Crowdtilt is a new way to pool funds for group experiences, purchases, and causes! Learn more.

The Great TechCrunch Flappy Bird Hunt

with Kim-Mai Cutler
This campaign will expire at
on .
To date
$5,706.01
Expired
Tilted at [?] $3,000
Target at $3,500
The Great TechCrunch Flappy Bird Hunt
Kim-Mai Cutler started the campaign

This is an experiment in Crowdtilted journalism. If this campaign tilts, I will go to Vietnam and track down Dong Nguyen to get the story of why he decided to pull the beloved game Flappy Bird from the app store.

Flappy Bird was an insanely addictive, insanely simple game that blew up a few weeks ago even though it had been sitting unnoticed in the app store for about a year. The game was an unlikely success from Nguyen, a single developer based out of Hanoi, Vietnam who started making $50,000 in revenues per day. (The per capita income in Vietnam is just shy of $1,800 per year so this is an unfathomably large amount of money.)

Suddenly, amid his monster success, Nguyen pulled his game from the store. He tweeted mysteriously, “I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird‘ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird‘ down. I cannot take this anymore.”

The app disappeared. I actually used to live in Hanoi many years ago, where Nguyen is based. What he did reminds of what a Buddhist teacher there once told me, “You will never own your belongings. They will always end up owning you.”

Indeed, Nguyen told a recent interviewer that he felt guilt over creating such an “addictive” product. Since he took it down, he says he’s been able to sleep better at night.

Anyway, the other weekend, Crowdtilt’s CEO James Beshara reached out to me and asked if I wanted to experiment with using the Crowdtilt platform for journalism. Beshara was inspired by what one of his investors, Marc Andreessen, had suggested about the future of the field. Andreessen specifically said that crowdfunding was a “GIGANTIC” opportunity for journalism.

So I said, sure, why not? I’ve been following the mobile gaming industry closely for many years for TechCrunch and I have a personal connection to Vietnam as I used to live there and my family emigrated from the country more than forty years ago. I also told him that I wanted to make sure that the campaign had a lot of backers, so there weren't any questions around integrity or ethics if only a handful of well-connected people ended up funding the project. 

Is it absurd that we are testing crowdfunded journalism through a hunt for the Flappy Bird maker?

Yes.

Would I investigate more “serious” things like the housing shortage and wealth inequality in San Francisco if you Crowdtilted that too?

Yes.

Actually, I’m already doing that on my own. I’ve spent the last several weeks privately meeting with many activist groups affiliated with the Google Bus protests, studying the arcane idiosyncrasies of San Francisco’s planning process and reading books on urban planning and the city’s historical fights over redevelopment from the 1960s onward.

But if you have other ideas related to the tech industry and we could fund them, I’d be willing to look into those too.

So why am I doing this?

I thought it was a cool idea. 

We know very little about why Nguyen pulled the app from the store. Is this really the story of someone that made millions and truly, altruistically, turned down the opportunity to make more? Or was there something else? And is this story over? Is Nguyen planning on bringing back Flappy Bird?

Then on another note, the world has changed a lot. My grandmother left Hanoi for Ho Chi Minh City in 1954 (60 years ago!) because she aligned herself with the U.S. backed government in the south. When she was alive, she told us stories about how the Viet Cong would take over nearby villages and publicly shame or execute people.

The history and the war are horrendously dark. But the things that are possible today -- that one lone game developer from Hanoi could create such a beloved global brand in weeks -- would have been unthinkable in my grandparents’ era.

When I lived in Vietnam eight years ago, about 70 percent of the people there were born after the war. The people of Vietnam are young, hopeful and despite a per capita income of $1,755, many of the friends I met there live far richer lives than some Americans do. I think there could be some interesting stories about emerging entrepreneurial or startup hubs in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. 

What about this budget?

I can be a pretty low-budget traveler. I once lived in Hanoi for $30 a month in rent for an entire fall when I was 21. I shared a single room with nine girls. I had no privacy, but parts of it were fun! Every day, I’d come home and everyone would be making each dinner on portable stoves.

It’s about $1,100 for a ticket to Vietnam. The remainder would go to housing and food costs. I also have some connections to local film-makers on the ground in Hanoi and I would want to budget anywhere from $500 to 1,000 to hire a local video producer. I also need to keep some money on reserve for purchasing prizes.  

Prizes

$100 - A TechCrunch T-shirt

$200 - A TechCrunch Moleskine notebook

$300 - I will bring you back a bottle of rice wine with preserved cobras or scorpions in it, a delicacy of Vietnam that is supposed to be good for your virility but is actually better for startling unsuspecting friends. (It doesn't taste bad. Really. I've had a bottle of a snake eating another snake on my kitchen counter for years.)

