Yesterday I had a chance to participate in a meeting with Olivier Schulbaum from Goteo.org, a Spanish crowdfunding platform. The title of the meeting for some reason was “Hack culture. The Web Effect: social financing of culture.” I’m being tart about the title, because one of the most pronounced conclusions from the meeting was that artists are species, which is the least likely one to use crowdfunding (particularly that with an open licencing requirement) in the first place. But let’s start from the beginning.
Goteo is a social network for crowdfunding and distributed collaboration (services, infrastructures, microtasks and other resources) for encouraging the independent development of creative and innovative initiatives that contribute to the common good, free knowledge, and open code.
A platform for investing in “feeder capital” that supports projects with social, cultural, scientific, educational, technological, or ecological objectives that generate new opportunities for the improvement of society and the enrichment of community goods and resources.
Clearly, Goteo is not just another crowdfunding platform created as a replica of Kickstarter. What distinguishes Goteo is its unbreakable commitment to strenthening the Commons. Creative Commons. Every project published on the platform has to possess, what Olivier calls, an “open DNA,” which means that:
it is reproductable (open coding, documents, archives, etc.),
it is horizontal,
it reinforces the commons.
Goteo, in fact, is not even a crowdfunding platform – it’s a crowdsourcing mechanism. As a backer you can support chosen projects not only financially. Every author, apart from the amount of money necessary to realize the project, lists a number of other ways, in which you can support it, i.e. by helping with translation, donating raw materials, providing IT assistance, etc.
But that’s not the only difference between Goteo and other crowdfunding platforms. As Olivier strongly emphasized, Goteo is about the Commons and about creating a community around each and every project. The philosophy behind it is that crowdfunding and crowdsourcing are fully effective only when people create a community around a project from its very inception, and when the project gives back to that community. In other words, you get much more than what you simply “paid for” – your community benefits too.
Recently Goteo as a model has been copied by the Basque government. When asked about the development of Goteo, Olivier says he would rather see numerous local Goteos than one big platform. Goteo as a platform, is of course, entirely open-source.
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We are all crazy about success stories from Kickstarter. But Olivier is actually right. Crowdfunding without added social value is merely preselling. (“Is Kickstarter just another place to buy your watch?” Olivier asked.) And it would be difficult to create such value without the rules of openness and transparency, far from Creative Commons.
Do you think that it is better when projects published on crowding platforms are open-source? Would you be willing to share your idea on such platform?