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.
Guess what, my new year's resolution is to blog more. Ho ho! That worked well last year, didn't it!
Running a rapid growth startup is hard. So, so hard. The hardest thing I've ever done, and I have to juggle it with a small child who has school needs, holiday needs, etc bla bla bla.
But I miss blogging, not least because (and I've always said this), it's my outboard brain. If you ever thought you might want to blog, here's my advice: don't do it for readers, do it just because you find the stuff you're blogging interesting. Or you want to get stuff out of your head. Reading back to what I was looking at in, say, 2005 is pretty cool (for me, anyway :-D). That's what it was for, ofc, web logging.
Course, the majority of what I post is a pic and a link so I should really be using Tumblr, but wtf. Wonderland is 10 years old this year. And with that, here's a brilliant Minecraft torch. Take it on camping or skiing trips for extra authenticity.
This is ++good: this year, why not download and play an indie game?
2012 has been "a banner year" for indie games, with more releases of quality titles than ever before - and it shows no sign of slowing. This is auteurship. That's a pretty pretentious word, but very important for the industry: auteurship means games have a "voice" now, unlike ever before. Step change.
There are enough games there to keep us quiet for the whole year, as it happens, so dig in!
(I had the pleasure of spectating a game of SpaceTeam in the bar at our xmas party the other night: raucously funny to watch, esp with vodka.)
A collaboration between the charity Hoxton Street Monster Supplies (a kids educational & reading charity, they do great events!) and Tatty Devine, our local laser-cutting jewellery geniuses, this beautiful AARGHHH necklace that I am now wearing with evil delight.
They sent me this, and I can't yet find any link on either site to where you could purchase similar; maybe it's just a promotional thing? But there's plenty of other amazing things at both sites: Tatty's original aarrghhhh necklace and a jar of Thickest Human Snot, for instance.