The Notman House Project

0 work  |   October 24, 2012  |     741

First this is purely and entirely my own opinion.

If you go over to the project’s website, you get this little summary:
Built in 1845, Notman House is a historic landmark property located at the intersection of Montreal’s downtown core and creative Plateau neighborhood. It has, thanks to the community’s role, become a beacon to entrepreneurship, open collaboration and peer-to-peer learning. Currently, Notman House offers short-term office space for early stage technology Startups, office space for venture investors and entrepreneurial support organizations, a co-working space for freelancers, and an event space for Startup and tech community events.

And before that, you get a clear overview of who put money into the project. Those are private firms, investment bodies, and different levels of government. This project is, clearly, backed by all powers that be.

Why isn’t it picking up steam?
I bet some people are scratching their heads right now trying to understand why it hasn’t picked up more steam. I mean they did everything they had to do right?

  • They created a nice video,
  • They were very transparent about the state of things
  • They managed to get a bunch of money from well established investors / public bodies
  • They got plenty of press coverage (la presse, le devoir, to name just 2), everyone in montreal knows about the project I am sure
  • And following well known statistics, you got a big push on the first day because it is known that projects which reach a certain threshold on the first day have a much better success rate.

Technically all the elements are there. But they overlooked something very fundamental in the process. It is so fundamental that even the name of the platform they chose contains the exact reason why it isn’t picking up steam. And what is that?

The motivation to participate to CrowdSourcing Projects

“Indie”. Why does it matter? Well, you have to look at what people get out of helping “Indie” projects. They feel like they are making a difference, helping a creation come to life. In their every day life they have very little power, everything is already decided for them. They basically choose between Tide or Arctic Power; Levis or Diesel, Colgate or Arm & Hammer. And then they associate their identity with those decisions, this helps them define who they are. In fact, 99,999% of human beings have no idea “who they are” if you strip then down naked of their titles, diplomas, friends, car, house, social status.

This, therefore is the driving force behind CrowdSourcing. It enables people to define themselves by helping an underdog project of creativity to life. They feel powerful, they feel like they actually did something that matters, something that helps them stand out. Hence the importance of “Indie” in “IndieGoGo”.

By now you probably get where I am going, but just for the sake of this exercise, I will follow through.

The Notman House Project

  1. Let us ask the question as to why was the Notman House project created: it was created to foster a better entrepreneurial ecosystem, which in turn will happen mainly to allow investors around this community to get better opportunities.
  2. You already have 89% percent of the funds raised. How are you supposed to give the individual any illusion of power or help him bring his feeling of identity to the surface?
  3. For most of us, normal people, it really just feels like giving money to the people who already have plenty of it. Why couldn’t you raise the extra 11% yourself? It is, after all, for your own benefit!
  4. Fourth, some people have put money into it; but for them it is an investment. They seek visibility. Or they want to brown nose the established powers.

So instead of appealing to people and how they need their help, maybe they should try to sell the fact that they get coverage a bit more. Because, in the end, those are the people putting money into the project. Not the common folk, not someone who ‘believes’ in the vision. But the people who can benefit from it.

Because to me, putting the Notman House project on IndieGoGo is like showing a girl with beard at the strippers. A girl with a beard is great at the circus, but not at the strippers. No matter how you groom her, play with her, change her clothes; doesn’t change anything. The fundamentals are wrong. Plain wrong.

Good luck.


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