Forgive this "Jerry McGuire" moment, as it's probably a product of lacking sleep and the incredible response we're receiving for Smart Rope. I know it's a bit self-indulgent but I've checked (and re-checked) my intentions, and I think this is coming from a good place.
We're in a time where entrepreneurs and people with new ideas have more access to funding than ever before. We can go to banks for financing, we can work with venture capitalists and accelerators, we can even link up with celebrities and have them both invest in and endorse products. So many people ask us, why crowdfunding?
The answer, like so many things, probably has some roots in our background. I spent my teenage years in a rather sleepy town that wasn't too different from any other suburb, on the surface. We had a cheap movie theater where you could catch movies when they were past their prime in the box office, and the center of social life was probably the independent coffee shop. When people asked where I lived, I just told them "a little town near San Francisco." But our town also had incredible public schools and people who really valued community. It had a bit of a laid back, hippie vibe - I guess you could say it was an idealistic place. The name of that town is Cupertino, and I'm guessing you know it now.
Crowdfunding is a pretty idealistic notion, but it's real. It's working. Sure, there are shortcomings and risks, but it's a small demonstration that when an idea is good and the people behind it can show the resolve to see it through to successful execution, people will support that. The questions and comments I've received in the last 24 hours have been nothing short of mind-blowing. We've spent months and long hours deliberating over every detail of this product, but nothing can compare to hundreds of like-minded people sharing their perspectives and their experiences. Our backer Vidya, who suggested a handprint reader so different people can use Smart Rope and have the experience customized for each person. Our backer Ricky, who told us about how he uses a piece of another rope to protect the center of his own rope - a simple, genius way to further protect our LEDs. This is what it's all about! Building a community of people who just want to make something a little better.
Obviously, I've drunk the Kool-Aid. But just imagine if someone brought Kool-Aid to Kickstarter today. They'd probably fail. But a smart entrepreneur would go back and take all the questions and comments, scour through them, and come back with a new product. And that Kool-Aid would be some magic powder that purifies drinking water in the developing world, packed with antioxidants and vitamins, and flavored by sustainably and locally grown organic fruit. Tasty.