Tag Archives: Kickstarter

To Be Or Not To Be; a book publishing Kickstarter project

There’s not much time left if you want to participate in this Kickstarter project (20 hours and counting when I accessed it at 0930 PST Dec. 20, 2012) but I want to feature it here because it illustrates how writers can succeed with new publishing models and because of the intellectual property nonissues.

Ryan North, writer and self-publisher, asked for $20,000 to publish his “To Be Or Not To Be; A chooseable-path adventure” book allowing you to “be” Hamlet, Ophelia, or King Hamlet and, at this time, has raised over $480,000.

Prototype cover with art by Noelle Stevenson, she is the best [downloaded from http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/breadpig/to-be-or-not-to-be-that-is-the-adventure]

Prototype cover with art by Noelle Stevenson, she is the best [downloaded from http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/breadpig/to-be-or-not-to-be-that-is-the-adventure]

Here’s a link to the Kickstarter “To Be Or Not To Be” book project and if you’re not ready to go there quite yet, here’s a bit more about the project (from the title webpage),

The greatest work IN English literature, now in the greatest format OF English literature: a chooseable-path adventure!

Now the #1 most funded publishing project on Kickstarter ever!

To Be Or Not To Be is an illustrated, chooseable-path book version of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, written by me, Ryan North:

  • “William Shakespeare” you may know from single-handedly giving us some of our most evocative phrases, such as “all that glitters is not gold”, “too much of a good thing”, and “the game is afoot” (Sherlock Holmes said this too I guess.)
  • “Ryan North” you may know from my work on the critically-acclaimed comic Dinosaur Comics, writing the incredibly popular Adventure Time comic book series, or from co-editing the #1 Amazon bestselling short story anthology Machine of Death.
  • “Chooseable-path” you may recognize as a trademark-skirting version of a phrase and book series you remember from childhood.  Remember?  Books in which… an adventure is chosen??

These three things got mashed up together into one BASICALLY AMAZING BOOK full of JOKES and also SWORDFIGHTS and GHOSTS and AWESOME AS A MASS NOUN …

UPDATE: TO BE OR NOT TO BE IS NOW THE PERFECT GIFT!

While we won’t be delivering the books in time for Christmas, if you pledge $30 or more, you unlock a Kickstarter-exclusive Holiday Hamlet ecard that can be sent directly to your gift recipient.  You can read about that here!  It’s the perfect last-minute gift for anyone on your list (assuming they are good at waiting for things) (and also like to read)!  Also we’ve unlocked lots of new prizes at each reward level: be sure to check the updated list!

H/T to Mike Masnick’s Dec. 19, 2012 posting at Techdirt for the  pointer to this project and for noting some interesting non copyright and trademark issues,

…  how does that hit on copyright and trademark issues?

  • Copyright: Even if the head of the Author’s Guild doesn’t seem to know this, Shakespeare’s works are in the public domain, meaning that anyone can use them however they want — whether it’s to make an exact copy (and, yes, there are plenty of those on the market) or to do a derivative work. There have been tons of remakes and updates on Shakespeare’s work, and many of them are super creative, such as this one. Kinda demonstrates just how ridiculous it is for copyright maximalists to argue that without strong copyright protection, creativity gets killed off. Just the opposite, it seems. The ability to build on the works of the past quite frequently inspires amazing new creativity.
  • Trademark: North refers to this as a “choosable path adventure” because:

“Chooseable-path” you may recognize as a trademark-skirting version of a phrase and book series you remember from childhood. Remember? Books in which… an adventure is chosen??

Yes, they’re not using the widely known phrase “choose your own adventure,” because it’s trademarked, and the owner of the mark has sued before. Of course, the story of the mark is interesting in its own right. Apparently, Bantam Books who helped popularize the original choose your own adventure books let the trademark lapse, and it was bought up by Ray Montgomery, who had run the small press that published the original books, but had not held the original trademark on it.

So we have examples of how a lack of a common “intellectual property” law enabled greater creativity, and how a current “intellectual property” law stupidly limits the option of using the most reasonable description of the work. …

Congratulations to North!

