Earlier this year, I saw the newest crowdfunding platform, CrowdTilt, pitch at YC Alumni Demo Day.  Their unique angle was that they help you raise money among friends or groups for anything.  Want to rent a row of cabins for snowboarding?  Setup a page, see if you hit the goal among your friends.  If you don’t, nobody pays.  They don’t have the “project” or product restrictions that Kickstarter has, and that was cool to me.

I remember thinking that I wanted to use CrowdTilt to put on some no-risk events, like a booze cruise or weekend in Vegas with my friends.  But alas, inspiration never hit me, until…

Last week, one of my Top 3 favorite bands of all times, one that had broken up over 10 years ago and only recently reunited to record a new album, announced that they would have a record release show October 19th in their hometown of Long Island, New York.

Anyone that knows me knows that I am a die hard fan of hardcore legends Vision of Disorder.  When they self-released their album single earlier this year and we secured it for streaming on Earbits, I wrote a love story that rivaled Romeo and Juliet, declaring that it was perhaps the biggest personal victory in my history with Earbits.

Now, after a decade of believing I may have attended my last VOD concert, they would be blowing up the stage in the city where it all began, where I had always wanted to see them.  I emailed one of my best friends and Earbits biz dev manager, Randy Gossenheimer III (that’s not really his last name, nor is he a III).

“We have to go,” I told him.

But Joey, You’re Broke

The reality is, this is startup life.  Randy and I get paid shit.  We all do.  There is no way we could afford to go all the way to New York, not with a clear conscience anyway.

And then it hit me.

Late that evening, I created a CrowdTilt page

Make Joey the Happiest Person on Earth – Send Me and Randy to New York

It was mind-blowingly simple to do.  Seriously flawless user experience.  Within minutes, I hit publish.

I donated $25 of my own to get the campaign started and posted my plea to Facebook.  October is the month of my birthday, so I told people it would be the best present I could hope for.  My goal: $800 for 2 flights and concert tickets.

Out of excitement, I emailed the founders of CrowdTilt to let them know that I was finally trying the service.  Moments later, I had my first small backer – James, the founder of CrowdTilt.

Just 2 minutes after, one of my friends donated $100.  He said he knew me well enough to know that this was the happiest he could make any person with just $100.  Unbelievable.

Then Randy put in his $25.  We went to sleep $175 closer to our dream concert, but really with little expectations of hitting our goal.

Crowdfunding, or Begging?

I’m not going to lie.  I woke up, rubbed my eyes, and thought, “Did I just publicly beg for money on Facebook?  That might not be okay.”

But in my inbox was an email from Randy.  “Yeah, guess I better get ready to go to NY!”

Our CrowdTilt campaign was now at $475.  One of my friends from New York had donated $300 to the fund.  $300 fucking dollars for no reason except to make me happy, and get a visit out of the deal.

I juiced the campaign by thanking my donors in a new post on Facebook.  Within 30 minutes my aunt donated, then a cousin.  Another YC alum jumped in.  Then another aunt.  Then my mother.

BOOM

In less than 18 hours, not even 24 from the moment I knew that one of my all-time favorite bands would play a huge show in their hometown of Strong Fucking Island, I had airfare, tickets, and dinner for whoever’s couch I would sleep on covered in full from my friends and family.  It was unreal.

Perhaps the funniest part, summing up my experience with CrowdTilt and how I ultimately felt about the experience, was this Facebook comment from my NorCal friend.

And so, that is the story of how I became the happiest person on Earth, thanks to the best friends and family a guy could hope for, and CrowdTilt.  And how, on October 19th, after a near decade-long hiatus, I will be seeing Vision of Disorder in their hometown of Long Island.

The only remaining question is, do you think my mother and aunts would have still donated if they knew that the VOD show one month ago was ended abruptly when the ex-bass player of the Cro-mags stabbed and bit 2 people?

Ah, who cares?  We’re going to New Fucking York!!

 

Joey Flores
CEO, earbits.com
[email protected]
Listen at www.earbits.com
Connect with us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/earbits
Listen on iPhone: itunes.apple.com/us/app/earbits-radio/id397894402
Twitter: @earbits

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