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To Crowdfund or Not To Crowdfund? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Colin Brassington (aka Brash)   
Sunday, 18 June 2017 21:29

Maybe it's just me but there appears to be a large increase in Go-Fund-Me type crowdfunding websites. And they certainly are not without their purpose.

Random burnt out Holden Ute. Not the one I'm complaining about. Image from Google, claim if yours

A mate of mine often buys into tech project start-ups. One he bought recently was for a new type of scuba diving breathing apparatus, and if the company made enough money on their crowdfunding they would send anyone who donated above a certain amount the product. 'I've been waiting for someone to build one of these for years!' he said about it, shortly before adding that he needed to stay away from tech start-up crowdfunding websites. I also know people in the US and A who have been struck down by cancer, and found themselves woefully underinsured through no real fault of their own; and these sorts of pages provide an easy way for friends, relatives and casual acquaintances to donate to the cause. So absolutely, crowdfunding has its place.

But it seems more and more people are turning to crowdfunding to finance their lifestyle or save them from their own stupidity. And that bugs me way more than it should.

In the past three weeks, three go-fund-me pages have popped up in various car enthusiast groups I'm a part of on social media, that have just made me unnecessarily ragey.

The first one popped up in a Honda owners group, from someone who is about to graduate uni and wants to take a gap year. They were asking if we would donate to their go-fund-me so they could satisfy their #wanderlust. Apparently they couldn't afford it themselves because they worked less than 20hrs a week in retail while they were a full time student. Ignoring that there are many people I know who have travelled overseas on uni student's part time wages, I cannot fathom why anyone would contribute to this. Maybe the sob story of the life long goal of wanting to visit the Nurburgring (which they spelled incorrectly) was meant to make us feel for a fellow car nerd who spent all their money on mad aftermarket parts for their car.

But what really rubbed me the wrong way - other than this entitled piece of shit wanting us to finance his European trip - was that he posted it up "for a friend" but when you click the link, he was the one the page named.

The next one was even worse. It popped up in a local Nissan owners group. The 16 year old posted a go-fund-me page asking for $10,000 so he could buy a drift car to (and I'm quoting here) "learn about cars".

Again we got the sob story of working small hours around school, and a lifelong desire to get into cars and driving/drifting, if only we could help him reach his goal. Never mind that you can learn about cars and driving with a $1000 car, but we don't want reality to get in the way of the narrative right..?

And finally, one popped up in an old Holden owner's group. His HQ ute had been torched while parked in his driveway, and his insurance had lapsed so he wasn't covered. Briefly I was sympathetic as I too know how hard it is to get what is rightfully yours when an insurance company decides that you're not entitled to it. However the post goes on and tells the reader and potential donor that his insurance lapsed six weeks prior to the fire, and that despite weeks of contesting the decision and protesting that result, he was still uninsured.

Again however there is more than meets the eye here, as during the inevitable comment exchange someone posted a picture of the burned out ute tray in their shed, having bought the remains from the original poster.

Thankfully all three of these attempts were beaten down with the contempt that they deserved. But it left me wondering since when was it ok to ask everybody to cover your lifestyle or stupidity?

When I was 16 and wanting a super mad JDM turbo car that was way out of my price range, do you know what I did? I bought something else, saved my monies and put them aside so that I could buy one later. And when I wanted to go on a pilgrimage to the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Florida, I worked and worked and put my dollarydoos away so that I could go.

This is me looking at Swamp Rat I...took me 25 years, but I finally made it there!

Now I don't want to give the impression that I'm against crowdfunding. On the contrary, it has its place. A racer I know used it a couple of years ago, they had hurt an engine earlier in the season and had destroyed a body in the penultimate event, but had already committed to going to the final event in Sydney, despite having to spend the Sydney money on the engine and bodywork. They opened up a crowdfunding page to support their majority self-funded pro level team make the journey from Darwin to Sydney and did ok out of it. They fell well short of their goal, but they did raise enough to get there and make it work. And if I remember rightly he was rewarded with his first ever major event victory.

You know, as I've been writing this, I've realised that it's been my lifelong dream to put together a top level race team and travel the country racing against similar teams. I think what I'll do is set up a crowdfunding page for it.

Because just like Lewis Hamilton, I was 9 years old and at a race meet the weekend when Ayrton Senna was killed; and soon after became champion in my chosen junior formulae. So just like Lewis Hamilton I was born to win. Though unlike Lewis Hamilton my father wasn’t wealthy enough to continue bankrolling my career. If only I had some method of raising the required $50,000 to build the car, $100,000 for the engine, $300,000 for the tow rig and another $50,000 for spares and tools and things. And I suppose another $600,000 or so for a facility to store all of this equipment.

Is that too much to ask?



0 #1 Dave B 2017-07-12 12:04
Plus there's the people who crowdfund projects when they can damn well afford to bankroll it themselves. Take Zach Braff (jd from scrubs) who crowdfunded some movie despite being incredibly wealthy and with the ability to actually back his own project.

Ryan North is doing a kickstarter to pay for the publishing of his next book and frankly after five dinosaur comic books, two machine of Death books and two choose your own adventure shakespeare books, maybe he can self publish without ebegging for once. People are lining up to give him money so I guess he gets away with it.

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