When The Power Of Myth Meets The Myth Of Power
by Joe Mandese, Mar 10, 2013, 2:50 PM
Listening to Slava Rubin, CEO and Co-Founder of crowd-funding platform Indiegogo explain the roots of start-up funding success today at SXSW Interactive, I thought for a while that I was listening to late American writer and mythologist Joseph Campbell. That’s because Rubin spent much of his time talking about using the power of myth to challenge the myths of power. Oddly, he used lots of facts to do it, citing a plethora of numbers mined by data scientists on what works and what doesn’t for start-ups raising funds online.
That said, Rubin told SXSW attendees that it’s really about the stories they tell others, and that they tell themselves.
“We’re going to talk about exploring your myth,” Rubin said upon setting up his talk, entitled “Go Fund Yourself.”
“To fund yourself, you have to go out and identify your own truth,” he said, then proceeded to show a clip of a film funded by Indiegogo.com. The film featured a director in Singapore, tied to a chair and being beaten mercilessly by thugs trying to collect money from him. Before it got too gnarly, the director convinced his captors that he could raise the $20,000 he needed to pay them off by using the crowd-funding platform, and then pitched them on the idea for a film (The Body) he would produce with those funds.
Rubin’s point was that The Body’s director created a funding-worthy myth (what others might call a narrative or a story) that successfully convinced online users to fund it.
He then spent the next 50 minutes or so pitching the merits of Indiegogo including examples of projects funded by it, and best practices for using it.
He wrapped up his presentation by dispelling one last myth: “That your mother will never understand what you do.”
Rubin said it took years for his mom to finally get it, but when she did, it was an amazing personal epiphany.
After graduating from Wharton with lots of student loan debt and leaving the corporate world for a start-up she didn’t understand, Rubin said the mother of light bulb moments happened last summer when his mother told him about a story she heard about a New York City woman who raised lots of money on the Internet to combating bullying. That’s when Rubin explained to her that the Internet site she used to raise the money was Indiegogo.