Hacking and Entrepreneurship at Hack the Barbican

I went along to this talk at the Barbican in August as it sounded like it would be more than just of general interest. I’m a big fan of the music hack space and their events are always worth attending in my opinion.

The first part of the talk was from two projects that have been through (or almost through) the kickstarter process. The first was the OWL. The programmable pedal that’s come out of a collaboration in the hack space itself. The OWL is a great idea, in fact I was very tempted to jump in to fund it myself. So it was interesting to hear about how the project got off the ground and how a very small team made decisions about how to structure the product in a relatively short space of time.

The second talk was about the touch keys hardware, which I was aware of but not as familiar with as the OWL. Again, it was an interesting story with similarities around their experiences of running a kickstarter campaign.

However, the thing that both projects talked about was how the project wasn’t something that was going to make money for them. Rather it was a process of getting a product out because they were passionate about it. Whilst that was interesting it wasn’t perhaps the best message for the music hardware community. If you can’t take a great idea (like the OWL for instance) and make it into a real business then just how sustainable is it?

It opens up a lot of other questions about where crowdfunding should be heading and also about the nature of entrepreneurship, especially in music technology, which there just wasn’t time to answer in the session. But food for thought nevertheless and certainly something that needs to be addressed, and perhaps I can do that in another post or even series of posts.

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