As CEO of RocketHub, one of the largest crowdfunding platforms, Brian Meece brought his “Crowdfunding Success Pattern” talk to the One Spark Speaker Series on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s really a new spin on an old idea,” Meece told the crowd of entities like National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) that have been using crowdfunding for decades. The formula is small contributions multiplied by lots of people equals creative success.
According to Meece, there are three pillars of crowdfunding: project, network and goods. You must have all three in order to succeed. The first important step is to share the why of what you do. Tell your story. People are more apt to support a project that speaks to their emotions.
The next step is to talk to your people. “Crowdfunding is built around networks,” Meece said. “Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.” Turn to those closest to you and ask for support. Once you’ve exhausted your inner circle, then you can reach out to other in your social capital – email list, Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
Finally, sell the goods. This can mean an invention, an idea or something tangible. Make the journey to completing “the goods” memorable. Maybe you want to make a jazz album. Appeal to anyone who would want to support your musical endeavors.
According to Meece, your checklist should include the following:
• Financial goal
• Time frame
• Written description
And your game plan should look something like this:
• Win first followers
• Build dialogue
• Spiral out
• Tell the story
• Meet the press
• Finish strong
Learn more about Brian Meece and his company RocketHub at rockethub.com.
A relatively new addition to the Jacksonville arts and cultural scene, Jacksonville Dance Theatre, founded in January, has 12 performances scheduled for the 2013 season. Managing Director Katie McCaughan and others set-up camp in MOCA’s lobby to help garner support of their first season, which happens to be unfunded. “One of our biggest visions is to be located downtown,” McCaughan says of JDT’s entry #319. “This has been a great event – I love feeling the energy of downtown.”
Mechanical engineer Brian Major has invented a bicycle that doesn’t pedal for you but pedals with you.
Major is trying to change transportation by powering automobiles with the sun and wind through his Colibris Alternative Vehicles.
“It is like a bionic extension of you,” he said.
His invention will help people trying to climb a hill on a bicycle by sensing that person is having a hard time. The computer will kick in and do the rest of the work, said Barry Major, the creator’s father.
While riding a bike with a heavy wind, the computer will sense the rider pushing harder, and the battery will kick in, he said.
Major knows a woman who rides over the Main Street Bridge everyday and has to get off her bike and walk the rest of the way. This invention will help her a lot, he said.
Major invented the bike so the computer inside the wheels will sense when the rider is having to strain to pedal.
The computer can detect when the rider is struggling, Major said. Users can program the bike to do 80 percent of the work while they do the remaining 20 percent, he said.
As a former mayor of Pittsburgh, Tom Murphy knows a lot about urban development and finding innovative solutions to complex problems.
During his time in office, Murphy took a deteriorating industrial city and transformed it into a technology hub. This, he said, was possible for any city – as long as the people who live there want it bad enough.
A senior resident fellow for Urban Development at the Urban Land Institute (ULI), Murphy specializes in public policy, retail/urban entertainment, transportation/infrastructure, housing, real estate, finance and environmental issues.
For his talk, “The Changing Rules of Community,” Murphy spoke about how the rules are changing and communities need to understand what will help them succeed in the 21st century.
“It’s a remarkable thing that you’re doing,” Murphy told the crowd in reference to One Spark. “You’re empowering yourselves. Wouldn’t you want to see this creativity, innovation and hustle and bustle every day?”
According to Murphy, there are five converging forces cities need to think about such as globalization, climate change, technology innovation, infrastructure needs and demographics. And, he said, it will be the millenials (ages 18 through 35) who will help change cities around America.
“This is a remarkable example of how you bring the forces together to create a 21st century city,” Murphy remarked of One Spark and Jacksonville. “Every city has a choice of what it wants to be. Don’t lose the spark.”
An Atlanta-based performing artist, writer and director, Doc Waller proved a high-energy and highly entertaining addition to the One Spark Speaker Series. Friday afternoon found Waller on stage for his “Bottle Up & Explode” talk.
Described as “thoughts on packaging our inspirations and idiosyncrasies into effective, daily weaponry,” Waller opened by telling the audience how mockingbirds are badass and the emcee of the animal kingdom. Not sure where he was going with his comment, Waller wowed the crowd with a 10-minute spoken word monologue.
