This Is Not Hot Air


I want to be sure that you are aware of what is happening on Kickstarter, the Crowdfunding site. If you have a creative idea that you want to raise money for, don’t waste too much of your time thinking it through.

Just post it on Kickstsrter as fast as you can and see if it has any traction. There is no secret formula why one project makes it and another fails. Very recently an entrepreneur wanted to raise money for making potato salad. He received $55,492 from 6,911 contributors.

That’s nothing compared to the money Bunch o Balloons raised over the last few days. This is a system to help you blow up a hundred water balloons in one minute. Pretty phenomenal. Sit down. This project raised $882,309 representing 20,770 contributors.

A Video Camera That Goes Around And Around

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I’m about to show you the first video camera that creates 360-degree panoramic views with 4K resolution. If you thought the still cameras that feature 360-degrees shots were awesome, wait till you see this. You feel like you are totally in the driver’s seat.

Click here to see a video demonstration.

Called Centr, the camera was developed by a group of former iPhone camera engineers. Now they are raising money on Kickstarter to bring their invention to market.

Look how small and cute it is. It fits in the palm of your hands. It is slated to retail at $400 but you could get it for $299 on Kickstarter if you act fast.

A Bicycle Built For A Smartphone


As strange as it may seem, 32,000 cyclists passed by our apartment building this morning as they participated in the annual Five Boro Bike Tour. My building is a few doors down from the entrance to the 59th Street bridge. Bikers started nearby as they rode through all five boroughs –Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, totally free of traffic.

Very few people know about this, but next year this tour might be totally different. There is a new Kickstarter project now underway that is trying to bring bike riding into the age of smartphones. Vanhawks, the bike’s manufacturer, wants to raise a little over $100,000 to fund Valour, a bike that can track your rides, give you directions, and even alert you to passing cars or bumps in the road.

Bike riding just went from being a sport where you were basically on your own, to one of being totally connected. Participants in New York City’s Bike Tour next year will be a lot more knowledgable about the path they are exploring if they decide to buy a “Valour.”

The “Valour” should be ready this October from $999.00 to $1,200.00, depending on various upgrades.

I Don’t Know Why It’s Called Situ But It’s Good For You

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Smart scale weighs food and counts calories. It will also tell you nutritional value.

This is the scale you have been always looking for. It’s a smart scale that calculates the nutritional value of the food you’re about to eat. A companion app lets you keep track of calories, fat, vitamins and minerals.

Place an item on the scale, connect your iPad over Bluetooth and tell the companion app what the food is. Situ will tell you everything you need to know about what’s inside. Engadget, a tech site, was one of the first to write about it.

There are no more excuses for not living a healthier life. Consider the scale called Situ a life coach. It was developed by an ex Apple employee who lost 100 pounds. He needs your help to bring Situ to market. It is currently on Kickstarter. Click here to read all about it. Don’t miss the video when you click. It is fascinating.

One Dollar Changes Everything

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If you would have told me a few years ago that a website devoted to crowdfunding would have surpassed $1 billion in public pledges, I would have told you that you were crazy. Nevertheless, Kickstarter announced on Monday it did just that. Here’s another startling fact, more than half of the pledges were received in the past 12 months. This must be a good thing.

I have talked about Kickstarter a number of times before, but now more than ever, I urge you to pick a few projects and donate a buck a piece. I think it would add a whole new dimension to your life if you checked out several business prospects on a regular basis (you decide the frequency) and contribute to their causes. For your token gesture, you get to be part of their growth.

You don’t get to own a piece of the company but you do get bragging rights. Most projects usually send donors a little something as a symbol of their appreciation.

Before Kickstarter and other crowd sourcing sites, the general public was not privy to startups like these. I think as older Americans we should help them. You can search by product category, city, and other key words.

You won’t be alone, Kickstarter pledges came from 5,708,578 people in 224 countries across seven continents.

Wednesdays are also the best day for pledging. I don’t know why.

Eyeballing My Phone Calls

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There are many woman like who, like me, want to put their cell phones away while dining with friends but are concerned about missing very important calls. It could be a call from a babysitter, a new business project, or even a doctor with test results.

Two very clever businesswomen from Atlanta, Leslie Simmons and Margaux Guerard, are trying to raise money on Kickstarter for their solution to this particular cell phone dilemma.

Say hello to MEMI, a very stylish bluetooth bracelet that will notify you of the following:

1) All incoming calls or incoming calls from select people.

2) All text messages or text messages from select people.

3) Reminders for calendar events.

The partners want to sell the bracelets at $150.00 each. They are almost at their fundraising goal. To check them out on Kickstarter, click on “MEMI,” above.

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A Pen That Corrects Your Spelling

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I could have used this growing up. It would have been so nice to have a pen that would tell me if I misspelled a word. I would love to have one now. Yes, we all type more than we write, but maybe we would write more if we had autocorrect in a pen. It’s so nice to have something that watches our every word.

That is exactly the feeling of entrepreneurs Daniel Kaesmacher and Falk Wolsky of Munich, Germany. They wanted to make a pen for their children that contains handwriting recognition software so that their errors would be immediately corrected. The pen vibrates when you spell a word incorrectly and then gives you the correction.

The pen, called Lernstift, is now being promoted on Kickstarter in order to get the funds to go into full production. The goal is $183,000. At the present time, the pen recognizes the characters and words and compares them to its dictionary database. The Kickstarter campaign explains “The algorithm tells you that you wrote Pollice instead of Police or responds with a red flag when the written word simply does not exist in the database.”

