29 Aug 2012: How do you raise $1m in 10 days? Here’s one way… Matthew Inman created ‘The Oatmeal’ website 3 years ago and his first book a year ago (5 Very Good Reasons To Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth). Then, 2 months ago, something happened…
Matthew was served with a defamation notice from Funny Junk, for writing blogs criticising the website, where his cartoons were getting posted by users. Funny Junk’s lawyer demanded $20,000 in damages from Matthew. So what did he do?
Having heard about crowdfunding but never having tried it himself, he decided to try and raise $20,000 from fans – not to pay Funny Junk, but so that he could take a photo of the money, send it to the lawyer with a cartoon of his mother making love to a bear, and give all the money to charity. He named it Operation BearLove Good, Cancer Bad, and set up the fundraising on Indiegogo.
Within the month, instead of raising the $20,000, he raised $211,000 for the charities, and Funny Junk dropped the suit. (http://theoatmeal.com/
But that was just the beginning. Having suddenly realised the power of crowdfunding, this month Matthew was back on Indiegogo again. This time, to try and raise $850,000 to buy scientist Nikola Tesla’s original laboratory and turn it into a museum. Just two weeks after launching ‘Operation Let’s Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum’ he has already raised over $1.2 million, and there’s still another 30 days to go…
If Matthew hadn’t tried the $20,000 idea, he wouldn’t have tried the $1 million idea. He tested the water and then jumped in. What could you (should you) be testing to ride a wave with your company or charity right now?
What can you test right now? Crowdfunding? Micropayments? A mobile site? Rapid prototyping? A new market in a new country? A partnership with a hyper-growth company? Each of these have a mountain of momentum waiting for you to ride.
Start small. When it works, do it again – bigger.
Matthew started small. Two months later, he’s building a Goddamn Tesla Museum. Good for him. So what small step leads to your big idea? Do it! And if you do, good for you.