A well-off, very successful, and very well-known science fiction novelist raising $500,000 to build a video game engine seems very far from the high-flying promises of the crowdfunding world. After all, [Neal] Stephenson could easily pay for this out of pocket or get a bank to loan him the money. He’s the reverse of someone who needs access to the democratic power of social finance. And yet realistically, it’s almost the ideal crowfunding pitch. Who better to raise funds on this basis than someone who’s already famous? It just so happens that “famous” and “already has a lot of money” are often pretty closely correlated.

Kickstarter: Where Celebrities Can Go To Get Money They Don’t Need. I agree with Yglesias 100% here. There is no way in the world I am going to contribute to a Kickstarter project for someone who either has the money already and doesn’t want to spend it, or has a hundred other ways to raise it. The whole purpose of Kickstarter, it seems to me, is to give a leg up to people who have no other means to bring a genuinely exciting idea to fruition.