When the beloved geek comic xkcd finally signed a book deal, it involved no profits and no bookstores. Now its author is taking a similarly unconventional approach to philanthropy. Sorry, poor children of Laos!
Working with his publisher, beer-buying Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, xkcd creator Randall Munroe will sell tickets to his book readings through a Dutch auction of the sort that powered Google's IPO, in which the price is set by lowest of the top X bids, where X in this case corresponds to available seats. Complicated! Then at the event there's an auction for some more stuff, including lunch with the author and a custom XKCD cartoon. Then the proceeds are used to build a school for kids in Laos, which sounds great, but it's going to be named "XKCD," so good luck bragging to your friends or whatever.
We love the humanitarian impulse and will probably buy a book. Helping poor kids is great. But come one, internet geeks: Did you consider a simple strategy, like doing a reading, selling the books (proceeds are already earmarked for charity), and maybe having a donation jar? Not everything necessarily has to be a complex, game-like system!