If you’re unfamiliar with Nikola Tesla, he was a total lunatic who also happened to be a scientific genius. Among the things he invented or refined that actually worked were AC power — which I used to write this and you’re using to read this — the foundations of radio, which you probably used to bring up this webpage, and a lot of other practical work.
Matthew “The Oatmeal” Inman is a bit of an adoring fan of Tesla, to the point where he got into a full-on Internet Argument with Forbes that reads a bit like an angry fanboy when Forbes dared to criticize his loving comic about how awesome Tesla was. Yeah, he’s getting to that point where he starts to rail and mistakes it for being funny.
Nonetheless, he does occasionally summon his Tesla love for positive uses. Like buying the Wardenclyffe Tower and eventually turning it into a Tesla museum.
Inman’s goal was $850,000, which would be matched by the state of New York. After a six days of fundraising, donations surpassed $880,000. (That’s as of Tuesday afternoon.)
According to a Facebook status update: “Someone jumped in at the last minute and donated $33,333. WE JUST HIT OUR GOAL: $873,169! With the matching grant from NY state, this puts us at $1.7 million raised in 6 days!”
It’s worth noting this isn’t Inman’s idea. He’s just backing a non-profit that would like to build a Tesla museum, but first needs to get the land. The Wardenclyffe Tower was one of Tesla’s last projects, the idea being to transmit power and communications across vast distances. It was torn down, but the foundation and some of the building are still there.
The charity competing against somebody else for the property, an entity that, straight out of a bad comedy, wants to buy the land and build a retail business on it. Inman went to his fan base and had the $850,000 needed for a matching grant in a few days.
Crowdsouring: it’s a good thing.