Kickstarting research

Chris Granger has a Kickstarter project to fund his IDE concept Light Table. He is looking for $200K and already has more than $100K in 13 days. It took him 6 days to build the demo.

There is much I want to say about this, but it all pales in comparison to the raw facts above. Let’s skip the sterile debate on whether there is anything intellectually new in the proposal. What is the bigger meaning of these events?

7 Replies to “Kickstarting research”

  1. Yes, this is very cool indeed. Not only do I think the project is a step in the right direction, but even more importantly Kickstarter enabling these things is fantastic.

  2. The bigger meaning is that there is a clear need for fresh methods for building software as evidenced by the response that Light Table has generated – whether it has merit or not.


  3. Would extra funding buy a researcher time to release a 1.0 that funders would be happy with? It seems like chasing the next paper deadline would take priority, and that delivering a finished product would only slow down their career. (I’m sure it’s doing the opposite for Chris.)

  4. I’m a bit worried about the license of Light Table.
    Although it’s listed on KS as “Open Software” (WTF is that?!?!?!), this might suggest something different:

    What’s a license then?
    In order to download packaged distributions, you’ll need a license. Preliminarily, we’re thinking licenses will be based on a “pay what you can/what you believe it is worth” model for individuals. This gives everyone access to the tools to help shape our future, but also helps us stick around to continue making the platform awesome. We think what we build will be worth at least $50, and so that’s what we’ve used for our rewards.

  5. Futurist Richard Worzel, in his book “Who Owns Tomorrow?” predicted that new grads would be involved in projects based on the “film” model – get a team, get funding, execute, disband and move on.

  6. Programmers charge way too much to their credit cards, and largely don’t know how to manage their wallets, despite making more than people with 3 jobs.

  7. Its hard to be critical of his project since it has gained a lot of popularity and does attempt address a need or desire that programmers have, and I’m all in support of that need. However, I don’t think that it really addresses the need correctly and does not build on previous work in this area so much, only to a level that the public programmer can understand.

    Another problem is that the public is voting with their money and they are not the best judges of what is a good solution for this problem, its just the popular vote. The problem is kickstarter is successful, and this is good as well, its very contradictory.

    With every blessing comes a curse.

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