Group success

Need some cash? Try Web-based fundraising with the craigslist.org of free exchange.

On Christmas Eve, 16-year-old David Michael Lee (a/k/a Dave the White Asian) bought his "dream vehicle"—a midnight-blue 2002 Subaru WRX. Over the following three days, Lee bounced the Subaru off a parked car, got three traffic tickets, and racked up over $3,000 in related fines and expenses. Had he grown up in earlier times, Lee might have taken these events as a sign of his unreadiness for the rigors of automobile ownership and sold the car to cut his losses. But being a 21st-century boy, Lee knew of a magical place called the Internet, where no folly goes uncelebrated and the most improbable of causes find champions. More precisely, he knew of a site called Fundable, where friends, fellow travelers, and/or perfect strangers can sign up to pool their money toward a common goal. Which is why it's now possible for you—yes, you—to "Save Dave the White Asian From Certain Financial Doom!!!!" by contributing a minimum of $30 to his Fundable account, disbursable only if contributions total at least $1,000 by February 12—and returned to you untouched if they don't.
David Michael Lee seeks at least $1,000.
photo: courtesy of Fundable
David Michael Lee seeks at least $1,000.

Of course, you might prefer to contribute to almost any of the other causes that tend to turn up on Fundable: plainly worthy goals like schoolhouses for Kenyan villages, computer upgrades for artist collectives, ambitious improvements to open-source software applications. But Dave the White Asian's campaign speaks more eloquently, in the end, to what makes Fundable part of a watershed in contemporary economic history. Like eBay, craigslist.org, and other open online exchanges, Fundable chips away at the role of corporate-size intermediaries, nudging commerce—the exchange not only of money and goods but of ideas and sentiments—back toward its highly personal roots. And as a frank plea to be let off the hook for his own dumbass behavior, well, Lee's version of fundraising is about as personal as it gets.

 
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