When The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman first used Indiegogo, his campaign raised $220,000 in two weeks. With his second campaign, “Let’s Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum,” he has raised four times that in less than a week, smashing through his original goal of $850,000. In doing so, over 20,000 people unlocked a matching grant from the state of New York for $850,000 to buy physicist and inventor Nikola Tesla’s old laboratory and turn it into a museum.
How does someone eclipse three-quarters of a million dollars in that little time? It’s not something that can be simply attributed to virality or humor — it’s a clear sign of networks of people around the world being brought together to act quickly on an idea, project, or cause that they care about. Communities like Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and The Oatmeal’s fans and social networks were connected through the global platform of Indiegogo — enabling “geeks” from 102 countries to spread the word, unite through a shared passion, and bring Nikola Tesla out of underdog obscurity.
The people who contributed and continue to contribute to this campaign are becoming a part of history by creating something in the name of history. Nikola Tesla, a hero of unsung heroes, was exactly the kind of person who could have benefited from the empowerment, voice, and audience that global crowdfunding provides. His causes and creations, Matthew Inman would call them “geeky,” can now reach a larger audience than ever before.
Through his Indiegogo campaign, Matthew Inman is helping write a chapter in Tesla’s biography that had yet to be written. And over 20,000 people are helping him do it.
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