The Pebble – where will the crowdfunding jobs be?

Closing the crowdfunding loop – the Pebble

We all know, don’t we, that the Pebble a watch for iPhone and Android has broken all crowdfunding records. At the time of this post the Pebble has over 68K backers donating over $10 million for an original $100,000 goal. A quick look at the first page of donors shows that they come from across the globe – the USA, UK, Israel, Canada, Singapore,  Switzerland, Australia, Spain, Sweden, Germany and the majority of these donors were backing other projects. The last donors are less diverse and the majority are not backing other projects.

It’s a fantastic innovative piece of technology that has captured the imagination of thousands across the globe who donated a minimum of $99.

This appears to show

  • how the tipping point works
  • that crowdfunding has reached many more people across the globe

It’s a fantastic achievement for Pebble and its creators and for crowdfunding

but … but ..

The latest update indicates that they are taking production out of the USA to China.

“Quick checkin from our boarding gate. Andrew (lead engineer), Steve (industrial designer) and I (Eric) are about to head off on a trip to China. We’re flying to Hong Kong, then crossing over into the Dongguan area. We’ll be checking in with the factories that are helping us bring Pebble to life”.

Human rights and working conditions in their Chinese factories have hit Disney, Wal-Mart and Apple recently. The report into Apple factories – one of the largest ever conducted of a US company’s operations abroad – found employees often worked more than 60 hours a week and sometimes for seven days running without the required day off. Other violations included unpaid overtime and health and safety risks.

criwdfunding china

See articles from the BBC, Guardian, War on Want, Financial Times on the migrant workers who are fueling China’s industrial boom and providing cheap labour and their struggle for fair employment conditions.

Maybe the Pebble designers are only after the money – producing the watches as cheaply as possible and not minding issues such as democracy and working conditions. Maybe all the donors were after was another gadget – THE gadget indeed and were not bothered about where the watches are manufactured. No-one has bothered about all the other consumer items .. gadgets … toys … clothes … computers have they?

It’s not just about human rights though but about jobs and community

OK Pebble were only expecting funding to cover 1000 watches and now 85,000 are pre-sold. There’s capacity and scale – and China is can knock out huge orders by their huge workforce in their huge factories. What’s the hurry? The campaign promised the watches by September. Would donors care if they were told that there a was a delay as they  were manufacturing in country – building the capacity of a recession hit area maybe? Good P.R. Justifying the recent Jobs Act in that crowdfunding would regenerate the economy.

The Jobs Act is designed to release young companies from some of the regulatory burdens they face in the US – thereby helping them to raise equity capital more easily. The theory is that more capital will lead to more business activity and jobs will follow. In this instance the manufacture of the Pebble in country would have created jobs.

It can be done see this article on a British company in the Huffington Post article on how to bring jobs back.

from lipservice to action

Close the loop


Join me on an introduction to crowdfunding workshop

Middlesbrough 14 June  10.00 15.30

Workshop in partnership with Funding Information North East and Middlesbrough Voluntary Development Agency

Central Middlesbrough venue

Rochdale 26 June 09.30-13.00

Workshop in partnership with CVS Rochdale

Venue: CVS Rochdale, Partnership House, Sparrow Hill, Rochdale OL16 1QT

Crewe 3 July  10.00 – 15.30

Workshop in partnership with CVS Cheshire East

Venue:The Exercise Studio, Belong, Brookhouse Drive, Crewe

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