I am a big fan of fast growing crowd funding platform Kickstarter, arguably one of the most disruptive and innovative platforms to emerge for the creative community.
Less a technology site, more a socio-cultural movement, Kickstarter is changing how we make things, how we turn dreams into reality and make ideas come to life. While a lot of people focus on Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson’s big name portfolio of Twitter, Zynga and Foursquare, I would argue, Kickstarter is the one that transforms the very idea of commerce.
On his blog, author/publisher Craig Mod tells the story of how folks pledged $24,000 for Art Space Tokyo, a book he co-wrote with Ashley Rawlings, on Kickstarter. I think this quote sums up everything that is awesome about Kickstarter and why it works.
With Kickstarter, people are preordering your idea. Sure, they’re buying something tangible — a CD, a movie, a book, etc — but more than that, they’re pledging money because they believe in you, the creator. If you take the time to extrapolate beyond the obvious low-hanging goals, you can use this money to push the idea — the project — somewhere farther reaching than initially envisaged. And all without giving up any ownership of the idea. This — micro-seed capital without relinquishment of ownership — is where the latent potential of Kickstarter funding lies.
12 thoughts on “Why Kickstarter Works”
You’ll get absolutely no argument from me. I had great success with the site:
It helped me raise money and awareness for my book. I could go on and on about tips, but I agree that it makes sense to offer something tangible.
It’s a provocative post. I want to believe so badly, but I’m not certain it can grow huge without becoming a securities market of some sort. And if that’s the case it argues against the points you make in the post about ownership.
“…how we turn dreams into reality…”. Love it, nails it in a couple sentences.
Will Kickstarter grow horizontally, vertically or both? For example evolve from primarily funding of creators to facilitating other steps between dream and reality, e.g.: http://goo.gl/sINv8 ?
Kickstarter is fantastic and proves to be a major blessing/windfall with those who have a product that is appealing and is provided by people who their constituents (present or future) will trust can deliver the goods (literally).
Given this premise, and on the heels of your recent funding announcement (congrats by the way)…. why wouldn’t you have used kickstarter yourself to fund this latest round…or at least part of it?
Why not make an appeal to your constituents (present and future) to advance order research, conferences, webinars, etc with an appeal that you’re trying to grow the company to provide more value to your customers?
Like any successful kickstarter project you not only offer the tangible (buy my seminar product in advance for “XYZ” dollars) but you also offer the intangible which is XYZ++++ more valuable. Personal consultations with GIGAOM – be it you or your staff. Via skype or in person. A personal tour of your HQ for those in the area.
You could offer a whole host of things that I would imagine a good percentage of the 20K people who buy your research, and would pre-order more of it, would actively engage and purchase higher value, unique, “one time only” offerings. Thus dramatically increasing revenue (not to mention profit) and positioning yourself even more soundly for the whatever funds you need to raise conventionally.
Would be an interesting test case to see the more established players try and make this model work in addition to the artists, filmmakers and niche product marketers who seem to comprise the majority of successful funding campaigns.
But I wonder if the downside of failure…which in this venue would be so public – would be worth the risk to reputation and perception of momentum????
Reminds me of Xmarks, the free x-platform browser bookmarking service. Didn’t they announce closing their doors, only to receive an outpouring of user support, many thousands saying they would pay $10/mo or whatever, to keep them in business. Kickstart.com could provide this sort of ‘business case affirmation’ at a much earlier stage. Great idea!
Unfortunately they’re very limited in what they allow on the site. They need to make what they allow more clear. They wouldn’t allow photgra.me on even though it’s a site for photographers, built by photographers (Yea those people that 99.9% of you steal from, even if it’s unintentionally)
Couldn’t agree more. This is one of the first platforms to give a designer or Project Creator a real-world market for their idea. It does more than just tell them that it is a good idea. It facilitates complexities including: Pre-ordering (and the problems of expectation setting that go with that) and accumulating working capital for funding the actual delivery of the product or idea.
Shipwire is blessed to have helped fulfill a lot of successful “product” projects coming off Kickstarter. We love to see these Kickstarter projects coming to us because their initial inventory typically goes to fulfill the “backorders” from the Kickstarter project backers.
For example, we shipped 7000 of @theGlif in 24 hours. They had a lot of backorders due to their successful kickstarter work.
Over the years we’ve helped a number of Designers get their initial products to market. We wanted to help designers understand how to:
– Fund projects (kickstarter is one great channel)
– Prototype projects
– Figure out Sales channels
– Maximize Packaging
– Generate Buzz
Here is the white paper we recently released that articulates these 5 stages.
Thanks a LOOOT OM for this article. I’ll probable use Kickstarter to finance a project I’ve been working on for a long time now.
When a project reach Kikstarter, is available a sort of indeed Copyright ?
Is the project preserved fromm looters copiers ?
Thanks a lot !
This is such a bullshit/lame post. The main reason Kickstarter staff wants your project to succeed, though, is because Kickstarter takes a 5 percent cut of your funds.
I would never use kickstarter. See: http://localwiki.org/blog/2010/nov/15/kickstarter-pros-and-cons/
The only down side we have experienced to using Kickstarter, is that the methodology of getting people to “donate”/”Buy in” to your project still boils down to advertising. If you can’t drive sufficient numbers of people to go look at Kickstarter, you can’t get it funded.
The other drawback we encountered was that the only way to provide money to a project is to sign up through Amazon payments. We had ended up funding our project from people who wanted to pre-order our game but were unwilling to take the few and easy steps to set up with Amazon. It was strange and unexpected, but I should think that, as Kickstarter grows, they will hopefully benefit from allowing other forms of payment.
Some issues worth being aware of: http://gavincastleton.blogspot.com/2011/04/problems-with-kickstarter.html