Charles Adler, co-founder of Kickstarter, presented in my Creativity & Capitalism class in Parsons on Monday. He was absolutely great and the 85 undergrads in the auditorium really like him. One of the points he made at the end of his talk was the role of family and friends in financing so many of the Kickstarter projects. They often provide the initial money, get the funding momentum going until “outsiders” start kicking in money.
This is fascinating to me. In a global era of digitalized crowd sourcing and crowd funding, the role of family and friends to startups remains crucial. I thought about it and again and again you hear stories of startups beginning with money from parents and uncles and buddies and classmates betting on someone they know. By far, it seems that angel investors are people we know and trust.
Kickstarter amplifies this social phenomenon by legitimizing people’s startup dreams. If you can make it to actually presenting on Kickstarter–coming up with a great idea, doing that pitch video–your family and friends have even more motivation to help you. “Harry, come look at young Stevie’s camera idea! I always knew he was so smart. Let’s give him some money.”
Family and friends form the core of what I’m calling your Network Radius. That radius is the functional part of your network that provides resources to implement your creativity. It expands out from blood relatives to close friends to buddies to VC strangers to the public stock market. Knowing your Network Radius is critical to being a successful entrepreneur.
In Creative Intelligence I talk about Creativity Circles and Pivot Circles. The book is coming out in just a few days. But Charles has me thinking of the next round of thinking about creativity. That would include the idea of a Network Radius that cuts across both Circles, linking them.
If I were teaching a course in creativity and entrepreneurialism, a course in Indie Capitalism, this is what I would be putting up on the screen.