Kickstarter and the "Long Tail"

Recently, health care bureau chief Max Macaluso sat down with Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner to talk about the fears that some investors face when analyzing stocks in complex industries. During their conversation, David offered his thoughts on Kickstarter's unique platform.

The full version of the interview can be seen here, and a full transcript follows the video.

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Max Macaluso: You mentioned Kickstarter. Do you have any thoughts on Kickstarter and what it can do for the average investor?

David Gardner: I think Kickstarter's great. Like a lot of other great things on the Internet, it was kind of obvious, really. Somebody had to build it, and if it hadn't been Kickstarter it would have been Macaluso.com -- or Gardner.com, even better -- but unfortunately neither one of us got out there and started it.

But somebody had to start it, because a portal where people with ideas could be funded by people who had capital, and relationships could spring up, and that would disintermediate, disrupt, the venture cap industry -- which is a fine industry, and doesn't really deserve any kind of nasty disruption in the way that people want to see Comcast disrupted -- nobody's saying that about venture cap, because it's been a great industry. It's funded all these great companies, like Facebook and Twitter and all the rest.

But that had to happen. It democratizes venture cap, and it gets the long tail of possible products and services that could never have existed 30 years ago, because 30 years it was about whatever's in the shop window, whatever's up front, the endcap at Barnes & Noble, the one book they can promote, or the five books they can promote.

These days there's an incredible proliferation of opportunities and stuff you can buy, and Kickstarter also shows that off.

Some of us have probably read The Long Tail book. I actually have not read The Long Tail book, but I know a lot about the long tail. If you know that phrase, then you're going to get what I'm about to say. If you don't, you should Google it and familiarize yourself with it, because it's a good concept.

Basically, Kickstarter has made the long tail flop out of the water -- Loch Ness monster-like, "It has a tail!" as it turns out -- that wouldn't have happened if there weren't a thing like Kickstarter.

Kickstarter also has some problems, and there have been some epic fails and all the rest, that you'd expect from that as well. But net-net, I think Kickstarter's awesome. I really don't even know -- do you know anything about the company?

Macaluso: Not much.

Gardner: Do you know who the CEO of Kickstarter is?

Macaluso: I don't.

Gardner: No idea. Yeah, I know it's not a public company. But this is an example where I'm a mile wide and an inch deep. I like to know something about almost everything, but I haven't ever looked deeply at Kickstarter.

Macaluso: We should invite their CEO for an interview.

Gardner: I totally agree.

Macaluso: Yeah.

Gardner: Yeah.

Macaluso: If you're out there watching, please come.

David Gardner, thank you so much for taking the time. It's been a privilege. I have to say, I enjoy all the services here at The Motley Fool, but I follow Rule Breakers most closely.

Gardner: Well, thank you. We've got a lot of biotech, a lot of health care in Rule Breakers. We're going to have a lot more. Thank you for all your work, and for helping people throw away a little fear by leaning in and learning some more about a really complex but fascinating topic, which is the future of health care in all its many forms.

Macaluso: I agree. Thank you for watching, and visit us again at Fool.com.


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