Fair points, and I certainly wouldn’t begrudge anyone their $3Bn for their amazing idea, blood sweat and tears of prototype and first gen creation, nor am I trying to prescribe a way that something like Kickstarter should work. And “sell-out” was probably unnecessarily antagonistic. I do sympathize with a donator who doesn’t get a good taste in their mouth from this turn of events.
It is difficult, in some ways, to separate the creator from the creation I think, when the request for donations is so personal as in a platform like kickstarter. Creators often make very personal pleas starring in their own videos, and making themselves and their ethos part of the product. Beyond this Pollyanna view, there is also just the very real and business-critical connection between product reputation and company reputation. If not, “locally sourced”, “family owned” and other such oversimplifications wouldn’t function properly as advertising.
I don’t think that the expectation that a company will retain ownership of their creation is necessarily “tying them up” from the next great project, ownership of a product can be a beautiful long term commitment. This view of product development also treats a product as if it is a dead object with no further development potential. This could hardly be further from the truth, especially in the realm of emerging technologies. Donating to a new product on Kickstarter can be looked at as donating to the birth, but also the future of that product in the hands of it’s loving creator. Selling it off to a company like Facebook, to me, feels like an end, rather than a beginning, at least of it’s potential as a unique and original project.
I also think that other kinds of relationships can form around manufacturing and distribution. I certainly don’t think the Oculus team has to hand solder every unit by hand, and sell them like Girl Scout Cookies. In the end though, I’m not trying to moralize about the Oculus team’s decision, but I can sympathize with those who had a subtly different hope about the nature of a Kickstarter project.