Free the nano—stop patenting publicly funded research

Joshua Pearce, a professor at Michigan Technological University, has written a commentary on patents and nanotechnology for Nature magazine which claims the current patent regimes strangle rather than encourage innovation. From the free article,  Physics: Make nanotechnology research open-source by Joshua Pearce in Nature 491, 519–521 (22 November 2012) doi:10.1038/491519a (Note: I have removed footnotes),

Any innovator wishing to work on or sell products based on single-walled carbon nanotubes in the United States must wade through more than 1,600 US patents that mention them. He or she must obtain a fistful of licences just to use this tubular form of naturally occurring graphite rolled from a one-atom-thick sheet. This is because many patents lay broad claims: one nanotube example covers “a composition of matter comprising at least about 99% by weight of single-wall carbon molecules”. Tens of others make overlapping claims.

Patent thickets occur in other high-tech fields, but the consequences for nanotechnology are dire because of the potential power and immaturity of the field. Advances are being stifled at birth because downstream innovation almost always infringes some early broad patents. By contrast, computing, lasers and software grew up without overzealous patenting at the outset.

Nanotechnology is big business. According to a 2011 report by technology consultants Cientifica, governments around the world have invested more than US$65 billion in nanotechnology in the past 11 years [my July 15, 2011 posting features an interview with Tim Harper, Cientfica CEO and founder, about the then newly released report]. The sector contributed more than $250 billion to the global economy in 2009 and is expected to reach $2.4 trillion a year by 2015, according to business analysts Lux Research. Since 2001, the United States has invested $18 billion in the National Nanotechnology Initiative; the 2013 US federal budget will add $1.8 billion more.

This investment is spurring intense patent filing by industry and academia. The number of nanotechnology patent applications to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is rising each year and is projected to exceed 4,000 in 2012. Anyone who discovers a new and useful process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent that prevents others from using that development unless they have the patent owner’s permission.

Pearce makes some convincing points (Note: I have removed a footnote),

Examples of patents that cover basic components include one owned by the multinational chip manufacturer Intel, which covers a method for making almost any nanostructure with a diameter less than 50 nm; another, held by nanotechnology company NanoSys of Palo Alto, California, covers composites consisting of a matrix and any form of nanostructure. And Rice University in Houston, Texas, has a patent covering “composition of matter comprising at least about 99% by weight of fullerene nanotubes”.

The vast majority of publicly announced IP licence agreements are now exclusive, meaning that only a single person or entity may use the technology or any other technology dependent on it. This cripples competition and technological development, because all other would-be innovators are shut out of the market. Exclusive licence agreements for building-block patents can restrict entire swathes of future innovation.

Pearce’s argument for open source,

This IP rush assumes that a financial incentive is necessary to innovate, and that without the market exclusivity (monopoly) offered by a patent, development of commercially viable products will be hampered. But there is another way, as decades of innovation for free and open-source software show. Large Internet-based companies such as Google and Facebook use this type of software. Others, such as Red Hat, make more than $1 billion a year from selling services for products that they give away for free, like Red Hat’s version of the computer operating system Linux.

An open-source model would leave nanotechnology companies free to use the best tools, materials and devices available. Costs would be cut because most licence fees would no longer be necessary. Without the shelter of an IP monopoly, innovation would be a necessity for a company to survive. Openness reduces the barrier for small, nimble entities entering the market.

John Timmer in his Nov. 23, 2012 article for Wired.co.uk expresses both support and criticism,

Some of Pearce’s solutions are perfectly reasonable. He argues that the National Science Foundation adopt the NIH model of making all research it funds open access after a one-year time limit. But he also calls for an end of patents derived from any publicly funded research: “Congress should alter the Bayh-Dole Act to exclude private IP lockdown of publicly funded innovations.” There are certainly some indications that Bayh-Dole hasn’t fostered as much innovation as it might (Pearce notes that his own institution brings in 100 times more money as grants than it does from licensing patents derived from past grants), but what he’s calling for is not so much a reform of Bayh-Dole as its elimination.

Pearce wants changes in patenting to extend well beyond the academic world, too. He argues that the USPTO should put a moratorium on patents for “nanotechnology-related fundamental science, materials, and concepts.” As we described above, the difference between a process innovation and the fundamental properties resulting in nanomaterial is a very difficult thing to define. The USPTO has struggled to manage far simpler distinctions; it’s unrealistic to expect it to manage a moratorium effectively.

