I’ve accepted a commission to write a story about the collapse of
the Zano drone project on Kickstarter, its largest project ever to
have been funded in Europe.
In itself, that’s hardly news. I’ve written a number of
investigative features in the past, and have covered crowdfunding
numerous times, too. Usually, I work for technology editors at
newspapers like The Guardian and The Economist, magazines like
Scientific American, IEEE Spectrum and MIT Technology Review, or
online publications like Backchannel and Quartz.
This time, however, I’ve been commissioned by Kickstarter itself.
The company wants to help the backers of this failed project get
the information they are entitled to under their agreement with
the project creator. They would like to uncover the story of Zano,
from its inception to the present, and decided that the best way
to do that was to hire a journalist. The primary audience for the
story is the 12,000+ backers of the project, although I will also
make the story publicly available once I’ve completed it, most
likely in the middle of January.
Fascinating — and I think admirable — move by Kickstarter.