The Future of Product Development

I’ve been hearing about Kickstarter on various blogs this week. Well, I checked it out tonight, and I think it’s brilliant. It’s basically a way to run a pledge-based funding round for a specific purpose. A lot of the projects on the site are from artists who want to release an album, or filmmakers who want to make a movie. You have a certain amount of time to reach your funding goal. If you get enough pledges in the set amount of time, everyone’s credit cards are hit and you get your money. If not, no one’s out a dime. It could get bootstrapped startups off the ground, lead to truly independent art, and be a great way to crowdsource journalism. But, I think it could be the future of product development. If your users really want a feature, do they want it enough to pay for it?\
Here’s how it could work:

  1. User requests a feature through Get Satisfaction
  2. Product Owner decides whether they want to build this feature and sets up a pledge for it on Kickstarter – setting a price based on complexity + time to implement * desire to build it (0 being “I was going to do it anyway and it will take five minutes, so why bother, 1,000 being I really don’t want to build it, but if you give me \$100,000, I’ll consider it).
  3. Product Owner posts the link to the pledge and the amount required to build that feature.
  4. If the pledge succeeds, the feature gets implemented. If not, it doesn’t (unless the Product Owner really wants it).\
    For large companies, this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But, for small companies who have few resources and little time? This could make choosing what you work on next a really easy decision, and involve your users in the process.\
    If anyone actually does this, I’d love to hear about it.\
    And to prove I think it’s a great idea, I’ve pledged to support a zombie movie being shot right here in Savannah. Check it out… let’s help this guy make a movie!!\

By Kevin Lawver

Web developer, Software Engineer @ Gusto, Co-founder @ TechSAV, husband, father, aspiring social capitalist and troublemaker.