microcapital venture capital fund December 30, 2005 7:53 PM   Subscribe

Let's start a metafilter microcapital venture capital fund, and some other thoughts on mefi projects. mi
posted by Paris Hilton to MetaFilter-Related at 7:53 PM (13 comments total)

So I'm contemplating metafilter projects. I think it's interesting, but hardly anyone ever posts anything, which is a little dull (On the other hand, this benefits the project authors, by giving them a lot more exposure).

I can think of a couple ways to rectify this, and the first is simple. We could create different categories of projects, from Ideas, to projects in the works for feedback, to fully completed projects. Users could filter these if they wanted too, and only completed projects would show up by default.

Another method would simply to encourage more projects to be undertaken. In order to this I propose a micocapital venture capital fund. Users could buy shares of the fund, and elect a board, etc and provide basic funding (for things like hosting) to people interested in creating interesting projects that we could sell and become fabulously wealthy (like delicious). At the very least I would suspect that people here could come up with interesting websites like metafilter itself, fark, that sort of thing.

Even if the fund lost money over all, it could provide some entertainment, and more projects on the projects page.
posted by Paris Hilton at 7:53 PM on December 30, 2005

I would love to see this work. Seriously.
posted by dash_slot- at 8:01 PM on December 30, 2005

I think it's interesting, but hardly anyone ever posts anything, which is a little dull...I can think of a couple ways to rectify this.

Maybe I need to write this in giant red letters on the Projects about page. The site wasn't supposed to be high traffic, always changing, always loaded with new things. People don't finish big projects that quickly. It just is what it is, and will probably only change once or twice a week. There's nothing wrong with that, that's just how fast projects usually get finished. The RSS feed is the best way to stay up to date on it.

It's not something I think needs to be goosed into activity. Let the current lull settle down and maybe people on their xmas/new years break will crank out some cool things to share.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:12 PM on December 30, 2005

And more to your idea "Paris" I'm not too keen on a site with stuff in the infant, idea stage. Lemme throw some sample numbers together of a fully functioning Projects site as you suggest (one week's activity):

fully completed projects (2 posts)
projects in the works looking for feedback (20 posts)
ideas for projects (200 posts)

I'm pulling the numbers out of my ass, but I don't think they'd be too far off. I'm not sure how useful or readable a projects/idea factory site would be. I don't have politicsfilter or chatfilter or anything like that setup because I'd never read those sites and I think outside sites do it better. I'd rather just enjoy the completed projects since they're something new to see.

Are there tools already around that work for the earlier project stages? Half-Bakery is devoted entirely to just ideas, no implementation at all. Mailing lists are great for collaborating on some ideas. The fund idea throws a monkey wrench into everything because money has a way of tainting all it touches -- people could make up ideas and fake work just to get some cash and then bail, people could dispute who gets funded and who doesn't, and who could possibly trust anyone to hold money and give it out fairly, etc.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:24 PM on December 30, 2005

that's hot
posted by scarabic at 8:26 PM on December 30, 2005

In sum, let's not. Even if you weren't bringing this via a shitty username, it'd carry less weight than Nicole Richie. :link_to => better_ideas
posted by yerfatma at 9:26 PM on December 30, 2005

Thanks "matt". Although I do understand the problems that getting money involved in anything can cause.
posted by Paris Hilton at 12:23 AM on December 31, 2005

Paris, your quoted use of the name matt is inappropriate. It should have said "mat" since that's what's in his username.
posted by shmegegge at 3:15 AM on December 31, 2005

I would happily visit and possibly populate an "IdeaFilter" sub-site or spin-off site. I have notebooks full of ideas.

Many of which have come to fruition. Years later. By other people - usually implemented by hugetastic megacorps.

No, I haven't found a way to capitalize off of it. And the older I get, the faster technology evolves and the less drugs I do the shorter the gap usually is between me jotting down the "half-baked" idea and me seeing it on some store shelf somewhere or on Engadget.

I'm pretty sure I'm not a special case, either. It probably happens to lots of people.

If you've read Philip K. Dick's critically panned The Zap Gun, you probably know what I'm talking about.

I wouldn't mind seeing an independent but MeFi-inspired venture capital fund, though. But funds need managers and lawyers and accountants and accountability. And VC funding is - more often than not - evil. See also: Accountants and lawyers.
posted by loquacious at 4:07 AM on December 31, 2005

I still think there's merit to Paris' plan. There have been discussions for years over putting together some kind of fund, or scholarship. While we can scour Projects for worthy candidates, there are situations where a fund of some kind could be useful (including member's dire emergencies). I hate the baby/bathwater phrase, but she's got a good idea than is worthy of tossing around (I like the idea of tossing babies better).
posted by moonbird at 5:42 AM on December 31, 2005

I also like the idea of a fund for MeFites' projects, with or without Matt's blessing.
posted by spaghetti at 6:38 AM on December 31, 2005

Yeah... this week, the one we're in right now, is actually the most productive hacker week of the year. All across the world, nerds, sitting home from work/bored and bored out of their minds by family, are steadily working away on projects. Next week should mark the unveiling of a buncha new stuff.

Really, it's not like getting web projects off the ground and functional is that money-intensive, for the most part. (And for the things that are, presumably one would want a professional investor group which can provide additional resources.) I mean, what would we be talking about here? Paying people's hosting? Seems kinda silly to have a board and officers and all these layers of people just to do something like that. Whenever $$$ is on the line, people tend to be a lot weirder...

'Course, as a MeFi projects contributor, feel free to give me money. I hope to have something new and actually useful for ya'll in short order
posted by ph00dz at 7:18 AM on December 31, 2005

Like I said, I totally understand the worries about getting money involved, in particular attracting scammers. As much as I wanted to see IronLizard helped (although actually I didn't see his initial ask) I worry about attracting other U.N Owen types if that becomes the norm.

Maybe rather then a VC fund we could have a generalized grant-giving fund. That way people who gave money would understand that it's just a gift, a donation. But still, if you give someone money that's going to make some money, it'd be nice to get some back.

As far as the board of directors goes, I think it would be difficult to consult every member on every decision. I certainly didn't think it would be an easy thing to do, but I think it could help create some really interesting things.

Many of which have come to fruition. Years later. By other people - usually implemented by hugetastic megacorps.

I've had the same experience, and this would be a way that -- if not getting people into the position of the hugetastic megacorp -- at least being able get hosting and hook up with some other developers who think the idea is cool.

And yes, I'm mostly just thinking about hosting costs, maybe a small advertising budget if it gets implemented, that sort of thing.

Maybe someday, I guess.
posted by Paris Hilton at 10:52 AM on December 31, 2005

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