* Book: The Crowdfunding Revolution. Kevin Lawton and Dan Marom. CreateSpace, 2010
From the authors:
"Deep and intertwined in our humanity, is a need to support and feel involvement in the kinds of projects and companies which we care about. Until the recent crowdfunding phenomena emerged, our more centralized and intermediated capital formation and funding mechanisms scarcely recognized the social power of crowds which form affinities around any kind of mission. Crowdfunding is a natural systemic response to fill this gap, and an expression of our collective human will. It is perhaps, one of the most powerful developments in our modern-day socio-economics, and promises both to transform the capital formation landscape and to offer an avenue for a creative and intellectual re-birth. Whether funding sports-car racers, startup companies, indie movies, fashion, scientific research, or community projects -- crowdfunding is already well under way, changing not only the way that we fund efforts, but the way we interact and support them. It is in the most simplistic terms, social networking meets venture financing. And a number of people in venture financing are now getting involved it.
There are now nearly 7 billion of us, with over 2 billion having Internet access. Never before has there been such potential to bridge the collective creative and productive capacity with capital and other resources which are required to translate that capacity into social and economic activities. Even as exciting, is that crowdfunding links funding with the social dynamics and affinity groups which naturally surround efforts that resonate with our many motivations. That alone, is enough to cause a monumental shift in the way business and organizations operate.
This is a deep and broad look at the history of finance that got us here, the present day zeitgeist of crowdfunding and its associated social networking & group dynamics, and a visionary look into the future and greater empowerment of crowdfunding. Join us on this intellectual discovery. We're all part of the Crowdfunding Revolution!" (http://www.thecrowdfundingrevolution.com/p/book-description.html)
" Crowdfunding isn't yet a universally understood term, so Lawton and Marom define and describe the phenomenon, and explain why crowdfunding is now needed (to the extent that any economic behavior can be "needed") given the current state of venture funding. Through it all, they present extensive reporting on the topic, drawn from wide-ranging interviews and deep reading, pulling together an essential "Crowdfunding State of the World" for late 2010.
Perhaps more valuably, the authors also map out some possible roads ahead, with recommendations, warnings, and vivid scenarios-- like the story of FundHarmony, a matchmaking service for investors and investments that grows in its sophistication and effectiveness.
Reading this book, I appreciated the authors' sense of history. I've read business books that drop history cliches ("Tulipmania" for example) in order to bolster some point that they're trying to make. But Lawton and Marom are clearly history buffs, and they illuminate their discussion with detailed accounts of less widely-cited historical situations that I was glad to learn more about.
For example, the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty was essentially crowdfunded. A nationwide fundraising effort led by Joseph Pulitzer rewarded $1 donations with a 6" Lady Liberty statuette and $5 donations with a 12" statuette-- exactly the sort of multi-tier "perks" setup that you see today on Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, RocketHub, and other popular crowdfunding sites. The book's introduction recounts this successful campaign, and I can think of no better symbol for the spirit and potential of crowdfunding. (The Statue of Liberty itself was also crowdfunded, by French citizens, via a lottery.)
The book also benefits from what I know to be Lawton's own background and contributions to open source software. Much of the philosophy behind crowdfunding draws from the open source movement, and I see crowdfunding as an inevitable next step for open source that will amplify its scope and impact enormously. Kevin' first-hand perspective on how people work together on open source software projects, what works and what problems arise, informs the book's arguments with an understanding that someone without this kind of background would lack.
I see this seminal book as a call-to-arms for a revolution that will, in the coming years, allocate human effort better and make human society smarter. I'm excited about it-- can you tell? I may be wrong, but if I am, The Crowdfunding Revolution shows that a growing number of people worldwide are operating under the same delusion, and are likewise working to make it real." (http://crowdfundinglaw.posterous.com/international-cf-petition-cf-book)