Fear, Mudslinging, Design, Andy Rutledge, Frank Chimero, Kickstarter

The investors paid their price before any possibility of seeing the actual product. What if the results don’t meet the investors’ expectations? They’re likely to be upset, and rightly so. And the onus will remain upon Mr. Chimero to satisfy them; else he fails to be an honest broker. Knowing this and perhaps concerned with the faulty arrangement, the collective investors are well within their rights to direct Mr. Chimero’s efforts. After all, they own the result now. His genius is already bought and paid for. Sellout

 Profit, Lies, Theft, and Idiocy, Andy Rutledge

You should definitely give it a read first for context’s sake.

I read through it several times, each time getting the same tone. The tone of fear. At first it comes across as sheer arrogance and close-mindedness, but if you look a bit deeper the underlying emotion there is fear.

It reminds me of the this rather arrogant article on how Dribbble is destroying professionalism. It’s frustrating to read at first, but it just further demonstrates how utterly disconnected the AIGA has become in regards to the web. It’s not so different from what Andy Rutledge has done, except he’s directed his attack at one individual, Frank Chimero.

Fear what is new. Fear what you don’t understand. Destroy what is new and exciting, and never, NEVER break the mold.

The article’s atmosphere of “fear” also closely resembles that shown by so many newspaper organizations each time they do pay-walls, or device specific content, or that whole… what was it?… 10 years where they said the internet was a waste of time. It’s working out real well for them, isn’t it?

I know a few things about how human commerce does and does not work well.

There is no universal truth, and if noone ever broke the rules there would be no innovation. You may know alot, but you don’t know everything.

This voluntary arrangement of natural order is unique in that it creates wealth in a rampant and moral fashion; without theft, without destruction of value, without harm, and without the violence of compulsion. As a moral and socioeconomic system, this is known as Capitalism.

I notice he fails to mention any other soci-economic model besides capitalism. This argument in another socio-economic context would be even weaker than it already is.

Recently, one high-profile example of the execution of a daring new business model that facilitates selling out piqued interests and conspicuously turned heads.

This is the bit I have the most trouble with. Andy has gone under the assumption that Frank is operating inside a capitalist model, where he is trying to make money.

Essentially all Frank has done is used a business approach of pre-order. You pre-order your book or your book + additional associated merchandise through Kickstarter by donating before-hand. 

Mr. Chimero has abdicated ownership of his idea/genius and the results that will come of it.

I’m not a religious follower of Kickstarter, but from what I know funding a project does not entitle you to ownership of that project. Frank will still retain copyright, he can sell his book after the project ends if he so wishes without getting permission from anyone. If Frank’s book wins an award, as a supporter I don’t get it, he does.

Essentially people are paying to SUPPORT Frank first and foremost as he writes the book HIS WAY. If I pay for Frank to come and speak I don’t get to tell him how to think, or how to speak. I’ve hired him to speak, because I want HIS thoughts, I want it HIS way. I’m paying for Frank Chimero, not the right to boss him around. 

You don’t go to a concert, pay at the door, and then the audience votes on what the band plays. I’m sure Elton John would love that.

What Frank Chimero is doing is something derived from passion and an urge to share and teach, not one to make profit. Read his blog posts, read his project description. It’s all there.

Andy Rutledge goes through his entire article using Frank’s Kickstarter Project as an example to defend his argument in the context of capitalism which isn’t even the realm Frank is dancing in.

Who said we can’t change the rules? Who said there can’t be a new business model created through Kickstarter-like funding models? Who said Kickstarter hasn’t already helped foster the birth of this business model?

Mr. Rutledge, your insults are insulting, your arrogance is unfounded, and your fear is misplaced.

We should embrace change with a watchful eye. We should support new approaches, and have an open mind. We should think a little less of ourselves and our professional experience and a little more about the positive possibilities of something different than what we are used to.