$500 - A lunch at TechCrunch's offices where we will down the Vietnamese virility-enhancing cobra wine mentioned above. (You will have to provide your own transportation to San Francisco, where I am based.)

read full description
The campaign has ended but the conversation hasn't! Post a comment below.
Success! Your comment has been posted and will be displayed shortly.

Campaign Description:

This is an experiment in Crowdtilted journalism. If this campaign tilts, I will go to Vietnam and track down Dong Nguyen to get the story of why he decided to pull the beloved game Flappy Bird from the app store.

Flappy Bird was an insanely addictive, insanely simple game that blew up a few weeks ago even though it had been sitting unnoticed in the app store for about a year. The game was an unlikely success from Nguyen, a single developer based out of Hanoi, Vietnam who started making $50,000 in revenues per day. (The per capita income in Vietnam is just shy of $1,800 per year so this is an unfathomably large amount of money.)

Suddenly, amid his monster success, Nguyen pulled his game from the store. He tweeted mysteriously, “I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird‘ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird‘ down. I cannot take this anymore.”

The app disappeared. I actually used to live in Hanoi many years ago, where Nguyen is based. What he did reminds of what a Buddhist teacher there once told me, “You will never own your belongings. They will always end up owning you.”

Indeed, Nguyen told a recent interviewer that he felt guilt over creating such an “addictive” product. Since he took it down, he says he’s been able to sleep better at night.

Anyway, the other weekend, Crowdtilt’s CEO James Beshara reached out to me and asked if I wanted to experiment with using the Crowdtilt platform for journalism. Beshara was inspired by what one of his investors, Marc Andreessen, had suggested about the future of the field. Andreessen specifically said that crowdfunding was a “GIGANTIC” opportunity for journalism.

So I said, sure, why not? I’ve been following the mobile gaming industry closely for many years for TechCrunch and I have a personal connection to Vietnam as I used to live there and my family emigrated from the country more than forty years ago. I also told him that I wanted to make sure that the campaign had a lot of backers, so there weren't any questions around integrity or ethics if only a handful of well-connected people ended up funding the project. 

Is it absurd that we are testing crowdfunded journalism through a hunt for the Flappy Bird maker?

Yes.

Would I investigate more “serious” things like the housing shortage and wealth inequality in San Francisco if you Crowdtilted that too?

Yes.

Actually, I’m already doing that on my own. I’ve spent the last several weeks privately meeting with many activist groups affiliated with the Google Bus protests, studying the arcane idiosyncrasies of San Francisco’s planning process and reading books on urban planning and the city’s historical fights over redevelopment from the 1960s onward.

But if you have other ideas related to the tech industry and we could fund them, I’d be willing to look into those too.

So why am I doing this?

I thought it was a cool idea. 

We know very little about why Nguyen pulled the app from the store. Is this really the story of someone that made millions and truly, altruistically, turned down the opportunity to make more? Or was there something else? And is this story over? Is Nguyen planning on bringing back Flappy Bird?

Then on another note, the world has changed a lot. My grandmother left Hanoi for Ho Chi Minh City in 1954 (60 years ago!) because she aligned herself with the U.S. backed government in the south. When she was alive, she told us stories about how the Viet Cong would take over nearby villages and publicly shame or execute people.

The history and the war are horrendously dark. But the things that are possible today -- that one lone game developer from Hanoi could create such a beloved global brand in weeks -- would have been unthinkable in my grandparents’ era.

When I lived in Vietnam eight years ago, about 70 percent of the people there were born after the war. The people of Vietnam are young, hopeful and despite a per capita income of $1,755, many of the friends I met there live far richer lives than some Americans do. I think there could be some interesting stories about emerging entrepreneurial or startup hubs in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. 

What about this budget?

I can be a pretty low-budget traveler. I once lived in Hanoi for $30 a month in rent for an entire fall when I was 21. I shared a single room with nine girls. I had no privacy, but parts of it were fun! Every day, I’d come home and everyone would be making each dinner on portable stoves.

It’s about $1,100 for a ticket to Vietnam. The remainder would go to housing and food costs. I also have some connections to local film-makers on the ground in Hanoi and I would want to budget anywhere from $500 to 1,000 to hire a local video producer. I also need to keep some money on reserve for purchasing prizes.  

Prizes

$100 - A TechCrunch T-shirt

$200 - A TechCrunch Moleskine notebook

$300 - I will bring you back a bottle of rice wine with preserved cobras or scorpions in it, a delicacy of Vietnam that is supposed to be good for your virility but is actually better for startling unsuspecting friends. (It doesn't taste bad. Really. I've had a bottle of a snake eating another snake on my kitchen counter for years.)

$500 - A lunch at TechCrunch's offices where we will down the Vietnamese virility-enhancing cobra wine mentioned above. (You will have to provide your own transportation to San Francisco, where I am based.)

 
Are you sure?
Are you sure?
Crowdtilt for iPhone!
Crowdtilt for iPhone!
Manage your campaign from anywhere.
Close
Close