“You can soak up the inspiration now or wait for it to come around the bend,” said Waller. “Vision is what we’re all about. It’s why we’re all here.”
A self-described “taste tester” who swallows every experience, Waller reminded audience members to take it all in – every facet of One Spark. “Are you getting what you came for? Are you processing the process?” he asked.
Waller talked about his background and how each life event inspired him or stifled his inspiration. An Air Force veteran, Waller started a non-profit in Eastern Alabama to bring the arts to underserved individuals. After about five years, he said he hit a wall and quit.
“I bottled these things [experiences] up and then exploded,” Waller said of his inspiration being stifled while running the non-profit. “You should take something away from everything.”
According to Waller, there are multiple steps to this process. The first being, “Morning Glory,” which basically means people should slow their day down – even if that just means taking a moment in the morning to reflect before starting the day.
The second step to Waller’s process is “Stream of Consciousness.” “There’s not one person in this room who should not be a writer,” he told the audience. This step is meant for people to write down their ideas, inspiration or whatever they take from an experience.
Another step to the process is …
A zombie film that takes place during the Civil Rights era, Velvet Road is filmmaker L. Gustavo Cooper’s One Spark entry #318. Located in the MOCA lobby, Cooper hopes to garner support and funding to make the short into a full-length feature. When asked how the event has been going for his entry, Cooper says, “Some people have been really enthusiastic and some have been weary that it’s a zombie film. But once I describe the story and that it takes place during the Civil Rights era, they get excited.” Velvet Road will be shown Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Underbelly.
"We're not your typical farmers … We are the future of farming," That's the slogan of Urban Container Farm, hydroponic gardens made from recycled shipping containers. Urban Container Farm is also one of the many creators at One Spark in Downtown Jacksonville.
For about a year, its owners, Andrea Shaw, Kent Ridley and Staci Chamberlain, have been working on a unique farming system with a controlled environment that grows organic, pesticide-free vegetables. Also, unlike a traditional outdoor farm with just a couple of growing and harvesting seasons per year, Urban Container Farm's regulated climate allows for harvest every week.
One of the most interesting aspects of the farms is that they run themselves.
"Our farms can be controlled from your smartphone or tablet by an app," Shaw said. "The farms monitor themselves, letting you know what they need. They will let you know, say, if your pH levels are too low."
Although only a prototype, one Urban Container Farm has been engineered to produce up to 1,000 heads of lettuce a week. Shaw and the other creators are hoping they receive support to be able to take their vegetable growing device to the masses.
"We would one day like to see them in schools, backyards and behind restaurants," Chamberlain said. "I think it would be great to go out to eat and really have that 'from the farm to your plate' idea implemented."
One Spark entry #701 is Jackie Kuhn’s “Yarnbomb Downtown Jax.” The Neptune Beach resident aims to educate Jacksonville’s population on the international yarn bombing movement – essentially a non-permanent form of street art that places colorful yarn on statues, poles, bike racks and more.
One Spark creator David Engdahl has been producing laminated plywood sculpture art for 41 years. He exhibits in 21 states across the country.
He has sold his work for upwards of $4,000 in the past. At One Spark, however, he wants to win the money for another reason.
"Anything I make from One Spark is going right back into the Jacksonville art community," Engdahl said. "I've seen the art community grow in great ways over the years, but I want to see more. I know we have it here."
Engdahl's art has a sleek, contemporary look.
He has exhibited his art in four U.S. embassies: Bahrain, Latvia, Angola, and Zimbabwe.
"One Spark is great for Jacksonville, especially for Downtown," Engdahl said. "It gives artists and creators a chance to present what they have created to the people."
Local artist Y.C. Lozano, known for her paintings of faceless children and a blue dog, is taking part in One Spark with entry #421. #IMJAX, Lozano’s project’s title, is explained as “a public art project that celebrates the people who make up Jacksonville.” Located in Hemming Plaza Skyway, #IMJAX is an interactive installation where users step-up to a life-size red and white silhouette and scan a QR code with their smartphone. The code gives information on a random person in Jacksonville. #IMJAX aims to combine public art with social engagement and technology, so the people of Jacksonville can get to know each other better and feel a cohesion throughout the city.