New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg just addressed the 1,000+ attendees of TechCrunch Disrupt. Reinforcing his new media acumen, he leads by rattling off all of the updates and check-ins he did on the way over here. “I even put a classified on Craigslist,” he added, “the Cleveland Craigslist” – trying to get LeBron to come to New York (when he managed to compare King James to Arrington taking TechCrunch Disrupt to New York — several in the press section nearly gagged). Bloomberg, of course, was a pioneer in new media and fits right in in this room, have founded Bloomberg L.P. after being fired from Salomon Brothers in the early ’80s.
Bloomberg then goes into pitch mode. NYC needs smart people, developers, entrepreneurs, and engineers apparently. “It doesn’t matter if you’re from New York or New Jersey or New Delhi, if you have an idea or an app, New York City is the place for you. “This is the city where it’s happening….”
Erick Schonfeld: “You know there’s a friendly rivalry between Silicon Valley and the New York tech scene…” “Who says it’s friendly?” joked Bloomberg.
Bloomberg alludes to Bloomberg’s acquisition (resuscitation) of BusinessWeek saying that they lost their way. “You don’t know what is going to be important to you tomorrow” — you need editors, real, trained journalists. But is the mayor out of touch? He still believes most people in the room read the newspaper as delivered each morning. It’s a good thing he’s the mayor and not physically running media operations at his company.
I finally made my first Kickstarter pledge today – toward an Invisible Children film project including Yeasayer and Polyphonic Spree.
Kickstarter is a new website and funding platform for “artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, inventors, explorers….” Started by entrepreneurial blogger and developer Andy Baio, Kickstarter invites anyone to submit a project for funding and/or to fund a project with little risk. [CORRECTION: Baio is the CTO. Kickstarter was started by CEO Perry Chen, along with cofounders Yancey Strickler and Charles Adler.] You invest in the final product which reaps rewards. Should the project not reach its funding goal, your money is returned, so as not to be wasted on something that runs out of fuel halfway through. Baio also created oneofthe infamously useful-before-Yahoo-bought-it online apps – Upcoming.org.
Kickstarter is a brilliant concept because it feeds on the positivity and karma of giving, sharing, and creating on the web. But it’s not just the ethos — it’s the stories. And the stories behind the stories. Take the story of Greg Bayne an aspiring filmmaker who — with the help of a final push — got the funding to succeed (+ an extra 2 grand) in his goal of raising funds for a documentary on legendary MMA fighter Jens Pulver. It’s addicting enough to follow these projects and see if they get funded or not — there is only 48 hours left to raise another $10k for the Invisible Children project.
UPDATE 3/10: The project was fully funded with ten hours to spare.
But that’s only the beginning — it’s a gift that keeps giving and giving back, through blog updates from those who are funded and in many cases, a final product such as a film, or a DIY mixed-use space, or a book of war comics.
Have a look for yourself and see how many intriguing projects you come across. Or if you start your own, let me know. I want in!
I’d love to see Tribune papers really get some good reporting here, not just from within but from experienced beat-bloggers, city-bloggers, and more comprehensive, microfunded reporting as done by the likes of spot.us.
Personally I think the best way to cut costs is to slowly let the printed version of the paper wither away, until all that ends up at the end of subscribers’ driveways is a stack of obituaries. THEN everyone will finally get the point and take to reading the paper online, on their kindle, their blackberry, Macintosh tablet or anything else that doesn’t turn your fingers black.
Syndicate far and wide, but don’t put all your marbles in one not-so-reliable product…. especially when it ain’t free!
I was honored to be on a panel this Monday with David Sarno (LA Times), Chris Tolles (Topix) and Christina Gagnier (Politech) discussing Citizen Journalism. Thanks to Geoff Brown and Social media Club LA for hooking it up and Alexia Tsotsis (LA Weekly) for moderating!