Dear New Rash of Crowdsource Cheerleaders (caution from a sympathetic voice urged):
I applaud your wanting to take a step toward breaking the power dynamic corporations exert over people. But if that is your purpose then I believe encouraging the use of crowdsource platforms (Patreon being one example though I am not singling them out—there are others) without disclosing the intricacies to your base of fans is not ideal. I am sorry, it just isn't. Not to my mind.
Many, if not most, of these startup platforms are funded by professional money... that reality makes them very much a part of the capitalist machine. These enterprises may not be the main hallway of capitalist power you suggest you are trying to avoid but professional money managers aren't mere broom closets located in the Grand House of Capitalism either. An enterprise backed by professional money is often trying to grow profitable and BIG (aka scale) to IPO (become a publicly traded co) or is looking to get sold to (guess who?) a big corporation. Often these startups get sold at ridiculous valuations and because of this economic fact the purchaser (that big ol' bad corporation you claim to be fighting) winds up having to change the pricing/subscription/etc fees for use or service. If you cheerlead and people buy-in and don't recognize or understand the implications then you are helping set them up to be taken down by a key part of the capitalist game—the IPO or the corporate takeout—down the road. You are playing the game, whether you realize it or not or want to admit it or not.
This missive isn't meant to discourage you... maybe just pause... and consider. Do what you want, obviously. If you are sincerely familiar with how startups navigate through the capitalist system then ignore this short opinion piece. But you best be intimately familiar. This little blurb is meant to open eyes and minds of folks who aren't familiar with how the game is played, who have not had the displeasure of seeing how these cycles and deals work out and how they impact the broader system and the participants—you and me and everyone, and so many of them/us struggling. I have seen the nasty. (In another life I played parts in M&A, strategy & corporate finance.) Often today's 'We're Sticking It to the Man via THIS (shiny new thing)' is tomorrow's 'The Professional Money Guys Have Sold Out and the New Buyers Have to Find a Way to Make the Deal Make Economic Sense Now And Oh Shit We Kinda Did This To Ourselves But It's Easier to Blame it on a Corporation or The System Rather Than Admit to Ourselves We Knew All Along These Guys Were Going to Sell Out.' This phenomenon happens, I think, because people don't pay attention or are unaware of the intricacies of commerce and the stretch of capitalist tendrils. (That shit is legion... and, like, Lovecraftian, yo!)
If you are truly committed to altering the system—of changing the game—I urge against unrestrained and unchecked cheerleading of anything backed by professional money (here, I repeat intentionally) because, again, you're fooling yourself if you think these companies aren't a part of the system you state you're trying to sidestep. So, caution. Or, better yet, because there is always hope, creativity...
When y'all start recognizing there are opportunities for coders and marketing folks and bean counters and warehouse workers and painters and writers and gardeners and effective managers of people that don't lead for ego and all the other worker-bee types driven by their desire and interest and skill to bring what they got and who they are to the same table and when y'all are ready to build platforms cooperatively with shared ownership across these strata—not funded by professional money men and women, many of them wealthier than God already—dedicated to building a lasting platform or enterprise not having as its sole purpose either going public (IPO) or selling to an existing corporation, know I will then stand alongside you. And I will be cheering louder than the most boisterous among you.
(last edit 27-Nov-2018)
reminder: stuff posted on site is evergreen and changing. it's alive, yo!
As an aside I performed a bit of quick research. (And I do mean quick; it took me only about a minute to learn the following.) Thrive Capital is an investor in Patreon. Thrive Capital, founded by Joshua Kushner. I could go on but I will let readers confirm this to their own satisfaction—who knows, I could be wrong but I don't think I am—and allow them to draw their own conclusions. Note, I will laugh my ass off when the folks bemoaning capitalism end up pumping up an investment that makes a Kushner family member even more wealthy. But y'all seem to know what you're doing, or at least are good at pretending. Who knows, though, maybe I am just a dumb hick living out in Kansas.
Author's Note: I busk online, for tips and grins. Tipping is always appreciated. Here's where you can. Thanks!