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When Kickstarter Works, It’s Rewarding and Potentially Addictive

Backing a Kickstarter project that works out gives you a rewarding feeling of power over what reaches the market.
March 6, 2013

This week I received a nerdy delivery: The ChargeCard, a blue-and-brown plastic iPhone charger the dimensions of a chubby credit card that I and over 5,400 others backed on Kickstarter some months ago.

The ChargeCard, funded through Kickstarter pledges, is a USB charging cable for smartphones that fits in your wallet.

I’ve backed several Kickstarter projects, but this was the first tech-related one, and only the second involving a physical reward. I supported it because I’m always searching for an iPhone charger, and it made sense to have one I could just stow in my wallet. It felt really good to open up that envelope and get my hands on the result of the creators’ efforts and financial pledges of so many anonymous strangers, including me.

The ChargeCard isn’t the most beautifully designed product I’ve ever seen (imperfections in the color and little perforations in the plastic make it look more like an advanced prototype than a final product), but that hardly matters. What does matter is that it fits in my wallet and works perfectly, and its arrival was heralded by frequent, clear communication from the two people behind the project about what stage they were at in the production process and when the devices would be in backers’ hands. It was so popular, raising over three times its $50,000 goal, that versions are now going to be produced for iPhone 4, 4s, and 5, as well as gadgets that charge via Micro USB.

The whole experience left me impressed at how quickly we’ve moved from being passive consumers to having a voice in what comes to market. I’m excited to back more projects, and tech projects in particular, to keep this trend growing.

Deep Dive

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Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

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lucid dreaming concept
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I taught myself to lucid dream. You can too.

We still don’t know much about the experience of being aware that you’re dreaming—but a few researchers think it could help us find out more about how the brain works.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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