While Pearce points to the 3-D printing sector admiringly, there are some issues even there, as per Mike Masnick’s Nov.  21, 2012 posting on Techdirt.com (Note:  I have removed links),

We’ve been pointing out for a while that one of the reasons why advancements in 3D printing have been relatively slow is because of patents holding back the market. However, a bunch of key patents have started expiring, leading to new opportunities. One, in particular, that has received a fair bit of attention was the Formlabs 3D printer, which raised nearly $3 million on Kickstarter earlier this year. It got a ton of well-deserved attention for being one of the first “low end” (sub ~$3,000) 3D printers with very impressive quality levels.

Part of the reason the company said it could offer such a high quality printer at a such a low price, relative to competitors, was because some of the key patents had expired, allowing it to build key components without having to pay astronomical licensing fees. A company called 3D Systems, however, claims that Formlabs missed one patent. It holds US Patent 5,597,520 on a “Simultaneous multiple layer curing in stereolithography.” While I find it ridiculous that 3D Systems is going legal, rather than competing in the marketplace, it’s entirely possible that the patent is valid. It just highlights how the system holds back competition that drives important innovation, though.

3D Systems claims that Formlabs “took deliberate acts to avoid learning” about 3D Systems’ live patents. The lawsuit claims that Formlabs looked only for expired patents — which seems like a very odd claim. Why would they only seek expired patents? …

I strongly suggest reading both Pearce’s and Timmer’s articles as they both provide some very interesting perspectives about nanotechnology IP (intellectual property) open access issues. I also recommend Mike Masnick’s piece for exposure to a rather odd but unfortunately not uncommon legal suit designed to limit competition in a relatively new technology (3-D printers).

Take control of a 17th century scientific genius (Newton, Galileo, Keppler, Liebniz, or Kircher) in The New Science board game

Thank you to David Bruggeman (Pasco Phronesis) for the Sept. 16, 2012 posting (by way of Twitter and @JeanLucPiquant) about The New Science Game currently listed on the Kickstarter crowdfunding site. From the description of The New Science board game on Kickstarter,

The New Science gives you control of one of five legendary geniuses from the scientific revolution in a race to research, successfully experiment on, and finally publish some of the critical early advances that shaped modern science.

This fun, fast, easy-to-learn worker placement game for 2-5 players is ideal for casual and serious gamers alike. The rules are easy to learn and teach, but the many layers of shifting strategy make each game a new challenge that tests your mind and gets your competitive juices flowing.

Each scientist has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. No two scientists play the same way, so each time you try someone new it provides a different and satisfying play experience. Your scientist’s mat also serves as a player aid, repeating all of the key technology information from the game board for your easy reference.

The “five legendary geniuses’ are Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Gottfried Liebniz, and Athanasius Kircher. The Kickstarter campaign to take control of the five has raised $5,058 US of the $16,000 requested and it ends on Oct. 17, 2012.

The game is listed on boardgamegeek.com with additional details such as this,

Designer: Dirk Knemeyer

Artist: Heiko Günther

Publisher: Conquistador Games

# of players: 2-5

User suggested ages: 12 and up

Description:

Players control one of the great scientists during the 17th century Scientific Revolution in Europe. Use your limited time and energy to make discoveries, test hypotheses, publish papers, correspond with other famous scientists, hire assistants into your laboratory and network with other people who can help your progress. ‘emphasis mine] Discoveries follow historical tech trees in the key sciences of the age: Astronomy, Mathematics, Physics, Biology and Chemistry. The scientist who accumulates the most prestige will be appointed the first President of the Royal Society.

The activities listed in the game description “make discoveries, test hypotheses,” etc. must sound very familiar to a contemporary scientist.

There’s also an explanatory video as seen on the Kickstarter campaign page and embedded here below,

David notes this about game quality in his Sept. 16, 2012 posting (Note: I have removed a link),

The game was heavily tested by the folks at Game Salute, and comes with the kind of quality details you might expect from games like Ticket to Ride or the various version of Catan.  If you’re interested in getting a copy of the game, it will run $49 U.S., plus shipping for destinations outside the U.S.  See the Kickstarter page for more details.

You can find out more about Conquistador Games here.

Particle Man and Marian Call at CERN

I like to collect (desultorily) items about science-themed music and Marian Call’s recently completed (very successful) Kickstarter campaign (she received $63,0000 in pledges having asked for $11,000 originally) fits that bill, more or less.  Here’s an excerpt from Mike Masnick’s, July 24, 2012 posting on Techdirt describing Call’s campaign approach,

… she created Marian Call’s European Adventure Quest, in which she effectively “gamified” Kickstarter, such that the more she earned, the more levels would be “unlocked.” The main idea was that she would tour Europe and record a live album, but the more she raised, the more places she would visit and the more cover songs she would do (she usually does originals, but people have requested covers, and she was worried about the licensing fees if she didn’t raise money in support).

