I've been very into Kickstarter recently. Backing projects is a joy.
I backed five things this past few weeks, some of which are closed now, but I thought I'd highlight them for the reasons I backed 'em. If you're thinking of doing a kickstarter, there might be some patterns in the execution here which might mean something: I know we're planning to in the future.
My pal James Wallis kickstarts his new RPG. I don't generally play paper/story-based RPGs, but James is an amazing game designer, a friend, and his starter amount was tiny (3K) and there were plenty of low-level opportunities to input. That makes me sound like a scrooge but it was noteworthy: it felt Easy To Back. But then - THEN - the magic of this one, oh boy. James is a writer, a brilliant one, and he demonstrated it in his updates. They were BRILLIANT. Funny, emotional, clever, quick. They happened *just right*. He really fanned the flames of his 'starter: and he Won It.
I'd use this as a template of How To Do It: don't ask for too much to start with (*more on this), have plenty of Twitter friends who will retweet your URL, be funny, be clever, have good backing options.
*Don't Ask For Too Much: the curse of Kickstarter.Kickstarter isn't brilliant at backing projects with "honest" budgets, projects where the owner really has laid out the full costs and hasn't started on any of the production yet. Kickstarter seems to prefer projects where 80% of the thinking, prototyping, and often costs are already sunk, and just the last 20% needs raising to see the thing to completion.
This is gut-data, not based on numbers: would you agree with it?
The somewhat saddening story of how Even Being Great isn't sometimes good enough. Death Inc pressed a lot of the right buttons for me: great artwork, a mention of Bullfrog-esque play. Nice guys, fully indie. A just-about-working prototype. Lovely video. Fun looking game. WHY was this not funded? I don't know. Some combination of too-high price, with not-enough-network-of-friends? Or maybe not enough funny updates? I can only guess, because I thought this was GREAT. Did you back it, if so what do you think?
Brilliance. A fully working prototype (plenty of sunk costs here! Would they have raised over $2m if they'd kickstarted this from blueprints? Unlikely, I think). Asking for not too much money. Massive novelty. An easy win, and still not closed at the time of writing.
Talent at work. Will they make it? Are there enough options to participate? I got a personal thankyou from the owner when I contributed: that was lovely & heartwarming (but obviously impossible if you start to have hundreds or thousands of backers). STILL PLEDGING AT TIME OF WRITING.
A beautiful product, at production-ready stage, so this was a simple "pre-order" Kickstarter. They didn't make their ask: it was a comparatively high one: unlike 3Doodler (also a pre-order Kickstarter) who asked for 30K, GNL was set at 300K. Did this put people off?
Undeterred, they have opened an online shop, and are showing at events like Launch. This is great: not giving up is fantastic. We'll see GNL in the Conran Shop or equivalent soon because of that, I'd bet.
If you're here, shout... I've brough a Jo Roach, some dolls, and an appetite for Salt Lick. We're also doing a few things: I'm on a panel today somewhere at 4:30pm (last min fillin), plus we're doing a talk at Hackney House on Sunday, I'm on a panel on Monday about the future of 3D printing, and we're pitching on Tuesday.