While Kickstarter projects' delivery rate seems unreliable, it's significantly better than businesses that operate from venture funding. When investors take on new products or businesses, they are operating on the idea that maybe one in ten will be a big hit, a couple will be modest successes, and the rest will fail, Mollick tells Ars. In that light, the delivery rate of Kickstarter projects is significantly higher if any portion of the delayed projects end up delivering.
But unlike venture capitalists, backers on Kickstarter are not accustomed even to risk. They don’t (nor should they) see themselves as investors, betting on a spread of projects to soften their losses. For most backers, all that matters is whether the one project they believed in succeeds. This often leads to intense dissatisfaction. Disgruntled backers scrutinize any creator movements on social media that doesn’t have to do with advancing their promised product, and at worst come doxx or threaten project creators.
Not only is the rate of success for crowdfunding likely higher, but it may give realization opportunities to a much more diverse audience than traditional investment models. Statistics show again and again that most VC money goes overwhelmingly to men. Crowdfunding, by contrast, benefits female creators.
The energy storage density of batteries is the big limitation for aircraft, but a hybrid approach can be made to work in small aircraft. This one may be certified for general aviation use.
Siemens is providing two electric motors that each weigh less than 30 pounds but deliver 85 kw or 114 hp. The aircraft will use some 200 kg (440 pounds) of lithium ion batteries where the backseat would normally be, so it will be limited to two occupants. Dries says at typical cruise speeds of 110 to 120 knots, the airplane would have 10 hours of endurance, burning 6 to 7 liters (1.8 gallons) per hour. “Our first assumption, at the same speed, we have approximately 30 percent more efficiency; 30 percent less fuel at the same speed,” Dries said of the hybrid design.
“The main problem is always the batteries and not just the batteries by themselves, but also how to adjust the powerflow. If you have 200 lithium ion batteries, then a part of it is overheated or doesn’t work. You have to reduce the power from this part and still continue with the rest,” Dries said, adding that battery management and power control was the most challenging part of its first hybrid-drive project.
Electric power is common in model airplanes and small drones - motors are now achieving amazing power to weight performance. That combined with composite construction and sort of good enough batteries now allow one hour manned flights.
Completely electric airliners will require significant advances in energy storage and are decades out, but there are many directions electric flight can and will take along the way.
CubeSats are usually part of very inexpensive projects, launched with a large number of others or larger satellites. NASA is taking the concept further with two six unit spacecraft that will journey to Mars along with a lander. The Mars Cube One (MarCO) spacecraft won't orbit or land, but will just fly by offering a communication link and acting as a proof of concept.
Tim Chae, who runs 500 Kimchi, said that American investors have begun to think of Seoul as a sort of crystal ball. In it, they can glimpse a future where the most ambitious dreams of Silicon Valley — a cashless, carless, everything-on-demand society — have already been realized. Nearly all of Seoul’s residents use smartphones, and many of the services just now gaining in popularity in the United States have been commonplace in South Korea for years.
Much of this was made possible by two decades of enormous public investment. Seoul is blanketed with free Wi-Fi that offers the world’s fastest Internet speeds — twice as fast as the average American’s. Back in 1995, the government began a 10-year plan to build out the country’s broadband infrastructure and, through a series of public programs, to teach Koreans what they could do with it. South Korea also eased regulations on service providers to ensure that consumers would have a multitude of choices — in marked contrast to America, where a handful of cable and telecommunications monopolies dominate the market. Such healthy competition in Korea keeps the cost of access low.