The Lernstift contains an embedded Linux system. It also has a motion sensor, processor, memory, Wi-Fi, and a vibration module.

The co-founders want an open platform so software developers can eventually create apps. That means in future generations the Lernstift could offer other languages, grammar correction, and games.

The Lernstift is being targeted for everyone, from school kids to 90-year-olds. I will let you know when the digital pen becomes available.

Kickstarter Just Changed the Movie Business Forever

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Hollywood is stunned. This has never happened before. Will it ever happen again?

I am referring to the fact that the movie version of the CW TV show Veronica Mars just got funded through Kickstarter in 12 hours. This is history in the making.

Continue reading

Become An Investor For The Fun Of It

I get calls every week from tech start-ups asking me to either help them with a public relations program or to secure funding. I try to do my best, but lately they are coming to me fast and furious. Call it a sign of the times, but an increasing number of college graduates or working folks are leaving their careers to become entrepreneurs. I spend countless non-billable hours helping where I can. I write pro-bono press releases, distribute them to targeted press, and make calls to see if we can secure editorial placement. I also spend endless hours working on strategy and business plans.

Eliot often asks me if HWH is really a non-profit. I tell him it is a form of new business. One of these guys/gals are going to make us rich. It hasn’t happened yet, but there is always tomorrow. There are so many great ideas out there that need the support of seasoned professionals like you. I don’t care if you are a fireman, housewife, doctor, teacher, writer, salesperson or CEO, you have something the under 50 crowd needs—a lifetime of experience. Intuitively, you may have a better sense of judgment than the idea person.

Start small. Take a look at www.kickstarter.com. I talked about the company before in generalities but now I want to get specific.

“Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects which include films, games, music, art, design, and technology. Some projects only require a dollar to show you support them. Anyone can join in. Most of the supporters are much younger than us, but that is because they knew about Kickstarter before us. The site launched on April 28, 2009 and to date has raised over $350 million by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects. People who fund Kickstarter projects do not get equity. The Project creators keep 100 per cent ownership of their work. The only gratification you get is identifying a good idea and giving a little bit of yourself towards it.”

Take a look at this Kickstarter project. I bet my ocean loving friends can dig this.

Autonomous sailing robots to study the oceans. Each boat can sail itself anywhere and send data back to shore. Funding ends next Friday. Each robotboat is fully autonomous, needs no fuel, and will bring to bear myriad sensors at remote points on the surface of oceans, lakes, and rivers. Think of it as a satellite for the seas. It studies the health of the world’s water.

Click on the arrow in the video. If you are getting this post via email, you may have to go to http://www.digidame.com to see the video. It is worth it. I couldn’t get the video on Kickstarter to embed here so I used Mashable’s coverage. If you want to know more about the project, go to Kickstarter.

What Does Crowd Funding Mean?

I really want everyone who reads DigiDame to understand what Crowd Funding means. You probably heard this term casually mentioned over the last few months while at cocktail parties or in stories you have read in the press. You didn’t pay much attention to it because it sounded so complicated and esoteric.

Crowd Funding is really easy to understand and makes a lot of sense. It is very trendy in the digital community. You will absolutely impress everyone (especially the digital babies) when you reference “Crowd Funding” in a conversation. All of a sudden people will start looking at you as if you are some kind of rock star.

That is exactly what DigiDame aims to do. If I can understand something, then you can too. I like to dumb things down as much as possible when trying to understand a new concept so I can truly appreciate what it means and how I can use it in my life.

Crowd Funding is what a lot of young people do to raise funds for their innovations, developments, ideas, concepts, or inventions. It means that funds are being solicited from the masses for a project, rather than going to a few major investors. It really started in the entertainment business when fans contributed funds to rock groups and movie projects over the Internet. Then it expanded to political campaigns—a la Obama. Nowadays, people soliciting funds use websites that have been developed just for this purpose. The most popular site in this space is called “Kickstarter” because they have been able to collect millions of dollars for new projects in a matter of days.

Wikipedia points out that “ArtistShare” is documented as being the first Crowd Funding website for music (2000/2001) followed later by sites such as Sellaband (2006), Indiegogo (2008), Pledge Music (2009), Kickstarter (2009), RocketHub (2009), GoFundMe (2010), and Rock the Post (2011). Kickstarter just captured headlines again this week with the successful funding of the Ouya Gaming platform, raising $2.5 million in one day.

It is also important to know that many of the Crowd Funding websites give contributors the product at a substantially reduced cost if they contribute a certain amount of money. This discount can be as much as half the product’s selling price. This is a huge draw to help collect funds and to build orders. It is a marvelous strategy to start out with hundreds, thousands or even millions of products pre-sold. It is a win-win for everyone involved.

The reason why most people raise funds this way is because they have been rejected by venture capitalists and angel investors who require a lot of paper work and justification. Most “new idea” people are unable to raise money for their projects because there are more of them than the folks who dole out the dough. Crowd Funding is becoming extremely popular because there are millions of people in the United States who love contributing a dollar or two to support “startups,” “political campaigns,” “a new movie,” “a medical experiment,” and/or any kind of new development. It is very ‘hip” to say, “Oh, yes I invested before anyone really knew about it.” The truth is they only sent in a dollar or two just so they can feel like an insider. Crowd Funding is considered a “cool” thing to do, especially for “green causes.”

Crowd Funding also became popular because of the United States of America JOBS Act that was signed into law by President Obama on April 5, 2012. The Act allows the funding of a company by selling small amounts of equity to many investors. Not all crowd funding translates into equity. A lot of Crowd Funding is just a social transaction.