By Hanann Rosenthal Author, Founder and President of Custom Flow Solutions
There’s no doubt that the Internet has changed the way we do many things. I cannot remember, for instance, the last time I visited my bank teller, bought a postage stamp or walked into a book store.
While the use of the Internet has some unsavory social implications, such as IAD (Internet Addiction Disorder) to name one, it also has aspects that will forever displace the balance of power from a few at the top calling the shots, to the rest of us determining our own path.
The first such phenomenon in my mind, was YouTube. Before YouTube became popular, you were a star when Nickelodeon or Disney told you you were. Someone in those corporations would scout talent, made them up and then made them famous.
Now take Fred , for example. He put some crazy-funny home-made videos up, and people liked him. He now has over a billion views and over 2 million subscribers. No one at Disney told him what to say or what to wear. Or Jenna Marbles, the hilarious inappropriate blond hottie, who’s now sporting over 11 million subscribers and over 1.27 billion views. I dare Nickelodeon to sensor her rants.
The web, in these cases, is all about displacement. Letting you and I decide what goes and what doesn’t rather than having some suit decide for us. Amazon.com is another great equalizer — not so much for book stores, but very much for authors. Anyone can write and publish book and get a chance to sell it along side the best sellers. I like that!
The next such form of displacement is another example of how the masses can grab control previously held by the wealthy few: Funding. Yes, rich people have more money, but take all us average Joes, and together we have a bundle. And now, with crowdfunding, we can combine that money to decide what projects get funded.
The traditional methods of funding meant that people with great ideas and creativity were actively looking for the few people with money to spare. Those few would then decide if we, the people, are or aren’t interested in their idea. Crowdfunding skips that step altogether. Why ask one person what the rest of us want when you can just as the rest of us?
With crowdfunding, anyone can invest as little as $1 in any project. Sometimes to buy advanced product, simply to be a part of the next big thing, or even buy shares of the company, as may be soon possible.
The difference is that the company or individual that put the product together don’t have to go begging. All they have to do is make a compelling video and convince you and I that helping them with $12 will be just too much fun to pass.
2013 is becoming a $5 Billion year for crowdfunding projects, up over 500 percent from 2010.