expat life

Family Overseas? You’ll love these!

12 Comments 30 January 2013

I saw this and thought of you…

Little light boxes to share with people across the globe, connecting you all, saying ‘hello, I’m home, my lights are on’.

They’re called “Goodnight Lamps” (ever read the book “Goodnight Moon”?). I don’t know the owners, they don’t know me, this is in no way sponsored I just think it’s kind of cool for expats and I wanted to share it with my expat readers.

These little light boxes in the shape of houses connect via the internet to other light box houses in the same set around the globe. You set up your specific light box house group and when you turn one on, the others go on, over on another continent. It’s a cool way of saying hello family, or hello grandma! It’s different to texting or Facebook or any of those in that it’s just a nice little glow, like looking across the street and seeing your favourite neighbour’s house lights are on. You don’t need to go over and say hi, but it’s nice to know they’re home.

Here’s how I discovered them:

Ever hear of Kickstarter? It’s big in the States and now appearing in the UK but you don’t have to be resident in the UK or US to use it (I don’t think) or to contribute to it (I don’t think). It’s a great way for projects to get a kickstart from supporters, or investors. The money helps fund things like cover art, editing, promotion and marketing and in exchange the investors receive gifts relevant to the project.

How it works, more or less: It’s a type of microfinancing, or more specifically it’s called ‘crowd-funding’. People contribute funds–as small as $1 and as large as…the largest I’ve seen is $10,000 and in return the project owners will give a gift of appropriate value, relevant to the project.

For example, for a $15 contribution to a book project (the author may be trying to get help with editing costs), the contributer will receive a free copy of the book. Or for $1000 contribution to a film, the contributer may get a meal with the film crew and a conversation about how to start one’s own film production company. And so on. It’s kind of low risk in that if the project doesn’t get it’s full funding target, no money is taken from the investors. So you don’t end up giving your money to projects that may not work because they don’t get enough funding. And the project owners are accountable to the investors, providing project updates, allowing for feedback from investors and as I said before, giving some ownership to the project through different types of gifts.

I like the idea of it. There’s pros and cons and I don’t know all of them, Google them if you’re that interested. Anyway, I contributed to a friend’s project about a year ago and since then I’ve been browsing Kickstarter looking at all the cool projects coming through. The other day I discovered these little light houses and I thought they’d be really fun for expats, especially expat families–either people who move overseas with children or people who move away from their family.

What do you think of them?

If you love the idea, why not contribute?!


Your Comments

12 Comments so far

  1. Love the light boxes and what a brilliant concept Kickstarter is! Def. going to take a gander!

  2. Julia Boggio says:

    Love this! I’m going to go check out the website now :o) Jx

  3. Louise says:

    I LOVE this idea! Im heading right now to check out the website, thanks lady!

  4. Expat Mum says:

    The first thought that came into my head was that I would be in so much trouble with my mother if her light came on in the middle of the night and woke her up! A 6 hour time difference can do that!

    • Michelloui says:

      Ha! Toni, you’re so cynical! She doesn’t have to keep it next to her bed! I’d keep mine in the kitchen or a similar family room.

  5. The Fool says:

    These crowd sourced sites seem to have really grown recently I guess in part it reflects how hard it is for many start ups to get funding. Is a great idea though and gives you a relatively inexpensive way to get involved with something.

  6. Alice says:

    What a lovely idea.

  7. Iota says:

    Clever idea!

  8. Xandi @ The Mummy Scripts says:

    This is such a sweet idea, I love it! It’s so much more comforting than a text or email. Something all warm and fuzzy about it. I am solo here in the UK (apart from my hubby and kids of course!), all my family are in the Caribbean and California so this would be a lovely idea for us!

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An American writer in the UK for over 20 years. Lives in Essex. A pretend extrovert.

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