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article imageOp-Ed: Kickstarter starts its own economy, with $5.3b generated income

By Paul Wallis     Aug 2, 2016 in Business
Kickstarter is best known for its high profile and varying degrees of great and lousy projects. Now someone’s done a study on how much actual economic power Kickstarter has, and the numbers are pretty good, but surprising.
The new study by Prof. Ethan Mollick from the Wharton School of Business has come up with this:
• Every dollar donated to Kickstarter has generated an average of $2.46 outside Kickstarter.
• From its start, Kickstarter has created 5,135 full time jobs outside Kickstarter proponents.
• Kickstarter projects have generated 2,601 patent applications.
According to Mashable:
In the six years studied by the reporter, Kickstarter has helped employ 283,000 part-time collaborators and has created an estimated 8,800 companies and nonprofits and 29,600 full-time jobs.
Revenue through or derived from Kickstarter is estimated at $5.3 billion.
(Look out for Mashable’s pop-ups on that link. “Tech site”, you say?)
A question or several
This is interesting, but it also begs a few question entirely:
Why the hell are people having to go to Kickstarter to get interest? What happened to all those idiot “angel” investors and startup messiahs? The money tells another tale: $5.3 billion relative to the size of the numbers of jobs, collaborators or companies isn’t big money. America spends about $1.2 billion per hour. A few movies could eat that sort of money and still feel hungry.
How does $5.3 billion worth of business slip through the cracks? $5.3b in relation to numbers of good marketable ideas which haven’t got off the ground in the “real economy” (an ancient expression for smug, senile plutobrats who think Wall Street is something other than a sort of brat-oriented criminal bassinet) however, is a lot of money. A million may not be worth much any more, but billions are.
With all due respect to Kickstarter’s real and commendable achievements, they’re also the option for people who aren’t getting attention.
This is the breakdown:
Intellectual property is big business around the world. 2,601 patents alone could represent far more than that $5.3 billion if anyone was paying enough attention. Does anyone check out Kickstarter patents? Maybe.
How much does it cost to employ 283,000 part time collaborators? 283,000 x 'not very much' would be the usual expectation, although some pros do work with Kickstarter and love it.
Apparently about 80 percent of the companies in the study are still in business. Figure out how much it costs to run any company with more than five professional staff for a week, and see where $5.3 billion goes. Yet, despite numbers, those companies are still in business. Something must be going right, somewhere.
The “Kickstarter economy”, as it’s now being called, is now a sturdy toddler with some real credibility. Just not enough money, from the look of these numbers. This isn’t some sort of crowning moment. It’s the beginning of real innovation getting traction where a global dino-mentality won’t even look at it.
Innovation? What innovation?
Innovation, in fact, apart from being a buzzword, is a sort of code for “How gutless can investors get?” How did they miss so many commercially viable ideas? “Competing ideas” is also code for “couldn’t care less”. A lot of people who are involved in so-called innovation are basically parasites. They leach money out of projects. They don’t deliver much, if anything, themselves. Even the famous gurus of greatness in innovation often don’t do much in terms of useful advice.
Innovation is a bit of a bad joke. Your phone and its “innovative" touch screen are based on 40-year-old tech. Most of your apps are about as innovative as LEGO without the bricks. Binary code isn’t exactly innovative, either. Nobody could be bothered coming up with 0,1,2,3,5 and cutting down the size of the code by a few billion per cent, right?
Anyway, despite the usual hypocrisy and total lack of intellect in business, Kickstarter has kicked open a door that can no longer be closed. Probably just as well. Much more “innovation” of the comatose kind, and the world might really choke on its own mediocrity.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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