With about a week and a half left of Brio's groveling campaign, let's examine some other angles. The concept of the project itself was addressed in our previous post here.
Apparently, Brio has scheduled this birth for a month out and publicized it heavily without doing a single thing to make it happen. They have no skin in this game (gee, there's a surprise), unless you count the $5 contributed by "Denver Doula," the undisclosed amount (thought to be around $10 based on an analysis of early contributions) contributed by Karl Clinger, and a couple of other contributions by known cronies as viewable here.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
This campaign is a "flexible funding" campaign, which means that when they don't meet their funding goal (or even come close, unless those investors Kyle promised back in the beginning come through, maybe), the contributions will not be refunded. Brio will get to keep what was contributed, minus a 9% service fee to Indiegogo. In other words, they make grand promises, take other people's money, and show nothing for it. Deja vu, anyone? I wonder if the people who jumped on the bandwagon - especially those who bought "perks" like advertising or a month-long replay - understand how the funding for this campaign actually works. I wonder if Brio will still try to make a shoestring broadcast of the birth happen, with some cheap and/or borrowed webcams, or if they will simply do nothing, except blame the "haters" and have Naomi send some sugary non-apology emails to the people who gave money for nothing.
So let's look at "The Tech and The Money."
The Tech: The fancy cameras that they want to buy look pretty nice, but the battery life on the setup is only a couple of hours. Granted, precipitous births do happen, but they probably want to be prepared for a long birth. This is going to mean hooking up to a power source and hindering the movement of the POV cameras, or having a back-up battery for each camera, switching them out, and constantly re-charging. So there will definitely be feed interruptions if the birth is not precipitous. Also, who is going to be the battery doula? Then there are the Mac Minis supposedly required to process the feed. My guess is, somebody wants new toys.
The Money: Again, this whole scheme might have a little more credibility if Brio were putting in any money to buy the toys. Also, for a group that claims to have so much technical and networking savvy, they appear to either have a blind spot or be purposefully inflating the prices. A relatively quick search turns up the equipment they have put out that they intend to use for lower prices than what they show on their little infographic, sometimes to the tune of hundreds of dollars per setup, and that is from somebody not putting in a great deal of time. If they were to dedicate a bit of time and effort to shopping, they could likely realize some pretty heavy savings. And they claim that they are putting in the money for personnel, travel, etc - I would love to know where they are getting that money, particularly when they have well over a quarter million dollars in judgments and debts that they haven't paid a dime towards, and they have a history of not even being able to pay their own rent. For greater amusement, look at what would be done with any money exceeding their goal (not that that's going to happen). It would be evenly divided five ways between:
- Brio Birth - of course! Fancy dinners and toys aren't cheap.
- The birthing family - makes sense. If she's going to display her birth to the world and deal with the invasion of privacy and the disturbance of the birthing process, she ought to be compensated.
- "The PR/Advertising & Tech team" - so, by all appearances, the Brio Bunch. Hey! That ups their share to 40% of the extra money that's not going to be there! Surely they couldn't be playing a shell game for additional personal gain...
- The mother's maternity and wellness center - now that's a good cause, especially in Texas, which is not known for its friendliness to birthing mothers.
- A fund for another family to do THIS SAME THING! And I'm sure Brio will be there, cap in hand, asking for more money. Of course, I'm sure Brio will be holding this fund, which means it's in the hands of their excellent stewardship.
Then, of course, there's that other element - the People. I don't know this mother, except by all the information she's been putting all over the internet in connection with this project (and I think she protests a bit too much about not wanting to show off). I don't know the midwife, or the doulas. But I do know the Brio Bunch, and that gives me a bit of a sick sense about the entire project.