On the subject of Oculus

The FT:

Kickstarter, where you can get a $2.4m early-stage investment in what would become a $2bn business in a year and a half, in return for 0.0 per cent equity.

10 thoughts on “On the subject of Oculus”

  1. So one company does exceptionally well and suddenly people are criticising Kickstarter, saying that the whole method which helps thousands of other small businesses is wrong?

    It’s the “investor”‘s fault not the company’s fault for being very lucky. If the invester wants to buy an early version for altrusitic reasons and not have any stake in the business, that’s their problem. There’s nothing to stop investors going direct and buying shares in the startup/project.

  2. So Much for Subtlety

    Fools and their money. The first start ups might be sensible, but eventually everyone is going to figure out they can make a million this way and the system will collapse.

    Trust-based systems work well on the small scale among ethnically and culturally homogeneous populations – as among the virtually entirely White male geeks of Silicon Valley. They don’t work well in more diverse environments.

  3. Well, yes. And, good.

    Kickstarter backers aren’t investors in the normal sense used in business. They don’t go into it with expectations of financial reward and they don’t lose money if the kickstarter doesn’t meet its target. And no, it isn’t some kind of scam being perpetrated on Kickstarterers.

    The people who gave Oculus their money wanted a virtual reality headset, and that’s what they got.

    A lot of the backers are upset that Oculus sold out to Facebook. They’re wrong to be upset, this is great news for VR. Oculus was a small startup that had never released a product apart from their two developer kits which appealed to a small subset of hardcore geeks. They were going to need far deeper pockets to turn this into a mass market consumer product.

    Thanks to creepy yet cash-flush Facebook, they now have a strong chance of scaling out of the hobbyist space and getting their product out there in enough quantity and with enough marketing behind it to create a mass market Virtual Reality platform.

    I’m a geek and I’ve been dreaming of virtual reality for more than 20 years. I thrilled at the crude 3d graphics of Pteradactyl Nightmare and Craig Charles’ Cyberzone. I badly wanted a Virtual Boy. I even paid good money to see Lawnmower Man.

    Thanks to Oculus, Facebook, and Sony, it now looks like my lifelong dream of neglecting the wife and kids while I’m immersed in a 3D digital fantasy world is about to become an affordable reality.

    I, for one, can’t wait till they port Jet Set Willy to the Rift.

  4. Steve is correct.

    Kickstarter, and other crowd-funding sites are forbidden by US law (I think it’s the SEC) from selling profit-sharing shares in ventures. They’re terrified of people losing their money in unregulated crowd-funding ventures.

    What you pay simply buys a product or service. Nothing more.

    There are talks underway I believe to legalise crowd-investing of venture capital. But I don’t know how that’s going. Nanny state being all nervy about lack of control as usual.

  5. This echoes Tim’s point about corporate tax. The benefit of Google is not that it contributes $Xbn in tax, but that people can search the internet quickly and easily.
    The benefit of Oculus Rift is that game/tech enthusiasts get to play with a cool new piece of kit. It doesn’t matter if they sell out to Facebook, as long as the kit still gets released.

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Interested – “there are quite a few ‘yellow’ and ‘brown’ geeks in Silicon Valley.”

    There should be. And there are some. Yahoo for instance. But the “brown” ones are largely cheap labour brought in by the Tech companies who have been conspiring to keep wages down for their employees. Can you think of a start up in Silicon Valley started by someone of South Asian origin?

    Matthew L – “I’m impressed SMFS managed to squeeze some racism into this topic, that’s a capital effort.”

    Thank you. I was going to go for a little casual homophobia too but I thought I would save that for later.

    Silicon Valley is under enormous pressure by people more obsessed with race than me. They are being forced to increase “diversity” even though there are plenty of good reasons to think diversity reduces creativity. So I tell you what, when they stop, I will stop too. Not that I mentioned race.

    Especially as these sort of systems do work exactly as I said – under conditions of cultural homogeneity.

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