One day a kibbutznik gets on the number 830 bus from Afikim, and lands in Tel Aviv. Really, this is not a major revolution. People speak the same language and dress in similar outfits, more or less. But yet, for me the shock was serious. The blow came from the sudden link between what you do all day, and the money you need to make a living. For someone who did not grow up in a kibbutz, it may be difficult to imagine the feelings of a person who never had to contend with this link. Not I myself, neither my parents, nor anyone I ever personally knew until then, had to subsist on his income from work. We worked, because that is what everyone did, in the area where we were told to work, and at the end of the day there was, somehow or other, food on the table. I knew, vaguely, that someone sells the dates I grew, but the truth is that until then I had not internalized the connection between the two.
And so I land in Tel Aviv, and I am supposed to find a way to finance my shopping at the supermarket, and this seems to me a mission impossible. Why should anybody pay me real money for the work I do? I well remember the panic that gripped me very literally, and while trying to fight this I started to work furiously at any job that was offered me, and for any wages. I was a gardener, repairman, messenger, security guard for Brinks, and salesman for steel doors.
In the end I found myself at an advertising agency. I started out as a copywriter, later creative director and in the end ECD; and that is what I did for the past 17 years. Although I became, as it were, an important person, with a Jeep and an overblown salary, I felt as if I was walking on air. The fact that I found someone who is willing to compensate me for my work, even generously, I considered a sort of miracle. That is why I was willing to give all of myself in exchange: unlimited hours, pictures of my kids on the foam clipboard, friends only on facebook.
And why do I tell all this? Because I don’t think I am alone in this business. As I see it, most people, without reference to the specific occupation that they make their living from, live this horror; and that moves the wheels of the machine that tramples us live. The basic assumption that accompanies us declares that if someone is willing to pay you sufficient money to support yourself and your family – you necessarily owe him your life.
Somewhere during the last hundreds of years few notions merged like monarchy, industrial revolution, colonialism, market forces and the idea of self-realization through a career, and so constructed the envelope that surrounds us as individuals. Thus a picture is painted with the closing line: you have no chance in beating them, so you better join them. We suppose, not without logic, that if we cannot find a way to fit in somehow with the large multinational conglomerates, or some kind of their derivatives, we apparently will not find a life for ourselves.
But lately interesting things start to happen. At this very moment, at least in theory, everyone of us can publish a messagethat will reach, lets say, 1 million people. In theory, if you succeed in convincing only one out of ten to invest one dollar in you, you can make 100.000 dollars. That is enough to start any project that you can think of, and enough money remains to buy an ice cream cone for your kids.
Crowd funding is the new naughty and exciting kid on the block . The very basic principle is that you offer the world an idea, product, thought, creation. The outside world decides whether this is of interest to it. If so, it will invest money, and causes it to happen. this is only one cool example. you are very much invited to dive in and enjoy some more. This, in my eyes, is a stupendous idea in its beauty. Because I am no programmer, no carpenter, no musician, I cannot manufacture the product myself. But I certainly can contribute to this wonderful completion, by finding the best manner to bring the ideas of the producers to fruition, by presenting them to the world in a clear and attractive manner.
In the past, you would keep all this information to yourself. Why should I enlighten the competition? But part of the revolution has to do with cooperation. You cannot only draw from the world, you have to give back something as well. All of the conclusions of my campaigns I publish for the benefit of the public. And even more so, I invite, on this festive occasion, every advertising agent to familiarize himself with this fascinating field, and to join this growing enterprise.
If you look at the growth curve of public expenditure in Israel (Attached an example from last year at the web-site ‘Headstart’) you can only guess that the near future will provide room for everyone. But there is more to it then just curves. Imagine what will happen if all the restrictives in existence right now will be breached, so that one will be able to sustain his own basic needs – threw crowd funding. For example, If you buy cottage cheese anyway, why not join a group that supports a certain dairy, that allows the calves to stay with their mothers? And if you go to see movies anyway, why not support a theater that encourages original features? Until now, banks functioned, basically, to take the few savings that many have, and supply them to large corporations that invest them in different directions. Now, with an old laptop, and a medium-sized web-site, you can do this by yourself.
Now, we would have to look at what we have to offer, and ask ourselves does the world really needs it? Crowd funding cannot be separated from the idea of Resources BasedEconomy. The world will have to examine its needs more carefully. If we had asked ourselves these questions at an earlier stage, we might have saved ourselves from ideas like Pepsi Max or Mini-Ipod. But better late than never.
The crowd funding phenomenon did not yet establish its borders, nor has its horizon been defined. Only time will tell whether it will mark a new era in the history of economy, or just will end up as a lovely comment. But I think its potential is unquestionable.