Here’s an actual, practical example of how a company can come up with better solutions by applying Agile principles throughout their business.

Kachingle, Inc.Kachingle has come up with a simple, elegant solution 1) by breaking down a complex problem to a small, core one and 2) by listening deeply to the key stakeholders in its market.


“Sprinkle change on the content you love.”  It is a way for readers to easily contribute to the websites they appreciate the most.  Readers 1) put up $5 per month and 2) distribute it by clicking once on the Kachingle medallion on content that they connect with.  Simple, elegant and powerful.  And it may save the newspaper industry.

You’d have thought that content providers would have come up with this solution or something very much like it, right?  But they haven’t even come close.  They’re holding on to the bundle-of-content, subscription model where the publisher decides what gets printed on any given day and readers must pay for it all whether or not they’re interested in reading 20-year-old reprints of Dear Abby.  They want to monetize the content, but they also want to control what’s “fit to be printed.”

They also seem to confuse “journalism” and “media.”  In Will People Pay, What Will They Pay? award-winning freelance journalist Margaret Simons sums up the distinction nicely,

Journalism is the practice of gathering and diseminating  news and information. Media is the business of gathering audiences and selling them to advertisers.

Kachingle has a deep knowledge of both ends of this market and broke the problem down to a simple solution that addresses the needs of all its stakeholders.  Cynthia Typaldos, Founder and Chief Kachingler, has been at this social stuff longer than anybody I know (i.e., for at least 14 years, by my counting).  She co-founded in 1995 and during that adventure she figured out all the elements that the rest of us are still discovering today: social networking, crowdsourcing, user-created content, community management/building, online gaming, etc.  And how to monetize it.

Big Problem, Simple Solution

The way Cynthia sees it,

  1. Content providers (not just newspapers) need to monetize their content.
  2. Readers will pay for content they connect with, but they hate to have to pay for stuff they don’t care for.  They want to be in control of that choice.
  3. Micropayments are an essential part of the solution but existing payment technologies (e.g., credit cards, PayPal, etc) don’t do the job. 

So, she came up the idea for Kachingle 1) provide a source of revenue for content providers, 2) leave readers in control and 3) handle micropayments easily (for content providers and readers).  She started working on it several years ago but back then newspapers were not really hurting and could not conceive of the upcoming market shifts; bloggers and other content providers thought that advertising was all they needed.

Now We Get It!

Today newspapers are in a world of hurt and everybody is seeing their online adverAd revenue drop steadily (i.e., there are more Ads, but there are many more content sites competing for those Ads).  Let’s just say that they are now more motivated to use Kachingle and other, complementary solutions.  In Micropatronage with Ads, No Cash writer Steve Outing points out an example of this,

BeneVote is touted as working alongside other micropatronage services. So a news site, say, could use Kachingle and earn money from “Kachinglers” who decide to financially support the site with a portion of their monthly $5 Kachingle payment, and also use BeneVote to earn money.

Other players in this space include Contenture, Inamoon, Payyattention and TipJoy (there’s even a!)

None of them, however, really addresses the core needs of all constituents the way Kachingle does.

About Kachingle

For more information about Kachingle, visit their website for an overview and visit their blog for status and news.

BTW, as of this writing, Kachingle is looking for engineers and a CTO!  Contact [email protected] if you’re interested.