Crowdfunding is popular with all the kids these days, so why shouldn’t it have its own blog? Analyst Ross Rubin has done just that by creating BackerJack, a website dedicated to curating cool crowdfunded projects. Rubin, who is an Engadget and TechCrunch columnist, works at Reticle Research covering tech and mobile but his real love is sending in two hundred dollars to random people on the Internet and hoping they send him back a smartwatch.
The site is still in its infancy but he has already gone through a number of cool projects and is happy to take suggestions for other projects to write up. Given his extensive experience in tech and reporting, he knows of what he speaks.
I took a moment to ask Ross a few questions about his new site and whether he thought at all about the implications of giving his site a name that sounds surprisingly similar to a breed of mutated hornets in a children’s book.
TC: Why did you start the site?
Ross Rubin: As an analyst, I’ve long had an interest in how innovative products come to market. There are many sites that do a great job of covering crowdfunded projects in terms of how they fit into whatever else they cover, but I didn’t see a real home for coverage of crowdfunded products with attention to the unique issues they all share. That’s what I’m shooting for with BackerJack.
TC: Why crowdfunding?
RR: It’s not about crowdfunding per se. We’ve seen crowdfunding applied to many different things — charities, social causes, artistic expression and increasingly business equity. But BackerJack is focused on the intersection of crowdfunding and product development. Right now we’re focused on current campaigns, but the site’s mission stretches from concept through purchase and into usage.
TC: The name sounds like Tracker Jacker. Are you Katniss?
RR: Never saw the movie, but I bet it would be good with a big box of Cracker Jack, a delicious blend of caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts that is a registered trademark of Frito-Lay.
TC: What is your favorite crowdfunded project?
RR: It’s a pretty long tail after Mytro, but I’m typing this on a Brydge iPad keyboard that was crowdfunded by Oona. Sam Gordon was the guy who got me hooked on crowdfunding. In terms of pure ambition, it might be Scanadu. It’s chasing science fiction.
TC: How many projects have you funded?
RR: It’s been well over 200. But nothing at the level where I’m flying to China to have a beer with the team.
TC: Are you going to crowdfund your crowdfunding blog through crowdfunding?
RR: I thought about it, but it was challenging coming up with rewards for a free site. Maybe we could have given away a coffee table book about coffee tables. But I can see features and extensions to BackerJack we might add that would actually be amenable to crowdfunding.