At the $55,000 level, she offered a cover of ‘Particle Man’ by They Might Be Giants to be recorded live at CERN (European Particle Physics Laboratory).

Here’s Particle Man by They Might Be Giants as found on YouTube,

By the way, at $44,000 level she offered ‘The Elements Song’ by Tom Lehrer. Even though the campaign has ended, it’s well worth checking out.

Scientists hunger for your money

Crowdfunding (raising funds by posting a project, on a website designed for the purpose, and asking for money in return for rewards you will give to the funders) seems to be everywhere at the moment. I tried it last year for one of my projects and had one failure and one partial success. It’s certainly an interesting process to go through and I’m fascinated with the current interest from scientists. According to an April 25, 2012 posting by Michael Ho on Techdirt, there are at least four crowdfunding websites for science projects.

In addition to the ones Ho cites, I found the #SciFund Challenge, which is being held from May 1  – May 31, 2012. From their home page,

Last fall, scientists raised $76,230 for their research in the first round of the #SciFund Challenge. The second round launches on May 1, 2012!

What? The #SciFund Challenge is a grand experiment in science funding. Can scientists raise money for their research by convincing the general public to open their wallets for small-amount donations? In more and more fields – from music to dance to journalism – people are raising lots of money for projects in precisely this way. The process is called crowdfunding. The first round of the #SciFund Challenge showed that this model can work for funding scientific research. Now, let’s take it to the next level!

Who? Well over 140 scientists, from across the globe, have signed for the second round of the #SciFund Challenge.

When? From May 1- May 31, 2012, scientists participating in the #SciFund Challenge will each conduct their own crowdfunding campaigns for their own research. But even though each scientist will be fundraising for their own research, participants won’t be on their own.  In the month of April, #SciFund scientists will be trained how to run a crowdfunding campaign. And, through the Challenge, participants will be connected together to increase the chances that everyone succeeds.

How do I learn more? Read the blog! You can also contact one of the #SciFund Challenge organizers with any questions: Jai Ranganathan ([email protected]). If you would like to be informed about future rounds of the #SciFund Challenge, please sign up for our mailing list.

From the About page (I have removed several links),

The #SciFund Challenge is an experiment – can scientists use crowdfunding to fund their research? The current rate of funding for science proposals in the U.S. is ~20%. The current rate for crowdfunding statues of RoboCop in Detroit is 135% – to the tune of $67,436. Perhaps Scientists can do better by tapping this reservoir of funds from an interested public. …

The #SciFund Challenge is also a way to get scientists to directly engage with the public. Crowdfunding forces scientists to build public interaction and outreach into their research from day one. It’s a new mechanism to couple science and society, and one that we think has a lot of promise. …

Founders
The founders of the #SciFund Challenge are Dr. Jai Ranganathan  and Dr. Jarrett Byrnes. We are biologists – ecologists, actually – and each spends too much time in the science online scene. Jai ran a weekly science podcast, called Curiouser and Curiouser for Miller-McCune magazine, and Jarrett is the big boss over at the science blog I’m a Chordata! Urochordata! On Twitter, you can find Jai at @jranganathan and [email protected] and Jarrett at @jebyrnes.

On another note and in response to my April 18, 2012 posting about Lego robots being used to grow bones,  I received a notice about a project to raise funds on Kickstarter. As I’m not a Lego afficionado, it took a little digging to figure out the project.

In my April 18, 2012 posting the scientists used a robot that they built with a Lego Mindstorms kit. The beams used to create a base for the robots limit builders and a team from Denmark (Lasse Mogensen and Soren Jensen), which is the home of Lego, have developed a base (a rectangular plate, 21 x 30 holes), which would allow scientists and others to create larger, more robust and complex robots. They call their project, MinuteBot Base,

There are ways to combine the MinuteBot Base plates, which are fully compatible with Lego products, in case a single base does not suffice.

Here’s the MinuteBot Base Kickstarter page where you can find more information and diagrams. The group has raised almost 1/2 of the funds they’ve requested with some 20 days left in their campaign. The group has contacted Michelle Oyen, who’s one of the scientists cited in my April 18, 2012 posting (from their April 25, 2012 email to me),

We are in contact with Michelle Oyen who expressed interest in our products:

“Please let me know if I can be of use in the future, and if you are interested in collaborating on more ideas regarding using Lego Mindstorms for biomedical/bioengineering research!”

