It's said that there are no original ideas, only people. In 2010, Idealog writer James Hurman tackled this very topic in Casualties of Coincidence, a treatise on the phenomenon of similar (or in some cases, more or less identical) ideas emerging at the same time from different places.
A case of two eerily alike Kickstarter projects currently raising funds, as detailed by the Atlantic, is a prime example.
Astro and Radian are two separate groups of engineers, one in California and one in the Midwest. Each independently designed and built a device for easy and affordable motion time-lapse photography – a disc about the size and shape of a hockey puck. (Incidentally, a pair of guys from Queenstown have Kickstarted a similar technology, called the Genie.)
They both took to Kickstarter to fund production of their tools. And independently, they both prepared to launch on the same day, although Astro apparently managed to go live three days early, while Radian's launch was delayed by a day. The four-day difference saw Astro surge $100,000 ahead.
Radian found out about Astro through a friend, who had seen both projects pop up on Kickstarter, and the team of four was understandably dumbfounded.
"I was in shock," Kris Cheng told the Atlantic. "I mean, what were the odds?"
But both teams decided to persevere rather than calling their projects off, and both have now cranked past their funding goals – Astro's of $50,000 and Radian's of $178,750 with time to spare.
"Release! We released three days early," says Astro's Oscar Ramirez.
"Had it been three days later, the story might have been very different. Had it been two weeks earlier? Who knows..."