This week I gave my fourth annual half-hour talk on crowdfunding to the Fresh Inc Festival, run by Melissa Snoza and the Fifth House Ensemble in Chicago. After all these years Melissa and I have still never been in the same place; one day we’ll have to fix that.

I like to post something about my talk to Fresh Inc.; either the text of the talk, or a brief run-down of the new things that I wrote, or that the students asked each year.

This year the students were once again more and more familiar with how crowdfunding works, and their questions were more about how crowdfunding fits into their lives than how many rewards to have, or whether to have a video.

I’ve also started to feel over the years just how short a half hour is. So instead of trying to impart a few concrete skills (that are extremely well documented online, and that the students largely have already), I talk about the why.

Fresh Inc isn’t the whole arts economy; it’s young artists from the classical music world who are coming into a world that their teachers are mostly simply unable to prepare them for. For all sorts of entreprenuership, including crowdfunding, I’m a big fan of ‘experiential learning’, and of the ‘reflective exercise’ in pedagogical jargon.

So I spent this year’s half hour doing everything I could to get the students to actually go out and get the experience. That did mean I talked a lot about fear. For a young artist, that’s an appropriate emotion. Hopefully in talking about the many reasons to be afraid, I helped those students to see that running a campaign (preferably on Kickstarter, who recently paid their first dividend), can help them learn how to fight back against the causes of fear about their careers.

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