The group also has a second project, a MinuteBot Bearing, which they (represented by team member, Dorota Sauer)  have entered in a contest for a prize of $10,000. From the MinuteBot Bearing page on the Boca Bearing contest website,

What was your goal in building this project?

To design a turntable with a perfect interface with LEGO Mindstorms and with improved mechanical properties. The broader vision is to make a kit consisting of robust elements designed for higher precision and durability using industrial components. Robotics made in minutes. That’s MinuteBot.

Does your project help to solve a problem? If so what problem?

LEGO Mindstorms is very easy to program but as it is a toy the precision, durability and mechanical integrity is limited. The MinuteBot Bearing is based on industry-grade ball bearings providing the needed mechanical performance of the turntable.

What makes your idea unique?

The combination of user friendliness, the interface with LEGO Mindstorms and the good mechanical performance makes MinuteBot Bearing unique.

You can find out more information about the team and the products at the MinuteBot website.

Getting back to Michael Ho and his posting about the science-specific crowdfunding sites, here are two listings I’ve excerpted from his April 25, 2012 posting,

Good luck to them all!

 

Pebble’s e-paper watch wins over $3M in funding through crowdfunding

I gather it’s the most successful crowdfunding project Kickstarter has hosted yet. The Pebble team asked for $100,000 to realize their e-paper/ smartwatch project and have raised over $3M while they still have 30 days left in their campaign. In the kind of twist that makes one smirk, they posted the project on Kickstarter as they were unable to raise sufficient funds in Silicon Valley. From the April 16, 2012 Q&A with Alexandra Chung at Wired,

Wired: Are you surprised by the reception to Pebble? What were you hoping for when you launched on Kickstarter?

Migicovsky [Eric Migicovsky, Pebble founder and lead designer]: We were expecting $100,000 over a month, so when it came in two hours, it was a surprise. On Thursday, we were earning $80,000 an hour. By Sunday morning, we passed the Wasteland 2, which was the second most popular Kickstarter after Double Fine Adventures.

Wired: Has the influx of funding affected your production plans? Are you changing your strategy at all?

Migicovsky: We’re basically leveling up. We had a variety of paths we could have followed. We were originally aiming for $100,000, so we had a production path that we could have followed to meet that $100,000. Now we’re following a path that is several levels higher than that.

Right now, we don’t have any specifics for where the product is being made. There are various levels of contract manufacturers, and we’re going to use a contract manufacturer. We’re moving to a one-stop shop, so we come with X amount of orders.

On the one hand, six months is not very long to bring a product to market. But we have this huge backer community that will help us get there. They are providing the funding that’s helping us make quality decisions, like spending money now on making a more aesthetically pleasing product. We’re making those decisions now.

We had a design plan with several different levels. It’s not like we are drastically altering the design. We just had “gotta haves,” like 7-day battery life, and then the “nice to haves” like more water-resistance, which are the features we’re moving into now.

Here’s a description of the pr0ject and the product from the April 17, 2012 news item on the BBC News website,

The Pebble watch reached the $1m mark in 28 hours. The firm behind the device, which has been designing smartwatches for three years, said that it was “blown away” by the support.

The watch has an electronic paper screen and connects via Bluetooth with iPhones or Android powered devices to allow users to customise the watch face and download apps.

The display stays on at all times and is backlit for night viewing. The firm says that the rechargeable battery will last a week.

It can display distance and speed for runners and cyclists, control a smartphone’s music, and show emails, messages and reminders.

The watch will go head to head with an Android-compatible device released in April by electronic giant Sony Corp. The Sony Smartwatch costs $149.99.

This video should answer a few more questions about the watch,

Migicovsky is Canadian. Originally from Vancouver, he graduated from the University of Waterloo and made his way to California. From the April 17, 2012 article by Chuck Howitt for the Record.com,

The Pebble smartwatch is a “natural evolution” of the inPulse smartwatch that Migicovsky started working on while a student at UW [University of Waterloo] in 2008.

Released in 2009, the inPulse connected wirelessly with BlackBerry smartphones to indicate when the user had an email, message or call.

Sold through a company he called Allerta Inc., sales of the inPulse have been rather modest, about 1,500 to date, admits Migicovsky.

