauce is perhaps my favourite. If you’re into a cause you can chip in to having advertisements produced and aired. All their campaigns are currently funded – but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Unbound.co.uk – Unbound is a book publisher. But not just any sort of book publisher – a classy one… at the moment you can support one of my favourite blogs, Letters of Note, as they head towards publishing a book.