Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kickin' It Off

The more I look at Kickstarter, the more I like it.

In essence, it's an open sourced patronage program for projects. What kind of projects? Pretty much anything, but they're currently focusing on relatively small artistic endeavors. Here's a description of the pledge mechanism from their FAQ:

We believe that...

• A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.
• A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.

Here's the Kickstarter DNA:

1. REWARDS! Project creators inspire people to open their wallets by offering smart, fun, and tangible rewards (products, benefits, and experiences).

2. ALL-OR-NOTHING FUNDING! Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands.


1. It's less risk for everyone. If you need $5,000, it's tough having $2,000 and a bunch of people expecting you to complete a $5,000 project.

2. It allows people to test concepts (or conditionally sell stuff) without risk. If you don't receive the support you want, you're not compelled to follow through. This is huge!

3. It motivates. If people want to see a project come to life, they're going to spread the word.

Kickstarter is focused on creative ideas and ambitious endeavors. We're a great way for artists, filmmakers, musicians, designers, writers, athletes, adventurers, illustrators, explorers, curators, promoters, performers, and others to bring their projects, events, and dreams to life.

It sounds a lot like the late, unlamented "Fundable" website, but without the dishonesty, incompetence, and outright fraud so tellingly documented by Mary Robinette Kowal.

From my perspective Kickstarter seems like it would be ideal for the kind of short run projects of 100-150 items that I enjoy doing. My humble wares are purposefully designed for a niche market that has very specific tastes, which is a natural match for the pledge model of patronage. While I might be able to take advantage of some economies of scale by increasing production up into the 200-250 range I can't see the market reliably supporting anything much larger.

Since you are my niche market I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts. Would you feel comfortable pledging for something like the Miskatonic prop set if it could result in better prices because of larger runs? Keep in mind that it would also necessitate some delays. Based on prior experience and some guesstimating it would probably take three to four weeks for goodies to be in your hands after the fund drive is completed. That's assuming it takes a week for me to get the funds and pay for production, followed by another two weeks for manufacturing and shipping, and another week for packages to travel from Propnomicon headquarters to you via the post.


JereGenest said...

I'm used to the "ransom" model in other venues (mostly RPG publishing) and its something I'd be interested in for acquiring some good props!

Rev. Marx said...

I looked at this website a few weeks ago when it was featured on BoingBing. It looked great, until I realized that I could donate to a project, but I couldn't set up my own project for funding. Projects can only be started by invitation. I guess it really is "who you know".

Tyler said...

I like the idea of Kickstarter, because it helps a creator reduce risk and better gauge the demand for their goods.

You should certainly do a test run of their system for an upcoming project, to see if it works in practice for you.

Scott said...

I'm for anything that can help you out. Always impressed by what you've been able to accomplish, I am quite prepared to be amazed at projects that have previously been hampered by lack of initial capital.

Mainly, though, having missed out on the Australian run I would be happy to see a mechanism put in place that would allow me to assure a spot on your "recipients" list ;-)

john said...

Whatever it takes to get antarctic expedition map and patches in my hands.......

drclehmann said...

I'm all for it, having often pledged for RPG projects. In my experience, the community of people who pledge do so because they enjoy the work of the artist and do not fel anger towards him if he takes more time to complete his project. You have an awesome site, and as a BTMOM fanatic, I'll be there ;-)

Bryce 2010 said...

I actually learned about Kickstarter just the other day on the news. Of course I had to run to the computer to really check it out. One of my goals this year is to (finally) record my first CD. I am a professional opera singer, (niche market) and as you can imagine, recording classical music can be quite cost prohibitive.

Anyway, long comment short. I am really actively looking for an invite (and have been putting a full proposal together, assuming that I will be able to find one on to the site) I think it is a great way for your friends, family, colleagues, patrons, fans, and art lovers to have a "buy-in" for your project and feel as if they are really a part of the creative process.


Anonymous said...

I like the idea, and I'm well in support of it to get another run done so I get my hands on some of these patches.