So the 26-year-old Vancouver native set his sights on the booming iPhone and Android markets.

To crack the California market and raise funds at the same time, he applied for admission to Y Combinator, a technology incubator based in Silicon Valley, in early 2011.

Successful applicants are guaranteed about $20,000 on admission plus more funding at the end of an intense three-month internship. Migicovsky was able to raise about $375,000 by the time he left Y Combinator, which he used to start working on the Pebble.

When he hit the venture capital market, he got a lukewarm response for the Pebble.

Most venture capitalists “have an aversion to hardware,” he said. “The general feeling is it costs more money. There is a little bit more risk.”

You can find out more about Pebble at the company website and, if you were wondering what SDK (as mentioned in the video) means, it’s Software Development Kit.

I recently wrote about e-paper in my April 3, 2012 posting titled,
Folding screens at University of Toronto and EPD (electronic paper display) with LG.

Science writing? Science journalism? Does it MATTER?

I’m not a big fan of the ‘science journalism is vital/better than blogging, etc.’ discussion. I tend to think that science communication is important whether it’s written or spoken or found in a newspaper/magazine or in a blog or in a video on YouTube. As far I’m concerned the most important thing is the source of the information, i.e., the individual who’s supplying it must have integrity and that’s something that can be observed over time. I don’t expect perfection but I do expect that mistakes are quickly acknowledged and corrected.

A recent (at the AAAS 2012 annual meeting in Vancouver in mid-February) encounter with a science journalist who proudly proclaimed that he never read science blogs because they are filled with inaccuracies and other forms of ‘poor’ reporting left me with more than usually mixed feelings about science journalism. We exchanged words he and I, in a civil fashion, where he explained that I ‘had the problem’ despite my comment that there are myriad examples of lousy science journalism and I was reminded of a debate that as far as I’m concerned is over but continues vigourously elsewhere.

One area of discussion does interest me and that’s long form vs. short form writing. In the area of science and technology, I like to read longer form pieces. Unfortunately, long form for a lot of magazines and newspapers and blogs means 500 words, not nearly enough for complex topics. There is a movement afoot, according to David Bruggeman at his Pasco Phronesis blog in a Feb. 26, 2012 posting, to address this issue,

Friday [Feb. 24, 2012] I mentioned MATTER, a longform journalism project focusing on science and technology (H/T Jack Stilgoe).  It’s currently four days into a 30-day Kickstarter push [crowdfunding campaign], and has already raised over $76,000 (U.S.).  The two minds behind the project are Bobbie Johnson and Jim Giles, two reporters with a fair amount of ink spilled on issues involved with science and technology.

Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with either of the journalists or their work but I do like their ideas. From the MATTER Kickstarter page,

We’ve developed a way to support independent, global, in-depth reporting about science and technology, two subjects that are close to our hearts. We’re going to use it to build MATTER, the new home for the best journalism about the future. And we need you to help us make it happen.

MATTER will focus on doing one thing, and doing it exceptionally well. Every week, we will publish a single piece of top-tier long-form journalism about big issues in technology and science. That means no cheap reviews, no snarky opinion pieces, no top ten lists. Just one unmissable story.

MATTER is about brilliant ideas from all around the world, whether they come from professors at MIT or the minds of mad people. But most of all, it’s about getting amazing investigative reporters to tell compelling stories.

We’re building MATTER for readers, not advertisers. So however you access our stories — whether it’s on our website, via the Kindle store, or on your Apple and Android devices — you will get a beautifully designed experience that puts you first.

Good journalism isn’t cheap: it takes time and money for great reporters to do their best work. That means we’re going to have to charge. But not much: we’re aiming for around 99 cents per story. It’s an experiment to see if independent journalism, done right, can fill the gap left by mainstream media.

They put together a video pitch,

 They must be doing something right because they met their funding goal within days of opening the campaign. They then doubled their funding goal and they’ve raised that money too. Here’s how they’re dealing with the ‘problem’ of getting more than they expected,

The way we designed the project is simple: the higher our total goes, the better we can make everything. Every dollar gives us more room to run, allows us to commission more stories straight off the bat, lets us deliver to more platforms and helps make MATTER nicer to use.

If you wish to contribute, there are still several days left in the campaign.

ETA: A March 8, 2012 posting by Leigh Bedon on the MATTER project for Techdirt emphasizes some of the issues with the business model. How do you get people to pay $.99 per article and will they keep doing it?