In a bid to capture the “make your dreams a reality” zeitgeist of Kickstarter, American Express launched a new venture Monday that gives average people funding for their hobbies. It goes by the Twitter-friendly name: #PassionProject. Hashtag included.
For the next six months, AmEx will give 10 people $2,000 to give their side projects wings.
AmEx VP of public affairs Elizabeth Crosta said that the idea was fueled by the nagging question of how people define success. Crosta noted that after conducting its LifeTwist study, AmEx found that 75% of Americans believe “passion projects and the idea of pursuing one’s passion is necessary to help live that fulfilled life.”
But there was another motivator as well.
“What inspired it is that we love Kickstarter,” Crosta told Business Insider. Almost everyone has a friend who’s done one. “But that mechanism would be quite a challenge for us to do.”
This is not a Kickstarter equivalent. There’s no crowdfunding element or a micro-site.
Rather, #PassionProject will live in already-existing social platforms, namely YouTube and Tumblr.
Thus far, AmEx posted videos from charity:water founder Scott Harrison and “Working Class Foodies” creator Rebecca Lando on its YouTube channel explaining how they gained success from their side projects.
But right below the how-to videos — which will be updated regularly — consumers can send a message explaining what their passion project is and why it’s important. In 120 characters or less. (It isn’t 140 because the #PassionProject tag is put on the end.)
“When you hit submit, it offers three sharing buttons,” Crosta said.
The Tumblr component will launch in a few weeks and will feature bloggers explaining how Ameri! can Expr ess can help consumers pursue their passion projects.
“If your passion is to take kids on an American road trip for the summer, one thing we could offer is Starwood [hotel] points,” Crosta explained.
AmEx worked with Digitas on the YouTube experience. Ogilvy is helming the Tumblr component.
Last year, Americans spent $10.7 trillion shopping.
With that much dough, you could buy over 2,000 aircraft carriers, 300 private islands, and still have money left over for a latte.
Here’s a taste of the things we bought—and how much we spent on them.
Beer: $96 billion—enough to make 199,937,239 barrels! (Brewers Association)
Pretzels: $550 million (Reuters)
Bottled Water: $11 billion (Beverage Marketing Corp.)
Google has just snapped up BufferBox, a Waterloo, Ontario-based startup that offers temporary lockers for online purchases much like the ones recently deployed by Amazon. Instead of 7-Elevens and RadioShacks however, the relatively young startup has only just started a deal to install parcel kiosks in Canada’s Metrolinx GO Transit stations. The Mountain View company hopes to keep BufferBox alive through the acquisition, with plans for 100 kiosks in Greater Toronto and Hamilton in the next year. Of course, we can’t help but think this could all be part of Google’s master plan for a rumored same-day delivery service that might make Amazon a touch nervous. Hopefully this means future Nexus deliveries will be a just little faster, eh?
The way shoppers search for coupons is changing. While the days of tearing apart the Sunday paper for coupons haven’t passed just yet, we are seeing a lot more people switch to their smartphones to look for deals.
To help with the growing demand for mobile coupons, Coupon Cabin just launched an all new app that lets users search for coupons by category for hundreds of online retailers.
Check out the graphic from Coupon Cabin below for more facts about our mobile coupon habits:
Last week, The Daily reported that Kanye West‘s charity spent more than a half-million dollars in 2010—but none of that money went to actual charitable causes.
After analyzing federal tax filings, the iPad newspaper found that in 2010, the Kanye West Foundation had expenditures totaling $572,383, but the majority of that went to employee salaries and other overhead expenses.
The charity didn’t even donate a single cent to an actual charity that year. And now, West’s foundation is in the process of being dissolved.
Since it’s easy to get bogged down in the numbers, Statista took The Daily’s findings and compiled information from the foundation’s tax filings to create the below infographic explaining where Kanye West’s money went and what happened to his so-called charity foundation. Complete with West’s stunner shades, obviously.
Take a look below.
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This morning, news broke that the Greeks had a reform deal. The Euro shot up on the news.
But if you were on twitter, you could have profited early.
Trader @pawelmorski just posted this annotated chart.
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Need a Cake bakery owner Rachel Brown decided to put up a 75% discount on a dozen cupcakes on the site, which dropped the price down to $10 from $40.
Apparently, people really love getting cupcakes cheap, because she was rushed by throngs of customers in a cupcake frenzy. 8,500 people signed up, and her crew of eight had to make 102,000 cupcakes to meet the orders.
Brown lost $3 per batch because she had to hire 25 extra workers to help, and she ended up losing $20,000 because of it, which a ton for a small biz. It wiped out her profits for the year, reports the Daily Mail.
“Without doubt, it was my worst ever business decision,” she told the BBC. “We had thousands of orders pouring in that really we hadn’t expected to have. A much larger company would have difficulty coping.”
This is just the latest in Groupon small business horror stories. A story popped up in September about a Portland cafe losing $8,000 because of a Groupon, which prompted a personal letter from founder and CEO Andrew Mason.
It brings up the always-present question about the daily deals site: does Groupon suck for small businesses?
Well, it looks like most small businesses think so. An overwhelming majority of 70% hate Groupon, if the latest survey from iContact is to be believed.
As for Brown and her bakery, the experience may have cost her 20 grand, but what about all the exposure she’s getting for her store? Great, right? It doesn’t hurt, but it probably wasn’t worth the cost.
Small businesses like this bakery thrive on relationships with their local customers, not crowds of outsiders coming in to snatch up a free lunch.
Getting new customers is great, but in this case, the bakery rewarded the wrong customers. Those 8,500 people that rushed for the Groupon probably won’t be coming back to pay for the same cupcakes at quadruple the price.
Only those the store has nurtured relationships with for a long time (in Brown’s case, 25 years), should be the ones rewarded. They’re the ones that keep coming back for more.
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Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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